Column: A conservative conversion won't work on my watch
R.F. "Buz" Williams is a consummate conservative whose utterances appear periodically in the "Our readers speak ..." section of the Courier's op-ed page. Generally, he tends to expound on politics, and his letters often prompt OTHER letters that are divergent by roughly 180 degrees, with the accusation that he's "all wet" in his thinking. Then in a follow-up letter Buz will respond that he's not nearly as wet as his accuser, who in turn will write that Buz is just about the wettest person of the accuser's experience. It goes on like that. And nobody, or entity, is immune from Buz's barbs, either. Shucks, as recently as earlier this month the Courier published a letter of his in which he claimed that "occasionally your editorials lack basic logic" and cited as an example the one published Jan. 22 titled "New immigration plan is just politics." And then he describes how the Courier went terribly wrong in its take on the subject.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that that first paragraph is sort of wordy, but there's a method in my madness. You see, Buz purchased a copy of my self-published book a while back in which I - a lollygagging laid-back liberal - signed it with the notation encouraging him to "keep spreading your conservative viewpoints liberally." The inscription prompted him to reply that "I'm taking it upon myself to convert you to conservatism" and he has come up with a novel idea. "I will change your beliefs by increasing your income so that you will become one of the '1 percenters'," he enthused. And "how will I do that, you ask?" Well, he reasons, it's because "your book has inspired me, and every author hopes to make the big time by having his book made into a movie. That's what we'll do with your book - make it into a movie!" he chortled. "Not just a movie," either, but "a blockbuster musical! I can see the marquees now: 'In the Rearview Mirror, The Musical'."
Sounds good. And Buz even went so far as to come up with a couple of tunes stemming from one of the columns that I wrote back in the 1980s while I was toiling for the Sacramento Bee. It had to do with funny town names in Texas and included this passage: "For the young at heart, I give you Joy, Happy, Jollyville and Utopia. For lispers, there's Goldthwaite. And then there's Okra, Quitaque, Pluck, Fairy, Gun Barrel City, Cut and Shoot, Tuxedo, Noodle and Magnet (to which residents are mysteriously drawn). And Fluvanna, which is definitely curable with the right antibiotics."
Buz was kind enough to suggest a couple of lyrics, too. To the tune of that old Stephen Foster minstrel song titled "Oh! Susanna" he came up with "Oh, Fluvanna, don't you look for me. For I've moved on to Lubbock, where in a sandstorm you can't see." And to that rousing "Oklahoma!" movie title song he provided this lead-in: "o-o-o-o-OKra, Texas, where the town's named after the pod. Or is it the reverse, that the veggie was first, or is this only known to God?"
It's comforting, though, to note that Buz harbors a benevolent streak. "Being the philanthropist that I am," he confided, "I will charge you only 15% (standard literary agent's fee) of the money you make on this movie to be donated to my favorite charity. In the interest of saving time, when you accumulate the profits from 'In the Rearview Mirror, The Musical' you can make the check out to 'The Buz Williams Happy Retirement Fund' - my favorite charity."
It all sounds like a Super PAC in the making to me. But "Mark" my words; never the "Twain" shall meet when it comes to that conservative conversion thing.