A very special homosexual historical moment brought to you by Mary.

History can be depressing. We all know how “history” is going to turn out, and it’s also disappointingly not so different from the present

In 1968 America was embroiled in The Vietnam War. An American backed militia raged against the Soviet Union sponsored communist Viet Cong for the hearts, minds and sterling property rights of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Some Conservatives (and not so conservative, it was partly JFK’s and Lyndon B Johnson’s war after all) felt the war was a valid fight for democracy and containment against an unholy threat, while many on the far left felt American participation in Vietnam was basically US nation building gone amuck. Hmmm sound familiar children?

During the ’68 Democratic National Convention, held in Chicago, local police violently cracked down on anti-war demonstrators who were protesting the Vietnam War in Grant Park. In his sedate ABC studio, newsman Howard K. Smith asked noted WASP, conservative thinker, gin drinker, and National Review founder William F Buckley and intellectual, novelist, MSM,* and professional “bon mot” dispenser Gore Vidal to comment on the fracas in Grant Park.

Vidal felt the Grant Park melee was a horrid representation of police brutality; Buckley felt it was a case of dangerous un-American proclivities/sentiment being held in check. The exchange between the two things got heated and personal:

The fighting between Buckley and Vidal went on for years and years and years, with libel suits between the two being thrown around like cheap mink coats. Vidal got the last word on the hostility with Buckley, because he simply lived longer. One of the grand perks of out living your enemies is that you can read your nemeses for filth and they can’t say boo. (Editor’s note: see also Cristina Crawford.)

When William Buckley died in 2008, Vidal released this statement:

Although Buckley was often drunk and out of control, he was always a spontaneous liar on any subject that his dizzy brain might extrude. When we were in Chicago during the Republican convention, the Chicago police decided it would be fun to attack the young co-ed demonstrators in Grant Park, not far from our studio. It was one of the worst displays of police brutality I’ve ever seen, and so I said on air; he liked what the police had done; in no time, the whole country was as shocked as I, but not Buckley. On air he was hissing like a cobra against the young people in Grant Park because, he said, they were egging on the VietCong to kill American Marines. They were not, of course. Buckley was a world-class American liar on the far right who would tell any lie he thought he could get away with. Years of ass-kissing famous people in the press and elsewhere had given him, he felt, a sort of license to libelously slander those hated liberals who, from time to time, smoked him out as I did in Chicago, when I defended the young people in Grant Park by denying that they were Nazis and that the only “pro- or crypto-Nazi” I could think of was himself.

*MSM=MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN. Vidal believes that “gayness” is an act, not necessarily a state of being.

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