Saturday, March 08, 2008

Magazine Report


In this week's New Yorker, Editor David Remnick defines Russian strong man Putin by his KGB past. The thinking: "Once KGB, always KGB."

I wonder if Remnick would apply this to the CIA: "Once CIA, always CIA."

This week's Newsweek has a cover story on the death of William F. Buckley. They pass over in light-hearted fashion the year he spent after Yale as a CIA agent. A meaningless fling? Maybe-- but years later Buckley wrote a series of novels devoted to the agency.

By "CIA" we mean not simply the government, but what for many years was a government within the government. We mean a mindset existing within the agency and outside it, which might best be described as "aggressive eastern establishment."

Buckley is regarded as the father of modern American conservatism. His journal, National Review, was founded in 1955 (two years after Paris Review). Buckley is being praised far and wide for having chased the "wackos" out of the conservative movement-- which means, in part, those who followed the original anti-Imperialist vision of this nation.

In Newsweek, praise for Buckley is given even by Nation Editor and Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, renowned Lefty, though Buckley and her had little in common. But they had a great deal in common in that both came from backgrounds of extreme-- extreme-- wealth and privilege, and no doubt circulated at many of the same Manhattan and D.C. functions and parties.

Which indicates to me that class is more important than ideology in this country-- or maybe that the core, fundamental ideology of establishment "Right" and "Left" is the same.

You see, many questions are raised. . . .

In a sense, the ultra-wealthy deserve the power they wield over intellectual debate, because they're willing to fight for that power, by starting or buying intellectual journals, as the careers of Buckley and vanden Heuvel indicate.

1 comment:

FDW said...

Even Buckley once in a blue moon had an American poet on "Firing Line".
I've seem footage of his interview-- all interviews were debates for the Brahmin-- with Allen Ginsberg from the late 60's or 70's or whatever.
He puts Ginsberg on the spot at one point like "if the poet is so wonnerful and important-- make something up off the top of yr, hairy head". Prompted AG promtly spins an original verse for the TV cameras.
There's a short pause immeadiately after this Beatnik feet and Buckley sez something to the effect of," That was really good, I enjoyed that. Thank you."
Pretty cool.
WE all watched-- the intellectuals that is-- Firing Line in high school really to listen to this old chestnut's virtuosity with Reason, Common Sense, and the American language.
He was also an alternative but only one back then to putting up with the stinking hippies who me and my thinking buddies couldn't identify with many times because of our younger sandwich generation ages.

Right on about the CIAKGB tho!
Personally I like Putin better than Bush if it came down down to IT.