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April 2008 Cover
April 2008 Cover

 Dirty Dishes Dirty Dishes Archive  
April 2008 Email this to a friend
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De mortuis nil nisi bonum... Not!
By Dawn Ivory

Dawn often makes the mistake of listening to the news after a meal, and thus risks that wretching will turn into messy vomiting. Such was the case with the endless accolades that followed the death of rabid conservative William F. Buckley, Jr.

Buckley's corpse was endlessly feted as that of a "gracious' and "intelligent" and "principled" man who led American (ultra) conservatives into mainstream "respectability." After so much of this, damp towels were fetched to mop up Dawn's soiled shirt and wipe the vomitous from Dawn's agape jaw.

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Buckley defended Jim Crow's segregated South and South African apartheid. Buckley opposed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts. Buckley attacked Gore Vidal's homosexuality as a diseased "affliction." Buckley called for denying health insurance to anyone with HIV. Buckley advocated tattooing those with AIDS on the forehead. Buckley defended constitutional amendments to allow anti-gay discrimination. Buckley promoted laissez-faire economics that generate a large and permanent underclass. And Buckley advocated executing prisoners.

As with so many (but by no means all), Buckley's Roman Catholicism was a warping influence, leading him away from -- rather than towards -- justice, love, and life. Perhaps gay prophet Boyd McDonald had the correct explanation: "Some people," Boyd noted, "were obviously born to be gay -- William F. Buckley, for example." Alas, it may be that Bill never fellated more than the well-sucked pencil on his public affairs television show "Firing Line." And that may have made all the difference in his mean spirited little life.

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