Jeet Heer Profile picture
22 Feb, 7 tweets, 2 min read
1. When L. Brent Bozell, Jr. died in 1997, he was often treated as a once brilliant mind who had become a fringe crank, over shadowed by his brother-in-law William F. Buckley. Buckley was the conservative mainstream, Bozell the discarded extremist. But that's not true.
2. Buckley and Bozell had the kind of lives that make a perfect novel: both scions of wealthy families, best buds at Yale, brothers by Bozell's marriage to Buckley's favorite sister, collaborators in McCarthyism & conservatism, and then a falling out over jealousy & politics
3. In 1960s Buckley became the ultimate establishment insider, the pal of Kissinger, the palatable face of the right for PBS & mainstream media, while Bozell took up seeming lost causes (Carlist monarchism, anti-abortion violence). Yet in 2021 Bozell legacy looms maybe larger
4. After Trump presidency, it's Buckley style establishment conservatism that seems marginal, caught between irrelevance of Never Trumpers and the impossibility of putting an intellectual shine on Trumpism. While Bozell's legacy of theocracy & authoritarianism is everywhere.
5. After January 6, where his grandson took part in storming of capital, can we really say L. Brent Bozell Jr. is irrelevant? With the rising of a new cohort of Catholic integralist, is Bozell merely of antiquarian interest?
6. There have been 4 L. Brent Bozells. Bozell Sr: union buster in 1930s, Bozell Jr. advocated pre-emptive nuclear attack on Russia in 1950s, III said Obama looks like skinny, ghetto crackhead", Bozell IV took part in Capitol riot in 2021.
7. To paraphrase Oliver Wendall Holmes, four generations of L. Brent Bozell is enough! But there will be more L. Brent Bozells in the future, as I explain here.…

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More from @HeerJeet

23 Feb
For my Buckley/Bozell piece I didn't go enough into how off the rail (sometimes in good ways) Bozell was in 1960s/1970s when he rejected standard Republicanism for open revolt. Started praising Black Power, Irish republicanism & spelling America as Amerika.
Bozell in 1970s as described by his biographer: "As enemies of the American civil order, Catholics should make their hostility plain to see. For example, they -- and especially the bishops -- should boycott patriotic and civic celebrations."
Bozell: "The Constitution has not only failed, it was bound to fail. The architects of our constitutional order built a house in which secular liberalism could live, and given the dominant urges of the age, would live. The time has come to leave that house and head for home."
Read 8 tweets
23 Feb
1. I have an idea for a Netflix series but don't know anyone in Hollywood. So the pitch: Yelling Stop: The Buckleys, the Bozells, & the American Century. Starring William F. Buckley, L. Brent Bozell, Franco, Goldwater, Kissinger, Thatcher, Reagan, the Bushes etc.
2. Season One: Paterfamilias. William F. Buckley Sr. chased out of Mexico by revolution, because a reactionary. Raises 10 kids, feuds with FDR, celebrates Franco. 4 of the kids burn a cross in Jewish household. L. Brent Bozell Sr. breaks strike.
3. Season 2. Sons: 1940-1960s. Bozell Sr. is on verge of converting to Catholicism with son but dies. Bozell Jr. goes to Yale, meets William F. Buckley Jr., bond as anti-communists. WFB joins CIA & works with E. Howard Hunt (a recurring minor character).
Read 11 tweets
19 Feb
1. Ted Cruz's current travails are a good occasion to revisit the single best piece of writing on the Texas Senator: @DouthatNYT description of Cruz as the Kenneth Widmerpool of American conservatism.
2. Widmerpool (pictured below) is the anti-hero of Anthony Powell 12-volume roman fleuve A Dance to the Music of Time. A delightfully detestable character, Widmerpool is graceless and awkward, a social climber without a moral code, an unloved go-getter.
3. Hitchens on Widmerpool: "A monster of arrogance & conceit, but entirely wanting in pride. Bullying to those below him, servile & fawning to those set in authority, entirely without wit or introspection, he is that type of tirelessly ambitious, sexless, & charmless mediocrity"
Read 4 tweets
17 Feb
1. Since some people aren't aware of why the name L. Brent Bozell IV is so resonate, it's worth underscoring that the Bozells, intertwined with the Buckleys, have been a political dynasty going back a century, shaping GOP politics on everything from abortion to courts to media.
2. These two charmers -- Pinky & the Brain -- are L. Brent Bozell, Jr. and William F. Buckley, Jr. -- sons of wealthy conservative fathers who met at Yale, collaborated on a book defending Joe McCarthy and founded National Review.
3. This is an accurate lineage of the Bozells. What's key to understand is that Bozell Jr. & Buckley, Jr. were both scions of already very right-wing families. When Bozell, Jr. married Pat Buckley, the two dynasties merged.
Read 14 tweets
16 Feb
1. Our 9-year old daughter Bella, in collaboration with her two best friends, just published her first book, The Discovery Girls (with stipend from mommy & daddy). This almost got her banned from Facebook. A true story of cancel culture.
1. The villain of The Discovery Girls is "Jhon McBobb AKA The Evil Captain" (pictured below). While exchanging notes about John McBob on Facebook messenger with her friends Bella described him in harsh terms ("horrible" and "stupid"). Facebook didn't like that.
2. Facebook Messenger kept telling Robin and me that Bella was using abusive language and would soon be banned. But it was all about a fictional character, Jhon McBob, AKA The Evil Captain!
Read 9 tweets
15 Feb
1. So Trump has been twice impeached & twice acquitted. What now? It's important to keep our eyes on the prize: the goal is to create a broad coalition that will render Trump a pariah & de-Trumpify America.
2. The impeachments left mixed results but one heartening fact is that in 2nd impeachment we see a genuine bipartisan rejection of Trump: aside from Dems, 10 GOP house members & 7 Senators voted against Trump. A small wedge has opened up between Trump & GOP. Needs to widen.
3. Lots of reasons to want Trump to be ostracized, not all of which are partisan or ideological: his racism, his corruption, his incitement to violence. This is stuff that some Republicans and even some people who identify with Trump's populist nationalism strongly dislike.
Read 4 tweets

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