Wednesday, February 27, 2008

R.I.P. WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR.

...and perhaps r.i.p. to the political movement he founded as well.

18 comments:

Norah said...

One can only hope anyway.

Christopher said...

Dunno what you exactly mean by that, but for someone who reads CHRONICLES and antiwar.com I only hope you're taking the bad news in the same spirit I did. But for some odd reason I doubt it.

Rick Noll said...

stick a fork in it and go stick on some von lmo!

Christopher said...

The strangest thing is that this very afternoon while taking a leak (!) I for some odd reason just happened to be thinking about various public figures from the past who for one reason or another were considered closeted, or perhaps even overt homosexuals. Naturally they weren't, but it seemed as if public opinion might have leaned heavily against 'em. Wayne Newton naturally came to mind...I mean, how could you forget that infamous Johnny Carson jibe about Newton and Liberace taking a bubble bath together? (Something that the entertainer personally confronted Carson about the very day after the joke was made!) And strangely enough William F. Buckley was also recalled...you may remember that Buckley was also thought to be homosexual due to his hauty mannerisms, enough so that back in the mid-seventies THE HOMOSEXUAL HANDBOOK was making some rather caustic observations about Buckley's smacking of the lips on FIRING LINE being just the tip of the pansexual iceberg! (I got this info from a CREEM review of the day, as if I would actually pick up a copy and read it myself!)

But it is strange enough that I would be thinking about this man and the rumors surrounding him on the very day he dies and well before I read the news hours later. A stranger twist on the old ESP phenomenon than the time when Donald Fellman told me about his dream of Johnny Cash dying, then waking up and finding that he actually did!

But as for Buckley and NATIONAL REVIEW go, I certainly do not hold as strong an animus against either like many of my far-right colleagues tend to. Buckley certainly started out with high ideals, though his breaks with the likes of Rothbard, the Birchers and later on Joseph Sobran weigh heavily against him. And unfortunately NR eventually became just another two-dimensional neo-conservative rag o'er the years, really not that different than the likes of the latterday AMERICAN SPECTATOR or even THE WEEKLY STANDARD, certainly a shell of its former self which only drove me closer to publications like CHRONICLES which still has a good hefty sense of the Old Right feeling that NR let loose of long ago.

As far as Rick Noll's above comment goes, we shall have none of your radical hoo-hah at a time like this. Show some respect!

Christopher said...

And of course please omit the "go" after NATIONAL REVIEW in the next to last paragraph (first sentence)...it's sure hard to keep one's mind focused so late at night.

bob f. said...

...remember a FIRING LINE where Mailer and Vonnegut were on...tight seating arrangement with Kurt on far right of screen, Norman in middle...while Vonnegut was speaking, Mailer turned to a slouched, cross-legged Buckley and told him to get his foot out of his face...shot of Bill with world famous grin...is this homosexual?!?

Christopher said...

Maybe if the foot ended somewhere else. I gotta admit that I used to tune into the show on occasion and I did get a secret joy out of Buckley tearing to shreds such one-dimensional phonies as Joan Baez. And there was the infamous Allen Ginsberg appearance where the two got into some strange argument that was going nowhere until Ginsberg whipped his little harmonium out and started doing the krishna thing as Buckley just sat there with that stupid smile on his face! But as far as being gay...well, maybe he just got those mannerisms being educated in ENGLAND!!!!

bob f. said...

also: famous episodes of bloated,spent Kerouac and defiant/verbally wreckless Cleaver

Christopher said...

Y'know, I never saw those episodes, though I can recall a few that surprised me, like the one regarding the Falwell/HUSTLER libel case which actually had Buckley more or less siding with the magazine. And frankly, I gotta admit that those programs with Buckley and Galbraith were a good substitute for Sominex, but then again what else would one expect discussing Keyneian ecomonics right out of the most boring college course one could ever take!

BTW, did you know that Phil Ochs was a bit admirer of Buckley? According to Brian Doherty in his old SURRENDER fanzine he said that Ochs thought that Buckley and the right had verve and style while the left was filled with boring bandwagon jumpers lacking in a general sense of verve! This is almost as revealing as those stories about Dylan admitting his fondness for Barry Goldwater getting into a lotta hot water with his Marxist friends in the process!

bob f. said...

also: Libertarian stance of decrim of cannibis (had indulged on his yaucht in int'l waters)...prob. had his beloved Bach blasting on cassette on portable player as the waves flooded the deck...um, who's steering this thing???

Christopher said...

Come to think of it, didn't you tell me about the time some expert on marijuana legalization was on the late great MORTON DOWNEY JR. SHOW getting the razz from Downey for wanting to legalize pot, and the same guy was on FIRING LINE just a few days earlier getting the royal carpet treatment???

bob f. said...

uh (thru the "fog" of time filter): could have...I did see both shows...my tv viewing was all over the place in those days...toss in JOE FRANKLIN fr. cable and various THE AVENGERS and YOU BET YOUR LIFE episodes(UHF territory) and television time was pretty solid...Ernest Angsley was worth a view, too...

Anonymous said...

Chris, was the "expert on marijuana legalization" who was on Downey's show Ron Paul? I remember seeing Paul on Downey's show and Downey was giving Paul plenty of shit.If so, it's nice to hear that Paul was treated well on Firing Line.
Also, don't forget that Buckley praised the prose style of Lester Bangs in a National Review piece.

Christopher said...

Good question, though I really find it hard to fathom Dr. Paul appearing on the Downey show! If he did, he was sure sitting smack dab in the middle of the lion's den! And y'know what, not having followed Buckley that close this past year I don't know exactly what kind of opinion Buckley had regarding Paul or his candidacy. I would assume he would have very little to do with the Good Doctor's views on many things as Buckley, although having a slight libertarian streak, had no patience for people like Rand and Rothbard (which makes one wonder how he would take Paul!). You have to remember that Buckley was a big government conservative pretty much in the same fashion that Ronald Reagan was and George Bush II is, that is if you could consider Bush II a conservative in the first place. (Buckley had his doubts!)

Anonymous said...

See the clip of Dr. Paul on the Downey show in 1988 for yourself:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHB2I83_N_k

Christopher said...

Thanks for the clip. Y'know, I forgot just how funny the Downey show was. Of course on this episode Paul was the hands-down winner and Downey and that Sliwa bitch the heels. (Not to mention that chief of police guy from New Jersey.) And it sure was an eye-opening experience watching Paul get so hyped up and worked into the shouting match considering his usually quiet demeanor, but then again with Downey and Sliwa shouting at you in stereo how would anyone react???

Christopher said...

Of course (re. a few posts back), Ochs was a BIG, not "bit" admirer of Buckley!

Christopher said...

...and by the way, the guy appearing in the hot seat next to Paul on the Downey show is...Otto von Ruggins!!!