On the Opinion Page: February 29, 2008

29Feb08

In which The Gay Recluse scores selected opinion pieces in The Times.

David Brooks/Remembering the Mentor

The Short Version: Even though he was a Nazi, I loved William F. Buckley.

In her words: “Buckley was not only a giant celebrity, he lived in a manner of the haut monde.”

Score: F (Foolish)
In this column we have Brooks longing for the conservative, aristocratic society epitomized by Buckley and his narrow-minded (bigoted) colleagues and admirers. What’s most incredible about this society is how obsessively “gay” it is in every respect of the word — high art, high design, highly decadent (and lots of gay sex, but only in dark closets and hallways) — while its members try to pass themselves off as patriotic, courageous and (above all, and most cynically) morally righteous. (Brooks, of course, is completely oblivious to this, which makes his column tragically naive.) The “best” example of this paradox at play can be found in the Nazi elite in pre-war Germany, a society in which we get the sense that Buckley would have felt very much at home (even as Brooks was hauled off to the camps). We think of Luchino Visconti’s beautiful, harrowing treatment of this same era and understand why he called his film The Damned.

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