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My Christopher Buckley Experience
First hand knowledge

Posted on 10/11/2008 3:14:03 PM PDT by Urbane_Guerilla

In either the last week of August or the first week of September, 1970, just before I arrived at college, I had the extraordinary experience of going to Sharon, Connecticut, to the home of William Buckley. With several hundred other young conservatives (I was 17), I gathered for a couple days to validate my totally-against-the-crowd perception of life, a perception inspired in large part by William Buckley, one of the giants of the 20th century.

Buckley's inspiration was not a new or different perception of life. To the contrary, his perception was an explication of life, a logical and spiritual appreciation of the mystery of life. A perception on how we all should treat each other, for our mutual benefit.

When I read Buckley and was inspired by him, inspired to open my mind, he was regarded as a freak, a demented lunatic. I remember that all too well. But he rescued the idea of America, and of Western Civilization, almost by himself.

A number of years later, I forget how many or where, his son wrote a public statement. His son, Christopher, wrote he was in the Buckley mansion when that gathering took place. Christopher said he was smoking dope (I think he said hash) and he and his buddy were laughing at us from the window in the mansion.

I was a 17 year old boy, from a single mother family, five kids, on welfare in those days (does anyone remember?) when welfare meant government peanut butter, butter, lard, flour and surprise visits to see if you had a telephone.

I remember those details as distinctly as if they happened yesterday. And I remember William Buckley just as distinctly, because the man was a true human being, a blessed soul, a man who made sense. He was a free man, not a slave to cant, to bombast, to peer pressure, to junk thinking, to bigotry or to government.

A couple years later I met him personally before a Firing Line episode. What a gracious, lovely man. I was nothing, and he treated me with an understanding and affection I will never forget. It was not special or unique. It was simply William Buckley, acting on principle, that every human being counted - - the essence of conservatism.

When I read Christopher's account of laughing at me and my comrades, while Christopher was stoned, and if I remember correctly it was not a statement of regret, I literally could not believe it was true. I was inexperienced enough to believe that fathers have something like definitive influence over sons.

Only years let me realize how little influence fathers can have.

I do not mean to be dramatic. But I remember days when the kids in my family looked for pop bottles to turn in the deposit (it was 2 cents at the time) to get money for food. It was not a big deal. We never felt like victims. It was just what needed to be done. Poverty is a state of mind.

When I went to college I literally had no conception how wealthy people were, how they took so much for granted. And when I went to college, before I met wealthy people, I was inspired by William Buckley, because what he said was so true and so human.

The bane of great wealth is spiritual poverty.

Christopher Buckley is pretty impressed with himself. A bane.


TOPICS: Religion
KEYWORDS: buckley; elitists; wfb

1 posted on 10/11/2008 3:14:04 PM PDT by Urbane_Guerilla
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To: Urbane_Guerilla

I’m out of the loop. What’s he done?


2 posted on 10/11/2008 3:16:57 PM PDT by gusopol3
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To: Urbane_Guerilla

Nice story. Christopher Buckley better stock up on hash on election day, he’s gong to need it.

Does he own National Review now? Can he fire himself?


3 posted on 10/11/2008 3:18:07 PM PDT by word_warrior_bob (You can now see my amazing doggie and new puppy on my homepage!! Come say hello to Jake & Sonny)
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To: gusopol3

he’s supporting obama


4 posted on 10/11/2008 3:18:26 PM PDT by durasell
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To: durasell

what’s his forum?


5 posted on 10/11/2008 3:19:35 PM PDT by gusopol3
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To: gusopol3

He endorsed Obama with the heretical headlline: Sorry Dad, I’m voting for Obama. He’s a loser, maybe he can hook up with Ronald Reagan Jr. and do what comes natural to them.


6 posted on 10/11/2008 3:19:37 PM PDT by word_warrior_bob (You can now see my amazing doggie and new puppy on my homepage!! Come say hello to Jake & Sonny)
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To: gusopol3
I’m out of the loop. What’s he done?
He endorsed Obama.

I'm really surprised at how many conservative intellectuals have thrown the Mccain/Palin ticket under the bus. Win or lose there's going to be some serious bloodletting in the republican establishment after this election.

7 posted on 10/11/2008 3:20:37 PM PDT by ketsu
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To: gusopol3

Author on the talk show circuit...son of a famous conservative.


8 posted on 10/11/2008 3:20:46 PM PDT by durasell
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To: word_warrior_bob

WFB had gone pretty hard against the Iraq war, when the times tried mens’ souls.


9 posted on 10/11/2008 3:21:18 PM PDT by gusopol3
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To: ketsu

The Buckley clan has been rocked lately. Chris has a kid from a fling he had outside marriage. Big Bill cut the grand kid out of his will in a particularly odd way — “He’s dead to me...”


10 posted on 10/11/2008 3:23:31 PM PDT by durasell
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To: word_warrior_bob

loved your writing there. very similar background but not quite as harsh. makes me think of the great Ronald Reagan and the ingrate, mentally impoverished (not retarded) natural children that he had. Such a great man, such piss poor progeny. i think they both took after their mother more than him.

oh well. genetics is not everything after all. great people arise from poor homes and great homes produce poor minds. thanks for the post.


11 posted on 10/11/2008 3:24:31 PM PDT by TurtleStink
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To: durasell

Here’s an article about the child. The last 2 paragraphs about the will don’t make William F. look any better than Chris.


12 posted on 10/11/2008 3:26:46 PM PDT by LibFreeOrDie
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To: durasell
The Buckley clan has been rocked lately. Chris has a kid from a fling he had outside marriage. Big Bill cut the grand kid out of his will in a particularly odd way — “He’s dead to me...”
WFB was a brilliant conservative thinker, but he was a narcissistic bassbowl. His son is no different. But Chrissy B does know Mccain better than most. He worked as a speechwriter for Juan.
13 posted on 10/11/2008 3:27:37 PM PDT by ketsu
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To: LibFreeOrDie

Ooops! Forgot the link...

http://www.nypost.com/seven/10052008/news/nationalnews/no_love_child_of_buckley_132230.htm


14 posted on 10/11/2008 3:27:50 PM PDT by LibFreeOrDie
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To: Urbane_Guerilla

one thing has always puzzled me about WFB: Why did he affect an English accent his entire life? I’m sure this was not his natural way of speaking, since I’ve never heard a native Nutmegger talk that way.


15 posted on 10/11/2008 3:42:10 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: Urbane_Guerilla

Per Rush Limbaugh: The biggest problem of rich people is their kids. Maybe that’s why he has never had kids.


16 posted on 10/11/2008 3:43:11 PM PDT by ChocChipCookie (Homeschool like your kids' lives depend on it.)
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To: LibFreeOrDie

If that article is accurate, then William Buckley is to be condemned. And if the entire Buckley family are wealthy jack asses, then so be it. I suppose all I can claim, is William Buckley’s good inspiration to me, regardless of how he was personally.

He died of emphysema, and is quoted as saying he hoped government would ban tobacco. That is an absurd rejection of his entire life’s thinking. It is a rejection of personal responsibility unworthy of him.

It does not change the point of my post. If anything, it corroborates it. Great wealth is spiritually debilitating.


17 posted on 10/11/2008 3:44:55 PM PDT by Urbane_Guerilla
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To: ketsu

I do not doubt Chrissy’s evaluation of McCain. Who needed to hear from Chrissy to know about that?

The Obama endorsement, though, is pure high school peer pressure wealthy elitist lack of principle.

Chrissy thinks he is groovin’.


18 posted on 10/11/2008 3:54:04 PM PDT by Urbane_Guerilla
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To: Fiji Hill
one thing has always puzzled me about WFB: Why did he affect an English accent his entire life? I’m sure this was not his natural way of speaking, since I’ve never heard a native Nutmegger talk that way.
Because WFB fancied himself to be an aristocrat.
19 posted on 10/11/2008 3:54:44 PM PDT by ketsu
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To: ketsu
Because WFB fancied himself to be an aristocrat. I respectfully disagree. WFB was a rara avis. It was not an English accent he had. It was his accent. He was a performer, no doubt. His accent was part of his performance. Buckley was the Ann Coulter of his time mutatis mutandis (although far more consequential).
20 posted on 10/11/2008 4:04:28 PM PDT by Urbane_Guerilla
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To: Urbane_Guerilla
I respectfully disagree. WFB was a rara avis. It was not an English accent he had. It was his accent. He was a performer, no doubt. His accent was part of his performance. Buckley was the Ann Coulter of his time mutatis mutandis (although far more consequential).
Naaah... Coulter and WFB as close to polar opposites as you can get. Anne is an entertainer, she says a lot of stuff but she really doesn't believe much of it(look into her personal life if you don't believe me). WFB was all about being a public intellectual and the "alpha male" of his particular jet set. That's why he did all the cruise stuff. That's also why he quietly fired anybody at the NR that might outshine him too.
21 posted on 10/11/2008 4:08:52 PM PDT by ketsu
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To: ketsu; Fiji Hill
Because WFB fancied himself to be an aristocrat.

Wrong.

Buckley didn't fancy himself an aristocrat, and there wouldn't be any FRee Republic -- or any other modern conservative institutions -- if it hadn't been for him.

His accent resulted from the fact that he learned English in France, at the age of seven. He was born in Mexico. His first language was Spanish, and his second was French.

22 posted on 10/11/2008 4:19:05 PM PDT by FredZarguna (Don't tase me, Pa!)
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To: FredZarguna
Wrong.

Buckley didn't fancy himself an aristocrat, and there wouldn't be any FRee Republic -- or any other modern conservative institutions -- if it hadn't been for him.

His accent resulted from the fact that he learned English in France, at the age of seven. He was born in Mexico. His first language was Spanish, and his second was French.

Trust me. WFB was perfectly able to speak unaccented American English. He was more interested in sounding upper class and smart.
23 posted on 10/11/2008 4:26:52 PM PDT by ketsu
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To: ketsu
Trust me.

Not in the least.

24 posted on 10/11/2008 4:28:29 PM PDT by FredZarguna (Don't tase me, Pa!)
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To: FredZarguna
Not in the least.
Ooooh... consider me zinged.
25 posted on 10/11/2008 4:33:33 PM PDT by ketsu
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To: FredZarguna

William Buckley was just 2 years younger than his brother James (N.Y. Senator, 1971-77), who spoke with no noticeable accent. Both were born in New York City.


26 posted on 10/11/2008 4:37:24 PM PDT by kenavi (BHO: The only constant is change.)
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To: ketsu

If it helps any, I agree with you. :) Could never stand the phony way he spoke.


27 posted on 10/11/2008 4:39:42 PM PDT by beandog (BO stinks)
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To: Urbane_Guerilla
Thank you for sharing your reminiscences. Although I am 15-20 years younger that you, Buckley was an important figure to me as well. At one point I read everything I could get my hands on regarding the conservative perspective on the 1965-1975 period (which I regard as a cultural and political watershed). I read many volumes of Buckley's collected essays and old copies of NR from the period. The Unmaking of a Mayor is a masterpiece of political satire.

Buckley fils is typical third-generation trust fund trash. One of his stated reasons for supporting 0bama is that he is a Harvard Man, and another is his horror at Palin's gaucherie. So his support is simply a matter of class judgment. His smarm will earn him plaudits among the social circle in which he considers himself a member. But his position of privilege is built on his grandfather's oil money, and oil is dirty.

28 posted on 10/11/2008 4:41:18 PM PDT by oblomov
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To: ketsu
Win or lose there's going to be some serious bloodletting in the republican establishment after this election.

I hope you're correct. But, my money's on the establishment's continuing its leftward slither. Never before have I seen such a gulf between it and its rand-and-file.

29 posted on 10/11/2008 4:45:43 PM PDT by E. Cartman (Will Bush, Bernanke or Paulson let Uncle Sam handle their personal wealth?)
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To: kenavi

So what?


30 posted on 10/11/2008 4:57:36 PM PDT by FredZarguna (Don't tase me, Pa!)
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To: Fiji Hill
I've heard similar *affected* accents in Connecticut among the old money crowd. This article may explain some.
31 posted on 10/11/2008 5:10:56 PM PDT by Daffynition (The most terrifying words in the English langauge are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.)
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To: Urbane_Guerilla; ketsu
Excellent post. I cut my eye teeth with conservatism and WFB and hung on his every word listening to Firing Line, especially when Gore Vidal was a guest. [I must admit I had to jot down some of the words he used to look up later.]


Mr. Buckley at a press conference in 1965. His greatest achievement was making conservatism - not just electoral Republicanism, but conservatism as a system of ideas - respectable in liberal post-World War II America. He mobilized the young enthusiasts who helped nominate Barry Goldwater in 1964, and saw his dreams fulfilled when Reagan and the Bushes captured the Oval Office.

32 posted on 10/11/2008 5:19:20 PM PDT by Daffynition (The most terrifying words in the English langauge are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.)
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To: beandog
If it helps any, I agree with you. :) Could never stand the phony way he spoke.
thanks :)
33 posted on 10/11/2008 6:10:48 PM PDT by ketsu
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To: LibFreeOrDie

What a sad and disturbing article. Obviously the “predeceased” part is some legal lingo, but the sentiment stinks.

And as for Christopher, my goodness, and I suppose he thinks he’s got couth!


34 posted on 10/11/2008 7:16:42 PM PDT by jocon307 (The Silent Majority - now backing McCain/Palin!)
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To: Urbane_Guerilla

Since his father died Christopher is probably not getting invited to the fancy parties by people trying to get close to his dad. By supporting Obama he will now become the darling of the liberal set and get back on the A-list.


35 posted on 10/11/2008 7:27:50 PM PDT by ladyjane
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To: Urbane_Guerilla
I can't believe Chris Buckley's spokesperson could be such an idiot. It is ridiculous to say that the kid can't miss his father because he never had one. It is natural for a young boy to want a relationship with his father, especially when he sees other young boys with their fathers. I have to say that both Buckley's come across as self centered jerks regarding this matter. The son sounds like a real scumbag. They both punish this kid for the actions of Chris Buckley.
36 posted on 10/11/2008 7:29:12 PM PDT by peeps36 ( Al Gore Is A Big Fat Lying Hypocrite. He Pollutes The Air By Opening His Big Mouth)
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To: Urbane_Guerilla

Christopher Buckley is just another hot-tub conservative, like David Brock. And the “Sorry, Dad” column was nauseating - - that simple narcissist Christopher Buckley couldn’t care less what his father would have thought of his betrayal.


37 posted on 10/11/2008 7:42:17 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Urbane_Guerilla

Ah, so you are familiar with the huge block of “USDA Cheese.” A friend of mine who was raised in the Red Hook projects (but now a senior manager at a market research firm) told me how she refused to eat cheese for years.


38 posted on 10/12/2008 12:20:35 PM PDT by Clemenza (PRIVATIZE FANNIE AND FREDDIE! NO MORE BAILOUTS!)
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To: Urbane_Guerilla; ketsu

Buckley spoke with “Locust Valley Lockjaw” which was the common accent of the Anglo and Dutch elite in the northeast (think FDR, Thurston Howell). You really don’t hear it much anymore.


39 posted on 10/12/2008 12:23:52 PM PDT by Clemenza (PRIVATIZE FANNIE AND FREDDIE! NO MORE BAILOUTS!)
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To: Urbane_Guerilla
I remember those details as distinctly as if they happened yesterday. And I remember William Buckley just as distinctly, because the man was a true human being, a blessed soul, a man who made sense. He was a free man, not a slave to cant, to bombast, to peer pressure, to junk thinking, to bigotry or to government.

When I met WFB as an 18 year old, he was kind, gracious, and a bit intoxicated. My kind of guy.

40 posted on 10/12/2008 12:25:17 PM PDT by Clemenza (PRIVATIZE FANNIE AND FREDDIE! NO MORE BAILOUTS!)
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To: oblomov

WFB Sr. was, by most accounts, very much like Daniel Plainview in “There Will Be Blood.” I doubt, however, if WFB Jr. ever helped his father with a “straw.”


41 posted on 10/12/2008 12:28:40 PM PDT by Clemenza (PRIVATIZE FANNIE AND FREDDIE! NO MORE BAILOUTS!)
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To: kenavi
Linguistic expertise

Buckley was well known for his command of language. Buckley came late to formal instruction in the English language, not learning it until he was seven years old (his first language was Spanish, learned in Mexico, and his second French, learned in Paris). As a consequence, he spoke English with an idiosyncratic accent: something between an old-fashioned, upper class Mid-Atlantic accent and British Received Pronunciation. Impressionist David Frye included Buckley in his portfolio in the 1960s and 1970s, mastering Buckley's quirky mannerisms, such as his deliberate speech pattern, his use of pen or pencil as a prop, and his tendency to grin and open his eyes wide when making a self-satisfying verbal point.

42 posted on 10/12/2008 1:11:27 PM PDT by ThreePuttinDude () ......hey 0bambi, I have 2 bracelets......()
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To: Urbane_Guerilla

Very nice story. I’m glad Buckley had that influence over you.

There are a lot of uber-rich kids like him. I believe you completely because I went to school with some of them.

The little girl with the messiest hair and most unkempt school uniform was the child of two huge Hollywood machers, both involved with other partners/spiouses, and she was all but completely neglected. She arrived in a taxi or a limo alone each day.

A bunch of the girls were always whispering about their weekend activities. It sounded at first like fun shopping trips to Saks and Neiman Marcus. Only after I was allowed in their listening circle did I find out the truth. These 12-year-olds of immense wealth and privilege were not shopping. They were shopLIFTING. They already had Daddy’s unlimited credit cards in their little Gucci purses; that would have been too easy. They were trying to rip off the department stores and boutiques for jollies. And the cool thing was that when the stores called their homes, the girls had their maids pretend to be the parents and never got more than slaps on the wrist. Ha ha ha, how very funny.


43 posted on 10/12/2008 1:20:08 PM PDT by Yaelle (One candidate fought America's enemies and one candidate owes all he has to America's enemies)
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To: Urbane_Guerilla

Thank you for your post, it was interesting. I have been a NR subscriber since I was in my early 20s (that’s a long time!) and it greatly inspired me. WFB was always interesting to listen to, an incredibly smart man, but he was a man, and sometimes he was wrong (occasionally he would say something and I would go...WHAT?) Of course that doesn’t negate the effect he had on the American Conservative Movement. I always took that to mean that I really was thinking for myself, if I could occasionally disagree with Buckley, clearly I was NOT a mind numbed robot. :)


44 posted on 10/13/2008 6:13:27 AM PDT by brytlea (Obama--Keep the change!)
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To: Daffynition
Thank you for posting that, it was fascinating!

Buckley's old-fashioned way of speaking wasn't too far from the British-influenced mid-Atlantic accent, which the Hollywood studios taught to actors in the 1930s and '40s. You'll pick up some of the same pronunciations and cadences from recordings of Franklin D. Roosevelt*, as well as Katharine Hepburn—who was, after all, from a wealthy Connecticut family, like Buckley.

This was most interesting because I was thinking about Hepburn when the subject of his accent came up--I always wondered why SHE talked that way. Now I know!

45 posted on 10/13/2008 6:26:54 AM PDT by brytlea (Obama--Keep the change!)
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To: brytlea

You’re very welcome ... both of them were interesting characters!


46 posted on 10/13/2008 3:49:07 PM PDT by Daffynition (The most terrifying words in the English langauge are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.)
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To: Daffynition

Absolutely!


47 posted on 10/13/2008 8:37:11 PM PDT by brytlea (Obama--Keep the change!)
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To: Urbane_Guerilla

I was shocked when I read that article of his in National Review. I believe it was one of his last articles before he died. If I remember right, he said that those that don’t protest tobacco aren’t much better than the German manufacturers of Zyklon B, which is a total leap in logic. He blamed his wife’s death on her sixty-plus year smoking habit, although she didn’t die of a smoking related illness. His grief appeared to have robbed him of his logic at the end of his life. Also, if he really wrote that in his will, than he has fallen even further in my book.


48 posted on 10/15/2008 2:51:31 PM PDT by conservativebuckeye
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