Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. “The Avant Garde”

Firing Line Videos, Hoover Institution, taped on May 7, 1968, uploaded to YouTube on August 15, 2010.

Guest: Allen Ginsberg


Some installments of Firing Line would not lose much if the video faded out, but this one is an exception: Ginsberg’s hair (as Buckley puts it, “he will wear his hair long until everybody else does; then he will cut it”), his glittering eyes, and the little harmonium with which he accompanies his chant of Ommm are half the story. But, agree with him or not, his words are worth hearing too, as an encapsulation of this time: “One of the problems is, critically speaking, no one can understand the problem of police brutality in America, or the police-state we are going through as I see it, without understanding the language of the police. The language that the police use on hippies or Negroes is such that I can’t pronounce it to the middle-class audience. So the middle-class audience doesn’t have the data or some portion of the data to judge the situation between the Negroes and the police.”