Your RDA of Irony

Believe It or Not: A Tribute to William Buckley

Now we will never see William F. Buckley on “Celebrity Jeopardy”. We may never again hear so droll and engaging a conservative. William Kristol thinks that he is clever, but Buckley really was.

As we know from the movies, the best villains can be quite charming. I can personally attest to Mr. Buckley’s graciousness. Long ago, I actually had conservative tendencies, at least the perspective of a Cold-Warrior. After seeing “Reds”, Warren Beatty’s romantic escapade that should have been titled “Where the Bolshies Are“, I was inspired to write a satire. I submitted my parody to the National Review; it did seem the appropriate venue for “Reds”-baiting. Six weeks later, I received a letter from the magazine expressing the publisher’s delight with my “blissful humor” and pleasure in publishing my work. That was in 1981, and it was my first publication in a national periodical.

In the intervening decades, although I have had some success as a writer, no one else has ever described my humor as “blissful”; but no one else was William F. Buckley.

Of course, I still have his letter. If that is not a keepsake, what is?

He will be missed.

  1. Mike Field says:

    I love the fact that you were first published in The National Review! What a great Trivia question for the future.

    When Buckley debated Reagan on national television about the return of the Panama Canal, I found enormous pleasure in hearing Buckley argue ‘my side.’ Plus he was an avid sailer, whose article about the boats in his life caused me to go out and buy mine. He will be missed.

  2. David says:

    Were it not for Buckley, Vidal might never have had those glorious discussions. Seen on network tv, no less. I love to remember that Buckley supported Nixon initially but called for him to leave long before he finally did. Additionally, Buckley has condemmed Bush and advised resignation. Me, I’ll miss the man.

    Hang on to that letter Eugene.

  3. Mike:

    I seem to be more popular with Right Wing/Mammon worshipping editors than with my fellow liberals. My satires and feature stories have been printed in The National Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and The left wing exception in my bibliography is Salon–where I may have been the most conservative contributor: the one without body piercings.

    So, what kept me from becoming the Josef Goebbels of Mirth? In the same National Review issue in which my satire appeared, there was ab article defending the Death Squads of Latin America. That made me distinctly uncomfortable: I guess that I wasn’t as conservative as I thought.


  4. SwanShadow says:

    Finerman in the National Review? Priceless. Destroy from within!

    I’d have supposed that you and I would be the last two people on the planet anyone would suspect would be nice to Bill Buckley upon his passing… but I did it too.

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