A Florida Reader Reflects On Bill Buckley And Rich Lowry
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Patrick Foy (e-mail
William F. Buckley, Jr., RIP—Sort Of
During a conversation I had with
Scott McConnell years ago, when he visited Miami,
the inevitable topic of Buckley came up. I told
McConnell that I had not read or heard an original,
insightful comment by Buckley in over 30 years.
sum, Buckley was highly overrated. Brimelow`s points
about his insecurity and effeminate side ring true. As a
Buckley gave off an exaggerated, uncalled-for
One incident in Gstaad
left a big impression upon me.
One February in the late 1990s, I was having lunch at
the small, elegant hotel Olden. Buckley arrived with
that little know-it-all jackass,
I didn`t know
who Lowry was at the time, but it was obvious he was a
protégé or factotum.
The manager of the hotel/restaurant, an Italian
gentleman, a gentle and down-to-earth individual whom I
knew well, approached Buckley`s table. Buckley cut him
off with a look of scorn that stopped the man in his
tracks. “Don`t approach me, I`m too big a deal,”
is what Buckley`s look said.
and Lowry were seated close to me, I could hear their
witnessed was kind of a role reversal.
older man, the presumptive great mind, would naturally
be the intellectual mentor of the much younger man–one
could safely assume that. But then I hear Buckley asking
Lowry historical questions, in a manner as if Rich is
some sort of authority or professor and Buckley is a
That was odd, and so was Lowry`s dismissive attitude. He
acted like he, indeed, was an expert and that Buckley
was, in fact, his pupil. Lowry
definitely had a hold on Buckley.
Then, apparently by pre-arrangement,
Theodoracopulos showed up to meet Lowry for
the first time. As usual, Taki was cordial. I wonder how
gracious he would be to Lowry today.
On the one
hand, you had the incident of Buckley waving off the
manager of the establishment. It was just incredibly
rude and pompous, especially since the manager was a
Then, on the
other hand, a few minutes later, you had Buckley acting
the part of a subaltern.
small things, of course. But they stuck in my mind.
What`s clear to me is that, as Brimelow indicated,
Buckley was way overrated both as a writer and as a
Patrick Foy is an essayist and short story writer. He
graduated from Canterbury School in New Milford,
Connecticut and from Columbia University in New York,
where he studied English literature, European history
and American diplomatic history. Aside from writing, his
other artistic endeavor is photography. He has traveled
widely in Europe, and resides in south Florida most of
the year, where he plays regulation 6-wicket croquet. To
augment his writing career, he deals in property.