Monday, March 03, 2008

D'Sousa On Buckley

Dinesh D'Sousa relates an early 1980's memory of a William F. Buckley column:
[...]Buckley noted in his column that in previous epidemics, such as the syphilis epidemic of the early part of the twentieth century, America quarantined people who contracted the disease. Buckley argued against quarantining victims of AIDS. Somewhat light-heartedly, he suggested that a better alternative might be to have some insignia warning off potential partners. He came up with the admittedly strange idea of a small tattoo on the AIDS victim's rear end. Not surprisingly, the column caused immediate controversy.

At National Review, however, the controversy was of a different sort. The big question that arose among the editors was not whether there should be a tattoo but rather what the tattoo should say. Several entries were submitted, and the contest winner was my own English professor Jeffrey Hart, a senior editor of the magazine, who proposed the line emblazoned on the entrance gate to Dante's Inferno: "Abandon all hope ye who enter here."

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