Re: Your Jedi Mind Tricks Will Not Work Here

1

Heh. Watched that earlier today. Buckley's snide, patrician style doesn't hold up at all against Chomsky's relentless argumentation and barrage of facts. By the time Buckley says "Surely you appreciate that a soldier can be as useful as a bag of wheat?" you realize that he's basically just a snotty version of Walter Shandy, reduced to discussing things of which he knows nothing by deftly deploying the auxiliary verbs. In the service of mass slaughter in Southeast Asia.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 5:49 PM
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That's a great description. Chomsky knows the facts, Buckley knows debater's tricks. It was when Buckley said "but you just admitted there are exceptions" when the exception was clearly one that cut against Buckley's point, that I realized he was just playing games.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 5:53 PM
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What's funny is that a lot of conservative blogs have linked to the same (I assume) piece, in memoriam, arguing that Buckley pwns Chomsky.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 5:53 PM
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4

Funny and unsurprising.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 5:57 PM
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arguing that Buckley pwns Chomsky.

And then reviewing the last 35+ years in terms of real political effectiveness, with one eye on Baghdad, which kind of tactics & strategy, Buckley's or Chomsky's, triumphed?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 5:57 PM
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I will give him points for debating Chomsky though. Which right-winger would do that now?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 5:59 PM
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3: It's true. The Corner also has this today:

Regarding Vietnam, I asked if WFB regretted that we had ever gone into Indochina in the first place. His answer, simply: "Yes."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 6:00 PM
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4: It just goes to show: argument is, if not useless at advancing a position, very often near it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 6:05 PM
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9

8: no way.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 6:08 PM
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10

You know, Karl Rove is going to get the same kind of encomia when he kicks the bucket that Buckley is getting today. He's soft-spoken and erudite, although he's an autodidact, not a pedigreed show pony. And just like he made Buckley look classy, his begats will make him shine.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 6:09 PM
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And then reviewing the last 35+ years in terms of real political effectiveness, with one eye on Baghdad, which kind of tactics & strategy, Buckley's or Chomsky's, triumphed?

Neither. Buckley's fellow travelers prevailed by more direct appeals than debater's tricks.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 6:15 PM
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Unlike so many around here, I didn't have much---or any, really---exposure to Buckley, so I decided to watch the clip. Unwatchable. The drawling, cynical voice was more than I could stand.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 6:21 PM
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9: Way.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 6:22 PM
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14

I have to say, I remembered Buckley less fondly after listening to him for a bit.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 6:27 PM
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ogged in 6: I will give him points for debating Chomsky though. Which right-winger would do that now?

Apparently Bill Bennett.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 6:38 PM
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Buckley is certainly a cynical defender of American actions, good or bad. But Chomsky's picking and choosing between torture which he understands (VC) and that which he abhors (American) is equally cynical. Chomsky wins debate.


Posted by: Webster | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 6:53 PM
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17

It reminded me of a debate between an IDer and an evolutionary biologist. The former waves hands. The latter offers facts.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 7:01 PM
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18

Hugs for Chomsky! I want more debates where people say "Who do you mean by 'them'?" and "What are your examples?" and "I don't think you know history very well."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 7:17 PM
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And just like he made Buckley look classy, his begats will make him shine.

i don't want to live in a world which looks back fondly on Karl Rove.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 7:24 PM
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20

Actually, it was more like an adversarial interview than a real debate. Buckley really flubbed his way through the discussion on Greece. Buckley was much less informed on any of the subjects than Chomsky. Chomsky had just completed American Power and the New Mandarins, and although Buckley appeared to have read the whole book, he could not match Chomsky's knowledge of American imperialism.

Buckley's way of saying "right, right" is very irritating. He has evil eyes too.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 7:32 PM
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21

This clip is infuriating. Not only is Buckley snide and condescending (and it's not just b/c of the class associations of the accent--it's the expression, the things he says, the way he tries to dismissively wave away cogent points) but he *keeps interruping and talking over* Chomsky. How Chomsky remained calm and didn't punch Buckley in his big teeth, I can't imagine.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 7:54 PM
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21 is right. When Chomsky finally says, "Can I finish a sentence?" and Buckley obliges, I could feel every conservative in the audience stripping away his man card and grinning triumphantly.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 7:59 PM
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23

Snide and condescending is bad?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 8:02 PM
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24

How come nobody uses the word terroristic anymore?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 8:03 PM
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23, "Snide and condescending *are* bad?"

Chomsky clearly had the upperhand; however, we shouldn't wave off the impact WFB had on our nation's political awareness...good or bad, people react(ed).


Posted by: SomewhatRightOfCenter | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 8:09 PM
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How Chomsky remained calm and didn't punch Buckley in his big teeth, I can't imagine.

All day I've been wondering how history might have been different if Vidal had slugged Buckley that day on ABC TV. Probably not too different, but it's interesting to wonder. And I've been taking a childish pleasure in the fact that Vidal is still alive to write his own obituary of Buckley, Jr. Sometimes, outliving our enemies is all we can ask for, I guess.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 8:19 PM
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27

Chomsky always remains calm.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 8:43 PM
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28

waves
i can more clearly understand Chomsky's speaking than Buckley's, what is the difference between these two 'dialects' or may be it's just that person's way of speaking? clearly different to my ears
just curious


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 8:46 PM
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Condescension, snideness, gamesmanship, etc., were Buckley's whole power. All he had was Class, in the bad sense of the word, and he appealed to social climbers and talentless people born rich.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 8:49 PM
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28: Part of the difference is probably that Buckley wants you to concentrate on the way he says things, and not dig too deeply into what he actually said.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 8:50 PM
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What struck me was how much of a prick and second-rate thinker those clips showed him to be. I've avoided him for ages, but I remember seeing Firing Line as a kid, and I had vaguely the same image of him as most of the obituaries did yesterday, erudite &c. But in the Chomsky interview, he's basically the prototype of the smug, condescending talking head who manipulates the conversation when he's in the presence of a better mind and a better person. He's the man Jonah Goldberg desperately wishes to be. I imagine that the no-more-masturbating-to-Buckley rule will be hard on poor Jonah.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 8:50 PM
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I imagine that the no-more-masturbating-to-Buckley rule will be hard on poor Jonah.

Yeah, Irving Kristol is a poor substitute.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 8:58 PM
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So nice to see ol' Noam looking so fresh-faced, too.


Posted by: marichiweu | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 9:22 PM
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34

The parallels between Rove and Mark Hanna may not work out - especially not the way Rove wants to see them - but I don't Rove'll be any more well known down the line. Unless he founds some conservative magazine.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 9:24 PM
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34: Who was the Rove of the previous generation?

Um...who was the big evil guy in The Selling of the President...(checks book)

wow, it was Roger Ailes, wasn't it?

Rove will probably start a magazine, come to think of it.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 9:25 PM
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36

don't s/b doubt


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 9:26 PM
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37

Who was the Rove of the previous generation?

Lee Atwater.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 9:35 PM
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38

Gawd, what an interrupting and snide bushel of wheat. Um, PBUH.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 9:46 PM
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37: he was actually younger than Rove.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 9:54 PM
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40

Huh, so he was. I didn't realize he was so young when he died.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:01 PM
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28: Buckley is using a half-British, half-American accent that used to be how Americans tried to sound sophisticated. It was already dwindling in use then.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:03 PM
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42

I remember hearing that that accent died with George Plympton. Now it has really died.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:06 PM
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I wouldn't have thought that a genuine American accent would ever activate my torch-n-npictchfork gene (usually it's just Oxbridge accents) but Christ, Buckley makes me want to burn down the manor house.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:08 PM
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44

pwned.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:08 PM
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45

44 seems unwarranted.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:11 PM
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46

theres a pretty clear frat/nerd division between them.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:27 PM
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fratty more like what is shown in animal house university, not in abercrombie haus


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:29 PM
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I had a really liberal poli sci professor whose mannerisms were a toned-down version of Buckley's. For that reason, I think, I didn't have the same visceral reaction to him Or maybe, unlike the rest of you dirty proletariat, I appreciate class. Who knows. What I was thinking was "I bet he uses those tricks to impress chicks all the freakin' time. Or is he gay?"


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:37 PM
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49

Same skill-set.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:40 PM
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50

huh, i was just watching it and thinking buckley is too tryhard to get laid afterward.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:44 PM
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51

and oppostily, chompsky's hand motions are impossibly weak looking.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 10:50 PM
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52

It is late to the game to point out that Maude's character in The Big Lebowski has quite the WFB accent, and it's no doubt quite on purpose that she does.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-28-08 11:02 PM
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53

The Coens and Julianne Moore say that Maude is based on Carolee Schneemann and Yoko Ono. Schneeman (b. 1939, older than me) was the daughter of a small-town Pennsylvania doctor who apparently was a kind of naturist or something. She went to Bard and Columbia on scholarship and was very well-connected in the avant-garde and intellectual world.

The point being that both of them had learned their accents professionally. That isn't a rural Pennsylvania accent., much less Kyoto.

In the life-imitates-art area, the famous tabloid figure "Tara Reid" is based un Bunny Lebowski in the movie.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:12 AM
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As for Sioux City Sarsaparilla, it's now made by Rolling Rock in Wisconsin, but my great-great-grandfather was a Sioux City brewer who, according to the went out of business on Dec. 7, 1887 with the onset of Iowa prohibition. A prohibitionist had allegedly been killed in Sioux City the year before by a brewery foreman, but contrary to earlier reports the accused didn't work for my great-great-grandfather but for a competitor. A lot of ex-brewers went into soft drinks, so maybe he made sarsaparilla for awhile.

It's hard to Google this since "selzer" also is a technical term in the soft drink biz. Ironically, my g-g-grandmother's name was Wasser.

I understand that those of you without aristocratic forbears might be annoyed when I brag about my baby-killing, Indian-killing ancestors, prohibitionist-killing, but you can just suck on it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:29 AM
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If only WFB had affected an accent like David Thewlis' character (Knox Harrington, the video artist) in The Big Lebowski: "It's Sandra, about the Biennale!"

He would almost have been bearable.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:30 AM
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"according to the Times"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:31 AM
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Minneapolitan, did they pay you off well for staying on the job. I hope so.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:32 AM
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53: Schneeman doesn't talk that way. I've met her, and remember her being pretty normal-sounding. I get that the art is based on hers, but the accent? Maybe I'm misremembering.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:36 AM
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I wonder if WFB's death is going to fuck up the business model of this guy.

Reid Buckley, brother of the late WFB., runs advertisements for his public speaking seminars that use Reid's physical resemblance to his brother to create the erroneous impression that you will be learning debating from William F. himself. The ad copy says something like "Let Mr. Buckley teach you...".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:37 AM
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54: As for Sioux City Sarsaparilla, it's now made by Rolling Rock in Wisconsin

I think you mean White Rock, John.

Frankly, the Sioux City imprint has never done it for me. The actual White Rock is more proletarian, and hence better. Viz the Birch Beer, which seems to have been discontinued, sadly, but which was not laden down with red food coloring like the Sioux City variety.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:37 AM
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57: I don't want to go into the exact details publicly, since that would pretty much burst my anonymity bubble, but it was more along the lines of extra time rather than extra money. Which is what I wanted.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:39 AM
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accent, got it
thanks for answering my question, very interesting
Buckley looks as if he is acting, his that eyes trick is cute, but i couldn't get almost half of what he is saying
Chomsky's speaking is very clear, he looks very sharp and sounds almost like soviets at the time may be :)



Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 6:05 AM
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I found this game amusing: translate WFB's remarks into informal speech and compare the resulting lack of content with the impression first given by Buckley's formulations. There's no there there.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 7:21 AM
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the


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 7:42 AM
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I had never quite realised that "mid-Atlantic" referred to the "middle of the Atlantic ocean"; I had thought instead that it referred to the area of the Atlantic seaboard that was neither way north like Maine nor way south like Florida. Learn something new every day.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 7:59 AM
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British rock bands of the early 60s, who affected what they fondly believed to be "American" accents, especially when singing what they fondly believed to be the blues, were widely slagged off for their mid-Atlantic accents. The better among them - Lennon, Jagger - developed the self confidence to sing in their native English woodnotes later in life.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 8:11 AM
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Damn, Chomsky was a good looking guy then. And he sees the world with crystalline clarity. He's just so lucid.

It's unfortunate how relevant that debate still is today.

For all that you can criticize Buckley, you have to admit he's way better than Bill O'Reilly.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 9:52 AM
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Wow, wish I'd been here to post this earlier. When I mentioned this to a friend of mine, she alerted me to this from Chomsky's own blog, in response to a question about this clip. Here are Chomsky's own memories of the debate.

"What we were talking about then can be transferred to today very easily. By coincidence, just today an op-ed of mine was distributed by the NY Times syndicate with some comparisons about debate over Vietnam and over Iraq. Many of the other questions, about the general nature of U.S. foreign policy, are persistent.
___________________________
"My main recollection was surprise at how little he seemed to know about particular issues, and how quickly he wanted to drop them when we began to go beyond general slogans.

"Although this was not on the tape, it's hard to forget the final moments as he walked off stage, in a fury, shouting that he'd have me back on again soon and teach me a thing or too. When I answered politely that I'd be glad to arrange it, he got even more furious. Of course I never heard from him again, or expected to."


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:41 PM
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65: whoah, same here. You learned that from this thread?

I should really learn to read.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:43 PM
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There definitely was a New England accent, now almost extinct, that sounded vaguely continental, as per George Plimpton and my grandfather.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-29-08 5:44 PM
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Wow, I've finally gotten around to watching this.

What struck me was how much of a prick and second-rate thinker those clips showed him to be.

This is dead on.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03- 4-08 4:51 PM
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