March 1, 2008

THE 24 HOUR CYCLE VS. THE 2000 YEAR:

On TV, Buckley Led Urbane Debating Club (ERIC KONIGSBERG, 3/01/08, NY Times)

On the one hand, “Firing Line,” which was originally syndicated by WOR-TV in New York and was broadcast from 1966 to 1999, was an obvious precursor to shrill modern-era programming like “Hardball,” “Tucker,” “Hannity and Colmes” and “Scarborough Country.”

“It was the first of all those shows,” said Michael Kinsley, the left-leaning journalist and regular guest on “Firing Line.”

On the other hand, “Firing Line” was so different in tone and pacing from its descendants that one might almost say that it stands as their inverse — their antithesis (Mr. Buckley was fond of a four-syllable word when two syllables would do), a counterfactual, even. That is to say, a condition that cannot — owing to the present-day climates of television and politics — be fulfilled.

“The show was devoted to a leisurely examination of issues and ideas at an extremely high level,” said Jeff Greenfield of CBS News, another pundit who frequently debated Mr. Buckley on the program. “It’s not at all like what you see now, where everybody says, ‘Who won the week?’ or ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, rate Hillary’s chances.’ ”

Over 33 years, the list of guests on “Firing Line” was impressive and very much bipartisan: Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Clare Boothe Luce and Henry A. Kissinger on the right. Muhammad Ali, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Jimmy Carter and William M. Kunstler on the left. There were also, of course, people who, by dint of political or personal conviction, would not appear on “Firing Line.”

“I was never on his show,” Gore Vidal, with whom Mr. Buckley had a famous feud, said on Thursday. “I don’t like fascism much.”


Mr. Buckley and guests were leisurely because they recognized that the questions they were debating are eternal. Political talk today is about winning a news cycle.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 1, 2008 8:18 AM
Comments

"“I was never on his show,” Gore Vidal, with whom Mr. Buckley had a famous feud, said on Thursday. “I don’t like fascism much.”"

You mean you don't like it when other people point out your fascist/totalitarian tendencies, Mr. Vidal.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 1, 2008 9:36 AM

Maybe the little queer knew that if he called Bill a Nazi again he would get punched out and would stay plastered.http://www.pitt.edu/~kloman/debates.html

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 1, 2008 1:12 PM

I've seen that, Lou. The look on Mr. Vidal's face, it was the classic little boy who has said a bad word in company, and is waiting to see what the adults will do.

Proves in one short take the arrested development of the 'intellectual' left.

Posted by: Mikey at March 1, 2008 5:56 PM
« KOOL-AID'S A THIN DIET FOR 9 MORE MONTHS: | Main | SOMETIMES IT'S HARD TO ACCEPT THAT YOU'RE WINNING: »