Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bill Buckley's great sense of humor

Readers Note: The following post first appeared in November, 2005. I hope you enjoy it.


When I paid tribute to William F. Buckley's many contributions to America, I didn't mention his great sense of humor, but it's surely another wonderful Buckley contribution.

Four examples of his humor follow: two from memory, and two from a Jeff Jacoby column.

Buckley once said that given a choice between being governed by the Harvard faculty or a Congress composed of the first 500 people listed in the Boston phone directory, he'd opt for the phone directory.

He received a letter from an irate National Review reader telling him in great detail what a miserable editor he was. The letter ended with "cancel my subscription."

Buckley wrote back that he certainly had shortcomings and would try to do better. But as for canceling the subscription, he told the reader, "Dammit, cancel it yourself."

When asked why Robert Kennedy was refusing to appear on his Firing Line interview program, Buckley dryly countered with "Why does baloney resist the meat grinder?"

A National Review editorial comment began: "The attempted assassination of Sukarno last week had all the earmarks of a CIA operation. Everyone in the room was killed except Sukarno."

Bill Buckley, a great American and a very funny guy.


Anonymous said...

John - I love Bil Buckley and he is hysterically funny.

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed, this is an American legend, this man. I have pictures (xeroxed) of him at various stages of his life all over the house. What use of language, what wit, what belly laughs. He continues to enjoy an astonishing life and I hope he lives to be upwards of 100.

TombZ said...

In my job at the time (circa 1980) as Sales Rep, I had the privilege of delivering a new Dictaphone recorder to him. What a gentleman.

He was in person as he comes through in print.

And his library/office was in a delightful state of apparent disorganization and clutter, although I am no one to criticize his housekeeping. (And indeed I am not; I think I still have his signed receipt.)

It's been said, 'a clean desk is a sign of a sick mind.' :)

Mr. Buckley's health has been quite apparent throughout his career.