Re: Chris Buckley on His Famous Parents

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Apr 26, 2009 4:16 PM
One conservative active in politics and policy in DC read my post on Buckley and sent along the following:

Thanks for writing about the Christopher Buckley attack on his parents.  My only concern is that you went too easy on CB.  I read the whole excerpt, and the thing could not have been more vicious than if it was written by Saul Alinsky or Rahm Emanuel - calculated to do the maximum damage to his parents and to the conservative beliefs his father advocated for, and to flatter and appeal to liberals.  Among other things, Christopher Buckley apparently now writes for an audience exclusively composed of NYT readers.

Note also how self-flattering the portrait is. Oh, he tried to be nice to his parents, but they made it so hard!

I don't see how a savvy conservative can read the excerpt and arrive at a conclusion other than: Christopher Buckley has gone over to the other side.  Conservatives (and Republicans) should heed this warning: Christopher Buckley is a liberal.  Don't be fooled by the occasional protestations of "fiscal conservatism" we can expect to hear from him - plenty of those in DC advocate regularly for higher taxes and bigger, more intrusive government.

I'd also like to suggest to aspiring journalists looking for a break: given the pitch-perfect assault in the excerpt, it wouldn't surprise me if Christopher Buckley did embellish the truth, in order to support his narrative.

For example, is his account of the Christimas "ruined" by William F. Buckley accurate in the details?  On the three week hospital absence, did WFB really wait three weeks to come back, or does that include the week-long travel time?  Was the matter in Africa life-or-death?  How aware was he of the severity of CB's condition?  What *was* the severity of CB's condition?

A journalist who ferreted out the truth here would not only perform a genuine service to liberals and conservatives, but also make a name for him or herself.

Of course, Christopher Buckley can be expected to complain that he and his parents should be left alone in their grief and loss.  Notwithstanding that he's just written *a book* slandering them.

Christopher Buckley can also be expected to defend himself by saying that you can't judge the whole book from the excerpt.  Please.  He knew what was going into that excerpt, not to mention his decision to put it in the book at all.

William F. Buckley touched many lives during his run.  Many of us consider ourselves his surrogate children.  Perhaps Christopher Buckley has complex psychological issues about these "surrogate siblings" that have led him to issue this assault on his father's character.  Who knows.  The fact is, WFB needs us to speak up for him, since he cannot.

So what do you say?  Did I go too easy on him???