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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 28, 2009 10:00pm-10:30pm EDT

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is plumbing the cia does get blamed. [laughter] but i think in a sense she was right, nick. sometimes words talos, the vocabulary doesn't reach. and you could call this a book of journalism but it's better than that. there is too much serious artistry and maturity and object of pity and i keep coming back to that amazing object to the d of an american writer, a young american rider was able to achieve in the portrait of this incredibly complex society. so, i do have to warn you of one thing. i think that you may be in physical danger not from the pakistani services of intelligence agency or anyone else, but from your peers who didn't go to pakistan or anywhere else, who stayed home on campus and are trying to write the great american novel. it's not an awful, it's non-fiction but it's a great piece of writing and nicholas
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schmidle, the book is "to live or to perish forever," and as a fellow writer im just plain jealous. congratulations. >> guest: thanks, ralph. ..  >> let me begin at the
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beginning. i am not bill buckley or writing for him. i europe around in new york close to rochester a midsize upstate city with my parents and my older brother bob. in the fall of 1969 that i was a freshman in the public high-school i did not know anybody who went to a private one. my brother was a junior at yale. every weekend since he had gone away to college i wrote him on a small black middle typewriter that belonged two mom, a letter rehearsing the events of the week. basketball games, school plays, a little tryouts and tidy disasters bullets of
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adolescence and dramatize. one week the news barged in the home theater. with the vietnam war called for a nationwide moratorium on october 15. the moratorium look to be on the big campuses with boycotting campuses and glasses were planned. some kids and my high school decided to join him. i thought they were wrong. i also thought there was something phony about the exercise simultaneously copycat. but they were tagging along with a national movement mimicking elders. i decided to put counter poachers -- posters anti-protests protest on the school wall i enlarged -- imagine myself a latter-day martin luther
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hanging up orthodoxy for all to see. i generated by posters by typing them out over and over on the black typewriter using carbon paper to produce four copies at a time. i had only 12 species, not withers 95 procter one night's work i gave my posters to the world on the 15th. all of my efforts on the more organized protest by helped to deflate that went in my weekends letter to my brother it made for a longer storey than usual and the next letter home he said he had enjoyed it but my father said why don't you send it to "national review"? no one in my family knew anything about journalism. we knew william f. buckley, jr. from television and we had been subscribing to his magazines for happier maybe that is enough. i took it dear bob off of the
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beginning of my letter added a conclusion and assented away. months past without a word from "national review" play assumed they have not like to the submission and have thrown away and this was standard procedure in journalism. then after the new year i got a letter from the assistant managing editor. dear mr. mr. brookhiser please forgive our slowness in dealing with your manuscript is somehow got buried on my desk. this i would learn is actually standard procedure in journalism. [laughter] ms. buckley bills older sister, we have read it and are eager to publish it. he added, we do receive manuscripts from people your age but i am sure this will be the first we have never published. anyone who submit something for the approval of the world expects in some corner of his mind that he will be approved.
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but when approval came it was startling. the world of public events which included the media that reported was out there. now someone from out there had signaled. more surprises followed. my article appeared in the issue dated february 24, 1970, one day after my 15th birthday and it was the cover story. moratorium the day at a high school written by a student. the next surprise a few weeks later was a check for $180. [laughter] a question of money had given me some anxiety. it must cost something to print magazine did distribute them perhaps i would ask be asked to contribute to help defray expenses the idea that i may be paid in addition to being published was icing on the cake. about the time the check arrived at began getting
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letters from readers. there were 20 and all which be a telling response of the day of the male and texting but in 1969 when each communication had to be a sealed and stamped and a drop in a mailbox it seemed to impress the baltimore to someone who would never got in a letter from any when he did not know. i know what the assistant managing editor ms. and mr. buckley published tipper gore was a dog walking on the hind legs. i was also a dog bites man. there were plenty of young people even in the late '60s but they were not the in people who were not liberal who you saw on television or newspapers. the archetypal young people whether admired or feared were idealistic liberals harry radicals or copulating druggies. he rose or rebels or freaks.
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here says the editors of "national review" with a kid, high school freshmen who speaks for the unseen. there was one more reaction the most important of all. a blue three by five card with "national review" name and address in bold with the italicized identifier william f. buckley, jr. editor. below that in red ink a message, as something like richard, nice going. congratulations. or rec, a very nice. thanks. in time i would learn that every contributor to every issue of "national review" got such a card from william f. buckley, jr. which did not diminish its value but rather the reverse. the cards were a courtesy in a proficient that often skipped courtesy. over the years i sent many such cards a fraction of all the ones i was sent.
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since there undated i now cannot tell which one came first. no matter, it was a beam of attention from the top. then i go on a little bit to give the back story and taking us up 31970 and the introduction in. at 44 bills age when he accepted my article he was a conscious of passage of time in the early sixties a younger colleagues sat in on one of the interviews. bill was in fine form like a jet with a switchblade. the reporter save his toughest question for walking out the door and bill smartly will not to decide. when the door closed he turned to rickenbacher and grand and said i can keep this shit up until i am 40. he captive of much longer.
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[laughter] at of the blue here k me kid pulling the same stunt people in college only he was doing it in high school. bill may have thought even then maybe i found another me? the rest of the book and in the next 40 years of my life have three movements. which are already there at that opening that i read it to you. the first of these movements is a portrait, a portrait of a remarkable and controversial man. one of the reasons for doing this book is that we're losing bill a bit.
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tv show went off the air in 1999 and give people who started to become media conscious after that moment no longer know who he is. my wife and i go out to dinner a lot so we hobnob with waiters and waitresses who are all kids and they don't know in the way they certainly would have known in 1990, 1980, 1975, of course, there would have known who bill buckley was even if they did not read "the national review" or see firing line there would be imitating him, etc., etc. so as happens to every figure of the media, part of him has now passed. he will endure and he will remain but there needs to be an active recovery. that was one of the motives that compels me to write this book. among the many things they
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tried -- i tried to recover was is a fact as a public figure. he was stylish, funny, both conservatives and remote liberals now remembered in universally acknowledge that. it was all-important to us too have a conservative stylish and funny but the liberals, it please them and they were entertained by the spectacle and not pretend so much buy the style of humor. but we also have to remember that bill was very aggressive and especially the further back you look. view click on some of the youtube segments, the bill could be a killer. if he thought you were arguing from authority conferred only by passion or if you were threatening the country or the wellbeing or its piece, he
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would cut you a new-line. and he did it over and over a dam. my favor instance of combining both the tell the story and the book it is also an his cost him is a book to cancel your own goddamn subscription and was a run in macarthur's schlesinger, jr.. there are doing by mail and in one of slauson jurors letters he said, he reviewed days referred to a national review or "national enquirer" or were w. collier magazine. bill let him have it. he said how would you like it if i wrote dear arthur or barber or whatever you call yourself. if you ever need to pull of a pulitzer prize-winning story that is the way to do a. you are five and this is what is like and cut it out.
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to state brilliant little arabesque in one sentence another thing to recall is his passion for tala. and he looked for everywhere literally everywhere he would go to the big names even offered $5,000 per year to be a columnist for "national review" when it started out and we all said and less you get much richer or i get much poor then i cannot take you up on this offer. but he also grabbed it when he sought it. he hired gary wells out of the jesuit seminary. he have left the seminary and had never written any 14 anyone. bill was the first one to write him back and that was the beginning of his career.
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the hired at john brunner as a harvard dropout and as an him to cuba to do a story on one of castro's early prisoners, john was 19 years old. he also grabbed to me at the age of 14. the second movement is the time and the place. 40 years is a long time. it goes from the vietnam war to the surge in iraq. we missed obama's election. that is not in their. but all of that history, 9/11, all of communism is there. one of the lessons for conservatives at this moment were pretty blunt because things were pretty grim and they really are grim. but you have to remember it has been worse.
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the mid to late seventies or awful. they were just awful. there was watergate, the fall of vietnam, stagflation, an energy crisis, there was gerald ford good but bumbling intentions and jimmy carter humaneness and they were patrolling africa, africa. soviets were occupying afghanistan, it is an awful time. and it ended with ronald reagan. i am not saying every disaster and with ronald reagan the. [laughter] they don't. sometimes they keep getting worse and worse but sometimes it is important for conservatives to remember we have been through a very, very bad patches be four. i hope that is another thing that this book can remind people of. and the third movement of the
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book is a portrait of a relationship in relationship between an older man and a younger man. i was a boy when it started. i was the youth if that word even existed anymore but i would have been called a youth than a younger man. and in a lot of ways i think it was love at first sight on both of our parts but as often happens with low that first sight, mistakes are made. and as i realized as i was reading this book that bill was looking for an error and i was looking for an idle. and neither of those qwest can ever really work and it will inevitably produce frustration and misunderstanding. and in our case some bumps
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along the road of romance. one year after i went to work for "national review", 1978, bill took me to lunch and said he will succeed me when i step down at age 65 in 1990. and you will own the magazine, you will be the second editor and here is the plan and the time table how we will bring this about. i was flabbergasted. i was thrilled but i was also stunned. so the plan seems to be go according to two plants and then nine years later 1987 i come back to my desk one day there is a letter addressed to me confidential bill was out of town. a key part of his memo is certain situations and i
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opened a letter and the city will not succeed me. and i quoted in the book but you have no executive ability. i have not documented this but it is the case. and it is time to make new plans. that was that. so what age 32 i went from being very precocious to being retarded in the sense that i now had to get another career. at the age of 302. there were many other bumps and twists along the way and it took time and effort on both of our parts to establish a relationship. robert frost said we love the things we love for what they are but to do that you have to know what they are. that could take a lot of work to figure out.
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when you work with someone periodically, when you see them regularly, there is a lot that you tend not to say. you were just part of that person's life and you are part of their specs who and a routine is established. but i did it to say once something like a final judgment of what he meant to me. this is after each step down as editor and henry kissinger offered to give him a big dinner party at kissinger's apartment. bill picked the guest list and said invite all of my younger colleagues and friends. terry was there i was the second oldest person on the guest list so it was a young crowd. after kissinger spoke and after bill said a few
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words, then there was a time for a toast. i gave a toast. this was something i actually had to modify a little bit in the book because i quoted a lot from aplomb by yates and my editors of the few quote so much in this point* you have to pay for permission so well have to do a lot of paraphrasing. [laughter] buy here is what i say on that that night, it is one of yates last poems and it is called a beautiful lofty things. the things are people who were important to him in his life. one of them is a drunk. supporting himself between the tables speaking to a drunk and audience high nonsensical words. one of them is his lover, the
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house station awaiting a train, palace of the net in the straight back and eric and head. and one of them was yates father anti-aids father got involved over the play, the playboy of the western world when that was premier irish nationalist for outrage because they thought it was disrespectful to the peasantry so there was riots in the theaters, uproar, anti-aids father thought this was preakness behavior. he hated it so he took on the nationalist. my father on the stage a raging crowd in this land of a saints a plaster saints his
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beautiful mischievous head thrown back. i said two bell it is not my place to comment on your head. but know what i know has been more respectful of real things and more and mischievous to plaster. that is beautiful. so thank you very much [applause] again, half of the people in this room can dispute everything i said because they were also there. do we have a microphone? >> it is a bit this respect all but i will ask anyway, i read about your book in the "wall street journal" debut of
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your book and christopher buckley's book and one of the things that i did not know from reading the review was that william f. buckley, jr. had a heavy heavy dependency on middle when. and used it frequently for focus as you said. this raises the issue of you ought to have disclosed this we have a teacher that says we like to see the feet of clay of our ought to do what disturbs me about that aspect of your book that those types of revelations at this point* in some way i worry create the undermining of what it is that bill buckley was trying to advance the survey had enough people who did not believe as he did and would take any opportunity to attack him. so what is your take on this? i think it was a minor item in
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the book but i am still curious. >> please do read the book and read the discussion of that. it was not to run him down. one of the points i was making was his insistence in doing this. the only reason i learned about it, it was not like i was spying on him and his office, i was coming down with the flu or had a bad cold or something i mentioned it to bill and he said would you like some ritalin? i told my wife who is the anesthesiologist daughter and she has a merck manual and ap d.r. and she said what? and no. you do not want to do that. there is no hypocrisy bill was very bold and urgings that our
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drug laws that i think have many men of old papers aspects be changed with reform whether it be a law against marijuana, or laws against medications that are being given to the intractably ill. he campaigned about that for many years. so this is not something he would have been ashamed of a on a policy level. but with the old man, it is a small matter but it is an aspect of him. but it was an aspect i am living my life and i have one zillion things to do and how do i do? one way i do it is with the help of priscilla and all of my co-workers another way i do it is with bronson and my discipline another way is
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writing columns in my car driven by jerry garvey, there were many, many ways and this seemed two him to be another way. and i guess part of the point* is that when a man is fighting off so much and to bring so much and getting so much right, it is not strange that there may be some things that he does not get right and that has to be part of the picture too. >> . >> since the name of christopher buckley has been mentioned by the last questioner i feel that i can ask this question. >> are you a tag team? [laughter] >> in visible. do you have any views on what christopher buckley has done?
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this is a multiple choice questions. the powerful father figure rebeling, or he is at chalet a believer in the utopian socialism or he is just stupid? [laughter] >> there is a poison pill. and no. i do not have views on what christopher has done. he rode about billy's death by writing about his life. the next question? >> i was wondering if you could comment on but please relationship to his alma mater? yelas? yale? of course, very critical of aspects of the education in the late 1940's and that he
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received there. did his feelings the ball in any way over the years? to the best of my knowledge or all of his prominence i do not know the was ever honored by gail but perhaps you could set me straight on that? >> yale was founded 17 o one so they had a try centennial and there was a big thing. i did not go to a but there was a celebration of the famous alumni and things that were produced and bill told us afterwards he said i shared the stage with big bird. [laughter] so that says that he went to this and was a part of the us. certainly there were yale institutions by merely "the daily news". >> [inaudible] >> okay. there is that to. by the cared about and kept touch with four years to also go back to the old political union of which she had been a


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