“Best of Enemies”, directed by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon, , aired this evening on PBS Independent Lens (site).
The 85 minute documentary focused on clips of debates between William F. Buckley (the “conservative”) and Gore Vidal, especially during the 1960 elections which Nixon beat Humphrey (after LBJ bowed out).
Buckley said he had always wanted to be a politician but was born a writer, and that Vidal was a “talker”.
Gradually the subject matter turned toward homosexuality, which Vidal considered natural and inconsequential. Buckley even called Vidal a “queer” on television, which was quasi-acceptable in the 1970s.
Later there would be extensive cross litigation between the two when Buckley came under suspicion as at least bisexual himself.