William F. Buckley apparently changed a Martin Luther King quote

I was just looking up Martin Luther King’s urging a boycott on Goldwater’s candidacy (link), when I ran into this snippet from William F. Buckley’s 1990 novel, Tucker’s Last Stand:

What King actually wrote:

I think its kosher to misquote a historical figure in a fictional novel. I mean, Lincoln never really said "“So long as this country is cursed with slavery, so too will it be cursed with vampires.”, but the author of ‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter’ still says he did.

Buckley’s novels meant to express political points. It’s a rather different subgenre of historical fiction than that book about Lincoln being a vampire hunter. Buckley’s quotes were real. Right after this quote comes a completely accurate quote from Drew Pearson attacking Goldwater’s convention for the smell of fascism. Other quotes I’ve looked up are accurate.

The point of this quote is apparently to knock King for attacking Goldwater with a silly claim about fascists being under his umbrella. But that’s not what King wrote.

So Buckley said that King said that Goldwater was a pro-Nazi or a crypto-Nazi. I’m confused, who should have socked whom in the goddamned face over this?

So far as I know, Buckley, to the end of his life refused to take back his assertion that Southerners had a valid right to impose Jim Crow in order to protect civilization. I don’t know why anyone holds him up as an example of a good conservative.

Also, Buckley was a fucking idiot.

Sure, Buckley was really clever. But get back to me when the mailmen and bank tellers get the day off on his birthday.

Wrong. Link.


Okay, I’ll give him that he eventually came around on that issue.

It’s worth mentioning that Buckley said that in 2004. For a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty slow learning curve.


And Goldwater was a staunchly principled libertarian-style conservative. That would naturally have led him to have a government-hands-off approach to race relations. But for the same libertarian reasons, he also favored legalized abortion and became a vocal advocate of gay rights.

OK, that pretty much owned.

F and R are next to each other on the keyboard. Given that I read a recent novel by Stephen King that misspelled the name of the city of Killeen, TX at least 100 times, this sort of thing is not worth getting upset over - it’s just bad typing, bad fact-checking, and bad editing.

When Buckley wrote that he did not have the Internet to fact check. That may have been how he remembered it. Or he purposely had a character misquote someone. It is fiction after all. I’m not seeing much to get upset over.

I’m really annoyed whren people say this. There were libraries, abstracts, and books of quotations before the Internet existed. I know – I did plenty of looking up sand fact-checking in pre-internet days. The internet just made it much easier (it also made it easier to find incorrect “facts”, too, I observe). Saying that “The Internet didn’t Exuist” is mno excuse.
If Buckley changed a quote, even in a book of fiction, then, unless it was to reveal something about the character, that’s not kosher, in my book.

If Buckley innocejntly misquoted because that’s the way he recalled it (and he didn’t fact-check), then the way he misremembers it says something significant about Buckley’s pigeonholimng and thought processes.
Mixing up “fascist” and “racist” is more than just hitting the wrong typewriter key – there’s an extra “s” in there.

It’s not an excuse, it’s a reason.

Sorry, I’m not seeing any grand conspiracy here. A typo that got incorrectly corrected, which passed through the proof-reading process. Why attribute malice where simple incompetence is likely the answer?

Now if there’s a history of these things occurring in Buckley’s works, that bespeaks of a problem. But one typo? Not really…

That it’'s a typo that got “corrected” by an unknowledgeable editor (and subsequently not caught on re-read) is, I grant, plausible, but by no means proven. It’s easier and more likely that Buckley misquoted, and no one fact-checked it.
No grand cobnspiracy needed.

Yeah, that too. But do you think he misquoted on purpose?