William F. Buckley, who, despite his myriad activities, still found time to write books (The Rake, 2007; Last Call for Blackford Oakes, 2005), has died. From the Associated Press, via the Chicago Tribune (“William F. Buckley Jr. dies“):
“I am, I fully grant, a phenomenon, but not because of any speed in composition,” he wrote in The New York Times Book Review in 1986. “I asked myself the other day, ‘Who else, on so many issues, has been so right so much of the time?’ I couldn’t think of anyone.”
Buckley had for years been withdrawing from public life, starting in 1990 when he stepped down as top editor of the National Review. In December 1999, he closed down “Firing Line” after a 23-year run, when guests ranged from Richard Nixon to Allen Ginsberg. “You’ve got to end sometime and I’d just as soon not die onstage,” he told the audience.
Well, he was certainly right about that.