Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription: Notes and Asides from National ReviewPM

Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription: Notes and Asides from National ReviewPM

1 rating: 4.0
A book by William F. Buckley Jr.

Four decades of William F. Buckley Jr.'s famous (and infamous) wit in a volume that will be the political gift book of the season. Who knew that William F. Buckley Jr., the quintessential conservative, invented the blog decades before the World Wide … see full wiki

Author: William F. Buckley Jr.
Publisher: Basic Books
1 review about Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription: Notes...

Entertaining, personal, and worth returning to

  • Apr 23, 2008
With the publication of the wonderful Florence King's Stet, Damnit! in 2003 and WFB's "Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription" in 2007, National Review books are breaking new ground in the use of profanity in titles. Which is not a field in which I would have expected them to show such leadership. But since we have Buckley's own assurance in these pages (page 33, to be precise) that "goddam," as used, is profane but not blasphemous, sensitive readers should not be troubled.

William F. Buckley's books can be categorized, broadly, in two ways: books of conservative theory and practice (his collected columns, The Unmaking of a Mayor, etc.), and what could be termed personal indulgences (Overdrive: A Personal Documentary, the spy novels, and so on). This book is unquestionably an indulgence, and people who have little patience for Buckley and his well-established personality and voice will probably find this book, as they found him, infuriating. But for those of us who had great respect for the man and enjoyed watching him perform (no slight intended by use of that word), even when we may have disagreed with him, "Cancel Your Own..." is a joy to read and a foretaste of how much we will miss him in the future.

As the subtitle indicates, "Cancel Your Own..." is made up of excerpts and highlights from WFB's long-running "Notes and Asides" column in NR. The book, like N&A itself, included selected correspondence, sent and received, memoranda, and other comments and exchanges WFB considered worth sharing with a wider audience. As you'd expect from a collection he assembled himself (with the help of researchers acknowledged in the text), it shows Buckley at his best, whether smacking down a critic with airy ease, refusing to tolerate misquotation or mistranslation, or simply conducting internal or external business.

While personal favorites of mine include his ukase on the use of the serial comma, exchanges with Eric Alterman, and a magnificent letter from my hero Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn listing no fewer than 20 errors or linguistic or cultural solecisms in Buckley's Who's on First: A Blackford Oakes Mystery most any Buckley fan will be able to come up with their own list. On the other hand, Art Buchwald's strange obsession with Hertz rental cars, which he apparently thought was funny and about which he wrote WFB frequently, I found merely tiresome.

As many of his recent obituaries noted, WFB seems to have recognized in his final years that the rightist movement he did so much to create was already in its own final years and was being replaced by a very different kind of "conservatism." So much of Buckley's work now is mostly of historic interest (who reads Four Reforms: A Program for the Seventies or United Nations Journal: A Delegate's Odyssey for contemporary relevance any more?). Perhaps ironically, it's now those "indulgences" that draw us most strongly. I think "Cancel Your Own..." is a book people will keep returning to, and justly so.

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
What's your opinion on Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription: Not...?
1 rating: +4.0
You have exceeded the maximum length.
Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription: Notes and
Related Topics
Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of

A book by Justin Raimondo

Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of

A book by Bill Kauffman


2007 non-fiction book by Rons Lipsman

Where The Right Went Wrong

2004 non fiction book by Patrick J. Buchanan

© 2015 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since