Hefner, Buckley, And Us

A reader writes:

Striking clip, for so many reasons - the pacing, the sobriety of the discussion, the way the director jumps into the conversation to throw it to commercial. But what's most striking about it is something we no longer have anywhere in today's media: real exploration of ideas among people whose ideas don't match.

Here we have Buckley, as conservative an icon as they come (if never a moralist), interviewing a man who, at the time, was considered a radical libertine. And he's actually asking him questions -- and allowing him to answer in-depth.

People actually explored real ideas back then. I'm sitting here mourning that loss. Can you imagine how someone like Sarah Palin would fare in that kind of culture? She wouldn't even exist. For that matter, can you imagine how different the public image of Obama would be?

He may not be more popular -- if he were to sit down with someone like Buckley and actually have a conversation (and if Americans were forced by the limits of their entertainment options to actually watch), a lot of the President's most ardent supporters might not actually like him, and plenty of his loudest detractors would adore him.

But at least the folks calling him a radical socialist would be laughed out of the room, because the people would know better.