The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
Michael Lewis on Tom Wolfe as a Southern Conservative
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

One of the little-noticed patterns of the cultural world is that a striking fraction of the most influential figures, especially in the comic arts, are conservatives if not reactionaries.

Michael Lewis of New Orleans, the most obvious journalistic / literary successor of Tom Wolfe of Richmond, writes a good-humored analysis of Wolfe’s origins for Vanity Fair:

How Tom Wolfe Became … Tom Wolfe

… Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. was born on March 2, 1930, and grew up in Richmond, Virginia, the son of a conservative, God-respectful southern editor of an agricultural trade magazine.

The Southern Planter, by the way.

Back in 2012 I wrote in VDARE in my review of Wolfe’s novel Back to Blood, which features a young newspaper reporter named John Smith obviously modeled on Wolfe (John Smith of Jamestown in 1607 was the original Virginia WASP):

Topping (the newspaper editor) reflects upon the fictional John Smith, and journalists in general:

If you ask me, newspaper reporters are created at age six when they first go to school. In the schoolyard boys immediately divide into two types. Immediately! There are those who have the will to be daring and dominate, and those who don’t have it. … But there are boys from the weaker side of the divide who grow up with the same dreams as the stronger … The boy standing before me, John Smith, is one of them. They, too, dream of power, money, fame, and beautiful lovers. …

Boys like this kid grow up instinctively realizing that language is like … a sword or a gun. Used skillfully, it has the power to … well, not so much achieve things as to tear things down—including people … including the boys who came out on the strong side of the sheerly dividing line.

Hey, that’s what liberals are! Ideology? Economics? Social justice? Those are nothing but their prom outfits. Their politics were set for life in the schoolyard at age six. They were the weak, and forever after they resented the strong. That’s why so many journalists are liberals! The very same schoolyard events that pushed them toward the written word … pushed them toward “liberalism.”

I suspect, however, that Tom Wolfe, much as he resembles John Smith, was never a liberal. I’d like to see him write a memoir. Wolfe’s first three decades—his upbringing in Virginia, his Ph.D. at Yale, and his reporting in Cuba during the Revolution—remain obscure, probably both for personal and political reasons. Wolfe’s friend Ed Hayes, who was the model for Killian, Sherman McCoy’s street smart defense lawyer in Bonfire, has said:

“He’s the grandson of a Confederate rifleman and grew up with the sense of the Lost Cause, of glorious doomed charges at Gettysburg, of a sense of personal honor and what constitutes masculinity that has largely been rejected by the urban intellectual elite of the Northeast.”

Michael Lewis continues in Vanity Fair:

Home was never something he was looking to get away from; it was never even something he was looking to pretend he was looking to get away from. He was accepted at Princeton but chose to attend Washington and Lee, to remain close to home. Every now and then one of his teachers would note that he had a way with words, and some artistic talent, but artistic ambition, for a conservative southern male in the 1950s or really any other time, was too vague and impractical to indulge. After college, he took the advice of his professor and went to Yale, for a doctorate in American studies—and right up to this point in his life there isn’t a trace of institutional rebellion in him. He pitches for the baseball team, pleases his teachers, has an ordinary, not artistic, group of pals, and is devoted to his mother and father.

… The moment he leaves the South, something comes over him. Whatever it is, the feeling seems to be heightened by the sight of a blank sheet of paper. For the first time in his life, it appears, Tom Wolfe has been provoked. He has left home and found, on the East Coast, the perpetual revolt of High Culture against God, Country, and Tradition. He happens to have landed in a time and place in which art—like the economy that supports it—is essentially patricidal.

It’s all about tearing up and replacing what came before. The young Tom Wolfe is intellectually equipped to join some fashionable creative movement and set himself in opposition to God, Country, and Tradition; emotionally, not so much. He doesn’t use his new experience of East Coast sophisticates to distance himself from his southern conservative upbringing; instead he uses his upbringing to distance himself from the new experience. He picks for his Ph.D. dissertation topic the Communist influences on American writers, 1928–1942. From their response to it, the Yale professors, who would have approved the topic in advance, had no idea of the spirit in which Wolfe intended to approach it:

“Dear Mr. Wolfe:

I am personally acutely sorry to have to write you this letter but I want to inform you in advance that all of your readers reports have come in, and … I am sorry to say I anticipate that the thesis will not be recommended for the degree…. The tone was not objective but was consistently slanted to disparage the writers under consideration and to present them in a bad light even when the evidence did not warrant this.” [Letter from Yale dean to T.W., May 19, 1956.]

To this comes appended the genuinely shocked reviews of three Yale professors. It’s as if they can’t quite believe this seemingly sweet-natured and well-mannered southern boy has gone off half cocked and ridiculed some of the biggest names in American literature. The Yale grad student had treated the deeply held political conviction of these great American artists as—well, as a ploy in a game of status seeking. This student seemed to have gone out of his way to turn these serious American intellectuals into figures of fun.

I’ve been reading Tom Wolfe for 40 years, but I was primed to be a Tom Wolfe fan almost a decade before then. Back in the later 1960s whenever my mother took me to a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake, CA, I would insist that we walk down to the Barris Kustom Shop to see the krazy kustom cars, like Adam West’s Batmobile.

Not surprisingly, Wolfe’s 1963 breakthrough in Esquire that launched the New Journalism, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamlined Baby, had prominently featured George Barris. Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake (home to the famous 1949 Bob’s Big Boy), with its weird combination of gentility and science fiction craziness, is the epitome of Wolfe’s key concept of the postwar Happiness Explosion.

 
Hide 100 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. I literally just read this article, linked on Longform (insomnia led me to the page at 4 am). I was amazed by the neutral presentation of Wolfe’s old fashioned conservatism (in Vanity Fair!). For example: the writer refers to Wolfe’s reference to the African Embassy street in Washington D.C., as ‘cannibal row’ (in the early ’60’s) without comment. Other examples stood out as well.

    Made me want to read some of Wolfe’s old stuff*, though not the modern novels: I read Bonfire, thought it was, perhaps astute, but unpleasant. Accurate analysis of the modern age does that to me.

    joeyjoejoe

    *on the other hand, it also turned me off of his writing style. The stream of consciousness…..zouie!..not sure if I really like the style..man is it good?-not quite fun to read voice of his early stuff I find very offputting and, again, unpleasant.

  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Wolfe will remain a despised and mocked (poorly reviewed) figure by our elites for having the temerity to a) notice what was really going on during the catastrophic 60s and 70s , and b) portraying the shifts in elite power/philosophy/demographics that didn’t exactly “stand athwart history yelling stop !” But did say “what the f%@?”

    I saw Mr. Wolfe coming out of the Yale Club in NYC a few weeks ago. Unmistakable from a distance with his signature white suit. I stopped to shake his hand, he was (as you’d expect) a perfect gentleman and engaging in small talk. He seemed sharp, enthused for his next book (about language) but is showing his age. I was disappointed he did not take my “vote for Trump” bait.

    Would love to see more Wolfe takedowns of the modern American milieu: “Man in Full” was disappointing plot but fantastic expose on Atlanta. Ditto “Back to Blood” on that multi cultural den of thieves called Miami. The cities of LA, Chicago , NYC (2000 and on), Houston, London, so many literary targets.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Well, I am Charlotte Simmons was the last book of his I'll ever read and whatever the reasons it was poorly reviewed it certainly is objectively awful. I mean its really, really horrifically bad.

    Maybe he should quit while he's behind and let people defend his earlier work if they think its worth defending.
  3. Steve, have you seen “The Wrecking Crew”? As a California traditionalist growing up in the Golden Age, you would love it. As Tom Wolfe might say, you can’t go home again, but you can certainly listen to the LPs and watch the home movies.

  4. Wolfe’s remembrance from NR’s memorial issue for Billy Buckley, “To tell you the truth, I didn’t really get it.” Lol:

    Why does no one mention the subtlest of all Buckley’s rhetorical ploys, the rebuke dans l’escalier? Beats me. It was such beautiful stuff. Everybody is familiar with l’esprit de l’escalier. Some smug wit has cut you to the quick in repartee before an entire room, but it is only now, hours later, as you climb the stairs, l’escalier, to go to bed that you hit upon the withering comeback your poor brain was churning so desperately to find at the time. But in the rebuke dans l’escalier it is only now, hours later, as you climb the stairs to go to bed, that you even realize you’ve been skewered.

    I’ll give you an example. I was serving as the interviewee for one of a series of audiotapes Buckley was recording for the humanistic nourishment of physicians. (Please, don’t even bother asking.) We were in a moldering sound studio in the crumbling WeVar (west of Varick Street) section of New York. Buckley is about three minutes into the interview when a voice from inside a glass booth says over a speaker system, “Oh, for chrissake . . . Stop!” Weary sigh. “You gotta start over! You gotta try again.”

    Buckley looked toward the glass booth. He parted his lips and began tapping his front teeth with a ballpoint pen. With a certain icily languid delivery of his — in an accent precisely — but precisely — like Prince Charles’s, he said, “The imperative you present is debatable, but that you won’t do it again is the given.”

    The imperative you present is debatable, but that you won’t do it again is the given. To tell the truth, I didn’t really get it. I reckon the man in the booth didn’t, either. Yet the malignant odor of a figure of speech known as charientism stole throughout the studio — and not another word was heard from the man in the glass booth until Buckley completed the session.

    The next morning I wondered how far up the stairs the poor guy had made it last night before he realized he was bleeding.

  5. Not Tom Wolfe, but no insult to him.

    No instructions by anyone anymore but friendly and efficient Indians. I have to do the adult bid with no Indians of my own, parents that prod me to tell them are they prodding, friends that won’t let me be used. Pigeons pass me by like a French snit.

    Buddha is my shout in the street; Mr. busted picks me up, puts me behind bulletproof glass, and I look suspiciously sober to his stink eye, still the fare is six steep. Son of a bitch, but he looks like a bruised monster, hideous, so I let him rob my lunch money; fumbling keys at the door cause I suck. And it’s all on autopilot in perpetuity, time every time all the time impelling everything always, me driven to drink whether I drive or not, hungry when I can’t eat, asleep at work, weddings like rainy funerals, funerals like advertisements for death, mosquito bites and herpes and pimples—what’s the difference when they all take time? Yet the steadfast clock won’t charge my phone for a tip, nor etcetera.

    Every bit of history a perfectly infinite jest of a practical joke, a stage play with fake escapes and missing intermissions and uninspired costumes that confuse profoundly when skin-tight. But no one speaks up; protesting space-time too futile even for the Navy Seals of insanity. One hell of an invisible net of design this huckster sprung on creation at the start, one hell of a catch. What is this, a democracy of the duped and/or damned? Terrestrial pedestrians…please renew your toy card now, and gladly respect laws that extinguish smiling for the camera. Every thing in this blue place is about debasement. Yet how could we laugh ourselves to sleep otherwise? God bless that which is egregious, since he gets to enjoy it the most.

    –Butler O’Canolla, Speaking of Strangers

  6. Here’s a good supplement to this post: http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-27412.html

    I always liked the way Wolfe described Blue State Elitism: And so many of them are so caught up in this kind of metropolitan intellectual atmosphere that they simply don’t go across the Hudson River. They literally do not set foot in the United States. We live in New York in one of the two parenthesis states. They’re usually called blue states–they’re not blue states, the states on the coast. They’re parenthesis states–the entire country lies in between.

  7. Lewis acts like it’s a big coup to have discovered that Wolfe stole an invitation to Bernstein’s party, but I’m almost positive that story has been told a few times already…

    • Replies: @cthulhu
    Wolfe himself has written the story of how he stole the invitation to Lenny Bernstein's party, but also emphasizes that he used his name (not Jock Whitney's) in the RSVP, and that his notebook and pencil were on prominent display all night. I don't care; if there were ever something where the ends justified the means, Radical Chic is it.
    , @manton
    Yes, he has told it many times. He even told it to me in answering a letter I wrote him in 1995.
    , @Grumpy
    Yes. I had the same reaction: "I already know this."

    Wolfe's explanation of having found Halberstam's invitation has been online since at least 2005:
    http://eddriscoll.com/archives/006612.php

    But it was fresh in my mind thanks to this 2014 interview:
    http://nieman.harvard.edu/stories/annotation-tuesday-tom-wolfe-and-radical-chic/
  8. I predict Sailer will end up being far more disruptive and perhaps even far more influential on the course of coming events than either Wolfe or Lewis. In terms of textual output both of those authors are lazy slackers compared to Sailer. And also, neither of those even come close to the breadth of subject matter Sailer covers.

    And neither of those two is the voice in the head of the most important counter culture movement since 1968.

    I have read much that those two authors have written and have a lot of respect for both. They are my second and third most favorite authors.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    I am quite fond of Sailer too but I think you're slightly exaggerating his influence.

    You're right that he writes a prodigious amount about an incredible range of subjects in extraordinarily insighful and witty fashion, and maybe in the future he will be far more popular than he is today, but as of right now his fanbase is just not that big. Either that or the vast majority of his readers neither comment, link to him nor talk about him.
    , @timothy

    In terms of textual output both of those authors are lazy slackers compared to Sailer.
     
    LOL, when will Wolfe and Lewis learn how to block quote NY Times articles?
  9. OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 – Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year…65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women…The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women…78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women…with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?…Are women inherently more adventurous?…

    Adventuresses?

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    My niece took a semester abroad to study puppetry at the University of Cape Town. About halfway through, the professor told the students he had run out of things to teach them and the class fizzled out. She and her classmates spent their days on the beach till the time came to return home. She got full credit for the class and the African credential must look great on her resume for the SJW type jobs she pursues. BTW, she's a lesbian.
    , @Lot
    While Africa study abroad might be 80% female, I bet China, Korea and SE Asia are 80% male.
    , @Hokie
    My sister and an ex-girlfriend each did a semester in East Africa. Neither of them was taught anything, but it was useful networking for work in nonprofits for both of them. They also got to play the savior to poor African children and take lots of vanity pictures in exotic places. I think "useful" is the key word. My friends who studied in Germany were getting a semester in engineering, and my friends who studied in Russia were in a language immersion program. All of them were men.
    , @Clyde

    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 – Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men? https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4
     
    To have sex with foreigners. These thoughts might be conscious or subconscious. But being creatures of instinct, this is why they are going abroad.
    , @MC
    Adventurousness or adventuressness has little to do with it; it's frivolity. Most study abroad is useless career-wise. You go to Dublin to study Irish poets, or some other liberal arts fluff.

    How many Cal Tech or MIT students do study abroad?

    , @prosa123
    Women are more likely to study the sort of liberal arts subjects that better lend themselves to study abroad.

    Peter
    , @Anonymous
    Studying abroad is fun but, for the most part, frivolous. Males are more practical and career-minded than females, and the kinds of careers most of them pursue are less likely to give them points for glorified traveling.
    , @yaqub the mad scientist
    I think Whiskey has the answer you're looking for.
    , @Justpassingby

    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 – Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year…65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women…The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women…78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women…with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?…Are women inherently more adventurous?…

    Adventuresses?
     
    Dear Sir or Madam,

    Yours may be the single best comment I've ever read. Retire now, you'll never top it.
  10. the perpetual revolt of High Culture against God, Country, and Tradition.

    Okay there it is, the mentality I grew up with. It was always assumed you were in rebellion. Shrinks were there to relieve you of your guilt, or rather to relieve your parents of their guilt. Church and any other communion were to be avoided. But all I say was chaos in my family and then later everywhere else.

    Revolt is so regarded as a virtue, they still can’t see what ruin they’ve caused, to this day.

    • Replies: @stumm


    the perpetual revolt of High Culture against God, Country, and Tradition.

    Okay there it is, the mentality I grew up with. It was always assumed you were in rebellion. Shrinks were there to relieve you of your guilt, or rather to relieve your parents of their guilt. Church and any other communion were to be avoided. But all I say was chaos in my family and then later everywhere else.

    Revolt is so regarded as a virtue, they still can’t see what ruin they’ve caused, to this day.
     
    Comment of the day right there.

    Man, have I been there and done that.
  11. @E. Rekshun
    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 - Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year...65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women...The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women...78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women...with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?...Are women inherently more adventurous?...

    Adventuresses?

    My niece took a semester abroad to study puppetry at the University of Cape Town. About halfway through, the professor told the students he had run out of things to teach them and the class fizzled out. She and her classmates spent their days on the beach till the time came to return home. She got full credit for the class and the African credential must look great on her resume for the SJW type jobs she pursues. BTW, she’s a lesbian.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    That's pretty awful. One of the Ivies, Brown, I think, used to have a class called "Magic in the Middle Ages" that required students to find herbs to make potions and cast spells. Or so an acquaintance told me years ago.

    Fine use of mommy and daddy's quarter million.
    , @Stan D Mute

    My niece took a semester abroad to study puppetry at the University of Cape Town.
     
    And here is why I keep returning to Unz and particularly to Sailer. Not only is the quality of the analysis better and more succinct than anywhere else, but I learn things in the comments I'd never learn elsewhere. Foreign study semester of puppetry. In Africa. Because when one thinks of great puppetry ones first thought is Africa. And what was that sniggering in the back about? Of course puppetry is worthy of credit towards ones degree..

    Sniggering. Heh. About African puppetry. Is that a hate crime?
  12. I’d like to read Wolfe’s Yale thesis. Is it available on-line?

    • Replies: @timothy
    You can access it online (I have) but probably only through a research university's e-resources.

    It's going to be the less amusing revised version anyway. And as someone noted, "Reading [Tom Wolfe's PhD dissertation], one sees what has been the most baleful influence of graduate education on many who have suffered through it: it deadens all sense of style."
  13. Lawyer Ed Hayes got along so well with Wolfe because of his Virginia undergraduate experience, probably. Also, his interest in dressing sharp and lifting weights.

  14. The article doesn’t mention that Wolfe was a jock – he played minor league baseball before going to graduate school.

  15. “He’s the grandson of a Confederate rifleman and grew up with the sense of the Lost Cause, of glorious doomed charges at Gettysburg, of a sense of personal honor and what constitutes masculinity that has largely been rejected by the urban intellectual elite of the Northeast.”

    As Germans would say, “Jawohl!”

    This provides a fine excuse to link this again: http://youtu.be/__kQX12S9YI

  16. @Harry Baldwin
    My niece took a semester abroad to study puppetry at the University of Cape Town. About halfway through, the professor told the students he had run out of things to teach them and the class fizzled out. She and her classmates spent their days on the beach till the time came to return home. She got full credit for the class and the African credential must look great on her resume for the SJW type jobs she pursues. BTW, she's a lesbian.

    That’s pretty awful. One of the Ivies, Brown, I think, used to have a class called “Magic in the Middle Ages” that required students to find herbs to make potions and cast spells. Or so an acquaintance told me years ago.

    Fine use of mommy and daddy’s quarter million.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    I think that's awesome, actually.

    And I'd be curious to see the numbers of Ivy students whose family are paying tuition vs. the number of debtors vs. the number of scholarships vs. the number of self-paid (although it would possibly be difficult to distinguish that from family funding).

    I'm betting the number of students in the first category are under 25%

    , @E. Rekshun
    I never did a study abroad program, but my last semester in my rigorous undergrad Computer Science program I wanted to coast and took an elective, "Music Appreciation" The prof was really into writing music. I barely ground out a "C."
    , @HA
    "Fine use of mommy and daddy’s quarter million."

    The primary value of a Ivy league degree that includes a course in potions and spell casting is the underlying assumption (however untrue it may be) that one's parents can afford that kind of lunacy.

    A Rolex doesn't keep better time than a Casio. It just broadcasts to the world you can afford a Rolex. (Again, whether that is true or not is for the credit agencies to sort out.)
  17. @FredR
    Lewis acts like it's a big coup to have discovered that Wolfe stole an invitation to Bernstein's party, but I'm almost positive that story has been told a few times already...

    Wolfe himself has written the story of how he stole the invitation to Lenny Bernstein’s party, but also emphasizes that he used his name (not Jock Whitney’s) in the RSVP, and that his notebook and pencil were on prominent display all night. I don’t care; if there were ever something where the ends justified the means, Radical Chic is it.

  18. I’ve been reading Tom Wolfe for 40 years, but I was primed to be a Tom Wolfe fan almost a decade before then.

    Steve never fails to remind his readers how ancient he is…

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Steve Sailer is in his early fifties. You must be quite young to consider that ancient.
  19. @Twinkie
    That's pretty awful. One of the Ivies, Brown, I think, used to have a class called "Magic in the Middle Ages" that required students to find herbs to make potions and cast spells. Or so an acquaintance told me years ago.

    Fine use of mommy and daddy's quarter million.

    I think that’s awesome, actually.

    And I’d be curious to see the numbers of Ivy students whose family are paying tuition vs. the number of debtors vs. the number of scholarships vs. the number of self-paid (although it would possibly be difficult to distinguish that from family funding).

    I’m betting the number of students in the first category are under 25%

  20. The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamlined Baby

    In about 1966, when I was in high school, I was impressed by Wolfe’s writing style in his first books. I went through a phase of trying to write similarly.

    Frankly, though, I never was able to finish reading any of the pieces that he wrote. I’d give up about half-way through. His writing was mostly just clever style, without compelling narrative.

    My next phase, a couple years later, was based on Norman Mailer’s The Armies of the Night, a book about the riots at the Democratic Party’s convention in Chicago in 1968. Mailer wrote with less style and more narrative than Wolfe, but with a similar clever, funny spirit.

    My next phase was based on Hunter Thompson’s “gonzo journalism” articles in The Rolling Stone.

    After that phase, when I was in my twenties, I gave up trying to write cleverly. I try to write simply.

    • Replies: @Busby
    It's the most difficult of all. Look at Churchill. Simple Anglo Saxon words delivered with the force of a machine gun.
  21. @Mark Minter
    I predict Sailer will end up being far more disruptive and perhaps even far more influential on the course of coming events than either Wolfe or Lewis. In terms of textual output both of those authors are lazy slackers compared to Sailer. And also, neither of those even come close to the breadth of subject matter Sailer covers.

    And neither of those two is the voice in the head of the most important counter culture movement since 1968.

    I have read much that those two authors have written and have a lot of respect for both. They are my second and third most favorite authors.

    I am quite fond of Sailer too but I think you’re slightly exaggerating his influence.

    You’re right that he writes a prodigious amount about an incredible range of subjects in extraordinarily insighful and witty fashion, and maybe in the future he will be far more popular than he is today, but as of right now his fanbase is just not that big. Either that or the vast majority of his readers neither comment, link to him nor talk about him.

    • Replies: @I, Libertine
    I suspect that a lot of Steve's readers would refuse to admit to it. MSM types that peruse this site for ideas, then write safer stories based on the same topic. I often read about something here, then read about that same thing in the MSM in a few days.
    , @Stan D Mute

    the vast majority of his readers neither comment, link to him nor talk about him.
     
    This. He is an anchor here, at Taki's, and at Vdare. Even if he wasn't the chief proponent of "HBD" he would be guilty by association. HBD is called "scientific racism" by the NYT and Salon types. So, who would link to Sailer or admit they read him? Surely nobody who depends on a paycheck. The socialist brownshirts would set about destroying "those bad racists'" livelihood and wouldn't relent until they succeeded. Jason Richwine probably reads Sailer from time to time and you don't want to be Richwined.
  22. @Luke Lea
    I'd like to read Wolfe's Yale thesis. Is it available on-line?

    You can access it online (I have) but probably only through a research university’s e-resources.

    It’s going to be the less amusing revised version anyway. And as someone noted, “Reading [Tom Wolfe’s PhD dissertation], one sees what has been the most baleful influence of graduate education on many who have suffered through it: it deadens all sense of style.”

    • Replies: @Jonathan Silber
    Academic writing is to writing as rice cake is to rice.
  23. It’s funny. I felt a bit like the playground John Smith, except I was thirty-six instead of six. I suddenly realized that I was now the kid getting bullied by the kids who had been bullied. And just like them, I want to tear down the world that they created, or, at least, prevent them from finishing it.

  24. @Mark Minter
    I predict Sailer will end up being far more disruptive and perhaps even far more influential on the course of coming events than either Wolfe or Lewis. In terms of textual output both of those authors are lazy slackers compared to Sailer. And also, neither of those even come close to the breadth of subject matter Sailer covers.

    And neither of those two is the voice in the head of the most important counter culture movement since 1968.

    I have read much that those two authors have written and have a lot of respect for both. They are my second and third most favorite authors.

    In terms of textual output both of those authors are lazy slackers compared to Sailer.

    LOL, when will Wolfe and Lewis learn how to block quote NY Times articles?

    • Replies: @Mark Minter
    There is a tactic on twitter where you retweet something with almost no extra commentary. It works better if the person doing this is known, their "theme", views known. The tactic mocks the original tweet, sometimes because the tweet says something patently stupid, or the opinion contained in the tweet is cheap, inherently short sighted, "cute" snark. Perhaps a few words are quoted to highlight and direct the mockery. Here is an example:

    "block quote NY Times articles"

    LOL, when will Wolfe and Lewis learn how to block quote NY Times articles?
     
    But I usually don't use this tactic. I am more direct.

    I often skim the "block quoted Times articles" to read Sailer's verbage on them. The NYT is the flagship of the Cathedral. When you mock it, when you defeat it, when you point out the financial gain for its owners in its bias, you unsettle the entire Cathedral, and you educate people on how to attack it.

    Take this small statement here"

    If you ask me, newspaper reporters are created at age six when they first go to school. In the schoolyard boys immediately divide into two types. Immediately! There are those who have the will to be daring and dominate, and those who don’t have it. … But there are boys from the weaker side of the divide who grow up with the same dreams as the stronger … The boy standing before me, John Smith, is one of them. They, too, dream of power, money, fame, and beautiful lovers.
    ...

    Hey, that’s what liberals are! Ideology? Economics? Social justice? Those are nothing but their prom outfits. Their politics were set for life in the schoolyard at age six. They were the weak, and forever after they resented the strong. That’s why so many journalists are liberals! The very same schoolyard events that pushed them toward the written word … pushed them toward “liberalism.”
     
    That statement will be repeated if not in actual text, but in intent, over and over in the Alt-Right counter-culture. Once more Sailer forms the words, make concrete the thoughts of the raw feelings of the Alt-Right.

    It is recognized that the sexual energy that the left took, reframed, owned that pushed them through the last 50 years has now shifted to the youth of the Alt-Right. It began with Game, with Roissy, Roosh, Rollo, with an attack on the current narrative to replace it with Sexual Dimorphism, and a theory that pushes masculinity, destroys liberal ideas of "how new men should be". We know that women, despite politics, despite narrative, are driven by attraction to masculinity and eschew, reject, despise the useful fools that espouse their liberal ideas.

    And the marching song of the Alt-Right is "Follow us if you want to get laid". And this song says to women, "We are the ones you want. Not those liberal wimps jealous of our sexual power and sexual success."

    If you think that is small potatoes, fine. Sailer's block quoting is a larger scale of the Twitter tactic of retweeting.

    Both work.
  25. …I would insist that we walk down to the Barris Kustom Shop to see the krazy kustom cars, like Adam West’s Batmobile.

    Were you big on Rat Fink and Ed Roth, too? Or was that more of a rivalry than an artistic “school”?

    I remember buying and making a Rat Fink krazy kar model in Honolulu where, so I was told at the time, a state or city ordinance required one to purchase a scale model kit in order to buy a tube of glue. War on Drugs, Sixties style!

    A chicken-or-egg question to consider is whether Southern California or Hawaii influenced the other more.

    • Replies: @Tipo 61
    I remember buying Ed Roth decals that I put on my bicycle in the 1960's in Alhambra. Bought them at the local lawnmower shop. The gorier the better.
  26. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    Wolfe will remain a despised and mocked (poorly reviewed) figure by our elites for having the temerity to a) notice what was really going on during the catastrophic 60s and 70s , and b) portraying the shifts in elite power/philosophy/demographics that didn't exactly "stand athwart history yelling stop !" But did say "what the f%@?"

    I saw Mr. Wolfe coming out of the Yale Club in NYC a few weeks ago. Unmistakable from a distance with his signature white suit. I stopped to shake his hand, he was (as you'd expect) a perfect gentleman and engaging in small talk. He seemed sharp, enthused for his next book (about language) but is showing his age. I was disappointed he did not take my "vote for Trump" bait.

    Would love to see more Wolfe takedowns of the modern American milieu: "Man in Full" was disappointing plot but fantastic expose on Atlanta. Ditto "Back to Blood" on that multi cultural den of thieves called Miami. The cities of LA, Chicago , NYC (2000 and on), Houston, London, so many literary targets.

    Well, I am Charlotte Simmons was the last book of his I’ll ever read and whatever the reasons it was poorly reviewed it certainly is objectively awful. I mean its really, really horrifically bad.

    Maybe he should quit while he’s behind and let people defend his earlier work if they think its worth defending.

    • Replies: @Josh
    I loved it. I was about 10 years removed from unread when I read it and I was just glad somebody was actually recording for the record just how disgusting college was at the time. Duke is one of the models for DuPont, but I am convinced that wolf must have spent some time at late 90s early 00s Cornell. At the time, you try to think its all great and cool and normal, but in retrospect it was just vile.
    , @WhatEvvs
    Despite the best efforts of Sailer & Crew to depict Wolfe as a victim of evil liberals, the facts are:

    1. He was the best and most admired journalist of his generation
    2. His entry into fiction writing (Bonfire) was heralded by great expectations and even greater advances. People here don't seem to remember that - he was very very famous as a journalist.
    3. As a fiction writer, he's awful.

    http://observer.com/2000/02/its-tom-wolfe-versus-the-three-stooges/


    IN NOVEMBER 1998, John Updike oh so quietly killed A Man in Full .

    It was a clean kill. Issued from Mr. Updike’s New Yorker pulpit, the review of the big Tom Wolfe novel seemed mild, gentle and fair: ” A Man in Full still amounts to entertainment, not literature, even literature in a modest aspirant form. Like a movie desperate to recoup its bankers’ investment, the novel tries too hard to please us.”
     

  27. Steve,

    Last week I ate at a restaurant called Ca Del Sole very near your old doctor’s office. Had a plate of pasta.

  28. Wolfe’s style may be an acquired or an innate taste, but I find its immersion in his subjects’ vernacular, right into the subjects’ thought-processes as ants doing their grind in the human social anthill, endlessly illuminating and entertaining. The man has an uncanny brilliant knack of boring picturesquely down to the marrow of human motive.

    • Replies: @Jay
    You put your finger on Wolfe's strength. Plot development is his "weak" point, which is why Updike could term Wolfe's work "entertainment." For the elite opinion-makers, elucidation of human motives is potentially heretical, and so Wolfe's reviewers use the fairy tale plots as a stick to beat this messenger. They don't wish to consider that Wolfe may have employed such plots as a scaffolding for his examination of human motives.
  29. Another college shooting, this time in Arizona which resulted in the death of 1 student. Colleges really are sitting ducks for these types of mass shootings. It doesn’t help that most colleges in the U.S are Liberal and there for subscribe to anti-2nd amendment political views which create these gun free zones. Mass shooters know that none of the college students and teacher staff will shoot back at them because none of them carry guns into the classroom.

    You never hear of mass shooters trying to kill people at an NRA meeting or a police station for example, because these are not gun free zone areas.

    • Replies: @mutual seiko
    Could it be these colleges aren't liberal enough? There's never a shooting at SF State, is there? Oh sorry, Cal State San Francisco.
    , @Jimi
    I am pro-gun rights but I have to totally disagree. The increase in gun massacres is a new phenomenon and we need to understand why its happening. College campuses are a common target because most of these shooters are students.

    Most of these mass shooters want to die a blaze of glory. They are not deterred by armed students and staff. As long as they kill a few people before they die their mission is accomplished.

    Even if everyone is armed its very easy for a shooter to walk into a crowded area (malls, schools, theaters) and shoot a few people before bystanders disable him.
    , @pyrrhus
    Soft target seeking rules the world....
  30. @E. Rekshun
    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 - Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year...65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women...The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women...78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women...with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?...Are women inherently more adventurous?...

    Adventuresses?

    While Africa study abroad might be 80% female, I bet China, Korea and SE Asia are 80% male.

    • Agree: Clyde
  31. Ironically, Tom Wolfe has a great deal in common with Ta-Nehisi Coates. If only TW had a chance to write for Marvel.

    • Replies: @Sunbeam
    "Ironically, Tom Wolfe has a great deal in common with Ta-Nehisi Coates. If only TW had a chance to write for Marvel."

    That book is going to suck something fierce if it ever comes out.

    Not that I could say much of it is very ... good for want of a better word (though some of it does stand up).

    But writing fiction, and in particular this kind of fiction.. Well I don't think he is going to pull it off. It's very different from other things. A tv scriptwriter or romance novelist would be better suited for it.

    Can't really think of much to do with the Black Panther. If I were writing it, I'd go back to the roots with a mini-series about Wakanda, Vibranium, and Ulysses Klaw. I'd also go wonky with how the ridiculous money Wakanda makes with Vibranium deposits has changed and screwed up the country. But that's my take on it. And hey, weird metals are a Marvel tradition.
  32. Hokie says:
    @E. Rekshun
    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 - Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year...65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women...The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women...78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women...with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?...Are women inherently more adventurous?...

    Adventuresses?

    My sister and an ex-girlfriend each did a semester in East Africa. Neither of them was taught anything, but it was useful networking for work in nonprofits for both of them. They also got to play the savior to poor African children and take lots of vanity pictures in exotic places. I think “useful” is the key word. My friends who studied in Germany were getting a semester in engineering, and my friends who studied in Russia were in a language immersion program. All of them were men.

  33. @E. Rekshun
    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 - Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year...65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women...The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women...78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women...with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?...Are women inherently more adventurous?...

    Adventuresses?

    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 – Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men? https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    To have sex with foreigners. These thoughts might be conscious or subconscious. But being creatures of instinct, this is why they are going abroad.

  34. I think I have read everything TW has written. His best book was Bonfire of the Vanities. Some of his others, such as A Man in Full, get such a head of interleaving plots going that he can’t figure out how to bring them all together for a Big Ending. That said I hope he lives and writes forever. I think he will be remember as a chronicler of our times. That assumes, of course, that English departments give a damn about literature rather than the rambling of mediocre minorities.

  35. @Twinkie
    That's pretty awful. One of the Ivies, Brown, I think, used to have a class called "Magic in the Middle Ages" that required students to find herbs to make potions and cast spells. Or so an acquaintance told me years ago.

    Fine use of mommy and daddy's quarter million.

    I never did a study abroad program, but my last semester in my rigorous undergrad Computer Science program I wanted to coast and took an elective, “Music Appreciation” The prof was really into writing music. I barely ground out a “C.”

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar


    I never did a study abroad program, but my last semester in my rigorous undergrad Computer Science program I wanted to coast and took an elective, “Music Appreciation” The prof was really into writing music. I barely ground out a “C.”

     

    There was a time when scientists and engineers could coin a new term from Latin or Greek roots off the top of their heads. Now "music appreciation" trips them up.

    Text on screens is readable because hippie-techie Steve Jobs audited a course in calligraphy, typography and the like. Cross-fertilization is a good thing.

    Though, as a computer scientist at Macalester College told the New York Times recently, avoidance of tech subjects by liberal arts majors is even worse than the other way around.
  36. Growing up just after Kandy Kolored and in the middle of the Electric Acid with a ring side seat in both San Francisco and Washington, D.C. I read Wolf’s stuff ( my stepfather bought the books in his own attempt at Radical Chic hipsterism) but I was too near some of the ‘action’ to see what the fuss was all about.

    I remember coming home one night and Stan Owsley was sitting in the living room with my stepfather and mother. He wanted to rent a house they owned for his band ( Blue Cheer) because bands had houses back then. Owsley had gone to high school in Arlington and I mentioned that I had been friends with the Jefferson Airplanes Jack Cassidy’s younger brother back in D.C. but, to my stepfather’s surprise, I didn’t hang around. I guess that was Wolfe’s talent , he saw what was interesting about the ‘Acid King’ when I just saw a guy with a spaced out girl friend who wasn’t going to give me a gram of LSD so why hang around.

    The National Lampoon, P.J. O’Rourke and Hunter S. Thompson were more my style in those days.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    http://www.gizmag.com/owsley-stanley/18124/

    Stanley became such a fixture of the musical community that he inspired songs including Jefferson Airplane's "Bear Melt", Frank Zappa's "Who Needs the Peace Corps?", Steely Dan's "Kid Charlemagne" and even the Grateful Dead's own "Alice D. Millionaire" (named after a newspaper reference to Stanley as an "LSD millionaire").
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnjufR8GDcw
    , @27 year old
    i assume by that you meant, "he wasn't going to give me even a little bit of LSD", a gram of LSD is quite a lot
  37. @timothy

    In terms of textual output both of those authors are lazy slackers compared to Sailer.
     
    LOL, when will Wolfe and Lewis learn how to block quote NY Times articles?

    There is a tactic on twitter where you retweet something with almost no extra commentary. It works better if the person doing this is known, their “theme”, views known. The tactic mocks the original tweet, sometimes because the tweet says something patently stupid, or the opinion contained in the tweet is cheap, inherently short sighted, “cute” snark. Perhaps a few words are quoted to highlight and direct the mockery. Here is an example:

    “block quote NY Times articles”

    LOL, when will Wolfe and Lewis learn how to block quote NY Times articles?

    But I usually don’t use this tactic. I am more direct.

    I often skim the “block quoted Times articles” to read Sailer’s verbage on them. The NYT is the flagship of the Cathedral. When you mock it, when you defeat it, when you point out the financial gain for its owners in its bias, you unsettle the entire Cathedral, and you educate people on how to attack it.

    Take this small statement here”

    If you ask me, newspaper reporters are created at age six when they first go to school. In the schoolyard boys immediately divide into two types. Immediately! There are those who have the will to be daring and dominate, and those who don’t have it. … But there are boys from the weaker side of the divide who grow up with the same dreams as the stronger … The boy standing before me, John Smith, is one of them. They, too, dream of power, money, fame, and beautiful lovers.

    Hey, that’s what liberals are! Ideology? Economics? Social justice? Those are nothing but their prom outfits. Their politics were set for life in the schoolyard at age six. They were the weak, and forever after they resented the strong. That’s why so many journalists are liberals! The very same schoolyard events that pushed them toward the written word … pushed them toward “liberalism.”

    That statement will be repeated if not in actual text, but in intent, over and over in the Alt-Right counter-culture. Once more Sailer forms the words, make concrete the thoughts of the raw feelings of the Alt-Right.

    It is recognized that the sexual energy that the left took, reframed, owned that pushed them through the last 50 years has now shifted to the youth of the Alt-Right. It began with Game, with Roissy, Roosh, Rollo, with an attack on the current narrative to replace it with Sexual Dimorphism, and a theory that pushes masculinity, destroys liberal ideas of “how new men should be”. We know that women, despite politics, despite narrative, are driven by attraction to masculinity and eschew, reject, despise the useful fools that espouse their liberal ideas.

    And the marching song of the Alt-Right is “Follow us if you want to get laid”. And this song says to women, “We are the ones you want. Not those liberal wimps jealous of our sexual power and sexual success.”

    If you think that is small potatoes, fine. Sailer’s block quoting is a larger scale of the Twitter tactic of retweeting.

    Both work.

    • Replies: @Pat Casey
    That's interesting to me because I'm oblivious to Twitter. I don't think that counter culture is small potatoes at all. But as you define the thing it sounds set up to fail just about when it might jump from the internet to print or TV. Because those are not issues a large demographic is concerned about. To be generous, white males between the age of 16 and 32 who somehow stumbled onto one corner of the internet that spoke to them arrestingly--- it seems very much an internet phenomenon fundamentally. The future will have some concept more useful than "social media phenomenon" for such corners of the internet I'm sure; the point is they won't be seen as hotbeds of effectual political energy. I don't think I've read any of the rest, but I know Roissy is a pure stylist and wickedly trenchant. He should take that talent seriously, forget our hometown, and start writing the stuff that will reach the masses: screenplays, pilots, novels, hell write standup. Or maybe he does some of that already, in which case point made. But this idea that the internet is a grass roots bonanza, that the US political system is becoming more open, or that a movement with the baggage you guys no you have is going to start turning heads in cavernous halls---that's self-deluding, and a waste of artistic talent.
  38. @E. Rekshun
    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 - Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year...65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women...The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women...78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women...with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?...Are women inherently more adventurous?...

    Adventuresses?

    Adventurousness or adventuressness has little to do with it; it’s frivolity. Most study abroad is useless career-wise. You go to Dublin to study Irish poets, or some other liberal arts fluff.

    How many Cal Tech or MIT students do study abroad?

  39. @carol
    the perpetual revolt of High Culture against God, Country, and Tradition.

    Okay there it is, the mentality I grew up with. It was always assumed you were in rebellion. Shrinks were there to relieve you of your guilt, or rather to relieve your parents of their guilt. Church and any other communion were to be avoided. But all I say was chaos in my family and then later everywhere else.

    Revolt is so regarded as a virtue, they still can't see what ruin they've caused, to this day.

    the perpetual revolt of High Culture against God, Country, and Tradition.

    Okay there it is, the mentality I grew up with. It was always assumed you were in rebellion. Shrinks were there to relieve you of your guilt, or rather to relieve your parents of their guilt. Church and any other communion were to be avoided. But all I say was chaos in my family and then later everywhere else.

    Revolt is so regarded as a virtue, they still can’t see what ruin they’ve caused, to this day.

    Comment of the day right there.

    Man, have I been there and done that.

  40. @E. Rekshun
    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 - Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year...65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women...The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women...78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women...with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?...Are women inherently more adventurous?...

    Adventuresses?

    Women are more likely to study the sort of liberal arts subjects that better lend themselves to study abroad.

    Peter

  41. @E. Rekshun
    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 - Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year...65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women...The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women...78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women...with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?...Are women inherently more adventurous?...

    Adventuresses?

    Studying abroad is fun but, for the most part, frivolous. Males are more practical and career-minded than females, and the kinds of careers most of them pursue are less likely to give them points for glorified traveling.

  42. @AndrewR

    I’ve been reading Tom Wolfe for 40 years, but I was primed to be a Tom Wolfe fan almost a decade before then.
     
    Steve never fails to remind his readers how ancient he is...

    Steve Sailer is in his early fifties. You must be quite young to consider that ancient.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Not that early.
  43. @Jefferson
    Another college shooting, this time in Arizona which resulted in the death of 1 student. Colleges really are sitting ducks for these types of mass shootings. It doesn't help that most colleges in the U.S are Liberal and there for subscribe to anti-2nd amendment political views which create these gun free zones. Mass shooters know that none of the college students and teacher staff will shoot back at them because none of them carry guns into the classroom.

    You never hear of mass shooters trying to kill people at an NRA meeting or a police station for example, because these are not gun free zone areas.

    Could it be these colleges aren’t liberal enough? There’s never a shooting at SF State, is there? Oh sorry, Cal State San Francisco.

  44. ….How intact we’ve survived it all is disputable, but Tom Wolfe has been there to help, not least by devising a style the range of which can get so much of it together. He is famous for his paratactic syntax hand in hand with typographic hi-jinx….

    But literati always tend to think that mimicry betokens admiration (else why the trouble? They take trouble only over measured Presbyterian judiciousness). Literati also worry when horrid alienations aren’t allowed to evanesce but get fixed in print: some reader might acquire them!

    Literati, there’s the problem. We’re all literati, else we’d not be fixed on this page. We look to print for information and opinion, and most of America has more sense (though, alas, it looks to TV). Tom Wolfe writes (for literati–for page –turners) about people who seldom turn pages: stock-car drivers, a self-made “art collector” whose fiscal base was a taxi fleet, hangers-out with surfboarders, cunning intimidators of bureaucrats, “The Girl of the Year” (whose name, if you’ve forgotten from ’64, was Baby Jane Holzer), astronauts, Vietnam pilots….Literati find such types strange, unless the New York Times reporter makes them talk like a Times editorial, as he normally does.

    —Hugh Kenner, “All the Angels Have Big Feet”

    I’m curious if anyone knows a negative review of Tom Wolfe that was astute, interesting, and mostly not tendentious. Because, seems to me, between Hugh Kenner, Bill Buckley, Steve Sailer, and Michael Lewis, it’s not clear to me that Wolfe’s standing as a bona fide American literary treasure is being cheated him one bit. The point is not that the four above are all bred to make the case for that standing credential-wise, but well in a way that is my point, because the most pertinent truth about literature is that good writing knows what good writing looks like, which makes literary criticism the easiest field for amateurs to contribute weight too with their judgments.

    (The New York Times Book Review is a joke btw, if that’s where the gripe about Wolfe’s lack of recognition stems from. They print reviews of seminal biographies by reviewers who have read nothing about the subject they are reviewing besides the book in hand, and embarrass themselves that way. ex: Ezra Pound was a notorious libertine who had girlfriends throughout his life, plus effectively two wives, but see here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/books/review/McGrath-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

    The thought I had is that Tom Wolfe is probably the best shield fate has fallen to these parts going forward. Hugh Kenner, quoted above, was the greatest literary critic of the 20th century, and I gather that what he would start by saying about political correctness is that it’s not about taboo ideas as much as taboo styles—phraseology, tone, word-choice, etc. That’s derivable from the quotes above. Wolfe was a stylist, and got away for being one with talking about plaques for blacks. Quoting Tom Wolfe everyday— that seems to me like a very promising way to reframe the debate about how literati are allowed to talk about stuff. Throwing their ideas back at them with spit-fire word-joinery would not need say one statement of alternate principles if the principles being extolled are purely stylistic in substance. The Censorship of Style sounds like what NYC would feel very backwards about owning.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Wolfe has never lacked for publicity over the last 50 years.
    , @whorefinder
    Did you get all that from your "secret knowledge" archives? You know, right where you hang your picture of Roosh V to throw darts at while chanting, "The Day of Us Cucks Is Coming!"

    lol..
    , @manton
    My recollection is that Bonfire got almost unanimously good reviews. One bad one, or semi-bad one, that sticks out is Andrew Ferguson's reappraisal in The Weekly Standard ten years later. He liked the book but called it bleak and cold. Man In Full divided the critics. Lewis raved over it in the NYTBR. The daily reviewer was less positive. Time enthused. VF did a cover story. Most of the more prestige journals were negative, with Updike, Mailer and Irving trashing it. From that point on, none of is books was ever well reviewed again, except by conservative intellectuals already prone to liking Wolfe.

    While I found Back To Blood to be Wolfe's weakest book, I still think there is much in it to like. The WSJ review was basically a hatchet job, though it made some good points.

    So, basically, no--I believe I have read all the important reviews of Wolfe's books and 99% of the negative ones are tendentious garbage from which one can learn little and profit less.
  45. @Anonymous
    Steve Sailer is in his early fifties. You must be quite young to consider that ancient.

    Not that early.

  46. @Jefferson
    Another college shooting, this time in Arizona which resulted in the death of 1 student. Colleges really are sitting ducks for these types of mass shootings. It doesn't help that most colleges in the U.S are Liberal and there for subscribe to anti-2nd amendment political views which create these gun free zones. Mass shooters know that none of the college students and teacher staff will shoot back at them because none of them carry guns into the classroom.

    You never hear of mass shooters trying to kill people at an NRA meeting or a police station for example, because these are not gun free zone areas.

    I am pro-gun rights but I have to totally disagree. The increase in gun massacres is a new phenomenon and we need to understand why its happening. College campuses are a common target because most of these shooters are students.

    Most of these mass shooters want to die a blaze of glory. They are not deterred by armed students and staff. As long as they kill a few people before they die their mission is accomplished.

    Even if everyone is armed its very easy for a shooter to walk into a crowded area (malls, schools, theaters) and shoot a few people before bystanders disable him.

    • Replies: @JSM
    "I am pro-gun rights but...."

    They are not deterred by armed students and staff.
     

    Even if everyone is armed its very easy for a shooter to walk into a crowded area (malls, schools, theaters) and shoot a few people before bystanders disable him.
     
    You are either a liar or an *idiot.*

    It matters not whether the shooter *feels* deterred by armed students. They *are* deterred when they got shot. An armed student body and faculty can *keep* the carnage down to a few people, instead of the shooter managing to rack up an even larger body count.

    That you would even bother with this worn out, intellectually lazy, liberal shibboleth is proof enough for me that you are in fact NOT pro gun-rights. Inescapable conclusion: liar.

  47. @Pat Casey

    ....How intact we've survived it all is disputable, but Tom Wolfe has been there to help, not least by devising a style the range of which can get so much of it together. He is famous for his paratactic syntax hand in hand with typographic hi-jinx....

    But literati always tend to think that mimicry betokens admiration (else why the trouble? They take trouble only over measured Presbyterian judiciousness). Literati also worry when horrid alienations aren't allowed to evanesce but get fixed in print: some reader might acquire them!

    Literati, there's the problem. We're all literati, else we'd not be fixed on this page. We look to print for information and opinion, and most of America has more sense (though, alas, it looks to TV). Tom Wolfe writes (for literati--for page --turners) about people who seldom turn pages: stock-car drivers, a self-made "art collector" whose fiscal base was a taxi fleet, hangers-out with surfboarders, cunning intimidators of bureaucrats, "The Girl of the Year" (whose name, if you've forgotten from '64, was Baby Jane Holzer), astronauts, Vietnam pilots....Literati find such types strange, unless the New York Times reporter makes them talk like a Times editorial, as he normally does.

    ---Hugh Kenner, "All the Angels Have Big Feet"
     
    I'm curious if anyone knows a negative review of Tom Wolfe that was astute, interesting, and mostly not tendentious. Because, seems to me, between Hugh Kenner, Bill Buckley, Steve Sailer, and Michael Lewis, it's not clear to me that Wolfe's standing as a bona fide American literary treasure is being cheated him one bit. The point is not that the four above are all bred to make the case for that standing credential-wise, but well in a way that is my point, because the most pertinent truth about literature is that good writing knows what good writing looks like, which makes literary criticism the easiest field for amateurs to contribute weight too with their judgments.

    (The New York Times Book Review is a joke btw, if that's where the gripe about Wolfe's lack of recognition stems from. They print reviews of seminal biographies by reviewers who have read nothing about the subject they are reviewing besides the book in hand, and embarrass themselves that way. ex: Ezra Pound was a notorious libertine who had girlfriends throughout his life, plus effectively two wives, but see here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/books/review/McGrath-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

    The thought I had is that Tom Wolfe is probably the best shield fate has fallen to these parts going forward. Hugh Kenner, quoted above, was the greatest literary critic of the 20th century, and I gather that what he would start by saying about political correctness is that it's not about taboo ideas as much as taboo styles---phraseology, tone, word-choice, etc. That's derivable from the quotes above. Wolfe was a stylist, and got away for being one with talking about plaques for blacks. Quoting Tom Wolfe everyday--- that seems to me like a very promising way to reframe the debate about how literati are allowed to talk about stuff. Throwing their ideas back at them with spit-fire word-joinery would not need say one statement of alternate principles if the principles being extolled are purely stylistic in substance. The Censorship of Style sounds like what NYC would feel very backwards about owning.

    Wolfe has never lacked for publicity over the last 50 years.

  48. I hope their performance was as inspiring as that of last year’s college debate champions:

    [ I think I forgot to reply to the specific post; this is in response to https://www.unz.com/isteve/michael-lewis-on-tom-wolfe-as-a-southern-conservative/#comment-1179816 ]

  49. ….How intact we’ve survived it all is disputable, but Tom Wolfe has been there to help, not least by devising a style the range of which can get so much of it together. He is famous for his paratactic syntax hand in hand with typographic hi-jinx….

    But literati always tend to think that mimicry betokens admiration (else why the trouble? They take trouble only over measured Presbyterian judiciousness). Literati also worry when horrid alienations aren’t allowed to evanesce but get fixed in print: some reader might acquire them!

    Literati, there’s the problem. We’re all literati, else we’d not be fixed on this page. We look to print for information and opinion, and most of America has more sense (though, alas, it looks to TV). Tom Wolfe writes (for literati–for page –turners) about people who seldom turn pages: stock-car drivers, a self-made “art collector” whose fiscal base was a taxi fleet, hangers-out with surfboarders, cunning intimidators of bureaucrats, “The Girl of the Year” (whose name, if you’ve forgotten from ’64, was Baby Jane Holzer), astronauts, Vietnam pilots….Literati find such types strange, unless the New York Times reporter makes them talk like a Times editorial, as he normally does.

    —Hugh Kenner, “All the Angels Have Big Feet”

    I’m curious if anyone knows a negative review of Tom Wolfe that was astute, interesting, and mostly not tendentious. Obviously he hasn’t lacked publicity, but are his critics serious in their criticism or has it just been the attitude in the air around him for the past 30 years? Has anyone said, “Frankly, Tom Wolfe is not high-art”? Steve’s remark about Bonfire of the Vanities in his review of Back to Blood suggested that to me.

    Because between Hugh Kenner, Bill Buckley, Steve Sailer, and Michael Lewis, it’s not clear to me that Wolfe’s standing as a bona fide American literary treasure is being cheated him one bit. The point is not that the four above are all bred to make the case for that standing credential-wise, but well in a way that is my point, because an appealing aspect of literary criticism is that amateurs can contribute weight in the long run with more ease than other fields.

    The thought I had is that Tom Wolfe is probably the best shield fate has fallen to where speech codes in the press are what need evolving most. But again, that depends on his general standing among high-brow critics. Hugh Kenner, quoted above, was the greatest literary critic of modernism according to T.S. Eliot. I gather that what he would start by saying about political correctness is that it’s not about taboo ideas as much as taboo styles—phraseology, tone, word-choice, etc. Wolfe was a stylist, and got away for being one with talking about plaques for blacks. Quoting Tom Wolfe everyday— that seems to me like a very promising way to reframe the debate about how literati are allowed to talk about stuff. The Censorship of Style sounds like what NYC would feel very backwards about owning.

  50. @AndrewR
    I am quite fond of Sailer too but I think you're slightly exaggerating his influence.

    You're right that he writes a prodigious amount about an incredible range of subjects in extraordinarily insighful and witty fashion, and maybe in the future he will be far more popular than he is today, but as of right now his fanbase is just not that big. Either that or the vast majority of his readers neither comment, link to him nor talk about him.

    I suspect that a lot of Steve’s readers would refuse to admit to it. MSM types that peruse this site for ideas, then write safer stories based on the same topic. I often read about something here, then read about that same thing in the MSM in a few days.

  51. @E. Rekshun
    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 - Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year...65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women...The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women...78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women...with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?...Are women inherently more adventurous?...

    Adventuresses?

    I think Whiskey has the answer you’re looking for.

  52. Josh says: • Website
    @Anonymous
    Well, I am Charlotte Simmons was the last book of his I'll ever read and whatever the reasons it was poorly reviewed it certainly is objectively awful. I mean its really, really horrifically bad.

    Maybe he should quit while he's behind and let people defend his earlier work if they think its worth defending.

    I loved it. I was about 10 years removed from unread when I read it and I was just glad somebody was actually recording for the record just how disgusting college was at the time. Duke is one of the models for DuPont, but I am convinced that wolf must have spent some time at late 90s early 00s Cornell. At the time, you try to think its all great and cool and normal, but in retrospect it was just vile.

  53. @Jefferson
    Another college shooting, this time in Arizona which resulted in the death of 1 student. Colleges really are sitting ducks for these types of mass shootings. It doesn't help that most colleges in the U.S are Liberal and there for subscribe to anti-2nd amendment political views which create these gun free zones. Mass shooters know that none of the college students and teacher staff will shoot back at them because none of them carry guns into the classroom.

    You never hear of mass shooters trying to kill people at an NRA meeting or a police station for example, because these are not gun free zone areas.

    Soft target seeking rules the world….

  54. Just finished The Right Stuff. I will always be thankful to Mr. Sailer for leading me to Wolfe. I am going to be in trouble once I have caught up with his entire bibliography. This blog helps to keep a steady stream of Wolfe-like content in front of me for hopefully a long time. When is the next fundraiser?

  55. @timothy
    You can access it online (I have) but probably only through a research university's e-resources.

    It's going to be the less amusing revised version anyway. And as someone noted, "Reading [Tom Wolfe's PhD dissertation], one sees what has been the most baleful influence of graduate education on many who have suffered through it: it deadens all sense of style."

    Academic writing is to writing as rice cake is to rice.

  56. @Mark Minter
    There is a tactic on twitter where you retweet something with almost no extra commentary. It works better if the person doing this is known, their "theme", views known. The tactic mocks the original tweet, sometimes because the tweet says something patently stupid, or the opinion contained in the tweet is cheap, inherently short sighted, "cute" snark. Perhaps a few words are quoted to highlight and direct the mockery. Here is an example:

    "block quote NY Times articles"

    LOL, when will Wolfe and Lewis learn how to block quote NY Times articles?
     
    But I usually don't use this tactic. I am more direct.

    I often skim the "block quoted Times articles" to read Sailer's verbage on them. The NYT is the flagship of the Cathedral. When you mock it, when you defeat it, when you point out the financial gain for its owners in its bias, you unsettle the entire Cathedral, and you educate people on how to attack it.

    Take this small statement here"

    If you ask me, newspaper reporters are created at age six when they first go to school. In the schoolyard boys immediately divide into two types. Immediately! There are those who have the will to be daring and dominate, and those who don’t have it. … But there are boys from the weaker side of the divide who grow up with the same dreams as the stronger … The boy standing before me, John Smith, is one of them. They, too, dream of power, money, fame, and beautiful lovers.
    ...

    Hey, that’s what liberals are! Ideology? Economics? Social justice? Those are nothing but their prom outfits. Their politics were set for life in the schoolyard at age six. They were the weak, and forever after they resented the strong. That’s why so many journalists are liberals! The very same schoolyard events that pushed them toward the written word … pushed them toward “liberalism.”
     
    That statement will be repeated if not in actual text, but in intent, over and over in the Alt-Right counter-culture. Once more Sailer forms the words, make concrete the thoughts of the raw feelings of the Alt-Right.

    It is recognized that the sexual energy that the left took, reframed, owned that pushed them through the last 50 years has now shifted to the youth of the Alt-Right. It began with Game, with Roissy, Roosh, Rollo, with an attack on the current narrative to replace it with Sexual Dimorphism, and a theory that pushes masculinity, destroys liberal ideas of "how new men should be". We know that women, despite politics, despite narrative, are driven by attraction to masculinity and eschew, reject, despise the useful fools that espouse their liberal ideas.

    And the marching song of the Alt-Right is "Follow us if you want to get laid". And this song says to women, "We are the ones you want. Not those liberal wimps jealous of our sexual power and sexual success."

    If you think that is small potatoes, fine. Sailer's block quoting is a larger scale of the Twitter tactic of retweeting.

    Both work.

    That’s interesting to me because I’m oblivious to Twitter. I don’t think that counter culture is small potatoes at all. But as you define the thing it sounds set up to fail just about when it might jump from the internet to print or TV. Because those are not issues a large demographic is concerned about. To be generous, white males between the age of 16 and 32 who somehow stumbled onto one corner of the internet that spoke to them arrestingly— it seems very much an internet phenomenon fundamentally. The future will have some concept more useful than “social media phenomenon” for such corners of the internet I’m sure; the point is they won’t be seen as hotbeds of effectual political energy. I don’t think I’ve read any of the rest, but I know Roissy is a pure stylist and wickedly trenchant. He should take that talent seriously, forget our hometown, and start writing the stuff that will reach the masses: screenplays, pilots, novels, hell write standup. Or maybe he does some of that already, in which case point made. But this idea that the internet is a grass roots bonanza, that the US political system is becoming more open, or that a movement with the baggage you guys no you have is going to start turning heads in cavernous halls—that’s self-deluding, and a waste of artistic talent.

    • Replies: @SFG
    Not enough people actually want to be Nazis. Besides, the alt-right doesn't have as compelling a vision as Christianity; apart from straight-out fascism, which has limited appeal in a country built as a republic, the whole thing reeks of teenage boys in their basements playing World of Warcraft. (I say this as someone with a copy of Deities and Demigods with Cthulhu.)

    What is going to happen is more guys are going to read about Game and start acting like men again. And I think that's a good thing.
  57. @Pat Casey

    ....How intact we've survived it all is disputable, but Tom Wolfe has been there to help, not least by devising a style the range of which can get so much of it together. He is famous for his paratactic syntax hand in hand with typographic hi-jinx....

    But literati always tend to think that mimicry betokens admiration (else why the trouble? They take trouble only over measured Presbyterian judiciousness). Literati also worry when horrid alienations aren't allowed to evanesce but get fixed in print: some reader might acquire them!

    Literati, there's the problem. We're all literati, else we'd not be fixed on this page. We look to print for information and opinion, and most of America has more sense (though, alas, it looks to TV). Tom Wolfe writes (for literati--for page --turners) about people who seldom turn pages: stock-car drivers, a self-made "art collector" whose fiscal base was a taxi fleet, hangers-out with surfboarders, cunning intimidators of bureaucrats, "The Girl of the Year" (whose name, if you've forgotten from '64, was Baby Jane Holzer), astronauts, Vietnam pilots....Literati find such types strange, unless the New York Times reporter makes them talk like a Times editorial, as he normally does.

    ---Hugh Kenner, "All the Angels Have Big Feet"
     
    I'm curious if anyone knows a negative review of Tom Wolfe that was astute, interesting, and mostly not tendentious. Because, seems to me, between Hugh Kenner, Bill Buckley, Steve Sailer, and Michael Lewis, it's not clear to me that Wolfe's standing as a bona fide American literary treasure is being cheated him one bit. The point is not that the four above are all bred to make the case for that standing credential-wise, but well in a way that is my point, because the most pertinent truth about literature is that good writing knows what good writing looks like, which makes literary criticism the easiest field for amateurs to contribute weight too with their judgments.

    (The New York Times Book Review is a joke btw, if that's where the gripe about Wolfe's lack of recognition stems from. They print reviews of seminal biographies by reviewers who have read nothing about the subject they are reviewing besides the book in hand, and embarrass themselves that way. ex: Ezra Pound was a notorious libertine who had girlfriends throughout his life, plus effectively two wives, but see here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/books/review/McGrath-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

    The thought I had is that Tom Wolfe is probably the best shield fate has fallen to these parts going forward. Hugh Kenner, quoted above, was the greatest literary critic of the 20th century, and I gather that what he would start by saying about political correctness is that it's not about taboo ideas as much as taboo styles---phraseology, tone, word-choice, etc. That's derivable from the quotes above. Wolfe was a stylist, and got away for being one with talking about plaques for blacks. Quoting Tom Wolfe everyday--- that seems to me like a very promising way to reframe the debate about how literati are allowed to talk about stuff. Throwing their ideas back at them with spit-fire word-joinery would not need say one statement of alternate principles if the principles being extolled are purely stylistic in substance. The Censorship of Style sounds like what NYC would feel very backwards about owning.

    Did you get all that from your “secret knowledge” archives? You know, right where you hang your picture of Roosh V to throw darts at while chanting, “The Day of Us Cucks Is Coming!”

    lol..

    • Replies: @Pat Casey
    To tell the truth, I wouldn't go that hard on you again. My conviction is that this business of yours with your website is one sick thing, but that this transmogrification of the alpha male into a guy who lashes out at women instead of protecting them, my conviction is that you are demonstrating Nietzsche's psychology of slave morality to a pretty fine point, and that's plain and simple about flipping evil into good. And let me say this: I understand a lot better than you do exactly what it feels like to be screwed over by a system stacked against men. I got yanked out of college and sentenced to a year (served half) for a vindictive ex-girlfriend's lie, fabricated from whole cloth. I could not even defend myself, because they were going to slam me with long-shot felonies if I didn't plead, and long-shot felonies are not your friend whatever their chance of holding up. I had to sit on my hands for something like 8 months not knowing if I was going to catch a suspended sentence and leave for five, ten years, for something I did not do and could defend myself for. But I came out of it no misogynist, not that sitting on my hands like that didn't set me on fire. The reason I'm telling you all this is because you have no moral authority, at all I imagine, to troll around promoting a twisted ethics. Yet I can't help but feel like I have an obligation to make a point of saying that these visceral opinions of you and your buddies are not righteous. It's a pose that comes from being petty like a tyrant. Your ethics speak to whats wrong with you, not them. And I myself prove that.
  58. @Harry Baldwin
    My niece took a semester abroad to study puppetry at the University of Cape Town. About halfway through, the professor told the students he had run out of things to teach them and the class fizzled out. She and her classmates spent their days on the beach till the time came to return home. She got full credit for the class and the African credential must look great on her resume for the SJW type jobs she pursues. BTW, she's a lesbian.

    My niece took a semester abroad to study puppetry at the University of Cape Town.

    And here is why I keep returning to Unz and particularly to Sailer. Not only is the quality of the analysis better and more succinct than anywhere else, but I learn things in the comments I’d never learn elsewhere. Foreign study semester of puppetry. In Africa. Because when one thinks of great puppetry ones first thought is Africa. And what was that sniggering in the back about? Of course puppetry is worthy of credit towards ones degree..

    Sniggering. Heh. About African puppetry. Is that a hate crime?

  59. WhatEvvs [AKA "Anonymuss Annie"] says:
    @Anonymous
    Well, I am Charlotte Simmons was the last book of his I'll ever read and whatever the reasons it was poorly reviewed it certainly is objectively awful. I mean its really, really horrifically bad.

    Maybe he should quit while he's behind and let people defend his earlier work if they think its worth defending.

    Despite the best efforts of Sailer & Crew to depict Wolfe as a victim of evil liberals, the facts are:

    1. He was the best and most admired journalist of his generation
    2. His entry into fiction writing (Bonfire) was heralded by great expectations and even greater advances. People here don’t seem to remember that – he was very very famous as a journalist.
    3. As a fiction writer, he’s awful.

    http://observer.com/2000/02/its-tom-wolfe-versus-the-three-stooges/

    IN NOVEMBER 1998, John Updike oh so quietly killed A Man in Full .

    It was a clean kill. Issued from Mr. Updike’s New Yorker pulpit, the review of the big Tom Wolfe novel seemed mild, gentle and fair: ” A Man in Full still amounts to entertainment, not literature, even literature in a modest aspirant form. Like a movie desperate to recoup its bankers’ investment, the novel tries too hard to please us.”

    • Replies: @cthulhu
    Updike was just jealous that Wolfe was successful. The distinction between "literature" and "entertainment" is bullshit - there is only high quality and not. Dickens and Shakespeare definitely wrote high quality and entertaining works, and were successful writers of fiction. So is Wolfe, and "A Man In Full" got excellent reviews from many sources. But read it yourself - it is very, very good.

    That said, I still prefer Wolfe's nonfiction to his fiction. "The Right Stuff" is one of the best things published in the second half of the 20th century; ditto his profile of Bob Noyce, the co-inventor of the integrated circuit, in the 50th anniversary issue of Esquire (re-published in his 2000 non-fiction collection "Hooking Up", which also includes his famous profile of William Shawn of the "New Yorker"). His last two novels - "I Am Charlotte Simmons" and "Back to Blood" - have plenty of great moments, but IMHO don't hang together as great novels; they both needed a good editor to clean out the distractions. Which, curiously enough, AMIF didn't need despite being longer than either of the other two - all of the characters and subplots in AMIF hang together very well.
  60. @AndrewR
    I am quite fond of Sailer too but I think you're slightly exaggerating his influence.

    You're right that he writes a prodigious amount about an incredible range of subjects in extraordinarily insighful and witty fashion, and maybe in the future he will be far more popular than he is today, but as of right now his fanbase is just not that big. Either that or the vast majority of his readers neither comment, link to him nor talk about him.

    the vast majority of his readers neither comment, link to him nor talk about him.

    This. He is an anchor here, at Taki’s, and at Vdare. Even if he wasn’t the chief proponent of “HBD” he would be guilty by association. HBD is called “scientific racism” by the NYT and Salon types. So, who would link to Sailer or admit they read him? Surely nobody who depends on a paycheck. The socialist brownshirts would set about destroying “those bad racists’” livelihood and wouldn’t relent until they succeeded. Jason Richwine probably reads Sailer from time to time and you don’t want to be Richwined.

  61. @E. Rekshun
    I never did a study abroad program, but my last semester in my rigorous undergrad Computer Science program I wanted to coast and took an elective, "Music Appreciation" The prof was really into writing music. I barely ground out a "C."

    I never did a study abroad program, but my last semester in my rigorous undergrad Computer Science program I wanted to coast and took an elective, “Music Appreciation” The prof was really into writing music. I barely ground out a “C.”

    There was a time when scientists and engineers could coin a new term from Latin or Greek roots off the top of their heads. Now “music appreciation” trips them up.

    Text on screens is readable because hippie-techie Steve Jobs audited a course in calligraphy, typography and the like. Cross-fertilization is a good thing.

    Though, as a computer scientist at Macalester College told the New York Times recently, avoidance of tech subjects by liberal arts majors is even worse than the other way around.

  62. @FredR
    Lewis acts like it's a big coup to have discovered that Wolfe stole an invitation to Bernstein's party, but I'm almost positive that story has been told a few times already...

    Yes, he has told it many times. He even told it to me in answering a letter I wrote him in 1995.

  63. Politics are set on the playground, Lord ain’t it true. Nerds and bullies never go away. The largest group of victims are the people who were neither. The [successful] malcontents and nerds make sure they collectively pay for the sins of the bullies and, yet, we live in a world in which bullies often prosper [based on their social class, ambition and native intelligence] and continue to be a negative force. It’s like how Feminism is utterly powerless in the face of committed cads.

    Maybe for former nerds or feminists it doesn’t matter who the sacrifice is, just so there is a scapegoat. There is precedent for this misplaced ritualized and actual aggression; lambs don’t commit sins, but they get sacrificed all the time.

    Both extremities are narcissists, unsurprisingly lacking in empathy for members of their own communities , but both can be extremely generous with strangers. I get the Left being super concerned about helping the 3rd world, but what’s with Dubya’s Daddy Warbucks for Africans routine? I don’t think it is cynical or affected. I’ve seen far too many “we need to help those people” type comments by public figures and online commentators and individuals in person of that sort of extroverted, aggressive sort who you know were insufferable brats/bad boys when younger. Because of their lack of empathy and narcissism, true bullies probably aren’t bigots in a clannish or xenophobic way.

  64. @Pat Casey

    ....How intact we've survived it all is disputable, but Tom Wolfe has been there to help, not least by devising a style the range of which can get so much of it together. He is famous for his paratactic syntax hand in hand with typographic hi-jinx....

    But literati always tend to think that mimicry betokens admiration (else why the trouble? They take trouble only over measured Presbyterian judiciousness). Literati also worry when horrid alienations aren't allowed to evanesce but get fixed in print: some reader might acquire them!

    Literati, there's the problem. We're all literati, else we'd not be fixed on this page. We look to print for information and opinion, and most of America has more sense (though, alas, it looks to TV). Tom Wolfe writes (for literati--for page --turners) about people who seldom turn pages: stock-car drivers, a self-made "art collector" whose fiscal base was a taxi fleet, hangers-out with surfboarders, cunning intimidators of bureaucrats, "The Girl of the Year" (whose name, if you've forgotten from '64, was Baby Jane Holzer), astronauts, Vietnam pilots....Literati find such types strange, unless the New York Times reporter makes them talk like a Times editorial, as he normally does.

    ---Hugh Kenner, "All the Angels Have Big Feet"
     
    I'm curious if anyone knows a negative review of Tom Wolfe that was astute, interesting, and mostly not tendentious. Because, seems to me, between Hugh Kenner, Bill Buckley, Steve Sailer, and Michael Lewis, it's not clear to me that Wolfe's standing as a bona fide American literary treasure is being cheated him one bit. The point is not that the four above are all bred to make the case for that standing credential-wise, but well in a way that is my point, because the most pertinent truth about literature is that good writing knows what good writing looks like, which makes literary criticism the easiest field for amateurs to contribute weight too with their judgments.

    (The New York Times Book Review is a joke btw, if that's where the gripe about Wolfe's lack of recognition stems from. They print reviews of seminal biographies by reviewers who have read nothing about the subject they are reviewing besides the book in hand, and embarrass themselves that way. ex: Ezra Pound was a notorious libertine who had girlfriends throughout his life, plus effectively two wives, but see here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/books/review/McGrath-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

    The thought I had is that Tom Wolfe is probably the best shield fate has fallen to these parts going forward. Hugh Kenner, quoted above, was the greatest literary critic of the 20th century, and I gather that what he would start by saying about political correctness is that it's not about taboo ideas as much as taboo styles---phraseology, tone, word-choice, etc. That's derivable from the quotes above. Wolfe was a stylist, and got away for being one with talking about plaques for blacks. Quoting Tom Wolfe everyday--- that seems to me like a very promising way to reframe the debate about how literati are allowed to talk about stuff. Throwing their ideas back at them with spit-fire word-joinery would not need say one statement of alternate principles if the principles being extolled are purely stylistic in substance. The Censorship of Style sounds like what NYC would feel very backwards about owning.

    My recollection is that Bonfire got almost unanimously good reviews. One bad one, or semi-bad one, that sticks out is Andrew Ferguson’s reappraisal in The Weekly Standard ten years later. He liked the book but called it bleak and cold. Man In Full divided the critics. Lewis raved over it in the NYTBR. The daily reviewer was less positive. Time enthused. VF did a cover story. Most of the more prestige journals were negative, with Updike, Mailer and Irving trashing it. From that point on, none of is books was ever well reviewed again, except by conservative intellectuals already prone to liking Wolfe.

    While I found Back To Blood to be Wolfe’s weakest book, I still think there is much in it to like. The WSJ review was basically a hatchet job, though it made some good points.

    So, basically, no–I believe I have read all the important reviews of Wolfe’s books and 99% of the negative ones are tendentious garbage from which one can learn little and profit less.

    • Replies: @Busby
    I came late to the party. I read Bonfire and thought it was good, but to me The Right Stuff was the pinnacle. I trudged through A Man In Full but never quite got the point. I lost interest in Back to Blood, never finished. My opinion, he's at his best writing about people, places, things and the zeitgeist. A chronicler with a good eye and good ear. Fiction, uneven at best.
    , @Pat Casey
    Nice cache. I just read Ferguson's review, thanks, that's the one I wondered if would be out there. I suspect that's the most astute and interesting negative review Wolfe ever got, and it still hails him. Good to know. Seems like literary squabbles between heavyweights tend to help the historical recognition of all involved; being ignored is the mortal fate, so probably Wolfe came out ahead by calling in the d. ex m. in Man in Full (earthquake prison escape---"entertainment more than literature" right there seems fair). Charlotte Simons maybe paid for it though, he seemed to be cruising in top form before I put it down, satisfied it was good. Anyways, Andrew Ferguson Land of Lincoln is a joy to read.
    , @anon
    I'm sorry but you have it backwards.

    When virtually all of the relevant reviewers dismiss wolfes recent fiction as the trash that it is, the burden is on you to provide a critical defense from which we can learn and profit.
    , @Justpassingby

    Updike, Mailer and Irving....
     
    That's a bit like saying Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Pee Wee Herman.
  65. @E. Rekshun
    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 - Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year...65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women...The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women...78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women...with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?...Are women inherently more adventurous?...

    Adventuresses?

    OT: WaPo, 10/09/15 – Why do more U.S. women study abroad than men?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/09/why-do-more-u-s-women-study-abroad-than-men/?tid=trending_strip_4

    Nearly 300,000 U.S. college students will study abroad this year…65 percent of students leaving the United States will be women…The St. Lawrence Kenya program is one of the oldest study abroad programs in Africa and more than 70 percent of the 2,000 plus alumni who participated have been women. In recent years the program has been nearly 80 percent women…78 percent of the participants on programs in at least 15 different African countries were women…with percentages reaching as high as 90 percent women.

    How can one explain this disparity overall and for Africa in particular?…Are women inherently more adventurous?…

    Adventuresses?

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    Yours may be the single best comment I’ve ever read. Retire now, you’ll never top it.

  66. @Bryant Gummel
    Ironically, Tom Wolfe has a great deal in common with Ta-Nehisi Coates. If only TW had a chance to write for Marvel.

    “Ironically, Tom Wolfe has a great deal in common with Ta-Nehisi Coates. If only TW had a chance to write for Marvel.”

    That book is going to suck something fierce if it ever comes out.

    Not that I could say much of it is very … good for want of a better word (though some of it does stand up).

    But writing fiction, and in particular this kind of fiction.. Well I don’t think he is going to pull it off. It’s very different from other things. A tv scriptwriter or romance novelist would be better suited for it.

    Can’t really think of much to do with the Black Panther. If I were writing it, I’d go back to the roots with a mini-series about Wakanda, Vibranium, and Ulysses Klaw. I’d also go wonky with how the ridiculous money Wakanda makes with Vibranium deposits has changed and screwed up the country. But that’s my take on it. And hey, weird metals are a Marvel tradition.

  67. @Mike Sylwester

    The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamlined Baby
     
    In about 1966, when I was in high school, I was impressed by Wolfe's writing style in his first books. I went through a phase of trying to write similarly.

    Frankly, though, I never was able to finish reading any of the pieces that he wrote. I'd give up about half-way through. His writing was mostly just clever style, without compelling narrative.

    My next phase, a couple years later, was based on Norman Mailer's The Armies of the Night, a book about the riots at the Democratic Party's convention in Chicago in 1968. Mailer wrote with less style and more narrative than Wolfe, but with a similar clever, funny spirit.

    My next phase was based on Hunter Thompson's "gonzo journalism" articles in The Rolling Stone.

    After that phase, when I was in my twenties, I gave up trying to write cleverly. I try to write simply.

    It’s the most difficult of all. Look at Churchill. Simple Anglo Saxon words delivered with the force of a machine gun.

  68. Lewis implies that no one, or at least few, knew of Chuck Yeager before “The Right Stuff”. That just isn’t the case
    .

  69. @manton
    My recollection is that Bonfire got almost unanimously good reviews. One bad one, or semi-bad one, that sticks out is Andrew Ferguson's reappraisal in The Weekly Standard ten years later. He liked the book but called it bleak and cold. Man In Full divided the critics. Lewis raved over it in the NYTBR. The daily reviewer was less positive. Time enthused. VF did a cover story. Most of the more prestige journals were negative, with Updike, Mailer and Irving trashing it. From that point on, none of is books was ever well reviewed again, except by conservative intellectuals already prone to liking Wolfe.

    While I found Back To Blood to be Wolfe's weakest book, I still think there is much in it to like. The WSJ review was basically a hatchet job, though it made some good points.

    So, basically, no--I believe I have read all the important reviews of Wolfe's books and 99% of the negative ones are tendentious garbage from which one can learn little and profit less.

    I came late to the party. I read Bonfire and thought it was good, but to me The Right Stuff was the pinnacle. I trudged through A Man In Full but never quite got the point. I lost interest in Back to Blood, never finished. My opinion, he’s at his best writing about people, places, things and the zeitgeist. A chronicler with a good eye and good ear. Fiction, uneven at best.

  70. @Reg Cæsar

    …I would insist that we walk down to the Barris Kustom Shop to see the krazy kustom cars, like Adam West’s Batmobile.
     
    Were you big on Rat Fink and Ed Roth, too? Or was that more of a rivalry than an artistic "school"?

    I remember buying and making a Rat Fink krazy kar model in Honolulu where, so I was told at the time, a state or city ordinance required one to purchase a scale model kit in order to buy a tube of glue. War on Drugs, Sixties style!

    A chicken-or-egg question to consider is whether Southern California or Hawaii influenced the other more.

    I remember buying Ed Roth decals that I put on my bicycle in the 1960’s in Alhambra. Bought them at the local lawnmower shop. The gorier the better.

  71. @manton
    My recollection is that Bonfire got almost unanimously good reviews. One bad one, or semi-bad one, that sticks out is Andrew Ferguson's reappraisal in The Weekly Standard ten years later. He liked the book but called it bleak and cold. Man In Full divided the critics. Lewis raved over it in the NYTBR. The daily reviewer was less positive. Time enthused. VF did a cover story. Most of the more prestige journals were negative, with Updike, Mailer and Irving trashing it. From that point on, none of is books was ever well reviewed again, except by conservative intellectuals already prone to liking Wolfe.

    While I found Back To Blood to be Wolfe's weakest book, I still think there is much in it to like. The WSJ review was basically a hatchet job, though it made some good points.

    So, basically, no--I believe I have read all the important reviews of Wolfe's books and 99% of the negative ones are tendentious garbage from which one can learn little and profit less.

    Nice cache. I just read Ferguson’s review, thanks, that’s the one I wondered if would be out there. I suspect that’s the most astute and interesting negative review Wolfe ever got, and it still hails him. Good to know. Seems like literary squabbles between heavyweights tend to help the historical recognition of all involved; being ignored is the mortal fate, so probably Wolfe came out ahead by calling in the d. ex m. in Man in Full (earthquake prison escape—“entertainment more than literature” right there seems fair). Charlotte Simons maybe paid for it though, he seemed to be cruising in top form before I put it down, satisfied it was good. Anyways, Andrew Ferguson Land of Lincoln is a joy to read.

  72. @whorefinder
    Did you get all that from your "secret knowledge" archives? You know, right where you hang your picture of Roosh V to throw darts at while chanting, "The Day of Us Cucks Is Coming!"

    lol..

    To tell the truth, I wouldn’t go that hard on you again. My conviction is that this business of yours with your website is one sick thing, but that this transmogrification of the alpha male into a guy who lashes out at women instead of protecting them, my conviction is that you are demonstrating Nietzsche’s psychology of slave morality to a pretty fine point, and that’s plain and simple about flipping evil into good. And let me say this: I understand a lot better than you do exactly what it feels like to be screwed over by a system stacked against men. I got yanked out of college and sentenced to a year (served half) for a vindictive ex-girlfriend’s lie, fabricated from whole cloth. I could not even defend myself, because they were going to slam me with long-shot felonies if I didn’t plead, and long-shot felonies are not your friend whatever their chance of holding up. I had to sit on my hands for something like 8 months not knowing if I was going to catch a suspended sentence and leave for five, ten years, for something I did not do and could defend myself for. But I came out of it no misogynist, not that sitting on my hands like that didn’t set me on fire. The reason I’m telling you all this is because you have no moral authority, at all I imagine, to troll around promoting a twisted ethics. Yet I can’t help but feel like I have an obligation to make a point of saying that these visceral opinions of you and your buddies are not righteous. It’s a pose that comes from being petty like a tyrant. Your ethics speak to whats wrong with you, not them. And I myself prove that.

    • Replies: @SFG
    OUCH.

    I think I would have been naive enough to fight the charges, but I also have a little more money.

    You're a better man than I, I would have hated all women forever if that had happened to me.
  73. @unit472
    Growing up just after Kandy Kolored and in the middle of the Electric Acid with a ring side seat in both San Francisco and Washington, D.C. I read Wolf's stuff ( my stepfather bought the books in his own attempt at Radical Chic hipsterism) but I was too near some of the 'action' to see what the fuss was all about.

    I remember coming home one night and Stan Owsley was sitting in the living room with my stepfather and mother. He wanted to rent a house they owned for his band ( Blue Cheer) because bands had houses back then. Owsley had gone to high school in Arlington and I mentioned that I had been friends with the Jefferson Airplanes Jack Cassidy's younger brother back in D.C. but, to my stepfather's surprise, I didn't hang around. I guess that was Wolfe's talent , he saw what was interesting about the 'Acid King' when I just saw a guy with a spaced out girl friend who wasn't going to give me a gram of LSD so why hang around.

    The National Lampoon, P.J. O'Rourke and Hunter S. Thompson were more my style in those days.

    http://www.gizmag.com/owsley-stanley/18124/

    Stanley became such a fixture of the musical community that he inspired songs including Jefferson Airplane’s “Bear Melt”, Frank Zappa’s “Who Needs the Peace Corps?”, Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne” and even the Grateful Dead’s own “Alice D. Millionaire” (named after a newspaper reference to Stanley as an “LSD millionaire”).

    • Replies: @Sunbeam
    I've listened to all kinds of music. And a lot from the 60's. And I like music by people who would deplore my political viewpoints, and whose views I don't much care for.

    But Frank Zappa. How did he have a career? His songs suck. They are all some kind of shock gimmick, like he was a prototype for Alice Cooper or Marilyn Manson. Only he didn't do it very well.

    I also think the music is bad in and of itself. I'm talking about the playing, the rhythm, the writing, everything. It all sounds like crap to me.

    So am I missing something? I am not a musician myself. Is there something this guy did that was noteworthy? I mean I listened to Shut Up and Play Your Guitar by him, and was totally unimpressed.

    Anyone got anything on this guy?
  74. @FredR
    Lewis acts like it's a big coup to have discovered that Wolfe stole an invitation to Bernstein's party, but I'm almost positive that story has been told a few times already...

    Yes. I had the same reaction: “I already know this.”

    Wolfe’s explanation of having found Halberstam’s invitation has been online since at least 2005:
    http://eddriscoll.com/archives/006612.php

    But it was fresh in my mind thanks to this 2014 interview:
    http://nieman.harvard.edu/stories/annotation-tuesday-tom-wolfe-and-radical-chic/

  75. @Jimi
    I am pro-gun rights but I have to totally disagree. The increase in gun massacres is a new phenomenon and we need to understand why its happening. College campuses are a common target because most of these shooters are students.

    Most of these mass shooters want to die a blaze of glory. They are not deterred by armed students and staff. As long as they kill a few people before they die their mission is accomplished.

    Even if everyone is armed its very easy for a shooter to walk into a crowded area (malls, schools, theaters) and shoot a few people before bystanders disable him.

    “I am pro-gun rights but….”

    They are not deterred by armed students and staff.

    Even if everyone is armed its very easy for a shooter to walk into a crowded area (malls, schools, theaters) and shoot a few people before bystanders disable him.

    You are either a liar or an *idiot.*

    It matters not whether the shooter *feels* deterred by armed students. They *are* deterred when they got shot. An armed student body and faculty can *keep* the carnage down to a few people, instead of the shooter managing to rack up an even larger body count.

    That you would even bother with this worn out, intellectually lazy, liberal shibboleth is proof enough for me that you are in fact NOT pro gun-rights. Inescapable conclusion: liar.

    • Replies: @Jimi
    I don't understand your angry and disrespectful tone as you are not actually disagreeing with me on anything substantial.

    I agree that armed bystanders can end a shooting and thereby mitigate the damage. But that's not the same as deterrence, is it?

    I support the right of students and faculty to arm themselves for protection but I accept that neither gun rights nor gun bans will bring in the violence-free utopia people are dreaming of.
  76. @manton
    My recollection is that Bonfire got almost unanimously good reviews. One bad one, or semi-bad one, that sticks out is Andrew Ferguson's reappraisal in The Weekly Standard ten years later. He liked the book but called it bleak and cold. Man In Full divided the critics. Lewis raved over it in the NYTBR. The daily reviewer was less positive. Time enthused. VF did a cover story. Most of the more prestige journals were negative, with Updike, Mailer and Irving trashing it. From that point on, none of is books was ever well reviewed again, except by conservative intellectuals already prone to liking Wolfe.

    While I found Back To Blood to be Wolfe's weakest book, I still think there is much in it to like. The WSJ review was basically a hatchet job, though it made some good points.

    So, basically, no--I believe I have read all the important reviews of Wolfe's books and 99% of the negative ones are tendentious garbage from which one can learn little and profit less.

    I’m sorry but you have it backwards.

    When virtually all of the relevant reviewers dismiss wolfes recent fiction as the trash that it is, the burden is on you to provide a critical defense from which we can learn and profit.

  77. Does Wolfe ever address the Jewish question, directly or in code?

    • Replies: @SFG
    You mean apart from at the altar?

    http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2013/09/is-tom-wolfe-a-race-realist-part-1-of-3/

    He actually has, Steve has read more of his stuff than I have. He refers to the background of the antagonist in Bonfire of the Vanities, and I think he's covered it in other areas, but I'll defer to others.
  78. @Auntie Analogue
    Wolfe's style may be an acquired or an innate taste, but I find its immersion in his subjects' vernacular, right into the subjects' thought-processes as ants doing their grind in the human social anthill, endlessly illuminating and entertaining. The man has an uncanny brilliant knack of boring picturesquely down to the marrow of human motive.

    You put your finger on Wolfe’s strength. Plot development is his “weak” point, which is why Updike could term Wolfe’s work “entertainment.” For the elite opinion-makers, elucidation of human motives is potentially heretical, and so Wolfe’s reviewers use the fairy tale plots as a stick to beat this messenger. They don’t wish to consider that Wolfe may have employed such plots as a scaffolding for his examination of human motives.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Was Updike the greatest plot developer? Peak era Updike -- The Coup or Rabbit Is Rich -- is not particularly known for compelling plots.
  79. @Jay
    You put your finger on Wolfe's strength. Plot development is his "weak" point, which is why Updike could term Wolfe's work "entertainment." For the elite opinion-makers, elucidation of human motives is potentially heretical, and so Wolfe's reviewers use the fairy tale plots as a stick to beat this messenger. They don't wish to consider that Wolfe may have employed such plots as a scaffolding for his examination of human motives.

    Was Updike the greatest plot developer? Peak era Updike — The Coup or Rabbit Is Rich — is not particularly known for compelling plots.

  80. @unit472
    Growing up just after Kandy Kolored and in the middle of the Electric Acid with a ring side seat in both San Francisco and Washington, D.C. I read Wolf's stuff ( my stepfather bought the books in his own attempt at Radical Chic hipsterism) but I was too near some of the 'action' to see what the fuss was all about.

    I remember coming home one night and Stan Owsley was sitting in the living room with my stepfather and mother. He wanted to rent a house they owned for his band ( Blue Cheer) because bands had houses back then. Owsley had gone to high school in Arlington and I mentioned that I had been friends with the Jefferson Airplanes Jack Cassidy's younger brother back in D.C. but, to my stepfather's surprise, I didn't hang around. I guess that was Wolfe's talent , he saw what was interesting about the 'Acid King' when I just saw a guy with a spaced out girl friend who wasn't going to give me a gram of LSD so why hang around.

    The National Lampoon, P.J. O'Rourke and Hunter S. Thompson were more my style in those days.

    i assume by that you meant, “he wasn’t going to give me even a little bit of LSD”, a gram of LSD is quite a lot

  81. @MEH 0910
    http://www.gizmag.com/owsley-stanley/18124/

    Stanley became such a fixture of the musical community that he inspired songs including Jefferson Airplane's "Bear Melt", Frank Zappa's "Who Needs the Peace Corps?", Steely Dan's "Kid Charlemagne" and even the Grateful Dead's own "Alice D. Millionaire" (named after a newspaper reference to Stanley as an "LSD millionaire").
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnjufR8GDcw

    I’ve listened to all kinds of music. And a lot from the 60’s. And I like music by people who would deplore my political viewpoints, and whose views I don’t much care for.

    But Frank Zappa. How did he have a career? His songs suck. They are all some kind of shock gimmick, like he was a prototype for Alice Cooper or Marilyn Manson. Only he didn’t do it very well.

    I also think the music is bad in and of itself. I’m talking about the playing, the rhythm, the writing, everything. It all sounds like crap to me.

    So am I missing something? I am not a musician myself. Is there something this guy did that was noteworthy? I mean I listened to Shut Up and Play Your Guitar by him, and was totally unimpressed.

    Anyone got anything on this guy?

  82. The Right Stuff is an interesting yarn, but . . .

    One, the book was a real “hatchet job” on Gus Grissom. Mercury 7 astronaut Deke Slayton who was grounded for a medical condition and was promoted to the Chief Astronaut and who got to decide who would fly to the Moon said as much, describing Grissom has having a strong work ethic in his design contribution to the Gemini. Slayton contrasts Grissom, the “goat” of The Right Stuff with the Gordon Cooper, the “hero” of The Right Stuff in his penultimate Mercury flight.

    I guess Cooper was a hero for his day-long Mercury flight competing with endurance records set by the Russians, pushing his spacecraft beyond its capabilities as the electricals started failing right-and-left, laconically describing the perilous situation as “things . . . are starting to ‘stack up’ around here.” But he was also the astronaut who earned Slayton’s ire in landing a high-speed jet used in astronaut proficiency training on the too-short runway at Hunstsville as a stunt.

    To give Wolfe the benefit-of-the-doubt, perhaps what he presents as ground truth about Grissom was the opinion of the professionally jealous Edwards test pilot fraternity (cough, Yeager, cough) from half-a-continent distance, that Grissom was incompetent and that NASA covered this up for PR reasons, without getting the other side of the story from someone like Slayton, a NASA insider but with sufficient test-pilot chops to trust not to put “spin” on this.

    Wolfe’s account suggests that Grissom (or at least his flight) was a failure and that the glare of national and world publicity was such that NASA could not admit to failure. I trust Slayton much more than Wolfe’s account. Even if NASA was all about PR, Slayton had the charge of giving NASA good PR by putting his best people in the race to get to the Moon first, and Grissom was slated to be the first man on the Moon by that account.

    Two, “Pancho” Barnes (born Florence Lowe) is a central character in Wolfe’s account, but not that much is explained about her as to why she had the authority to deem some of her test-pilot lunch counter customers as having the right stuff and others to be deficient in their maleness. Reading biographical accounts of Ms. Barnes is eye opening to what The Right Stuff didn’t tell you.

    • Replies: @cthulhu
    My take on the Grissom episodes in "The Right Stuff" was that this was pure Wolfe-as-reporter-of-the-zeitgeist stuff. Wolfe's assembly of all of his source material said that behind the scenes, Grissom's loss of Liberty Bell 7 was seen as a screwing of the pooch, regardless of what was said publicly, so that's how Wolfe wrote it. My feeling has always been that Wolfe is doing a classic show-not-tell trick here, letting the reader draw the inference about how unreasonably unforgiving the culture was. Obviously the NASA astronaut corps got over the initial feelings about Grissom, as he was on track to potentially be the first man on the moon prior to getting killed in the fire.
    , @Former Darfur
    Two, “Pancho” Barnes (born Florence Lowe) is a central character in Wolfe’s account, but not that much is explained about her as to why she had the authority to deem some of her test-pilot lunch counter customers as having the right stuff and others to be deficient in their maleness. Reading biographical accounts of Ms. Barnes is eye opening to what The Right Stuff didn’t tell you.

    Barnes was an old 1920s "adventuress" who was apparently quite a pilot in her own right and I think she knew who could fly and had the courage and the discipline to do what was required and which ones didn't. While she was not "running a house of ill-repute", as the USAF alleged in an attempt to buy her land out cheaply, she was a sexual libertine of sorts and apparently had a preference for the "bejingled". One biography of her describes her relationship in later years with a not-very-bright but equine mechanic, as I recall. I doubt she confused the two attributes.

    From all evidence, Grissom was a competent aviator and would have been as good a choice as any for the first moon landing, but the fact was that of the entire astronaut corps probably half of them would have been just as good as any other: the others were a potential liability more for public relations than technical reasons. The whole "Right Stuff" thing was a show because flying an airplane in the atmosphere is wholly technically unrelated to operating a spacecraft. Submariners probably would have done equally as well. (While the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy ((via aviators, not submariners or SEAL/UDT)) were all represented well in the astronaut corps, the Army was given the shaft, especially because helicopter experience would have had at least some relation to landing the Lunar Module: fixed wing flying offered none.)
  83. @Pat Casey
    That's interesting to me because I'm oblivious to Twitter. I don't think that counter culture is small potatoes at all. But as you define the thing it sounds set up to fail just about when it might jump from the internet to print or TV. Because those are not issues a large demographic is concerned about. To be generous, white males between the age of 16 and 32 who somehow stumbled onto one corner of the internet that spoke to them arrestingly--- it seems very much an internet phenomenon fundamentally. The future will have some concept more useful than "social media phenomenon" for such corners of the internet I'm sure; the point is they won't be seen as hotbeds of effectual political energy. I don't think I've read any of the rest, but I know Roissy is a pure stylist and wickedly trenchant. He should take that talent seriously, forget our hometown, and start writing the stuff that will reach the masses: screenplays, pilots, novels, hell write standup. Or maybe he does some of that already, in which case point made. But this idea that the internet is a grass roots bonanza, that the US political system is becoming more open, or that a movement with the baggage you guys no you have is going to start turning heads in cavernous halls---that's self-deluding, and a waste of artistic talent.

    Not enough people actually want to be Nazis. Besides, the alt-right doesn’t have as compelling a vision as Christianity; apart from straight-out fascism, which has limited appeal in a country built as a republic, the whole thing reeks of teenage boys in their basements playing World of Warcraft. (I say this as someone with a copy of Deities and Demigods with Cthulhu.)

    What is going to happen is more guys are going to read about Game and start acting like men again. And I think that’s a good thing.

  84. @robot
    Does Wolfe ever address the Jewish question, directly or in code?

    You mean apart from at the altar?

    http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2013/09/is-tom-wolfe-a-race-realist-part-1-of-3/

    He actually has, Steve has read more of his stuff than I have. He refers to the background of the antagonist in Bonfire of the Vanities, and I think he’s covered it in other areas, but I’ll defer to others.

  85. @Pat Casey
    To tell the truth, I wouldn't go that hard on you again. My conviction is that this business of yours with your website is one sick thing, but that this transmogrification of the alpha male into a guy who lashes out at women instead of protecting them, my conviction is that you are demonstrating Nietzsche's psychology of slave morality to a pretty fine point, and that's plain and simple about flipping evil into good. And let me say this: I understand a lot better than you do exactly what it feels like to be screwed over by a system stacked against men. I got yanked out of college and sentenced to a year (served half) for a vindictive ex-girlfriend's lie, fabricated from whole cloth. I could not even defend myself, because they were going to slam me with long-shot felonies if I didn't plead, and long-shot felonies are not your friend whatever their chance of holding up. I had to sit on my hands for something like 8 months not knowing if I was going to catch a suspended sentence and leave for five, ten years, for something I did not do and could defend myself for. But I came out of it no misogynist, not that sitting on my hands like that didn't set me on fire. The reason I'm telling you all this is because you have no moral authority, at all I imagine, to troll around promoting a twisted ethics. Yet I can't help but feel like I have an obligation to make a point of saying that these visceral opinions of you and your buddies are not righteous. It's a pose that comes from being petty like a tyrant. Your ethics speak to whats wrong with you, not them. And I myself prove that.

    OUCH.

    I think I would have been naive enough to fight the charges, but I also have a little more money.

    You’re a better man than I, I would have hated all women forever if that had happened to me.

  86. @WhatEvvs
    Despite the best efforts of Sailer & Crew to depict Wolfe as a victim of evil liberals, the facts are:

    1. He was the best and most admired journalist of his generation
    2. His entry into fiction writing (Bonfire) was heralded by great expectations and even greater advances. People here don't seem to remember that - he was very very famous as a journalist.
    3. As a fiction writer, he's awful.

    http://observer.com/2000/02/its-tom-wolfe-versus-the-three-stooges/


    IN NOVEMBER 1998, John Updike oh so quietly killed A Man in Full .

    It was a clean kill. Issued from Mr. Updike’s New Yorker pulpit, the review of the big Tom Wolfe novel seemed mild, gentle and fair: ” A Man in Full still amounts to entertainment, not literature, even literature in a modest aspirant form. Like a movie desperate to recoup its bankers’ investment, the novel tries too hard to please us.”
     

    Updike was just jealous that Wolfe was successful. The distinction between “literature” and “entertainment” is bullshit – there is only high quality and not. Dickens and Shakespeare definitely wrote high quality and entertaining works, and were successful writers of fiction. So is Wolfe, and “A Man In Full” got excellent reviews from many sources. But read it yourself – it is very, very good.

    That said, I still prefer Wolfe’s nonfiction to his fiction. “The Right Stuff” is one of the best things published in the second half of the 20th century; ditto his profile of Bob Noyce, the co-inventor of the integrated circuit, in the 50th anniversary issue of Esquire (re-published in his 2000 non-fiction collection “Hooking Up”, which also includes his famous profile of William Shawn of the “New Yorker”). His last two novels – “I Am Charlotte Simmons” and “Back to Blood” – have plenty of great moments, but IMHO don’t hang together as great novels; they both needed a good editor to clean out the distractions. Which, curiously enough, AMIF didn’t need despite being longer than either of the other two – all of the characters and subplots in AMIF hang together very well.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The problem with A Man in Full, which features Wolfe's best prose, is that he had massive heart surgery and then lots of health problems that kept him from finishing it for a long time, so eventually he slapped on an ending of lower quality than the rest of the book. You can pretty much see the point in the book at which he went in for heart surgery.
    , @WhatEvvs
    Updike jealous of Wolfe? LOL.

    Really.

    LULZ.
  87. @JSM
    "I am pro-gun rights but...."

    They are not deterred by armed students and staff.
     

    Even if everyone is armed its very easy for a shooter to walk into a crowded area (malls, schools, theaters) and shoot a few people before bystanders disable him.
     
    You are either a liar or an *idiot.*

    It matters not whether the shooter *feels* deterred by armed students. They *are* deterred when they got shot. An armed student body and faculty can *keep* the carnage down to a few people, instead of the shooter managing to rack up an even larger body count.

    That you would even bother with this worn out, intellectually lazy, liberal shibboleth is proof enough for me that you are in fact NOT pro gun-rights. Inescapable conclusion: liar.

    I don’t understand your angry and disrespectful tone as you are not actually disagreeing with me on anything substantial.

    I agree that armed bystanders can end a shooting and thereby mitigate the damage. But that’s not the same as deterrence, is it?

    I support the right of students and faculty to arm themselves for protection but I accept that neither gun rights nor gun bans will bring in the violence-free utopia people are dreaming of.

  88. No you wouldn’t. Your comment alone demonstrates that, and that’s the most important point: the resentment fades if you’re not actually the criminal type. The other point is that successful people may often be petty tyrants themselves, but they don’t obsess about what’s counterproductive to their success; there are those obsessed with being petty and those with obsessions that are petty. It doesn’t feel petty to be falsely but it would be petty by now if I obsessed with it.

  89. @Twinkie
    That's pretty awful. One of the Ivies, Brown, I think, used to have a class called "Magic in the Middle Ages" that required students to find herbs to make potions and cast spells. Or so an acquaintance told me years ago.

    Fine use of mommy and daddy's quarter million.

    “Fine use of mommy and daddy’s quarter million.”

    The primary value of a Ivy league degree that includes a course in potions and spell casting is the underlying assumption (however untrue it may be) that one’s parents can afford that kind of lunacy.

    A Rolex doesn’t keep better time than a Casio. It just broadcasts to the world you can afford a Rolex. (Again, whether that is true or not is for the credit agencies to sort out.)

  90. @cthulhu
    Updike was just jealous that Wolfe was successful. The distinction between "literature" and "entertainment" is bullshit - there is only high quality and not. Dickens and Shakespeare definitely wrote high quality and entertaining works, and were successful writers of fiction. So is Wolfe, and "A Man In Full" got excellent reviews from many sources. But read it yourself - it is very, very good.

    That said, I still prefer Wolfe's nonfiction to his fiction. "The Right Stuff" is one of the best things published in the second half of the 20th century; ditto his profile of Bob Noyce, the co-inventor of the integrated circuit, in the 50th anniversary issue of Esquire (re-published in his 2000 non-fiction collection "Hooking Up", which also includes his famous profile of William Shawn of the "New Yorker"). His last two novels - "I Am Charlotte Simmons" and "Back to Blood" - have plenty of great moments, but IMHO don't hang together as great novels; they both needed a good editor to clean out the distractions. Which, curiously enough, AMIF didn't need despite being longer than either of the other two - all of the characters and subplots in AMIF hang together very well.

    The problem with A Man in Full, which features Wolfe’s best prose, is that he had massive heart surgery and then lots of health problems that kept him from finishing it for a long time, so eventually he slapped on an ending of lower quality than the rest of the book. You can pretty much see the point in the book at which he went in for heart surgery.

    • Replies: @cthulhu
    Endings are hard. "Bonfire" has a weak ending too. Hell, so does "Catch-22". Good endings? Hmmm...Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoos's Nest"; Chandler's "The Big Sleep" and especially "The Long Goodbye" - the reason I despise Altman's movie version is that he completely fucks up the ending; Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"; "Moby-Dick"...you get my drift. Of Wolfe's novels, I would say only "I Am Charlotte Simmons" has a strong ending, unsettling as it is; however, it's true to the rest of the novel, unlike the endings of the others, which all have some flavor of "I gotta wrap this up, let's have a farce."
  91. @Steve Sailer
    The problem with A Man in Full, which features Wolfe's best prose, is that he had massive heart surgery and then lots of health problems that kept him from finishing it for a long time, so eventually he slapped on an ending of lower quality than the rest of the book. You can pretty much see the point in the book at which he went in for heart surgery.

    Endings are hard. “Bonfire” has a weak ending too. Hell, so does “Catch-22”. Good endings? Hmmm…Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoos’s Nest”; Chandler’s “The Big Sleep” and especially “The Long Goodbye” – the reason I despise Altman’s movie version is that he completely fucks up the ending; Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”; “Moby-Dick”…you get my drift. Of Wolfe’s novels, I would say only “I Am Charlotte Simmons” has a strong ending, unsettling as it is; however, it’s true to the rest of the novel, unlike the endings of the others, which all have some flavor of “I gotta wrap this up, let’s have a farce.”

  92. @Inquiring Mind
    The Right Stuff is an interesting yarn, but . . .

    One, the book was a real "hatchet job" on Gus Grissom. Mercury 7 astronaut Deke Slayton who was grounded for a medical condition and was promoted to the Chief Astronaut and who got to decide who would fly to the Moon said as much, describing Grissom has having a strong work ethic in his design contribution to the Gemini. Slayton contrasts Grissom, the "goat" of The Right Stuff with the Gordon Cooper, the "hero" of The Right Stuff in his penultimate Mercury flight.

    I guess Cooper was a hero for his day-long Mercury flight competing with endurance records set by the Russians, pushing his spacecraft beyond its capabilities as the electricals started failing right-and-left, laconically describing the perilous situation as "things . . . are starting to 'stack up' around here." But he was also the astronaut who earned Slayton's ire in landing a high-speed jet used in astronaut proficiency training on the too-short runway at Hunstsville as a stunt.

    To give Wolfe the benefit-of-the-doubt, perhaps what he presents as ground truth about Grissom was the opinion of the professionally jealous Edwards test pilot fraternity (cough, Yeager, cough) from half-a-continent distance, that Grissom was incompetent and that NASA covered this up for PR reasons, without getting the other side of the story from someone like Slayton, a NASA insider but with sufficient test-pilot chops to trust not to put "spin" on this.

    Wolfe's account suggests that Grissom (or at least his flight) was a failure and that the glare of national and world publicity was such that NASA could not admit to failure. I trust Slayton much more than Wolfe's account. Even if NASA was all about PR, Slayton had the charge of giving NASA good PR by putting his best people in the race to get to the Moon first, and Grissom was slated to be the first man on the Moon by that account.

    Two, "Pancho" Barnes (born Florence Lowe) is a central character in Wolfe's account, but not that much is explained about her as to why she had the authority to deem some of her test-pilot lunch counter customers as having the right stuff and others to be deficient in their maleness. Reading biographical accounts of Ms. Barnes is eye opening to what The Right Stuff didn't tell you.

    My take on the Grissom episodes in “The Right Stuff” was that this was pure Wolfe-as-reporter-of-the-zeitgeist stuff. Wolfe’s assembly of all of his source material said that behind the scenes, Grissom’s loss of Liberty Bell 7 was seen as a screwing of the pooch, regardless of what was said publicly, so that’s how Wolfe wrote it. My feeling has always been that Wolfe is doing a classic show-not-tell trick here, letting the reader draw the inference about how unreasonably unforgiving the culture was. Obviously the NASA astronaut corps got over the initial feelings about Grissom, as he was on track to potentially be the first man on the moon prior to getting killed in the fire.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    It is possible that Wolfe did not take seriously, and therefore did not understand, the randomness of the reasons why successful military men do or do not respect each other. He may have been right. The most successful military men themselves rarely feel they deserve the success of being at the top of their professions, and the eccentric exceptions who do, like MacArthur, Patton, King (WWII) and Glenn and a few of the other celebrity astonauts, are generally seen, even by those who do not dislike them in spite of their bravery, as at best "icons" to be admired rather than as fellow humans whose words of wisdom are worth spending time trying to understand. The westerns of John Ford, himself, like Wolfe, a wordy but ultimately tiring fellow who was an adept describer of male status assertions, are useful in this regard. That being said, it is no small thing to try, as Homer and Shakespeare did, to describe courageous human ambition, even if one comes off, as Wolfe does more than once, as clueless as a French poodle on a possum hunt: it is the effort that counts.
  93. @manton
    My recollection is that Bonfire got almost unanimously good reviews. One bad one, or semi-bad one, that sticks out is Andrew Ferguson's reappraisal in The Weekly Standard ten years later. He liked the book but called it bleak and cold. Man In Full divided the critics. Lewis raved over it in the NYTBR. The daily reviewer was less positive. Time enthused. VF did a cover story. Most of the more prestige journals were negative, with Updike, Mailer and Irving trashing it. From that point on, none of is books was ever well reviewed again, except by conservative intellectuals already prone to liking Wolfe.

    While I found Back To Blood to be Wolfe's weakest book, I still think there is much in it to like. The WSJ review was basically a hatchet job, though it made some good points.

    So, basically, no--I believe I have read all the important reviews of Wolfe's books and 99% of the negative ones are tendentious garbage from which one can learn little and profit less.

    Updike, Mailer and Irving….

    That’s a bit like saying Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Pee Wee Herman.

  94. @cthulhu
    My take on the Grissom episodes in "The Right Stuff" was that this was pure Wolfe-as-reporter-of-the-zeitgeist stuff. Wolfe's assembly of all of his source material said that behind the scenes, Grissom's loss of Liberty Bell 7 was seen as a screwing of the pooch, regardless of what was said publicly, so that's how Wolfe wrote it. My feeling has always been that Wolfe is doing a classic show-not-tell trick here, letting the reader draw the inference about how unreasonably unforgiving the culture was. Obviously the NASA astronaut corps got over the initial feelings about Grissom, as he was on track to potentially be the first man on the moon prior to getting killed in the fire.

    It is possible that Wolfe did not take seriously, and therefore did not understand, the randomness of the reasons why successful military men do or do not respect each other. He may have been right. The most successful military men themselves rarely feel they deserve the success of being at the top of their professions, and the eccentric exceptions who do, like MacArthur, Patton, King (WWII) and Glenn and a few of the other celebrity astonauts, are generally seen, even by those who do not dislike them in spite of their bravery, as at best “icons” to be admired rather than as fellow humans whose words of wisdom are worth spending time trying to understand. The westerns of John Ford, himself, like Wolfe, a wordy but ultimately tiring fellow who was an adept describer of male status assertions, are useful in this regard. That being said, it is no small thing to try, as Homer and Shakespeare did, to describe courageous human ambition, even if one comes off, as Wolfe does more than once, as clueless as a French poodle on a possum hunt: it is the effort that counts.

  95. @Inquiring Mind
    The Right Stuff is an interesting yarn, but . . .

    One, the book was a real "hatchet job" on Gus Grissom. Mercury 7 astronaut Deke Slayton who was grounded for a medical condition and was promoted to the Chief Astronaut and who got to decide who would fly to the Moon said as much, describing Grissom has having a strong work ethic in his design contribution to the Gemini. Slayton contrasts Grissom, the "goat" of The Right Stuff with the Gordon Cooper, the "hero" of The Right Stuff in his penultimate Mercury flight.

    I guess Cooper was a hero for his day-long Mercury flight competing with endurance records set by the Russians, pushing his spacecraft beyond its capabilities as the electricals started failing right-and-left, laconically describing the perilous situation as "things . . . are starting to 'stack up' around here." But he was also the astronaut who earned Slayton's ire in landing a high-speed jet used in astronaut proficiency training on the too-short runway at Hunstsville as a stunt.

    To give Wolfe the benefit-of-the-doubt, perhaps what he presents as ground truth about Grissom was the opinion of the professionally jealous Edwards test pilot fraternity (cough, Yeager, cough) from half-a-continent distance, that Grissom was incompetent and that NASA covered this up for PR reasons, without getting the other side of the story from someone like Slayton, a NASA insider but with sufficient test-pilot chops to trust not to put "spin" on this.

    Wolfe's account suggests that Grissom (or at least his flight) was a failure and that the glare of national and world publicity was such that NASA could not admit to failure. I trust Slayton much more than Wolfe's account. Even if NASA was all about PR, Slayton had the charge of giving NASA good PR by putting his best people in the race to get to the Moon first, and Grissom was slated to be the first man on the Moon by that account.

    Two, "Pancho" Barnes (born Florence Lowe) is a central character in Wolfe's account, but not that much is explained about her as to why she had the authority to deem some of her test-pilot lunch counter customers as having the right stuff and others to be deficient in their maleness. Reading biographical accounts of Ms. Barnes is eye opening to what The Right Stuff didn't tell you.

    Two, “Pancho” Barnes (born Florence Lowe) is a central character in Wolfe’s account, but not that much is explained about her as to why she had the authority to deem some of her test-pilot lunch counter customers as having the right stuff and others to be deficient in their maleness. Reading biographical accounts of Ms. Barnes is eye opening to what The Right Stuff didn’t tell you.

    Barnes was an old 1920s “adventuress” who was apparently quite a pilot in her own right and I think she knew who could fly and had the courage and the discipline to do what was required and which ones didn’t. While she was not “running a house of ill-repute”, as the USAF alleged in an attempt to buy her land out cheaply, she was a sexual libertine of sorts and apparently had a preference for the “bejingled”. One biography of her describes her relationship in later years with a not-very-bright but equine mechanic, as I recall. I doubt she confused the two attributes.

    From all evidence, Grissom was a competent aviator and would have been as good a choice as any for the first moon landing, but the fact was that of the entire astronaut corps probably half of them would have been just as good as any other: the others were a potential liability more for public relations than technical reasons. The whole “Right Stuff” thing was a show because flying an airplane in the atmosphere is wholly technically unrelated to operating a spacecraft. Submariners probably would have done equally as well. (While the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy ((via aviators, not submariners or SEAL/UDT)) were all represented well in the astronaut corps, the Army was given the shaft, especially because helicopter experience would have had at least some relation to landing the Lunar Module: fixed wing flying offered none.)

  96. WhatEvvs [AKA "Anonymuss Annie"] says:
    @cthulhu
    Updike was just jealous that Wolfe was successful. The distinction between "literature" and "entertainment" is bullshit - there is only high quality and not. Dickens and Shakespeare definitely wrote high quality and entertaining works, and were successful writers of fiction. So is Wolfe, and "A Man In Full" got excellent reviews from many sources. But read it yourself - it is very, very good.

    That said, I still prefer Wolfe's nonfiction to his fiction. "The Right Stuff" is one of the best things published in the second half of the 20th century; ditto his profile of Bob Noyce, the co-inventor of the integrated circuit, in the 50th anniversary issue of Esquire (re-published in his 2000 non-fiction collection "Hooking Up", which also includes his famous profile of William Shawn of the "New Yorker"). His last two novels - "I Am Charlotte Simmons" and "Back to Blood" - have plenty of great moments, but IMHO don't hang together as great novels; they both needed a good editor to clean out the distractions. Which, curiously enough, AMIF didn't need despite being longer than either of the other two - all of the characters and subplots in AMIF hang together very well.

    Updike jealous of Wolfe? LOL.

    Really.

    LULZ.

  97. I clicked on your link to Bob’s Big Boy near the end of your blog, and it took me to your May 8, 2013 piece in Taki’s Mag, which I had not read before. So I decided to read it and caught your link to Bob Hope’s spectacular house in Palm Springs. So I clicked on it and enjoyed seeing the multitude of photos of that singular house. Within the past year, I had caught one photo of Bob Hope’s house on a pop-up ad. I was so impressed I forwarded it to a friend up north, and she was likewise impressed. When I saw that that Daily Mail article with its 9 pictures of Hope’s house, I immediately forwarded it to the same friend, who responded this morning with one word “amazing.” It doesn’t hurt that the site and the scenery are quite spectacular in their own right. I guess it also didn’t hurt that, as the article noted, “Bob Hope was passionate about architecture.”

    BTW, OT, in googling the movie “Bladerunner” (one of my favorite movies that I watch every couple of years), in connection with a recent comment made on another thread of yours, I was startled to find that one of the issues which has been batting around the internet for some years now was whether Harrison Ford’s character Deckard, the Bladerunner, was a “replicant” himself. That thought never once occurred to me in the many times I have watched the movie. As a movie buff yourself, you were no doubt aware of the dispute, but where do you come down on it? I thought “no way,” but then I read that Ridley Scott himself raised that possibility in an interview a number of years after the movie came out. (I never read the Philip Dick book on which the movie is based, so it may give a clue.)

  98. Wolfe’s descriptions of women’s bodies never show any heterosexual desire… isn’t he closeted gay?

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS
PastClassics
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
How a Young Syndicate Lawyer from Chicago Earned a Fortune Looting the Property of the Japanese-Americans, then Lived...
Becker update V1.3.2