William F. Buckley’s son Chris has a good column on the The New Republic reflecting on the death of author Gore Vidal, who had a long-running hatred of the elder Buckley. Vidal’s enmity dates back an infamous clash they had on television in 1968 in which Vidal called Buckley a “crypto-Nazi” and Buckley responded by saying he wanted “sock you in your goddammed face. And you’ll stay plastered.” Buckley added that Vidal should “get back to (making) his pornography.”
The younger Buckley adds a fascinating bit of context to the story:
A final footnote, and to my knowledge, not widely, if at all, known. If you look closely at the footage of the 1968 TVcontretemps between WFB and Vidal, you’ll see WFB trying to rise out of his chair at the moment of maximum heat. If you look very closely, you’ll see him physically straining, but something holding him back.
A few days before, he was sailing in Long Island Sound when a Coast Guard cutter zoomed past his sailboat, knocking him to the deck, breaking his collarbone. During the Chicago debates, he was wearing a clavicle brace. It’s possible that the brace prevented the moment from being truly iconic.