Introduction
Ninterchangeable,
ever pass up the opportunity to have sex or appear on
television.’’ If this savvy piece of wisdom, attributed to
Gore Vidal, is to be believed, sex and television provide
short-lived, orgasmic pleasures. Vidal
should know. He has presumably relished the pleasures of
both, using each to craft his public persona. The witty in-
junction packs its punch by offering a novel juxtaposition
in the familiar idiom of self-help, the title of the imaginary
manual from which it could have been drawn: How to Manage
Your Fame.
Like Andy Warhol, who had tv in mind when he said in
1968, ‘‘In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen min-
utes,’’ Vidal is a grand analyst of fame in the electronic age.
Warhol and Vidal register fame’s fleetingness but, more sig-
nificantly, prove themselves to be among its greatest man-
agers—Warhol in the field of art and Vidal in the field of let-
ters. Both understand television as a transmissions apparatus
that links the famous with their audience in a giant circle jerk.
Although a case could be made that literary fame is Vidal’s
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