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The Buchanan Canon

In response to:

The Golden 'Blade' from the February 13, 1992 issue

To the Editors:

Garry Wills’ article “The Golden ‘Blade’ ” [NYR, February 13] contains a number of errors.

  1. I met Jeffrey Hart, the Dartmouth English teacher who, along with his son, launched The Dartmouth Review…” Also: “Buckley helped launch the magazine…”

In fact, neither Bill Buckley nor I had anything to do with launching The Dartmouth Review.

The principal launcher was Gregory Fossedal, a Dartmouth senior, who had been removed as editor of the official Dartmouth student newspaper—for supporting the candidacy of a conservative trustee candidate. Fossedal then decided to start his own paper.

When he told me that his new paper would be called The Dartmouth Review, I told him the title was too beige.

  1. So The Dartmouth Review is “famous for its mockery of blacks, gays, and indigenous Americans.” There in fact has been no such “mockery.” There have been wild charges, which apparently Wills credits.

  2. Next, the famous four gentile names listed as likely to be soldiers in the Gulf War, while, according to Buchanan, such names as Kissinger, Perle, and Krauthammer belonged to people promoting the war.

Wills: “The main thing [said Hart] he has on him is his use of the four names of kids who would do the fighting. There are no Anglo-Saxon names there, either.”

Now that is quite clever. I wish I had thought of it and said it.

It took me a moment to figure it out. My supposed point there is that there are no recognizably British names in the list of four (“Anglo-Saxon” equals English). The word “Anglo-Saxon” seems archaic to me, is not in my working vocabulary, and in any case I did not say it. Possibly the name “McAllister” would have qualified. I don’t know. As usual, to put it politely, Garry Wills erases the distinction between reporting and creative writing.

Jeffrey Hart
Professor of English
Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire

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