Most of the reviews on Goodreads of Gore Vidal’s Myron miss the point. These reviews have apparently been written by leftists who do not understand that Vidal points most of his satire not rightward, in this novel, but at leftist sexual [tranny] tyranny. The title character of the previous book, Myra Breckinridge, rapes and castrates her way to cultural power on a Club of Rome de-population agenda, made quite explicit. This is not “sexual liberation” but sexual tyranny and . . . propaganda by the misdeed. But Vidal does croak out the last laugh at conservatives in the final pages. Myron, Myra’s alter ego (they share the same body), literally has no idea that the world has changed and that he has lost his battle of personal identity and identity politics with Myra, hung up as he has been on defending Nixon.

The clue to the interpretation is that leftists seek to emasculate America and rightists have no “powells” (Vidal’s term for testicles — it’s a long story: see below).

Vidal spins a Lewis Carroll-like fantasy to make a grisly point about left and right in America, and straight-left readers would be too clueless to suspect such a thing from the pen of socialist Gore Vidal.

It is a Menippean satire, perhaps. The caricatures that are Myra and Myron make an almost allegorical tapestry, but with no reverence or piety or patriotism whatsoever. This is as thoroughgoing satire as I’ve read from an American. It tops James Branch Cabell’s Hamlet Had an Uncle (if not Jurgen), anyway.

Vidal employed similar technique — that is, a satire based on fantasy and gloriously fabulisitic and ultra-silly sci-fi — in his later send-up of early Christianity, too, Live from Golgotha . . . the best thing about which were the two pages explaining the Cleansing of the Temple in terms of loose and tight monetary policy.

These usually ignored fictions by Vidal are, from what I can tell, the novelistic stand-in for satyr plays. I could perhaps write more persuasively about this literary diptych had I read Myra Breckinridge (1968) a few years ago, not, as is the case, a few decades ago: my memory is not reliable about the first book. I have just finished reading Myron (1974) today. But I can offer advice for those who choose to read Myron: read the first edition, where Vidal uses an amusing set of euphemisms for the traditional set of naughty words. In later edition he jettisoned this comic apparatus. Pity. It is indeed funny. Vidal explains, in his helpful prefatory note to the first edition, which I read: