“Now listen here, you queer,” William F. Buckley told Gore Vidal on national TV in 1968, “stop calling me a crypto-Nazi, or I’ll sock you in the face, and you’ll stay plastered.”
These days, I suppose that’s what we would call a “hard conversation.”
No, this is not America’s first rodeo.
Yesterday on Facebook a donnybrook broke out between me and Mark Ragan, who hired me out of college in 1992.
He probably doesn’t remember this, but toward the end of our interview, which was over lunch, he asked me who I would be voting for, Bush or Clinton.
“Oh, Clinton for sure,” I said brightly. “For me, it’s all about abortion!”
And so began a 30-year relationship characterized by appropriate professional boundaries and good sense.
I’ve gone round and round with Mark—and actually much more frequently, with a lot of other friends and colleagues over many years.
But in these Trump years, I have lost my appetite to fight with old friends—even old rivals—of which Mark has been both.
Lost it entirely.
Even though I occasionally write things that wittingly or unwittingly annoy.
But this feels like the kind of fist-fighting that breaks out from being crowded in the same rotten, stinking trench too long.
It’s natural. But come on, boys, let’s knock it off. We’ve still got a battle to win.