The world has lost an important conservative voice, an elegant and wickedly funny writer, and a true American character with the passing Wednesday of Florence King. Miss King (and woe be to the poor sod who addressed her as Ms. King, or as Florence without an invitation to do so) was 80. She died in her long-time home of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Florence King was a conservative, but hardly a standard issue one. Her view of the world tended to the curmudgeonly, and she often described herself politically as a royalist. She had no patience with populist foolishness and no delusions about the weak timber of mankind. Her column, which ran for years in National Review, was called “The Misanthrope’s Corner.” She deployed no euphemisms, which she called verbal stool softeners. Her work appeared in other conservative publications, including, I’m happy to say, The American Spectator.
Tactically, Florence King was always on the attack. And she chose the right targets — geek branch feminists, kill-joys of all sorts, political correctness (aka left cultural tyranny), and the overly-sentimental humbugs that threatened to turn America into, in Miss King’s patented phrase, “The Republic of Nice.” She eviscerated these and other villains in prose that was always crisp, clear, and uncompromising. She was right (far right), she was righteous, and she was splendid. Her unique voice will be missed.
Happily, while there will be no new King, many of her books are still available, including Deja Reviews, which I had the privilege of reviewing for TAS in 2006. I also lift up to TAS readers Southern Ladies and Gentlemen, Stet: Damnit, Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, With Charity Toward None, and Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye.
RIP, Florence King.
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