Henry Fairlie

Television's Love Affair With John F. Kennedy

The New Republic Covers The Assassination of JFK

To read more of The New Republic's coverage of the Kennedy Assassination, click here. 

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George Will, the columnist and longtime staple of ABC's 'This Week' is leaving the network for Fox News, where he debuts today. Here's what The New Republic's legendary Henry Fairlie wrote about him in 1986.

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"Here once the embattled farmers stood And fired the shot heard round the world."  —Hymn sung at the completion of the Battle Monument, Concord, July 4, 1837   The claim in Emerson's line is expansive. Can it be true that the shot was heard round the world—when there were no satellites, no television, no radio, no telephone? Let us see. It then took from five to six weeks for news to cross the Atlantic.

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Hamalot

  The elect and the elected, Robert Lowell said in "Washington in Spring," come here bright as dimes, and stay until they are soft and disheveled. As if acting out the line, there was Edward Moore Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee, conjuring feelings of sympathy and support for Judge Bork every time he intervened. There is hardly a personal tragedy in the husk that he has so patently become, because there never was enough of a nut inside it for even a squirrel to nibble on.

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The Screwtape Columns

Right Reason  By William F. Buckley, Jr. edited by Richard Brookisher (Doubleday, 454 pp., $19.95) On the cover of this latest collection of William Buckley's newspaper columns is the photograph (presumably he had a say in selecting it) of a man ill at ease with himself, looking out on the world as if from a battlement, fearing that some blow must fall from an unexpected quarter. The head is held taut, hunched back on his shoulders, as if it had once been severed, sewn back on, and can be moved now only stiffly, as in fact he moves it on television.

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The fault is in the speakers, and in the hearers, too.

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I had reported from some twenty-four countries before I set foot in America. I will never forget the first shock—even after having been in every country from the Sudan to South Africa—at realizing that I was in another place entirely, a New World. In the casbah of Algiers during the first referendum called by de Gaulle in 1959, when the women hurrying down the steep streets to vote for the first time pulled their yashmaks around their faces as they passed a man (which seemed to me only to make their dark eyes more fascinating), I was still in the Old World, however strange it was.

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Once upon a time—between September 1913 and February 1936—there was Vanity Fair. A quarter of a century after it folded, Cleveland Amory called it “America’s most memorable magazine,” and only a curmudgeon would quarrel with that accolade. It inspired an unusual fondness in both its contributors and its readers when it was alive, and amazingly its reputation still inspires much the same fondness in those who have never turned its pages. It is understandable that Condé Nast Publications Inc., the firm descended from the original publisher, should have been tempted to revive it.

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I must be clear about the terms that I will use. By female I mean the biological, what is given with the gender. The dictionary leaves no doubt about this. The female is the bearer of the young, of which the male is the begetter. No definition of the female will bear scrutiny if it does not center on the biological function of carrying the young or the egg. By feminine I mean, not what is given, but what is acquired: What is cultivated, not what is biological.

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It is hard to remind people who do not know Washington that it is also just a city, which carries on its own life even as “the elect and the elected” come here, stay for a time, and mostly then depart. “The smell of power hangs over the city like cordite,” says Harry McPherson, one of the most intelligent and literate of the assistants to Lyndon Johnson; and now we are told that the scent of money clings round the city, as it never has before, like the heavy fragrance of the tulip trees in bloom. Both no doubt are true.

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