James Forsyth

Remembering Buckley

Remembering Buckley
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David Brooks, one of the finest American writers of his generation, has a lovely column paying tribute to Bill Buckley today. The whole thing is well worth reading but the start is particularly delicious.

When I was in college, William F. Buckley Jr. wrote a book called “Overdrive” in which he described his glamorous lifestyle. Since I was young and a smart-aleck, I wrote a parody of it for the school paper.

“Buckley spent most of his infancy working on his memoirs,” I wrote in my faux-biography. “By the time he had learned to talk, he had finished three volumes: ‘The World Before Buckley,’ which traced the history of the world prior to his conception; ‘The Seeds of Utopia,’ which outlined his effect on world events during the nine months of his gestation; and ‘The Glorious Dawn,’ which described the profound ramifications of his birth on the social order.”

The piece went on in this way. I noted that his ability to turn water into wine added to his popularity at prep school. I described his college memoirs: “God and Me at Yale,” “God and Me at Home” and “God at Me at the Movies.” I recounted that after college he had founded two magazines, one called The National Buckley and the other called The Buckley Review, which merged to form The Buckley Buckley. 

I wrote that his hobbies included extended bouts of name-dropping and going into rooms to make everyone else feel inferior.

Buckley came to the University of Chicago, delivered a lecture and said: “David Brooks, if you’re in the audience, I’d like to offer you a job.”

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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