Michael Lewis Profiles Tom Wolfe For Vanity Fair

Comments to Steve Sailer:

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

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”

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.

* 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.

* 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.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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