Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 42 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




 

 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 7, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 31
Best of Enemies a fascinating political commentary
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Best of Enemies a fascinating political commentary

by Gary M. Kramer - SGN Contributing Writer

BEST OF ENEMIES
SEVEN GABLES
Opening August 14


The highly entertaining and extremely engaging documentary, Best of Enemies, presents the ten famous televised debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. during the 1968 presidential nominating conventions. Directors Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) and Robert Gordon show how these compulsively watchable arguments 'changed television forever.' They provide astute portraits of both men - the 'great debater,' Buckley, and the 'great talker,' Vidal - to show how evenly matched they were - and how much they despised one another. The film builds to that famous heated moment in the ninth debate, where Buckley responds to Vidal calling him a 'crypto-Nazi' by calling him a 'queer.' It is breathtaking, even for folks who know or remember the moment.

Gordon spoke with Seattle Gay News via phone, and Neville participated in an email exchange to discuss their film and the two public intellectuals whose arguments make them the Best of Enemies.

Gary Kramer: What prompted you to make this film and use the Buckley-Vidal debates as the fulcrum for exploring the current state of affairs?

Robert Gordon: I was raised with Buckley and Vidal in my consciousness. When I saw the debates in 2010, I was so struck by how contemporary they were, and how they anticipated the culture wars and articulated them so well.

Morgan Neville: We were transfixed by the debates and the characters of Vidal and Buckley themselves. It felt like a great drama being played by two intellectuals who understood how to play their characters. We intrinsically felt that these debates said something about news today and the role of commentary, but it wasn't until we really got into working on the film that we realized just how deep this ran.

GK: How did you prepare for the film?

MN: My first job after college was working as a fact checker for Gore at The Nation magazine. I knew his work and I knew his temperament. He wasn't easy to work for. Buckley was someone I only knew as a TV fixture, almost a caricature. Each man created a formidable amount of words throughout their lives. Part of the fun of making the film was going down the rabbit hole into their oeuvres.

RG: In 2010, it didn't occur to me that most of the public would be unfamiliar with Buckley and Vidal. Very few people under 40 are familiar with these guys. As we grasped that, we realized that the story needed a sense of history and context to place it, to explain these two guys.

GK: How did you strive to make Best of Enemies so evenhanded, or is there a subtle favoritism?

RG: We've had people believe it goes both ways. Look at how these guys are engaging to try to change people's minds. The notion of a public intellectual is anathema today. They are dueling in this verbal bloodsport to save the nation. The film is a eulogy to public intellectuals.

MN: We decided from the start that we didn't want to make a film about the arguments, as much as make a film about how we argue. It's the meta-conversation that seemed most important. What does TV do to deal with people in a democracy? What role does it play in what brings us together and what divides us? We also wanted to portray a relationship, not a full biography of each man. At some level, we felt we had to empathize with each of them to understand that.

GK: How much you think Vidal's sexuality played into his celebrity and Buckley's hatred?

MN: There was gay baiting in the debates by both men from the start. Vidal's sexuality was in deep conflict with Buckley's pre-Vatican II Catholicism. Vidal enjoyed this, though he embraced the radicalness of his moral ideas more than playing on his sexuality directly. Vidal did needle Buckley about his own sexuality. I think he did this not thinking about the politics or message of it, but rather because he thought it would rattle Buckley. And it did. Oddly, through his wife, Buckley became friendly with a large circle of gay New Yorkers. He was, by most accounts, a fairly tolerant person is his private life. Vidal had a special role as his bete noire.

GK: Why do you think the two men were so good together? Was it because they brought out the worst in the other?

RG: There are qualities in each that are to be admired. One aspect of this is and what attracted me: the high minded on the low road. That's what gets them. You think they'd stay out of name-calling, but that's where they ended up.

© 2015 Gary M. Kramer

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

2015 Leo Party gears up for fabulous party to benefit Seattle Counseling Service and Camp Ten Trees
------------------------------
A historical gem: Don Giovanni in Berlin
------------------------------
Before 'Glee,' there was Diverse Harmony
------------------------------
Doe Bay Fest sells out again in its 8th year
------------------------------
OUTBOUND: Hamburg hosts largest, longest-running Gay and Lesbian film festival in October
------------------------------
Hold These Truths is a MUST SEE - and bring everyone you know!
------------------------------
Lady Chablis debuts 'I Love You Anyway' single on iTunes
------------------------------
Tap House Grill hosts IPA Week August 13-23
------------------------------
The Buckaroos - '50 Bales of Hay' a solid good time
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Eric Hutchinson on opening for Kelly Clarkson, his favorite Seattle restaurant, and luggage
------------------------------
Best of Enemies a fascinating political commentary
------------------------------
Breathtaking Silence confronts evil face-to-face
------------------------------
Edgerton's Gift an unsettling psychological stunner
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News 2015 - DigitalTeamWorks 2015

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News