Dery on Vidal vs. Buckley


25 Responses to “Dery on Vidal vs. Buckley”

  1. ChicagoD says:

    Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be to get your ass kicked by Bill Buckley? Oh. My. God. I’d have to lie about who dealt out the beatdown.

  2. creesto says:

    I think Buckley must be the pomo father of Slimy Snark

  3. GeorgeMokray says:

    The moment Buckley lost me was when he had Jack Kerouac on “Firing Line” and treated him with utter contempt.  Kerouac was drunk but he wasn’t offensive.  Buckley’s sneering and snickering treatment of him was.  At that point, I realized what a piece of shit Buckley actually was.  

  4. SedanChair says:

    Rightists fight for the people on top to stay on top. They are either bullies, clueless to their own privilege or both. It’s easy to get popular with them, like Buckley did; just get in touch with your inner fascist.

    • ChicagoD says:

      I am not sure that Buckley ever lost touch with his inner fascist. He seems to have had a very very firm handle on that. His dentist, on the other hand . . .

  5. Gerald Mander says:

    Buckley has been called “the finest mind of the 14th Century.” A terrific insight into him is his memoir Overdrive, which inadvertently details exactly how out of touch he was. The guy was a modern Louis XIV. He once had his limo lengthened by a foot to give people in back more legroom. He detailed the cost and engineering problems, and never gave a thought to the indulgence it displayed.

    I flash on Overdrive whenever Romney shoves his gold foot into his mouth, though Romney is a lot less entertaining about his entitlement than Buckley was.

  6. Pickleschlitz says:

    Just based on this clip, I haven’t seen the rest, it looks to me like Vidal chose to descend to ad hominem name calling and Buckley called him on it. Buckley’s point could have easily answered by simply saying, “They wouldn’t be shooting at Americans if Americans weren’t in their country carrying guns.” Instead, Vidal took the lowest of low roads.

    This exchange wouldn’t have passed muster in my old high school debate club.

    • wysinwyg says:

      Did you miss the part where Buckley implied the Vietnam War protesters were Nazis?  That was the immediate reason for the ad hom (it was in response to Buckley’s ad hom).

  7. Reg Robson says:

    Despite all the name calling in the above comments I miss the days when it could be said that Conservative pundits had brains (reptilian though they may be). Give be Buckley over Limbaugh any day. I’d rather spar with an intelligent fascist, than a bigoted ignoramus.

    • Thad Boyd says:

      Rush is worse than stupid — he’s smart and PRETENDS to be stupid.

      I pity people like Victoria Jackson.  I do not pity people like Gretchen Carlson.

  8. Teller says:

    While Buckley and Chomsky were far apart philosophically, together they illustrate how removed they are from the spirit and substance of political debate today.

  9. millie fink says:

    Great essay, thanks for the link.

    I always thought that Vidal demonstrated what Buckley failed to realize–a brilliant combination of eloquence and insight consists of more than mere five-dollar words.

  10. Thad Boyd says:

    …I probably shouldn’t be so surprised that a debate between two heavyweight intellectuals is pretty much identical to that sketch with Louis CK and Greg Giraldo.

  11. theclam says:

    Here is a great one with Woody Allen, they both seem to be on. There is also a great one out there of Buckley with Christopher Hitchens, where he is much older and his way of thinking had since been proved wrong. He seems slightly pathetic at that point.

    • ChicagoD says:

      The megalomania of the aging despot got a laugh. Either we’ve all gotten much stupider, or that was a terrible laugh track. Actually, I kind of suspect both.

  12. Jelperman says:

    Buckley wasn’t going to punch anyone. Watch the video: Did Vidal look worried? His shit-eating grin says No.

  13. IRMO says:

    After reading this, I have to wonder why either of them should be considered great minds:

    Well educated trolls, the both of them. 

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