Sentencing (Movies): Best of Enemies

Mole: This talking head documentary chronicles the Gore Vidal – William F. Buckley debates covering the 1968 Democratic and Republic convention which aired on ABC, until then a fledgling network. It also points to where television audiences first whet their appetite for political punditry that goes for the jugular. It’s quite entertaining to watch Vidal, the pompous and preening poster boy for the left, verbally spar against Buckley, the sinister looking poster boy for conservatism in such a high-falutin’ way.  They’re both pretty insufferable, although Buckley, with his reptilian skin, pale blue eyes and shark like teeth comes closer to resembling a Bond villain.  The climax of the debates and the film, in which Vidal calls Buckley “a crypto-Nazi” and Buckley responds by calling Vidal a queer who he’d like to sock in the jaw, is shocking, even by today’s over the top standards.

Ratty: I loved this movie. I mean I completely despised these two but I couldn’t get enough of them sniping at each other. They’re pretty much the same guy with opposite political beliefs. I wish this kind of cold, hyper intelligent, WASPy debating hadn’t fallen out of favor. I also wish people still threatened each other with a “socking”. I feel like there’d be a lot less fights if people said, “I’m going to sock you” cause it sounds like one person is suggesting they’ll put socks on the other person. It just sounds nice and comfortable. Like, “I’m going to give you a good slippering” or, “Keep that up and you’ll get a silk kimono!”.

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