The literary world has seen so many notable personalities. There are those who simply came and gave us educational, informative or entertaining pieces of literature and then left without leaving their mark.
However, there are those who ensured their masterpieces will live in the hearts and minds of their readers for eternity, and such is Christopher Buckley.
But Who Is He?
Christopher Buckley, born Christopher Taylor Buckley is an American political satirist who was born in September 28, 1952. He is especially famed for some of his works which include but not limited to God Is My Broker, The White Men Mess, No Way To Treat A First Lady, Florence of Arabia, Wet Work among many more.
It is often said the apple does not fall too far from the tree so Chris appears to have taken after his father, William F. Buckley Jr. who was also a writer. His mother is Patricia Buckley, a renowned socialite.
Mr. Buckley went through a classical education at the Portsmouth Abbey School and later graduated from Yale University in the year 1975. While he was living at Jonathan Edward College, he was a member of Skull and Bones, just as his father was. He also became managing director of Esquire.
However, he was later to move to Washington D.C in 1981where he would work as a chief speechwriter for Mr. George H. W. Bush who was by then the Vice President. It was through his experience writing speeches for Mr. Bush that he would develop an interest in writing the novel The White House Mess. The novel was basically a satirical presentation of the White House office politics as well as political memoirs. His choice of the word ‘mess’ was purely satirical, as it meant to depict the messy situation of the lunchroom that was operated by the navy.
The White House Mess
The White House Mess novel was published in 1986. As already mentioned, the use of the word ‘mess’ in this article was meant to depict the state of the White House, in particular the general state of confusion that existed with the Navy taking over the food service. However, this was only the casual outlook as the real mess was the entire administration of the then president, Thomas Nelson Tucker. Also referred to as TNT, the novel reveals several incidents and crises that marked the term of the president, including some power-hungry personalities as well as back-stabbing entourage that surrounded him.
The president’s family is in disarray as his wife is depicted as a sensuous woman who at one time performed in films and his brother, Dan, buying a half share in a drug paraphernalia business known as Opiate of the Masses. Additionally, The First Child, Tom, Jr. owns a pet hamster which later disappears and then causes serious implications, such as the malfunctioning of the presidential bomb-shelter during a state visit by the Chancellor of Germany, Chancellor Schmeer.
Evidently, Mr. Buckely uses characters from the president’s family and inner circle to depict the general state of the United States. In his depictions, the United States is faced, not only by turmoil from within its own borders but possible diplomatic feuds or even outright invasions from its enemies. While these might have been pretty much common perceptions among many Americans during the time he worked in the White House, it is his alleged sheer lack of tact, skill an competency by the very administration charged with the role of protecting its citizens and restoring a general state of economic and social order that makes readers want to give this book a second read. He does not shy away from making his point and it is clear from the onset that he chooses characters from the president’s inner circles to make it obvious that the country is in a dire need of redemption.
Thank You For Smoking
This novel was first published in 1994 and its main protagonist is the chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, Nick Naylor. Ironically, the Academy is a tobacco industry firm that appears to be going against the grain by promoting the benefits of smoking. The spokesman utilizes the media to try and challenge the arguments put forward by his opponents on the dangers of tobacco.
The story takes even a more interesting twist when Naylor chooses to informally associate with lobbyists from other industries whom are usually subjects of routine vilification by the media such as Polly Bailey who is a lobbyist for alcohol and Bobby Jay Bliss, a firearm lobbyist. Together, they form a group known as Merchants of Death. The story continues with various twists and turns.
Perhaps what stands out in this novel is the fact that while he lobbies vehemently for the right to smoke, he is flirting with the thin balance of keeping up with the demands of his family and is seen trying hard to remain the role model to his son. This captures the common struggles many undergo today when they choose to pursue an unworthy cause. More specifically, it captures the hypocrisy in our leaders as they try to advocate for whatever harms the populis while still trying to remain relevant to the people that matter most to them.
The novel Thank You For Smoking have been adapted for film that was released in 2006. He film was directed by Jason Reitman. Screenplay was also by him. While this film appeared to retain the characters in the novel, there are slight deviations but the message is well passed.
Other novels by Mr. that were adapted into films include The Little Green Men and Boomsday which are all in development. The screen play for The Little Green Men is by Gregory Mackenzie and Sean Bates while for the Bomsday novel, the screenwriters Jen Smolka and Ron Bass adapted it into a screenplay.
Buckley first married Lucy Gregg who is the daughter of Donald Gregg who served as an assistant to VP Bush for national security affairs. Together, they have two children namely Caitlin  and William .
His relationship with former Random House publicist named Irine Woelfle also gave rise to a son, Jonathan . Him and Gregg divorced in the spring of 2011 and rumors have it he married a South Carolinian doctor, Dr. Katy Close who runs a clinic in Haiti and wed in Stamford Coo on September 29th 2012, in front of 150 guests.Book Series In Order » Authors » Christopher Buckley