November 28, 2020

Gen Z Conservative

The thoughts of a young conservative on political issues relevant to all ages

but enough about you

Review of But Enough About You by Christopher Buckley

Introduction

If you are a conservative that likes to read the National Review, you might recognize the last name of the author of But Enough About You, which is Buckley. Christopher Buckley, the author, is the son of William F. Buckely, the founder of the National Review and one of the men who has done the most for conservatism.

However, that is only a coincidence, it is not what made me want to read But Enough About You. In truth, Christopher Buckley is an excellent author that manages to convey a message while also being funny and witty. He has made a name for himself as an excellent author not because of who his father is but because of his own ability.

And what a great ability it is. I first heard of him while watching the movie Thank You for Smoking, which is about tobacco lobbyists. I then read a few more of his books, such as The Relic Master (which is a satirical book about a relic salesman in the Holy Roman empire during the early Renaissance), They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? (which is a satirical book about defense lobbying and tensions with China), and Supreme Courtship (which is a great satirical book about the politicization of the Supreme Court).

However, given that this is a conservative blog, I do think I should not that Christopher Buckley, unlike his father, is a moderate liberal. He is not a radical, many of the essays in But Enough About You defend the military, Reagan, and HW Bush. But, he certainly is not an emphatic conservative like his father.

In any case, as I hope you will see in this review of But Enough About You, it is a great collection of Christopher Buckley’s best essays from over the years and is a book you should read if you are an aspiring writer or just want to read something funny.

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Summary of But Enough About You by Christopher Buckley

But Enough About You by Christopher Buckley is unlike his other books. While it is still, in certain sections, a book so funny that it will make you start laughing hysterically, it is not completely satirical. Many essays in it are, but he also includes a book review section and a section on some of his favorite authors. And although the essays in those sections might contain a few humorous lines, they are more serious than funny.




Additionally, unlike Christopher’s other works, But Enough About You is a collection of essays he has written over the years, mainly for Forbes, rather than a novel. That means that it is not about any coherent subject but is instead about whatever topic was on his mind the day he was writing. From book reviews to an entire section on traveling France to a chapter on martinis, But Enough About You contains a vast array of topics, so there is something in it to interest everyone.

Because so many topics are discussed in But Enough About You, I cannot do much more of a summary of it. There are book reviews, satirical and funny essays, deep dives into the lives of his favorite authors, a section on France and its beauty, and a section on politics.

And, all the essays were written by 2012 or before, they are not as angry or political as what you might expect from a semi-liberal political author today. Instead, they are just informative and funny. They strike deep at the root of human nature and expose things about people that everyone thinks are funny. It is comedy, book reviews, and wonderful essays about life in Washington and France. Not an angry rant from a bitter leftist.

the author of but enough about you
Author Christopher Buckley book signing and conversation at the LBJ Library and Museum Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in Austin, Texas. (Photo/Harry Cabluck)Licensed to the LBJ Library and Museum. No restrictions.

My Take on But Enough About You

If you like to laugh, then you will certainly like But Enough About You. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from some of the best and funniest essays it:




  1. Trump: The Inaugural (from way before Trump actually ran)- “That about covers it. I have to go, because important senators and congressmen are giving me a lavish luncheon in the Rotunda behind me here. I understand they’re serving a lot of jumbo shrimp. Basically, they’re trying to impress me so I won’t cancel their highway projects and ethanol subsidies. I know how they do things. Now they’re going to figure out how I do things.”
  2. Post-Taliban Afghanistan: A Guide to the Key Players- “Bulnadir Glublubaddin, 46. Pashtun. Warlord. Ruled Afghanistan for five hours (1992) until he was overthrown by his cousin Abdulnadir. Since ’92, has lived in London but has been unable to find full-time employment as warlord. A self-styled “liberal,” he allows his four wives to speak to one another twice a year on feast days, and even allows them to wald ahead of him, though his political rivals suggest that this is due to his fear of land mines.”
  3. Thank You for Not Warning Me (on adding graphic warnings to cigarette labels and the nanny state): “Some decades ago, not content with snatching Marlboros and Twinkies and soda pops from our hands, Nanny decided that she should also be in charge of the national sense of humor. This new rule became Political Correctness. PC is the voce we hear from the back of the room after the laughter has subsided, saying, ‘That’s not funny.’ The importance of being earnest, but not quite Oscar Wilde’s version.
  4. What’s a Body to Do?- “After 1991, Ilya looked up his file in the KGB archives and learned that he and his father had been denounced in 1949 for ‘counterrevolutionary conversations.’ There in the margin of the report he saw Stalin’s handwriting: ‘Must not be touched until a substitute is found.’ That was job security in Soviet Russia, circa 1949.”
  5. I Like to Drink a Martini (on why he loves martinis and the show Mad Men, which also happen to by my favorite drink and show, respectively)- “Oh, for the early 1960s, when America ruled the world and its captains of industry drank three martinis for lunch. Now, in our decline, they drink fizzy water.”

As you can hopefully see from those outtakes of some of the funnier essays in But Enough About You can see why it is such a great book. Christopher Buckley is funny, witty, and able to strike at the root of any issue.

Furthermore, he’s not some self-obsessed, crazy leftist. He’s probably moderately liberal, and that does show occasionally, but he is in no way a radical. He was a speechwriter in conservative administrations and was a big supporter of both HW Bush and Ronald Reagan.

Because of that, I think that But Enough About You is a book that conservatives should read. It shows that although many Democrats are radical Marxists, not all of them are. A large chunk, the Christopher Buckley types, are somewhat socially liberal and not very religious, but also are not advocates of Big Government and don’t like political correctness. Nor do they want to tear down traditional American culture. You can hopefully see that in the outtakes above.

I think conservatives need to remember that. We might feel like we are only dealing with radicals, which makes it harder to have conversations with people on the other side or for politicians to “reach across the aisle” to solve problems. In reality, there are Democrats that can be reasoned with. We just have to try to reason with them.




Finally, I liked But Enough About You because it shows that Christopher Buckley is well read. If you just read his satirical novels, you probably wouldn’t gather that. But, if you read this collection of his essays, then you can see how he draws from the works and ideas of other authors and understands Western literary history. I think that is something important for all aspiring writers to read, as it shows that, if you want to be a great writer, you can’t just be a fiction writer. You also have to be a reader of serious works and learn from them.

Conclusion

I know that some of y’all might be turned off of But Enough About You because of the fact that Christopher Buckley is not a conservative. But I think that would be misguided. Yes, he has a number of jokes about Trump (although all are from before Trump ever ran). And yes, he does occasionally make fun of conservatives. But, generally, But Enough About You is not a political book. It is instead just a collection of interesting and funny essays. If you have a sense of humor, you’ll love it.

By: Gen Z Conservative


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