Twice in the last day I have encountered topics where I thought I knew the salient points, and I did, but somehow the most salient points have escaped me.
First, I sat Gary down and we watched the documentary The Best of Enemies, about the debates between Gore Vidal and Willam F. Buckley. I felt I knew the basic facts: two guys, different opinions, ABC aired the debates during the Chicago Democratic convention. Here’s a summary of what I knew going in:
- Gore Vidal wrote books my father enjoyed.
- Gore Vidal was gay.
- Gore Vidal seemed very full of himself.
- Gore Vidal was on talk shows a lot.
- William F. Buckley wrote the National Review, which my father enjoyed.
- William F. Buckley was effete.
- William F. Buckley seemed very full of himself.
- William F. Buckley was on talk shows a lot.
Also, I knew that they were politically opposed.
My intent was to show these debates to Gary so he could see what a polite, civilized discussion of ideas is like, in the hope that it would temper his Facebook tirades.
I did not know the key salient point, and the reason everyone still remembers these debates, which is (SPOILERS IF YOU DON’T ALREADY KNOW) that Gore Vidal on air called William F. Buckley a crypto-Nazi and then William F. Buckley lost his cool and answered, “Now, listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi, or I'll sock you in the goddamn face and you'll stay plastered.”
As I say, I had great gaps in my knowledge. More idiocy tomorrow.