Wednesday, February 27, 2008


It seems William F. Buckley has died. I know what I hate, and I didn't hate WFB Jr., even though I can't recall agreeing with him on more than a handful of things over the years. I always appreciated that he didn't dumb down his vocabulary, sentence structure, or arguments even when addressing an American tee-vee audience, a fact that was endlessly interesting and important to me in high school for whatever reason. I suppose I considered watching Firing Line as a poor kid's SAT preparation.

He always had good guests on Firing Line, and sponsored many enriching and smart debates on Big Issues. And while I was too young to witness it in so-called real time, I will always perversely cherish the moment when he threatened to "smash your goddamn face" during a rather tense conversation with Noam Chomsky (link to video). Who hasn't wanted to smash Chomsky's goddamn face once or twice? I admire the man, but Jesus Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address Christ he can be annoying!

So RIP William F. Buckley, Jr. As the Portland Mercury put it this morning: "If only the Rush Limbaughs and the Ann Coulters of the world could be more like him. Which is to say, dead." Indeed.


Madelaine Boingigne said...

Mr. Buckley I think realized that the 'pure' conservatism he fought so brilliantly to bring to the forefront of American political life was not to be. The likes of Coulter,Limbaugh and all the rest of the embarrasements were what he had ultimately-albeit unwittingly- wrought. He was however a credit to his land and a genuinly good, decent man. RIP Bill...thank you for your service.

Dale said...

Madelaine, thanks for the comment. I think Buckley's great struggle -- perhaps tragic flaw? -- was to be a conservative intellectual American. Those three don't hang together easily.