Thursday, February 09, 2012


I have never been a big fan of William F Buckley. I liked some of his ideas, some others struck me as looney or worse. Oddly reptilian in presentation, but a very smart cookie and sometimes very funny. When he bravely debated much-sainted Black (and gay!.....oooooh) writer James Baldwin at the Oxford Union, I believe, he opened his remarks by noting in his deep baritone and distracted drawl that he had obviously been "invited here to play Simon LeGree to Mr. Baldwin's Passion Play."*

Anyhow, he was interviewing Kenneth Minogue --a set of YouTube videos-- and when discussing the ideology of feminism, told how 1970's Irish firebrand Bernadette Devlin was on his show and nervously fumbling with her cigarette. (That alone tells you how long ago this was). He reached over and lit it for her and she mumbled a thank you. Afterwards she told him that it was the most outrageous example of male aggression she had ever seen.

While I'm at it, some of Buckley's wit:

Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.

Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.

Some of my instincts are reprehensible.

I get satisfaction of three kinds. One is creating something, one is being paid for it and one is the feeling that I haven't just been sitting on my ass all afternoon.
I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would affront your intelligence.
I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.

 *May have been his debate with Black journalist Louis Lomax...was a long time ago. But I think the quote is accurate and works for either opponent.

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