Lion of the Blogosphere

Tom Wolfe, dead at 88

Worth mentioning, because I’ve reviewed all of his novels at some point in time.

I think that Tom Wolfe started out as a liberal Episcopalian, but as the world changed around him he stuck to the same beliefs he had in college, so over time he became a conservative. That’s a rare personality. Most people, without realizing it, just adopt the beliefs of the group without conscious intent, without any reflection about how radically their beliefs may have changed over time.

Even though Tom Wolfe dressed in a gay manner, I don’t think he was gay. He was married and had children.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 15, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Books

27 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. It’s funny, earlier today I was thinking about elderly celebrities whom I’d like to meet before they died, and Tom Wolfe was #1 on the list. Then 20min later I check Drudge and see that he died.

    Chuck Yeager is still alive, and very active on Twitter.

    snorlaxwp

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

  2. Wow, the comments must be going crazy at Steve Sailer’s. Any time Sailer wants to make a point about urban justice, he quotes Tom Wolfe. Otherwise, he’ll quote from The Coup by Updike, or the same three books by Evelyn Waugh.

    Re Wolfe, I wasn’t a fan. I thought his fiction was awful, but his journalism was great. However, I tried reading Electric KoolAid Acid Test and Right Stuff, and couldn’t get past the first few pages.

    But RIP.

    gothamette

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

    • I tried to conceive of how any man who’s not a flaming homo could try reading The Right Stuff and not be immediately engrossed in it but then I realized you’re a female. Kind of proves the point about how great The Right Stuff is, really.

      WangHu?

      May 16, 2018 at EST am

      • Thanks.

        You are the reason the alt-right has zero future, garr.

        gothamette

        May 16, 2018 at EST am

    • Give Wolfe another shot. In my estimation he’s, if not the best, certainly among the most entertaining writers and convincing polemicists to have ever lived.

      Start with Radical Chic. It’s relatively short, up your alley, and having just reread it this afternoon, every bit as fresh as when he wrote it nearly 50 years ago.

      snorlaxwp

      May 16, 2018 at EST am

      • @Snorlax,

        Been there, done that, waste of time.

        I only have time to spare for things that truly benefit me. Wolfe IMO is a toxic waste.

        gothamette

        May 16, 2018 at EST am

    • ” However, I tried reading Electric KoolAid Acid Test and Right Stuff, and couldn’t get past the first few pages.”

      Ouch, there was a BIG mistake. Big, big mistake. I meant, “re-reading.” I read all of Tom Wolfe’s journalism when it first came out. In fact, I loved Right Stuff so much that I gave it to my father to read. He smiled and gave it back to me.

      I really do not think my father was a flaming homo. I find it bizarre how often homosexuality is mentioned here.

      gothamette

      May 16, 2018 at EST pm

  3. This is truly sad :(.

    Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lap Dog

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

  4. Michael Lewis’ magazine article about him in Vanity Fair 3 years ago included an anecdote about women aggressively hitting on him at a dinner party. He played minor league baseball in his 20s and had a combative, hyper-competitive personality. Not even close to being gay.

    McFly

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

  5. Wolfe dressed in the persona of an old fashioned southern gentleman… which is what he was… Odd statement.

    Baron

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

    • Well what was manly in Sam Clemens’ time looks gay today.

      • As Mystery would tell you, Pea-cocking is an essential tactic of Game.

        Daniel

        May 15, 2018 at EST pm

    • I recall Wolfe said that by dressing like he came from another time and place, people became less self-conscious about being observed, acted more themselves, so he could just be a fly on the wall and produce better journalism.

      Wency

      May 15, 2018 at EST pm

  6. I’ve always identified Wolfe as a southern writer with southern sensibilities. A sensibility that Moldbug displays for a man who isn’t a southerner. In short, an understanding that the Yankee Puritans in all their manifestations were, are and always will be a class of destructive messianic inspired lunatics second to none with the possible exception of the Bolsheviks.

    So many of his works document this destructive and preposterous force in one form or the other; Bonfire if the Vanities, Man in Full, I Am Charlotte Simmons.

    Curle

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

  7. Wow. I’ve had A Man In Full on my shelf for several years, sitting unread. Ought to get to it some time.

    Being born in NYC but being a little too young to remember the Bernard Goetz case, I really liked Bonfire of the Vanities. I also read I Am Charlotte Simmons and liked it despite some of Wolfe’s depictions of 21st-century college life being a little cringey. Aside from these, Lion, what work of his would you recommend?

    Kyo

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

    • All of his novels are good, but I would say that each successive novel isn’t quite as good as the previous. And that I Am Charlotte Simmons is underrated, I found a lot of what others thought to be unbelievable, actually quite believable.

    • Not sure there is much of a connection to the Goetz case, seeing as how Goetz was a nerdy electronics technician who became a folk hero, while Sherman McCoy was an millionaire bonds trader who became a pariah.

      Magnavox

      May 15, 2018 at EST pm

      • He was also gay, but we didn’t know that at the time.

      • >>He was also gay, but we didn’t know that at the time.

        This is the first I have heard that Bernhard Goetz is gay. Where did you hear that?

        Daniel

        May 15, 2018 at EST pm

  8. Bonfire of the Vanities, written in the 80’s, really captured the template of the modern racial anxiety crime, all the way through Trayvon to the women arrested at Waffle House. All of them are some variation of Bonfire.

    Mike Street Station

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

  9. >>I think that Tom Wolfe started out as a liberal Episcopalian, but as the world changed around him he stuck to the same beliefs he had in college, so over time he became a conservative.<<

    Wolf was low church Tidewater Episcopalian. These people in the 40s, 50s and 60s were generally liberal, for the times. I don't think Wolf – or his low church brethren – so much went conservative as the mainstream world has gone off-the-rails leftoid. To other mainstream Protestants and secularists Episcopalians like Wolf seem hidebound, unwoke, useless and in the way. They may as well be right wing Catholics as far as they are concerned. I doubt Wolf was pleased with gay marriage, women priests and gay bishops in the Episcopalian church.

    A little bit Ironic that the high church Episcopalians are the ones who have embraced faggotry, atheism, fornication and a host of other practices that were once considered abominations, even amongst liberals, but it does make some sense. Homos, secularists and perverts are into magic, spells and ritual, and high church Episcopalianism gives them plenty of that.

    Daniel

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

  10. re: “…dressed in a gay manner…”

    nowadays a well dressed man is quite often mistaken for a poofter, sadly.

    https://www.artofmanliness.com/category/dress-grooming/

    barton

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

  11. Wolfe wasn’t well-dressed. His outfits were appalling.

    I saw Truman Capote round town several times. Very well-dressed.

    gothamette

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

    • Gothamette, I usually like reading your comments because they often make a lot of sense. But, not on this topic.

      PV van der Byl

      May 16, 2018 at EST pm

      • I wish you’d be more specific.

        Look, experiencing a writer is a subjective experience. It’s almost like acting. One man’s great actor is another man’s ham.

        Believe it or not, leftie Richard Dreyfuss wrote a beautiful obit for Charlton Heston. I liked it so much I downloaded it, it’s probably on the internet. Look it up.

        “Is so and so a great actor? A good actor? A bad actor? Speaking as an expert it’s a stupid question. The actor either gets you to where you have to go, or not. Heston did; priceless. He could portray greatness, which is no longer an artistic goal; he could portray a grandeur that was so satisfying. What he was able to personify so perfectly for us was a vision of ourselves called heroic. Is this out of favor? Out of step? Antique? Yes, Antique as in gorgeous, incredibly valuable, and not produced anymore but this is a critique of the world, not him (hopefully we will one day come back to all that).

        As someone who has seen Ben Hur 2 million times I am totally grateful.”

        For those who have read Tom Wolfe and said to themselves. “Yes! This is the way life is!” I’m happy that you enjoyed yourself. I can only say, that I never felt that way, and that includes the stuff he wrote about NYC.

        gothamette

        May 16, 2018 at EST pm

  12. “I think that Tom Wolfe started out as a liberal Episcopalian, but as the world changed around him he stuck to the same beliefs he had in college, so over time he became a conservative.”

    That sounds sort of like your description of Trump.

    But yes, huge loss. He was one of my favorite authors.

    Jokah Macpherson

    May 15, 2018 at EST pm

  13. New York Times has an article about how he dressed (and why). If you don’t like his taste in clothes, you won’t like the look of that living room either.

    Anthony

    May 23, 2018 at EST am


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: