The days are running out on 2010. This is the time to remember those who shuffled off this mortal coil before year’s end. I’d like to remember one gifted writer who is no stranger to older readers of the Victoria Advocate – Joseph Sobran.
Older readers of the Victoria Advocate may recall reading his columns. Sobran had been a senior editor and regular contributor to National Review. He also published a book about Shakespeare, and lent his name to several others with explanatory comments about the Bard.
Encomia in the wake of his passing poured in from all parts. Ann Coulter composed a valedictory which I'm sure caused a great deal of dyspepsia among liberals, assuming they know what dyspepsia means. ("Soda machines with nothing but Coke, right?")
National Review published two tributes to the late writer. The staff obituary reminded us of the power of his prose: "Have these pages ever been graced by a smoother stylist? Light but forceful, sweet but strong, funny without descending to bitchery on one hand or cuteness on the other: Joe's voice was unmistakable and inimitable."
Sobran was at his peak before the fall of the Berlin Wall. His later years, unfortunately, were not his best. His base began to shrink, and his mentor William F. Buckley parted company with him over perceived anti-Semitism. Happily, the two were reunited before the latter’s death.
A lengthy tribute by Matthew Scully – “Bard of the Right” - is filled with reminiscences, samples and memorable quotes:
Anything called a program is unconstitutional.
Freedom is coming to mean little more than the right to ask permission.
Politics is the conspiracy of the unproductive but organized against the productive but unorganized.
Abortion might be called the single issue about which you mustn't be a single-issue voter.
In the Catholic Church it takes several centuries for a doctrine to become a dogma. In progressive circles the same process can be achieved within months.
He was an avid baseball fan, ardent defender of innocent human life and devout Catholic. Joseph Sobran wielded a boxcutter in a world filled with sawdust Caesars. He knew just where to make the slit to let the sawdust trickle slowly out.
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