Where Bushes and Reagans, Kissingers and Thatchers once held forth on politics and the miseries of the left, one can hear a lonesome dehumidifier churning in the air.The style you detect above is one commonly used by those on the left when writing on people whose politics are despicable but enjoy far more booklarnin' than the writer will ever know: sneering patronization. We could just leave it at that, Mr. Buckley and his accomplishments will far outlast those of Alan Feurer, the author of this wee little charmer in the Times.
“They had repartee described not only as brilliant but hilarious,” said Tom Holmes, the real estate agent saddled with the task of bringing to market what was probably the first — and may yet be the last — redoubt of Republican joie de vivre.
The stale self-righteousness that attaches to a certain brand of modern-day conservative was not for Mr. Buckley, a man, who — with his love of yachting, peanut butter and the Constitution — understood that the art of politics did not preclude the act of having fun.
It was there that 160 of his closest friends and colleagues gathered on June 18 for an evening of memorial celebration, billed in the guest book as “One Last Time.”
“Quite a pleasant occasion,” Mr. Holmes recalled with the palest little tremor of a sigh. “Everybody got a jar of peanut butter.” (That would be Buckley’s Best, the writer’s privately produced eponymous brand.)
It bears mentioning, however, a Fifth Avenue denizen, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who lived and entertained far more lavishly than did Mr. Buckley: at the time of her death and in the months and years that followed, the accounts on her in the media, including the Times, were pretty much restricted (and still are) to fawning encomiums to her exquisite taste and the generosity she showed her guests when entertaining. Contrast that with the opening paragraph in Alan Feurer's piece:
Often, on those cherished Monday evenings, he would greet the guests himself with a Bach cantata (sic) on the harpsichord he kept out in the hall. The staff would circulate with the peanut butter canapés he loved so well and, to wash them down, a tray of Veuve Clicquot.Oh the sins one bears for being rich yet conservative: the nerve of William F. Buckley for serving good champagne to his guests. Jackie-O would never have displayed such effrontery and we can be confident she would never play a Bach "cantata" for her guests on the harpsichord.