Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008)

No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, you must acknowledge that William F. Buckley was perhaps America’s dominant public intellectual of the last 50 years.

He founded National Review in 1955, and became an architect of modern conservativism.

Mr. Buckley died today of emphysema. He had smoked cigarettes as a young man and cigars as an older man.

When I was a youngster, I would occasionally watch “Firing Line Debates” on TV. I had no idea what anybody was talking about, but the sophisticated use of language and the engagement with big ideas intrigued me.

Buckley late in life shocked some conservatives by strongly advocating the legalization of drugs. Follow this link to watch a half-hour TV program from 1996 in which Buckley makes his case. (“... the war against drugs is futile.”)


The Troll said...

Good short eulogy. He actually smoked pot for quite a while too.

Matt Norwood said...

Interesting headline at Reuters. Perhaps UBM could look into the history of Giant Republican stories in the American press as a companion piece to the Giant Negro phenomenon...

Matt Norwood said...

Also, can I just say that John McCain sounds like Tarzan most of the time?

"Great man, great leader. Great conservative ahead of his time, articulate and entertaining," said U.S. Sen. John McCain, the probable 2008 Republican presidential candidate.

He reminds me of that SNL skit about a soap opera starring Tarzan, Frankenstein and Tonto, called "As World Turn".

MCain 2008: McCain Good, Fire BAD!

Bay Radical said...

Good bye to another pomous, right-wing asshole! He advocated that people with HIV have their infection status tattooed on their asses! Here he is threatening to kick Gore Vidal's ass:

Render said...

I shall endeavour to be as insulting as possible next time some pompous left-wing asshole bites the dust.


New Black Woman said...

Does anyone know if he made any recent comments on the presidential candidates? Did he like anyone?

Undercover Black Man said...

Troll: Thanks for the comment. Hang out here more if you want to develop a deeper appreciation of black culture... and a more optimistic eye toward the future.

J said...

We bit of a racist that one.

DeAngelo Starnes said...

bay radical, I saw that clip with Gore Vidal before. Gore was kicking Buckley's ass in a debate at the time which is why Buckley got frustrated. Kudos to Vidal.

Fuck Buckley, except he gets P's for smoking some weed.

DeAngelo Starnes said...

I actually liked Buckley in a perverse sort of way. He was very entertaining and his prose could be mesmerizing. And then the eyes. That was the icing on the cake.

I'll miss him.

BTW, Vidal ran intellectual circles around him. That clip that bay radical shared reminded me of Ali and Frazier when they were analyzing the '72 fight. Ali called Joe "ignorant" which caused Joe to stand over Ali in the studio.

"Sit down, Joe!" before the wrestling match.

Can someone pull that clip up from YouTube?

elle said...

I shall be thrice an asshole to you render, when you die lonely of throat cancer from years of smoking the crap fed to you by conservative "ideology" than when that fat fucka Buckley died.

Bay Radical said...

He was very entertaining and his prose could be mesmerizing. And then the eyes.

I believe Buckley was part lizard which explains his fake-ass Mid-Atlantic accent and hypnotizing stare. Did you ever see his debate with Chomsky? He basically tries to trump Chomsky's superior knowledge of the topics at hand by refusing to allow Chompers a word in edgewise:

Bay Radical said...

Also, I would LOVE to see the footage of James Baldwin on Firing Line. I can't find it anywhere online though.

Render said...

It should also be noted, for the benefit of the less astute readers, that Buckley was no fan of George W Bush's, was against the Iraq phase of the current world war, and was very much in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

Far be it for me to upset your grave dancing plans.


Elle: The men in my family tend to live until their 90's. You've made a date with me for 2054, try not to stand me up.


elle said...

I got a grandma that lived to be 100 and a grandpa that lived to be 97,render I will take you up on your offer.