The Corner

Wfb Nails It

Bill Buckley dug up a memorable Belloc quote for one of his columns in the current (11/7/05) NRODT. He is writing about the TV antics of Bill Maher, on an occasion when he was hosting Andrew Sullivan. Bill:

“It doesn’t matter what Maher says, [the audience will] laugh. It would have been good to hear from Mr. Sullivan the words of Belloc, but they might have ruined the fun. Belloc once observed that ‘We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we tolerate him; in the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh, we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond: and on those faces there is no smile.’”

If anyone knows the precise location of that quote, I’d appreciate it.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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