Friday, December 21, 2007

Internecine Pursuits

The devout anti-obscurantists at NRO's Phi Beta Cons may want to take a closer look at William F. Buckley, whose prose is becoming downright Lacanian:

It asks for miraculous powers of revision to not see a show on television at night and satisfy ourselves that by abiding by the protocols of collective bargaining we are fighting for the survival of essential American rights. The law is an ass, a humbug, if it is defined by the number of people whose rights are being affirmed by neglecting them entirely.
"I see," said the blind man to his deaf wife, over a disconnected telephone in 1866.

If you persevere, you'll eventually comprehend that Buckley thinks we ought to weigh the right of writers to strike against the public's right to be amused:
What's not about to happen in the present case is the crystallization of the kind of vision necessary to discover and then to assert the right of the public to figure in these internecine pursuits. Perhaps that will happen only when the quarrels become truly asphyxiative and we are driven to our own uninformed resources to attempt to sing like Pavarotti, fiddle like Perlman and amuse like David Letterman. But that isn't happening, and our consciences grow more leaden by the day.
As far as I can tell, Buckley is asking us to discern evidence of our moral decline in the fact that we're not forcing writers to entertain us against their will. Given that he probably has fans who'd be inconsolable if someone lucid and sensible started ghostwriting his columns, you'd think he'd recognize that writers aren't necessarily interchangeable.

As for me, I tend to agree with Abraham Lincoln:
I am glad to see that a system of labor prevails...under which laborers can strike when they want to, where they are not obliged to work under all circumstances, and are not tied down and obliged to labor whether you pay them or not.
(Illustration: "Galley Slaves" from Barbary Rovers by John Finnemore, 1912.)

1 comment:

roger said...

that buckley is such a droll fellow. we can survive without union writers, but we surely would fall if lord buckley went on strike.

i wonder if he'd scab for letterman.