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I'm not worrying about whether you reject Cotton Mather's accretions on the Mosaic Law, but whether you reject the Mosaic Law.
April 9, 2011 3:22 AM   Subscribe

William F. Buckley meets Hugh Hefner. A philosophical debate.
posted by twoleftfeet (24 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hugh Hefner's posture as a preacher for the other side has always struck me as interesting. It apparently worked, but hard to imagine it working today.

Also hard to imagine someone who talks that slow, using words that big, having a talk show these days.

Both of these points actually tend to confirm my belief that as a nation, we're getting dumber.
posted by randomkeystrike at 5:11 AM on April 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I remember in the late 90s William F. Buckley published either and article or novel excerpt in Penthouse, which was by then had turned into a full-on hardcore porno magazine.
posted by cropshy at 5:40 AM on April 9, 2011


Both of these points actually tend to confirm my belief that as a nation, we're getting dumber.

On the plus, we don't have to listen to the insufferably smug apologetics of William F. Buckley anymore.
posted by clarknova at 5:41 AM on April 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


tl;dw Buckley, maintaining a stance of seriousness and politeness shows disdain at Hefner being a "philosopher," and wants him to admit he's just giving an opinion, and an ill informed one. Hefner invokes separation of church and state. Buckley says that was the invention of Earl Warren.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:12 AM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the plus, we don't have to listen to the insufferably smug apologetics of William F. Buckley anymore.

You never had to listen to him in the first place.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:29 AM on April 9, 2011


Also hard to imagine someone who talks that slow, using words that big, having a talk show these days.

Maybe in general. But watch his Noam Chomsky interview if you want to see Buckley shouting somebody down with flagrant sophistry and interrupting their serious points with cutie-pie jokes for the choir. It'll seem ahead of its time.
posted by Beardman at 6:40 AM on April 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm trying to find the rest of the interview Buckley had with Allen Ginsberg...

And by the way, there are plenty of other excellent Buckley videos on youtube; for instance, Buckley and Chomsky or Buckley and Vidal
posted by ReWayne at 6:43 AM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I meant to go out running 30 minutes ago, but got caught in watching these clips. My wife and I noted that it's sometimes hard to put Hefner in the context of the late 60s. We both first became interested in Hefner and Playboy due to the "Girls Next Door," which portrays Hefner has a cute, little old man with his three wacky girlfriends.

She was the one who wanted to get a Playboy subscription, precisely because of how much she enjoyed the show. We both generally read issues cover to cover, but in these times, it's not so much titillating but moreso bathroom reading.

To hear Buckley describe the impropriety of the entirely uncovered female form made us both think about Hefner in this context and the important place Playboy had in the pantheon of the 20th century sexual history. While we are both born in the 80s, and really came to consciousness in the late 90s and early 00s, hearing this made us think about Playboy in context. For us, it's a fun magazine to have around, and Hugh Hefner eat hard boiled eggs, plays Monopoly, and occasionally has a some cute blonde girls running around half naked. But 40 years ago, he could philosophize with the best of them.

Plus, Hefner outlived Buckley, and despite how many conservatives try to fight it, Buckley's notions of pre-marital sex and morality seem to be slowly fading away.
posted by SNWidget at 7:38 AM on April 9, 2011


Buckley's notions of pre-marital sex and morality seem to be slowly fading away.

Slowly? A decade is but the blink of an eye in historical terms. But the world is a pendulum and it is only a question of whether it swings back in our lifetimes. Whether this is good or bad I leave it to you to decide.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:42 AM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


You never had to listen to him in the first place.

When in the name of democracy bombs fall on foreign lands, I have the great luxury of covering my ears, and not hearing his echos in the cacophony. When a gay man is beaten in my streets, I have the luxury of not hearing his faint, approving snarl. When an innocent man dies in the name of Justice I am wildly fortunate in my right to ignore his approbations which float on dying breaths.

Would that all were afforded the privilege of discriminating deafness to the wit and wisdoms of Mister William F. Buckley.
posted by clarknova at 8:11 AM on April 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Misogynist douchebag meets misogynist douchebag. Yay.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 8:21 AM on April 9, 2011


Following Hugh Hefner on Twitter is one of my very favorite things about Twitter. His stuff on there is so oddly wholesome: He talks at length about old movies he and his buddies are watching, about the backgammon game he and the girls have going on Sunday afternoon, almost never anything provocative.
posted by jbickers at 8:53 AM on April 9, 2011


Buckley is still dead, right?

Good.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 AM on April 9, 2011


A decade is but the blink of an eye in historical terms. But the world is a pendulum and it is only a question of whether it swings back in our lifetimes. Whether this is good or bad I leave it to you to decide.

Not only have you mixed two metaphors here (blink of an eye, swing of a pendulum), but your last sentence is a non sequitur: what would it mean to say blinking eyes or swinging pendulums were either good or bad, given that they are (like the weather) necessarily meant by implication to illustrate what is automatic in nature?
posted by The Emperor of Ice Cream at 10:20 AM on April 9, 2011


I would sure wish to see debates like these in my time. The solution to people like Buckley is not to whine about his smugness and wish he didn't exist but for more people to be like Chomsky.
posted by Anything at 11:40 AM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


As for the Hefner debate, I think Buckley's point about questioning the superiority of Hefner's morality was a good one and he didn't seem to get a good answer. On the other hand, I was disappointed by his inability to understand Hefner's answer to the supposed hypocrisy of not letting the Bunnies have sex with the patrons.
posted by Anything at 11:47 AM on April 9, 2011




The solution to people like Buckley is not to whine about his smugness and wish he didn't exist but for more people to be like Chomsky.

The solution to people like Buckley today is to get them to debate real live opponents. The key to conservative thought for the last couple decades is that it has evolved in an echo chamber, debating straw men. Which is why conservatism is increasingly driving away all but the most desperate and angry of rubes. Policy in a place like the US if often an average between opposing camps, making modern conservatism all the more unsavory. When one side is maybe flawed but workable, and the other is increasingly batshit insane, the meeting point all too often is uncomfortably on the fucked up end of the spectrum.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:09 PM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was disappointed by his inability to understand Hefner's answer to the supposed hypocrisy of not letting the Bunnies have sex with the patrons.
Oh I think he was able to understand that distinction and did, in fact, understand it. It seems to me Buckley was rather deliberately collapsing the distinction in order to paint Hefner as a sexual anarchist.

At any rate, there's a lot of sour comments about Buckley in here and, while surely he deserves them all, I personally never get tired of hearing his uh... exegetical acrobatics, if you will.
posted by m_steven_a at 12:16 PM on April 9, 2011


Of the two, William F. Buckley has aged better.
posted by bicyclefish at 12:38 PM on April 9, 2011


I highly recommend the documentary film, made over a number of years: "Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel" by Brigitte Berman. It's available and streamable on Netflix (and it has some of the Buckley vs Hef in it).

Whatever else Hefner may be, he's certainly been a genuine activist for civil rights, recognized by the NAACP - again, not simply putting money toward the cause. He also participated in anti-war demonstrations during Vietnam (and got clubbed by cops). And, perhaps it comes as news to some, but he fought for women's reproductive rights.

Clearly the guy is no saint, and nobody supposes he is. Not exactly a role model in all things, but a complex figure.
posted by VikingSword at 1:24 PM on April 9, 2011


The fact that "conservatism is increasingly driving away all but the most desperate and angry of rubes" certainly explains why the Republicans did so badly in the mid term elections.
posted by joannemullen at 4:33 PM on April 9, 2011


"The fact that "conservatism is increasingly driving away all but the most desperate and angry of rubes" certainly explains why the Republicans did so badly in the mid term elections."

No. The midterms demonstrate that the rubes are, in fact, desperate and angry. Which leads to turnout. It also leads increasing to marginalization, something that started well before the '08 elections, and has accelerated.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:10 PM on April 9, 2011


On the plus, we don't have to listen to the insufferably smug apologetics of William F. Buckley anymore.

But it was fun watching his son write the back page for National Review and get booted for writing "Sorry, Dad, I'm voting for Obama."
posted by Ironmouth at 7:33 AM on April 10, 2011


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