William F. Buckley’s Iago


Adam Luckey as Iago.

Spite, malice, vindictiveness: these are all poison for the soul, but given the right dramatic form they can also be quite entertaining. Of Shakespeare’s incomparably rich array of characters, I’ve always had a fond spot for Iago, the toad-like underling who plotted Othello’s downfall. Petty, full of schemes, quick to offense, chaffing at his lowly status, Iago is spite made flesh-and-blood. He’s also a busy little go-getter: he doesn’t just nurse his grievances, he harnesses his anger to give him the energy he needs to orchestrate a catastrophe. As the greatest dramatist who ever lived, Shakespeare must have felt a secret affinity for Iago,  who spends most of Othello directing the other characters from place to place, creating misunderstandings, keeping the plot moving forward. Iago is a playwright within a play.


If I had to encapsulate Peter Brimelow in a phrase, I’d say he is William F. Buckley’s Iago. Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, Brimelow was a rising star in the world of right-wing American journalism, often publishing in the pages of National Review. Which is to say that Brimelow was one of Buckley’s many minions and subalterns. This all ended in 1997 when Brimelow was fired from National Review. Since then Brimelow has eked out an existence at the fringes of American political discourse as the editor of VDARE.com, a haven for white nationalists and sundry neanderthals (Marcus Epstein, a star columnist at VDARE, was recently convicted  of assaulting a black woman, whom he karate chopped and called a “nigger.”)

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