Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley, R.I.P.

My father was a lawyer who enjoyed coffee, smoking, and watching televised debates while screaming at the T.V. He was a smart guy, and did things like calling the White House to comment on the President's recent speeches, and writing letters to many national figures who had recently appeared on a television program he was screaming at. My earliest memories include sitting next to him watching William F. Buckley's program "Firing Line," as he guzzled coffee and I stared at the guys on T.V., trying to figure out the big words they were using, especially the guy with the clipboard. The thing was, the guy with the clipboard, William F. Buckley, seemed to be having a good time arguing with people, seemed to be friendly with the people he disagreed with so strongly, and seemed to be incredibly confident that he was right. I remember a conversation with a radio talk show host between my Dad and a tired radio hack, when my Dad brought up a point, giving credit to Mr. Buckley for it, and the host called my Dad a snob and hung up on him without listening to the point. That's when I started reading Mr. Buckley's work, a staggering number of books, including wonderful books on sailing, published journals of his massive creative output, and my favorite, a book simply titled "Nearer, my God." I heard about his death today on ABC radio, and in memory of Mr. Buckley on the day of his death, they played the audio of a debate in which Gore Vidal called him a "crypto-nazi." Some things never change.

May he rest in peace...after my Dad talks to him for a while over coffee.


James said...

I have the exact same memories as a child- a dad watching Buckley, except our household had no hint of passion at the screen or siding with either (it took me 'till I was in my 20's to realize they were Republican).

A good man and a good Catholic, which I assume from your Franciscan retreat help that you are. I suppose you can tell the leaning of the media that they take his only known cursing fit and play it on the day of his death.

Brien said...

It's 4:45am right now and I stumbled across your blog purely by accident. Kathleen Kennedy popped into my head around 3am and I had to check her wiki to see where the heck she came from... one thing led to another and suddenly I'm finding out what Tom Wilson is up to.

Imagine my surprise to find that you are more than a pleasant iconic splat from the 80s. Here's an artistic, funny - and after reading your Buckley blog - introspective and well written guy!

It's a pleasure to meet you... Thanks for making my insomnia bearable!

David R. Darrow said...

Fantastic tribute to both your father and Mr. Buckley.

I hope my sister, brother-in-law and my father all get to chat with the two of them soon.