Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Recalling Bill Buckley's sense of humor

On Bill Buckley's 80th birthday, George Will paid him tribute in a column you'll find here.

A few years ago I made my case for Buckley's inclusion on a list of Greatest Americans.

In this post I simply want to share examples of his great sense of humor.

From a Jeff Jacoby column.:

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

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

Buckley wrote back sasying he knew he had shortcomings and would work hard to do better. As for canceling the subscription: "Dammit, cancel it yourself."
I'll never forget a National Review editorial comment in which Buckley, who once served in the CIA, said: "The attempted assassination of [Indonesian President] Sukarno last week had all the earmarks of a CIA operation. Everyone in the room was killed except Sukarno."

An anon commenter shared this one:
Buckley was being interviewed by Charlie Rose years ago during the spotted owl era. Rose got agitated at Buckley's rather dismissive view of the spotted owl's future on this planet.

Rose blurted out something like: "Can we in good conscience reduce the population of spotted owls significantly? Even to extinction? To extinction???"

To which Buckley calmly replied: "An estimated 500 million species have become extinct...and here we are."
Many of you no doubt have favorite examples of Buckley's humor. I hope you'll share them.

William F. (Bill) Buckley dead at 82. RIP


Anonymous said...

Just read today in the WSJ one of my alltime favorites. "The attempted assassination of Sukarno last week had all the earmarks of a CIA operation. Everyone in the room was killed except Sukarno."
Buckley also had some great zingers about, of all people, Shelley Winters the actress, but I can't recall them now.

JWM said...

Dear Sweetmick,

It's one of my favorites, too.

I often think of your work along with others at the Editors' Blog on the Hoax/frame-up attempt.

You did fine and important work there.

I'm glad you continue to visit JinC and comment from time-to-time.

I hope you see this comment and let me know that.

Bill Buckley was a great force in our public life and a great guy in private life.

You reminded me I should post two other Buckley posts.

Thanks again.



Steve said...

Funny we have more owls than ever in the Northwest. Your Hoot Owls some crossed the country and like it out here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks John. Those Editors Blog Hoax/Frame days were something else.

Shelley Winters,a self styled lefty,on a TV show with Buckley, said,"Growing up as a girl in the Depression, Herbert Hoover hated me, while Franklin Roosevelt gave me a bowl of soup. Replied Buckley, "Mr. Hoover was truly a man of remarkable foresight."