by Christopher Buckley Print book  |  1st ed
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A Dud's Self-discovery   (2009-06-16)
As one who tried to watch but found I could not stand the alternating boredom and revulsion elicited by Firing Line, I enjoyed the believable dirt in Losing Mum and Pup. (I confess, from this experience, to not trying to read the National Review magazine or William F. Junior’s—Pup’s--columns, much less his books that were mysteriously sometimes popular apparently.) One can but imagine what was omitted and spun: “This was my introduction to a lifetime of mendacity. I too must learn to say these gorgeous untruths.” (page 55) I actually hope that this book sells well, not because that would encourage another memoir that fills the gaps and corrects the present one’s presumed deceptions, but because it would tend to undermine the motivation of Christopher Buckley (shall we call him Dud?) to write more books (because he’s mainly into it for the cash and thankfully lacks his father’s rapacity). It appears as if he simply has too little to say of significance (e.g., he advises avoiding confusion of self-pity and legitimate grief—duh!), and of course it is too much to expect him to correct his father’s errors and, to use Gore Vidal’s felicitous turn of phrase, American lies. It is sad to say, but Dud’s sheltered, perverse upbringing has forever warped his sense of reality. He has been left possession of meager reliable, extraordinary knowledge to share, which is too bad because he can write reasonably well and better than most people (50 percent) who have not enough wisdom worthy to express. This book is enjoyable to read because of the occasional restrained humorous remark; none occurs to me at the moment commendable to reproduce, however. “Pup was no stranger to bad reviews…’They might at least say that I write well.’” (page 173) But why could critics not conclude even this? It seems to me obvious: 1) the message delivered was so non-redeeming and 2) the writing was merely so-so. It would appear that the greatness of this writer lies in his number of words spoken and printed, as perverse as that is, but clearly he was a pervert of some sort (Vidal called him an hysterical queen; he should know the type). A word or two about the mother: “When it came to protecting her men, she turned into Boadicea, Warrior Queen.” (page 149) And so, so what is new? This is simple self-interest, primordial and bestial; the Buckley rep is nepotism, chauvinism, bigotry, and hatred (a.k.a. Conservatism). As drop-out from one of the easiest colleges to pass through (witness No. 43), clearly Mum was a pretty airhead, exactly the way Pup liked his women. That Mum also could hobnob with the best pretty airheads in New York is hardly praise for her IQ/knowledge/wit. The most striking thing to me about watching Firing Line was how nauseatingly dead Pup’s shear physical appearance was. Now it makes sense. He was a sot, druggie, and smoker whose exclusive form of physical activity was rare sadomasochistic sailing. I am so sorry for Dud. He has every right to his self-pity and there is no reason to grieve for his parents’ demise, only for their lifetime of torments of him. Only one word for it: tragic.
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