The Corner

National Review

On KDW & WFB (Begorrah!)

Williamson, Buckley

On the homepage today, I have a little piece on our Kevin Williamson and WFB — a couple of guys cut from the same cloth, in many ways. Wanted to share some mail.

A friend of mine, and a reader of ours, from Oklahoma writes,

Selfishly, I am sad to lose Kevin at NR. But I am happy for him and for conservatism. [Kevin is going to The Atlantic.] It must be harder for you. We can read him wherever he writes, but you are losing a colleague.

Yup. Another note:

I will really miss Kevin; I’m sorry I never really knew Bill.

You can know him through his writing, though.

In my piece, I write that one of Kevin’s great advantages as a writer is that “he is unintimidatable on the subject of class.” People like to bully you about class: “You don’t know how it is, man! You live in, like, your bubble, man!” You can’t bully Kevin (on much of anything).

A reader writes,

I loved the “you can’t out-woe him” stuff. Having come from a not too dissimilar background, I know there is a certain freedom in having been poor. And, yes, it doesn’t make you a saint.

From a journalist in Texas:

You made me think about the influence that WFB, NR, and the “conservative ghetto” have had on my life.

I saw Bill Buckley in person exactly once. He had come to the University of Texas to speak. I was a student. Honestly, I don’t remember much about the speech, but I appreciated it. . . .

I went out to the parking lot where he was being collected to ride to the airport. He was standing there with a big smile, greeting some friends. I wanted to go up to him and shake his hand, but I didn’t. Guess I was afraid I would plunge like Icarus or something. My only opportunity.

Again, you can know him through his writing, for sure. And someday I might tell the story of how Scott Morris and I reacted when WFB entered the offices of The Weekly Standard, where we were then working. Maybe in a memoir?

Finally, have a note from Neal B. Freeman, WFB’s erstwhile friend, comrade, and aide:

Before I met Kevin in Philadelphia a few years ago — somebody had contrived to have me interview him Firing Line–style in front of a large audience — I prepared diligently, reading everything he had written. Begorrah! He was not just a some-assembly-required conservative. He was an old-style, WFB-curated, muser-writer in the grand Didion-Croce tradition.

Yup. Well said, Neal B., as usual — right down to the Irish exclamation.


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