Monday, February 20, 2017

Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription

Cancel your Own Goddam SubscriptionCancel Your Own Goddam Subscription: Notes & Asides from National Review by William F Buckley Jr, 275 pages

For nearly four decades, National Review ran a regular column titled "Notes & Asides", curated by founder William F Buckley, collecting odds and ends of correspondence to and from the magazine.  The flotsam and jetsam collected in Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription includes a letter from a high school student wanting to know what "to immanetize the eschaton" means, a note from Ted Kennedy correcting the record on his Senate votes, and the announcement of the formation of the National Committee to Horsewhip Drew Pearson*.  Space is also devoted to grammatical questions such as whether Americans insert superfluous prepositions into phrases ("early on", "enter into the fray") and the common origins of the words "heist" and "hoist", as well as dispatches from Buckley's battles with unions representing the printing trades, television and radio artists, and film actors.

There is no disguising the fact that most of what is presented here is less amusing now than it probably was when it was first published.  The running gags sometimes drag and the in-jokes fall flat.  Still, even if not quite "exfoliated daily from angels' wings", Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription contains more wit and amusement than most books.

* - Because of what he said about Shirley Temple Black.**

** - Whatever that was.

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