Monday, February 6, 2012

Read Recently: Losing Mum and Pup, by Christopher Buckley

I expected novelist Christopher Buckley's memoir about losing both of his parents, William and Patricia, in the same year to be depressing and in that regard Losing Mum and Pup doesn't disappoint. It is, in fact, a mighty sobering and unyielding look at his parents' last days and the sort of mind-numbing logistics involved in any funeral arranging.

The book was especially important to me, not only because I'm roughly Christopher Buckley's age, but also because the death of William Buckley seemed and seems, to me, to be the end of a cultivated, learned and good-spirited kind of conservatism which no longer exists on any kind of meaningful scale and certainly not in right-wing media.

Watching a two-hour, 1996 William F. Buckley Jr. Firing Line debate (which had been broadcast on PBS - imagine that happening now) at the same time I read the above book reminded me of what's been lost in this regard. The thrusts and jabs of the warring participants - some of the participants, though ideologically opposed, being good friends in private - were sharp but civilized, well-researched, good-humored and good-natured. The debate utilized a manner of discourse which has completely disappeared from the political landscape, replaced with McCarthy era-like hysteria, anger and intellectual myopia, largely propagated by those who use the noun "Democrat" as an adjective.

I don't want to white-wash the past - a multitude of sins can be attributed to the Republican party as they can to any political party - but neither do I want to forget what's been lost.
Pin It

No comments: