Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Prof. Hart in The American Conservative

Prof. Hart's anecdotal history of William F. Buckley has been making its way around the internet. For those who have yet to read it, here is a short excerpt:

At Gstaad, the Buckley schedule ruled our social life, and it was always the same. We all skied in the morning while Buckley worked in his chalet on his latest literary project. Then all the skiers met for lunch at one bistro or another at the bottom of one of the mountains. After lunch, fortified by plenty of wine, we followed the leader to another mountain and skied there until the end of the day.

At the top of one mountain was a restaurant called the Sky Club, members only. One morning Buckley and I were skiing together, and he decided that we would have lunch at the club. As we were putting our skis on the rack outside, Buckley indicated an elderly man wearing a one-piece ski outfit a short distance away and whispered that he would tell me about him when we found a table.

Over lunch he said that he had stayed with this man, the Count von Something, in his castle in Germany to do some research for a novel he was writing. The first night they sat down in front of the fireplace and there, above the mantle, were life-size oil portraits of Josef Goebbels and Hermann Goering. Came the obvious question: Why were they there? “Because they were my godfathers,” said the Count. Oh.

Read the whole thing.

1 comment:

John Bruce said...

I'm somewhat puzzled at this piece, given Hart's recent political migration. He speaks of Rush Limbaugh as ". . . a radio blowhard, a type that has proliferated in the conservative movement." Yet how many of Prof. Hart's own proteges are "radio blowhards"? Is he now disparaging some of his best students?

I'm also curious about how Prof. Hart deals with Obama's latest remarks on small-town whites clinging to religion. Is Prof. Hart embracing Obama because they're both, down deep, elitist?

The successful politicians with whom Hart worked (and Nixon was, if nothing else, largely successful for most of his career), including Nixon and Reagan, were anything but elitist, it seems to me -- in fact, they came from small towns and small-town culture that Obama, and presumably Hart, disparage.

I'm very puzzled at what seems to be a major disconnect between Hart now and Hart 15 or 20 years ago. It would be interesting to have him explain it.