Tom Wolfe On Firing Line Regarding His First Novel ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’

Comments at Steve Sailer:


And many other of Wolfe’s appearances can be seen on the official youtube page.
Slightly related is the appearance talking about Radical Chic:

What is peculiar here is the ethnic subtext between Wolfe, Southerner, and the critic, Jason Epstein, Jewish liberal, Buckely is citing against Wolfe. Tom mentions Jewish liberals at one point but aside from that it doesn’t come up from either side. The same is true of political motivations. A piece like that today would instantly identify Wolfe as being on the right, whether correct or not. Being far too young I’m also basing this view on Steve mentioning that Wolfe’s leanings only became clearer to the literati decades later.
Not sure how to make sense of it except that the era was still marked by the then dying age of big tent WASP liberalism that was confident in the appeal and ideal of objectivity. As such Tom Wolfe could get away with claiming the mantle of being apolitical.

Instead, it was a Panther’s response who portended the coming form of discourse:

When Time magazine later interviewed a minister of the Black Panthers about Bernstein’s party, the official said of Wolfe: “You mean that dirty, blatant, lying, racist dog who wrote that fascist disgusting thing in New York magazine?”

* Ahh, the good old days. What the younguns probably can’t imagine is that America in 1987 was still basically a white and black country. Even New York, while it had its Chinatown and had always suffered the presence of Puerto Ricans (think “West Side Story”), it was basically a white and black town. Of course in New York the power structure has since the 1800s included Jews, and sure enough there were plenty of Jews and Jewish dominated media promoting the Brawley hoax. But the battle lines were bi-racial, not multi-racial like we have now. If this happened today, the protests would have far more whites, Asians and Arabs at them, siding against whitey, which would have ticked off Mason, Sharpton and the crew, because all along it was just a political power grab.

The story was an obvious fake from the get-go, but the media — even then in a “get whitey” mode — presented it without any doubt, at least at first, other than for radio personality Bob Grant, who was on top of the thing from the start.

Similarly, the media had just come off an orgy of anti-white abuse attending the Howard Beach incident, another giant farce. This nonsense totally consumed the city for a very long time. That was when I was really waking up to the reality that the media isn’t remotely interested in the facts, and is openly hostile to the kinds of whites we now call Deplorables. We didn’t call it The Narrative back then, and even if you did there was no where you could get the word out, other than calling into a radio talk show.

Finally, Sharpton is one clever bastard. Even now, he manages to skirt the issue and he dances around it with consummate skill. And he looked a lot better when he was fat.

* Would this be a good time to point out that the % of rapes involving a male white rapist(s) and a female black victim is (still) perilously close to 0%.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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