William F. Buckley, Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut about the importance of PEN

In this December 2, 1985 episode of Firing Line, William F. Buckley talked with authors Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut about the importance of PEN in speaking out for writers imperiled in authoritarian governments in the Soviet Union, the Philippines, Turkey, South Africa, the Middle East and around the world. Though William F. Buckley was a prominent conservative spokesman, he founded Firing Line because he believed that it was important for individuals with diverse views to engage in a civil debate on ideas. In this episode, Buckley invited the left wing writers Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut to talk about their shared commitment to the freedom of expression.

Mailer pointed out that dictators understand the threat that writers are to authoritarian governments, so many prominent writers are jailed to silence their voices. Mailer mentioned Mila Aquilar, a Filipina poet who was arrested for speaking out against Ferdinand Marcos’ regime, as an example of a writer who PEN spoke out for. Both Mailer and Vonnegut spoke out for the necessity of fighting for freedom of expression.

Though Buckley and Mailer were at opposite ends of the political spectrum, they developed a friendship. They often sailed off the coast of Connecticut, would occasionally correspond, and would share drinks and conversation. Both Buckley and Mailer had an intense dislike of fellow writer Gore Vidal. Mailer would periodically go on Firing Line to have a friendly debate Buckley on the issues.

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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