I will admit up-front that I am far from an unbiased observer when it comes to Jonah Goldberg. I am a fan. And I have been lucky enough to get to know him some over the years and consider him a friend. So feel free to factor that in to what follows.
But even with that caveat, there is a small part of me that is disappointed in his latest book The Tyranny of Clichés. Don’t get me wrong, it is a quick, entertaining and informative book; full of useful arguments, insights and food for thought. At its most basic it is a challenge to conservatives to fight back and not allow the left in this country to continue to make lazy, ideological loaded statements and arguments in the name of pragmatism and a fake “just the facts, ma’am” attitude.
For more on the book’s message and arguments, and on my rather subtle disappointment, keep reading.
I am a big fan of William F. Buckley, Jr. Have been since high school. I have read nearly all of his books and have read a great deal about him.
So I was intrigued when I saw that an author who I enjoy, Jeremy Lott, had come out with a short bio of WFB as part of the Christian Encounters series at Thomas Nelson.
This was another book I read back in the summer but didn’t get a chance to review until now. I thought it would be useful to bring back the Ten Questions format and ask Jeremy to answer a few questions.
He graciously agree and the Q&A is below (my questions in bold)
1. How does viewing WFB through the lens of “prophet” help us understand him better?
It helps us to see how he saw himself, at least in part. I quote from a letter that William F. Buckley wrote to Ronald Reagan recounting Buckley’s appearance on the Tonight Show. WFB told Johnny Carson “that vaticide was the act of killing a prophet, and that if he wanted to go down as guilty of that crime, all he had to do was kill me.”
Now, this was a witticism, so we shouldn’t place too much weight on it, but neither should we ignore it. I argue that it was along the lines of what Ben Stiller’s villain White Goodman said several times in the movie Dodgeball. You remember? “I’m kidding, but not really.”