September 15, 2011

An interview that would never take place today.

One thing you have to say about the Firing Line series hosted by William F. Buckley was that he never shrank from an opportunity to book a controversial guest. Even though fireworks famously flew (as in the case of Noam Chomsky), it did make for good theater.

One example is the famous interview Buckley did with former Black Panther co-founder Huey P. Newton, which was originally broadcast in February 1973.

Huey P. Newton: “The question is; during the Revolution of 1776 when the United States of America broke away from England, my friend would like to know, which side would you have been on during that time?”

William F. Buckley: “I think probably I would have been on, been on . . . the side of George Washington, I’m not absolutely sure. Because it remains to be established historically whether what we sought to prove at that point might not have been proved by more peaceful means. On the whole, I’m against revolutions. I think, as revolutions go, that was a pretty humane one.”

Huey P. Newton: “You’re not such a bad guy after all. My friend will be surprised to hear that.”

It goes rapidly downhill from there. A five minute video clip of this interview has been around for some time. This is the complete one hour interview and it covers a wide variety of subjects asked in the inimitable Buckley fashion with answers in the inimitable Newton fashion.

Ah, the 70's.

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