A friend sent me this NatPo story today, asking, “Weren’t you on a TVO panel with this guy? I remember him as being particularly obtuse.”
Indeed, Buckman was TVO’s house atheist and “obtuse” is the perfect word.
You can only be “obtuse” if you are a fairly clever individual who is intentionally being stupid.
(Buckman as also the kind of person who is considered a wit because he has an English accent, but that isn’t his fault, obviously. This particular weakness is a common “reveal” of hickishness among those who consider themselves sophisticates.)
The look on his face when I declared that no, actually, I hadn’t watched Obama’s instantly forgettable inaugural address because “if I’d wanted to hear a communist drone on for hours at a stretch, I would have gone to university” was certainly worth my cab fare to Yonge & Eglinton.
Another time, Buckman was warming up his cod atheism in the Green Room, chattering about the Crusades and the Inquisition.
I told him that the death toll for both was exponentially lower than he’d said, and far higher for atheistic adventures.
When he balked, I informed him that scholarship on all these topics had advanced considerable since he’d been in Sixth Form.
His face curdled.
On the air, Warren Kinsella corrected Buckman’s corny observation about the “God is with us” buckles of German uniforms (the design pre-dated the Nazis.) Buckman would have none of it, presumably not having read the Hitler Youth handbook’s denunciation of Christianity.
Clearly a man of science and erudition, he’d made up his mind at age 20 and mere facts wouldn’t undo it.
Anyhow, I can’t presume to know where Dr. Buckman finds himself this morning, but I suspect he isn’t as happy about it as I am.