There’s always something to howl about

William F. Buckley — Requiescat in pacem

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,–
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

–Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ulysses

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    9 Comments so far

    1. Sean Purcell February 28th, 2008 1:15 am

      A giant among men. For all his brilliance in the conservative arena though, I most fondly remember him for his poetic precision with words. His vocabulary was beyond compare. His choice of words – his knowledge of the mot juste each and every time, conveyed a razor like meaning that hit every nuance. To hear him speak (and even to read his prose) was no less dazzling than a sax in the hands of a master.

      What deafening silence now…

    2. Greg Swann February 28th, 2008 10:54 am

      Ann Coulter this morning:

      Some of Buckley’s best lines were uttered in court during a lengthy libel trial in the ’80s against National Review brought by the Liberty Lobby, which was then countersued by National Review. (The Liberty Lobby lost and NR won.)

      Irritated by attorney Mark Lane’s questions, Buckley asked the judge: “Your Honor, when he asks a ludicrous question, how am I supposed to behave?”

      In response to another of Lane’s questions, Buckley said: “I decline to answer that question; it’s too stupid.”

      When asked if he had “referred to Jesse Jackson as an ignoramus,” Buckley said, “If I didn’t, I should have.”

    3. Teri L February 28th, 2008 12:12 pm

      I’m with Sean-
      I loved to hear him, but I enjoyed watching him as well- his body language, you know? He’d get settled, lean back, focus those dancing eyes on someone… Then with no hesitation out would come the most remarkable language. And you could see that he was born to do that and he passionately loved it. Makes me smile just remembering.
      We are very lucky to have been witnesses.

    4. Craig Klein February 28th, 2008 2:08 pm

      A truly unique human being.

      Can you buy a DVD of Firing Line episodes? I’d rather watch Bill pontificating about Watergate than listen to the talking heads prattle on about the 2008 elections!

    5. Eric Blackwell February 28th, 2008 4:34 pm

      He made the art of debate and communication effortless. Great people do that at their craft — Tiger’s swing, Lance Armstrong’s courage and biking skill, Michael Jordan’s jumpshot…so much effort and talent had gone in that the actual feat seemed effortless…such was the reasoning and communication skill of Mr. Buckley.

    6. Jay February 28th, 2008 5:36 pm

      He will be sorely missed by many of us….His impact on my thinking and my love of words was profound. I remember teaching 7th & 8th grade English at a christian school. The weekly word list was populated by words such as mellifluous, vituperative, pulchritude, aggrandize, perspicacious, etc. The kids learned the words just fine and it was rewarding to hear them employ their new oral weapons occasionally amongst each other or in their writings.

      I’m looking forward to reading the lengthy and I’m sure heartwarming monologue by Rush on Mr. Buckley: When I heard the news I literally had to pause….My intake of his writings started in high school and became more intense in my early 20s, and forever his his impact will rest upon me….He will forever be the master of eloquence from my perspective.

      This causes me to realize I need to on track with my children’s vocabularies. It’s so much easier to start young.


    7. Dan Sullivan - Denver Real Estate February 28th, 2008 10:31 pm

      For those of us who missed his magic with words, who reminds you of him today?

    8. Greg Swann February 28th, 2008 11:51 pm

      > For those of us who missed his magic with words, who reminds you of him today?

      Bob Tyrell at The American Spectator is fun, but there’s no one like WFB. Mark Steyn is great read, but it’s still not the same.

      My personal favorite would be Richard Mitchell, The Underground Grammarian, who died a few years ago. The internet brought us together, and we were able to trade emails before he passed away. A high point in my life.

      He was an amazing writer. His book The Gift of Fire is one of the great achievements of the twentieth century. I’ll post something of his tonight.

    9. Jay February 29th, 2008 5:55 am

      Sorry to bring up you know who again (Rush), but I believe his focus will be William F. Buckley and some of his interviews with him today for what it’s worth.