Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, They Stink: WFB on the Beatles


The always-innerestin' site 10 Zen Monkeys has posted a fun tribute of William F. Buckley, Jr., titled "The Collected Controversies." There's a lot of good stuff there, including the National Review founder's dumping on the Fab Four:

In a 1964 essay titled "Yeah Yeah Yeah, They Stink," Buckley had written that the Beatles were not merely awful: "I would consider it sacrilegious to say anything less than that they are godawful." His diatribe acknowledged the National Review critic who argued that after Sinatra's twitches and Elvis's thrusts, future entertainers would have to wrestle live octopuses. "The Beatles didn't in fact do this," Buckley wrote, "but how one wishes they did!"

"And how one wishes the octopus would win."

10ZM also includes his rarely citied final rejoinder to Gore Vidal in their famous TV bitchfest ("Go back to [your] pornography"), a mention of a dreadful novel about Elvis Presley, and this quote that all conservatives should read closely:

"Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great."

(One controversy that's missing: Buckley's and National Review's odious defense of state-enforced segregation.) 

Whole 10 Zen Monkeys, well worth reading, thing here.

I've been trying to track down video of Buckley's great Firing Line interview with Jack Keroauc, the king of the Beats last TV spot (I believe) and a real melding of two very different conservative minds, but can't find it online anywhere, alas.

The editor of The New York Times Book Review and author of a fantastic bio on Whittaker Chambers, Sam Tanenhaus, has a Q&A about WFB here. (Tanenhaus is writing a bio of Buckley too).

Update: Commenter Xmas below points to the Kerouac Firing Line interview here.