From Thomas Mallon’s very fine review of Kevin M. Schultz’s somewhat less fine (but still worth reviewing) Buckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties:
Rather than giving his subjects the hook, Schultz would have been better off with a coda that looks beyond the Reagan years—less transformative than Buckley wished and Mailer no doubt feared—to the current moment. A half century beyond the sixties, when the self-actualizing plea to be “a name and not a number” first attained urgency, Everyman, with each click of the keyboard, now embraces his digitization, sells his privacy for a mess of algorithms used to orchestrate a world neither libertarian nor socialist, an app-happy Cloud of anesthetized convenience. If one is going to evaluate Mailer’s and Buckley’s complementary opposition to the liberal ethos of their time, one ought to carry the examination toward a conclusion as grim as it is inescapable: both men lost.
It’s always such a pleasure to read well-written things. I can’t understand why I keep forgetting that, and more importantly, why I don’t seek it out more often.