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Pat Buckley, RIP - Sisyphus Shrugged
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Pat Buckley, RIP
Pat Buckley, a leading New York fundraiser for charities and the wife of writer William F. Buckley Jr., died Sunday in Stamford. She was 80.

She died of an infection following surgery, Jack Fowler, publisher of National Review, the magazine founded by her husband, told The Associated Press.

If you weren't there, it would be hard to communicate how ugly it was back when the newly-ascendant movement conservatives started feeling their oats back in early Reagan days and decided that being deliberately ugly for the sake of political incorrectness was not just an acceptable but an admirable thing. This was thrown into particularly stark relief by AIDS. Jerry Falwell would hesitate today to say some of the things nominally respectable people (and Jerry Falwell) thought they were terribly clever for saying back then. Almost 21,000 americans had died by the time Mr. Reagan mentioned the disease in public.

Pat Buckley, who was, in those circles, unassailable, due both to her social position and the political influence of her husband, threw one of the earliest (maybe the first) society fundraisers for AIDS. She didn't have to - there was hardly a groundswell at the time - and she could very easily have avoided it on the grounds that it was awkward for her (Mr. Buckley had recently made a rather staggering statement on the subject). She did it anyway.

If you've been watching the currently ascendant crew, you'll have noticed that political incorrectness and common decency don't reliably overlap. Pat Buckley made the kind of casual crude eliminationist rhetoric that was flying around unacceptable in her very influential circle in probably the only way anyone could have: she made it tacky.

So, while the best-dressed list and the social lives of the rich and, um, rich are probably neck and neck with america's top ten taxidermists on the list of things I keep up with, I think Pat Buckley was a stand-up broad.

Rest in peace.
ahhhs. -- hmmm?
halleyscomet From: halleyscomet Date: April 17th, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
I have a sinking suspicion that Fred Phelps is planning to protest her funeral.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: April 17th, 2007 03:47 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Boy, I loathe that man.
halleyscomet From: halleyscomet Date: April 17th, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
On the bright site, many conservative religious leaders are being forced to espouse a more moderate view of Homosexuality just to distance themselves from Phelps and his clan. He's also giving Homophobes an increasingly negative image. It's not unlike the hoods of the KKK making racists look ever more psychotic and cult-like during the 60's.

In his own twisted way, Phelps is doing more FOR gay rights than many of the pro-gay activists. I personally know conservatives who used to rant about the "Gay Agenda" that have subsequently changed their tune to one of "Let gays live their lives" as a direct result of Phelps and his protests.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: April 17th, 2007 05:31 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Well, I have to admit, it takes a certain kind of genius to get the cops, the firefighters and the Rolling Thunder guys to vehemently oppose an anti-gay crusade.
cosmicbob From: cosmicbob Date: April 17th, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
I'm uncertain "genius" is the correct term for Phelps. "Psycho-twisted nut-job" might fit better.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: April 17th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Hey, Bush is a genius at some stuff. Genius isn't necessarily good or sane.
halleyscomet From: halleyscomet Date: April 17th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
He's almost TOO good at getting traditionally anti-gay groups to rally in support of homosexuals.

He was a Civil Rights Activist in the 60's, and from what I hear an active, energetic and effective one.

What if it's all an act? What if his GOAL is to make people oppose Homophobes? Realistically, that's the only thing he's accomplishing.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: April 17th, 2007 07:44 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
Gack. Don't go there. He's apparently a serial family abuser.
halleyscomet From: halleyscomet Date: April 17th, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC) (linkie thing)
I know it's not true, but its a fun thing to contemplate.

Every now and then, I ponder the idea of writing a book with this as the premise, using a fictional family crafted to resemble the Phelps clan, so that Freddy is remembered as a Gay rights activist.

The idea appeals, because I figure being remembered that way is the ONLY thing ANYONE can say or do that would actually enrage him. Convincing the world he's a fake would be the only thing that could actually hurt his tiny, hate filled soul.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 23rd, 2007 04:29 am (UTC) (linkie thing)


I've actually seriously wondered if that was what Ann Coulter has been trying to do with her schtick -- and that she goes more and more extreme every few months because people don't "get it" and think she's legit.

This explanation works better for Phelps than Coulter, though, since he actually seems to be getting some idiotic gay-bashers to change their tunes, while Coulter just gets a larger squad of synchophantic college-boys drooling after her with every passing year.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: April 23rd, 2007 11:17 am (UTC) (linkie thing)

Re: Hrm

Coulter's dad was a lawyer who specialized in busting labor unions in coal mines.

He used to send little Ann off by herself to work at the mine offices over summers.

I tend to lean toward any explanation that has her being profoundly emotionally disturbed.
snuh From: snuh Date: April 18th, 2007 03:28 am (UTC) (linkie thing)
The valuable lesson I learned from the Buckley's that discourse could be respectful and peaceful, even with strong dissent in views. Sometimes, I didn't like what they had to say, but everyone was always a gentlewoman and gentleman. I'm sorry for the Buckley's loss.

Yes, as you say, back then it was another world, far away, that most kiddos today wouldn't believe.
jmhm From: jmhm Date: April 18th, 2007 11:21 am (UTC) (linkie thing)

On the one hand, I feel strongly about hospitality. On the other hand, given some of the consequences he felt were acceptable for society and the rest of the world from his stands, I don't know if I'd've been a little more comfortable if he wasn't quite so determined not to let them ruin dinner parties.
ahhhs. -- hmmm?