REVIEW: Russell's Reviews Volume One # 9

Saxon Brenton saxon.brenton at
Sat Mar 1 16:21:39 PST 2008

On Saturday 1 March 2008 Tom Russell wrote, among other things:

>    In our last issue, I compared Derek Radner to
> William F. Buckley, the American conservative also
> noted for his intellectual rigor.  Well, as some of
> you may know, Buckley passed away this week, and as a
> result I was reminded of some of his intellectually
> indefensible positions-- such as, for example, wanting
> to brand people with HIV to warn the rest of us.


On a level both other-than-personal and relating-to-RACC
I find this disappointing, for a complicated reasons.  I
need to ask a question about this, but will first need
to explain the context.  I ask you to bear with me on

Longtime readers of my work will know that I try to
include a wide variety of characters with a wide variety
of backgrounds and outlooks.  Admitedly these are
sometimes painted in very broad strokes (or for a less
charitable description: they tend to be cliches).
Traditionally I have focused on giving people different

Anal-Retentive-Archive Kid I know is a conservative.
Unfortunately having identified him as such I find that
I've painted myself into a corner, since as an interested
outsider I only have a superficial idea of what
conservatism in the United States actually looks like.
I'm not sure that that I even trust the idea of using
Australian conservatism as a substitute, partly because
of differences in culture, partly because the US is
further to the right than Australia.

There are further constraints.  ARAK is a member of a
minority religion, so there's no way that he'd be a
member of the evangelical wing of the Republicans (and
certainly not considering the specifics of the way he
was attacked with a HIV infected needle back in Flame
Wars 4).  Moreover, from the moment of his creation as
a character ARAK has been a thinker and an intellectual,
so there is also no way he'd be interested in those
commentators whose methods involve noisy stunts and
appeals to prejudice.

So when I heard of William F. Buckley and his reputation
as a thinking US conservative, I thought I had found a
role model for Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, but hadn't
gotten around to doing any research yet.  Now Tom has
disabused me of that notion.  I doubt me if a true
conservative in the minimum-government-intervention/let-
people-just-get-on-with-their-own-affairs mold would
support the stance that Tom describes of Buckley - and
moreso since FW4 as the issue would now be personal.

So I throw this question to the people on RACC who are
reasonably knowledgeable on the subject: Given the type
of personality that Anal-Retentive Archive Kid has, which
conservative intellectuals would he be likely to be
influenced by?

Saxon Brenton

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