The Great Wordmeister

has gone to his reward (h/t Hot Air). William F. Buckley, Jr. died yesterday at his home in Connecticut at the age of 82.

Blackford Oakes introduced me to Mr. Buckley when I was freshly out of college. Apolitical back then, all I wanted was a good read by the pool. And I got one. I’ve been a big fan ever since. For a few years I took the print version of National Review and now the online version is an invaluable resource. One of the posts at The Corner (Kathryn Jean Lopez – from an email to her):

I am saddened by the passing of William F. Buckley, but our loss is Heaven’s gain, and I’m sure the Good Lord told his angels to “Bring me a dictionary, Buckley’s coming.” –Terry

The NYT obituary also notes

Mr. Buckley’s vocabulary, sparkling with phrases from distant eras and described in newspaper and magazine profiles as sesquipedalian (characterized by the use of long words) became the stuff of legend. Less kind commentators called him “pleonastic” (use of more words than necessary).

And, inescapably, there was that aurora of pure mischief. In 1985, David Remnick, writing in The Washington Post, said, “He has the eyes of a child who has just displayed a horrid use for the microwave oven and the family cat.”

Ahhh, the world will now be short of ten-dollar words. Pity. RIP Old Friend.

UPDATE(S): Michelle has a nice round-up. Like me, she got hooked early.

“The unbought grace of life” (City Journal).

“The irrepressible and indomitable spirit” (Rick Moran).

“A serious man in an increasingly unserious time” (John Podhoretz)

Even those who disagreed with his politics, admired him. (Rick Perlstein)

The spark. (Scott Johnson)

The constantly “piqued curiosity”. (Roger Kimball)

A Dawg’s backstage meeting (Luke Boggs/AJC)

Elegant graciousness, personified (The Anchoress)

A William F. Buckley or a Jackie Kennedy may not often rub elbows with the hoi polloi, but when they did they used their best manners, because to do less would be disrespectful to the other, and demeaning to everything they had been taught by the great ones who came before. They had no difficulty engaging others outside their spheres because their security within themselves – part of which comes from that humility that recognizes the random vagaries of privilege – allowed that generosity of spirit.



  1. Ken Bingham said,

    February 27, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    William F. Buckley Jr, Founder and Editor of National Review Magazine and father of modern conservatism died today at 82. Buckley was a giant intellect that articulated the conservative cause like no other possibly could. Back in 1996 I was a member of the Convocations Committee at Weber State University, We invited Mr. Buckley to speak and I had the honor of having lunch with him and listen to him speak. His speaking style required the listener to think about the words spoken because they were delivered at a higher level than most political speakers of today. He spoke in a manner remenisent of some of the great orators of history. He never talked down to his audience, and assumed thier intellengence. All conservatives owe him a debt of graditute. He is in company the giants such Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, and Rush Limbaugh. Conservatism has lost another one of its great mouth peices but his words and ideas, which are based on eternal principals and natural law, will endure any of us.

  2. February 29, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    […] Obi’s Sister has a nice round-up. […]

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