F.X. Feeney has written a remarkable essay on Gore Vidal's writing for film and television. The article is framed around Vidal's famous story of being brought in as a script doctor on Ben-Hur and deciding that what the story needed was a gay subtext; Feeney investigates the tale, which Ben-Hur star Charlton Heston always denied, and he makes a strong case that Vidal was telling the truth. But there's much more here, including the great irony of Vidal's early work: Blackballed for publishing a novel about a gay affair in 1948, back when the literary establishment did not smile on frank writing about same-sex liasons, the novelist saved his career by moving into the more disreputable but also much more influential zones of TV, Hollywood, and Broadway. There he was able to inject his ideas about sexuality into stories where far more people would encounter them, making mass culture rather than high culture the conduit for his dissent.