Eugene David
...The One-Minute Pundit

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tonight while rummaging through old posts wondering if Bill Buckley's favorite tune really was "Roll Over, Beethoven" (it was) we couldn't help shedding a nostalgic tear for his son, er, Algernon, er, Horatio, er, Christopher! That's it! For old time's sake we plugged into TINA'S site to read one of the most famous essays known to man -- and wouldn't you know...all the comments were gone! WwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwELL! (as Jack Benny would say), this offering us a brilliant opportunity we decided to make up for 32 months of missing celebrations and bitterness with words of our own:

This celebrated lucubration must be the most foolish thing from a professional writer since -- we were about to say since Ezra Pound sold Hitler and Mussolini on the radio, but the man was off his nut then, and unfortunately Christopher seems to have been sane, so we'll say since Oliver Goldsmith apologized for beating Evans the bookseller, which happily goes back much further, and we remember it for words that richly apply here, from the immortal Dr. Johnson: "It was a foolish thing well done." This foolish thing was very well done, exceedingly well done, epochally well done. Here we have a first in all of literature: a career writing a suicide note. Before this Christopher happily chugged along on his name and the connections it opened up for satiric novels people could easily talk themselves into believing were funny, if only because his father demonstrated such a wit with his love of Chuck Berry; and he wrote many, many, many arch words about travel and expensive Champagnes for the late Malcolm Forbes and his brilliant son that happily said same friends could transmute into insight. No doubt in writing this Chris flattered himself highly, for here was a writer almost as good as he! "I’ve read Obama’s books, and they are first-rate. He is that rara avis, the politician who writes his own books. Imagine." Yes, imagine Chris -- his books were as literate, as witty, as refined as -- well, yours! And a man as literate, as witty, as refined as you could go places, forgetting He already traveled Heaven. With "a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect...Obama has in him...the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for." Here was a celebrated satiric writer sprinkling the God with fairy dust, or better still, redundantly anointing Him with holy water -- a parody in itself.

Alas, from the moment of that botched oath of office the fairy dust turned to ashes, the holy water to hydrochloric acid. Christopher could have survived this embarrassment, but being a great writer he had to embarrass himself with a flourish -- not merely by promising great things of a man for the same reasons as would the Nobel committee, and from the same self-regarding reference point, and with words as fatuous as any Nobel proclamation; but more to the point, by burning bridges with his friends, applying so much gasoline to the fire he needed six alarms. And he is still recovering; since then we have been spared more brilliant columns; his friendship with Tina has gone the way of
Talk magazine; his brilliant satiric novels come out more quietly, if at all. To put it bluntly, the rara avis has found a statue of Christopher Buckley.

Perhaps his Hero can yet redeem Himself, and thus redeem Chris, although the task would seem even more exponentially expensive with each passing day. Regardless we hope in time Chris can find it in himself to regale book reviewers again with his abundant satire, but as with heroes like Tiger Woods and Anthony Weiner, we hope the moment does not come too soon.

We have not decided whether to post this; possibly it wouldn't post for technical reasons, or it might simply be too long. But we are contemplating it.

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