Truman Capote might be considered the Great Gay American Tragedy. Talented, witty, and apprently more fun to be with than a barrel of Smurfs, he was also addicted to lying, self-aggrandizement, and chemical relief. Many readers are well aware of the legendary lies, whispers, and catfights. But there is always a new generation that needs to be brought up to speed. So we take his 98th birthday to review some of the hits and misses.
Truman Capote teetered on the edge of being famous for being famous, but certainly he was no Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian. He had a few very important creative moments that have changed the way people write books forever. But after he wrote In Cold Blood, his output virtually stopped, except for the few sputtering chapters of Answered Prayers that sealed his doom in the high society world.
What he did become was a go-to gay as the butt of many jokes about effeminacy by late night talk show hosts and the like. His outrageously false claims, his flamboyant television appearances, and his upper-crust friendships trumped his brilliance as a writer for many.
Besides being shocking for a living, he was also one of the first openly gay celebrities. He was brave and tough about it, and the context of his openness was daring.
It would be wonderful to be able to check in with Truman on his 98th birthday on September 30. The man practically invented sound bites, so it would be great to have his take on, say, marriage equality, the death of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and Grindr.
Another anniversary ticked by recently as well: Truman died 30 years ago, August 25, 1984. He was only 59. He certainly got in a lot of trouble in a relatively short time. It would be intriguing to see what another 30 years could have inspired in him.
So happy birthday, Truman, we hope you made good with all your swans and you are having exotic cocktails with them, all of you dressed in caftans on banquettes of clouds.
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