Wed., Nov. 5, 7:30pm. $7-$14. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322. www.library.phila.gov
I can't imagine that when they booked him, the Free Library of Philadelphia had any idea how controversial Christopher Buckley's appearance might be. In a normal, everyday world, Buckley is a fairly well-known political satirist, journalist and humorist. He's the author of, most famously, Thank You for Smoking, the zingy lobbyist satire that was turned into a movie of the same name. In 2004 he won the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and he edited Forbes Life magazine for nearly two decades while writing other successful books. His new novel, Supreme Courtship, imagines what would happen if a TV judge got appointed to the Supreme Court. The Washington Post called it uproar-ious. Buckley's done well for himself despite heavy expectations; his father was William F. Buckley Jr., the scion of the modern conservative movement. But now he's has become something of a symbol of the discontent that's shadowing his father's inheritance--particularly in the case of the WFB-founded National Review. After Buckley, a Review columnist, endorsed Obama in Tina Brown's Daily Beast--a new online project by the one-time New Yorker editor--Review readers became apoplectic. As Buckley wrote on the Beast, "The only thing the Right can't quite decide is whether I should be boiled in oil or just put up against the wall and shot. Lethal injection would be too painless." Buckley offered to resign his affiliation, and the current regime accepted with alacrity, sounding a death knell for critical thinking at Review and heralding a rebellious new yawp of Buckley family wisdom over at the Beast. As for his Free Library gig, there's no man I'd rather be with post-Election Day than Buckley, someone who spoke his mind not in defiance of his family legacy but in honor of it.