Best of Enemies

The televised debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley in the summer of 1968 are the subject of the new PBS documentary. They skyrocketed ABC from dead last in the ratings and birthed a new era in public discourse. Today the heavily scripted exchanges of Sunday-morning television and 24-hour news are a far cry from the explosive but informed vitriol that surrounded the arguments between two of our country’s towering intellectuals. A discussion on the current health — or infirmity — of public discourse in our country follows the screening.

Festival: 2015

Watch and Listen: U.S.A.

US Senator Mitch McConnell has just announced that he will bring health reform legislation to the Senate floor for a... See more
Rachel Dolezal is a white woman who has identified as African American. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has... See more
Most of us probably harbor preconceived notions about refugees. Maybe it’s a misunderstanding about what drove them... See more
The Trump Administration has said that “all options are on the table” in North Korea. What actually are the options,... See more
In recent years, the founding fathers have almost become deities—figures to be revered for their role in creating our... See more
The Afternoon of Conversation is the Aspen Ideas Festival's signature event and hosts an audience of 2,000 in the... See more

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