It’s interesting to note that several of these men, although diametrically at odds with Buckley on almost all political issues, were far from being his enemies. Macdonald was a yachting chum. Mailer was a pal. And Galbraith, despite the brickbats they frequently hurled at each other min print, was a man for whom Buckley felt immense affection. These ties of amity can seem baffling, to say the least. Mailer, after all, admired Castro, while Galbraith esteemed Mao - views that, one would expect, could not have filled Buckley with anything other than outrage. How, then, to explain these friendships?
I met Bill a number of times, long after I turned 9. I once had dinner with him. The explanation is that he was one of the most perfect gentlemen I have ever know. I learned much from him about how you go about being a gentleman.