Tom Wolfe

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Tom Wolfe

Thomas Kennerly Wolfe (born March 2, 1931, in Richmond), known as Tom Wolfe, is a best-selling American author and journalist. He is one of the founders of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

See also The Bonfire of the Vanities.


The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1965)[edit]

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968)[edit]

  • fishing for neon gumballs with a steam shovel in the Funtime arcade.

Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine (1976)[edit]

  • He sounded like Jean-François Revel, a French socialist writer who talks about one of the great unexplained phenomena of modern astronomy: namely, that the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.
    • "The Intelligent Coed's Guide to America"
  • A sect, incidentally, is a religion with no political power.
    • "The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening".

In Our Time (1980)[edit]

  • Among other things Jonestown was an example of a definition well known to sociologists of religion: a cult is a religion with no political power.
    • "Entr'actes and Canapes".

I am Charlotte Simmons (2004)[edit]

  • Hoyt began moving his lips as if he were trying to suck the ice cream off the top of a cone without using his teeth. She tried to make her lips move in sync with his. The next thing she knew, Hoyt had put his hand sort of under her thigh and hoisted her leg up over his thigh. What was she to do? Was this the point she should say, “Stop!”? No, she shouldn’t put it that way. It would be much cooler to say, “No, Hoyt,” in an even voice, the way you would talk to a dog that insists on begging at the table.
Slither slither slither slither went the tongue, but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns – oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest – no, the hand was cupping her entire right – Now! She must say “No, Hoyt” and talk to him like a dog[...]
  • p. 368-9, winner of the 12th annual The Literary Review Bad Sex Award.

Mummy Wrap (American Spectator interview, 2005)[edit]

  • Interviewer: So you weren't surprised by the Dan Rather debacle?
Wolfe: I wasn't surprised it happened. The media have a pretty wild history in this respect. Whenever somebody would make up a story, they would say, 'Oh, that's the influence of the New Journalism.' God, newspapers have been making up stories forever. This kind of trifling and fooling around is not a function of the New Journalism.

Quotes about Tom Wolfe[edit]

  • Interviewer: You didn't read The Right Stuff.
John Irving: Oh please. If I were interested in astronauts I would have tried to be one. Bullshit.
Interviewer: No kidding.
Irving: He's a journalist, man, he's a journalist. He doesn't know how to write fiction, he can't create a character, he can't create a situation.
Interviewer: He says he's the Dickens, he's the real version of Dickens.
Irving: It doesn't matter what he says. You see people reading him on airplanes, the same people who are reading John Grisham, for Christ's sake.
Interviewer: You once said in...Shift magazine to me, that you don't believe in the McLiterature theory that if it's popular it's shit. I mean he's popular, it doesn't mean he's shitty.
Irving: I'm not using that argument against him, I'm using the argument against him that he can't write, that his sentences are bad, that it makes you wince. It's like reading a bad newspaper or a bad piece in a magazine. It makes you wince, it makes you wince. You know, if you were a good skater, could you watch someone just fall down all the time? Could you do that? I can't do that.
  • John Irving, comments on Hot Type (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation TV Show), 17 December 1999.
  • At certain points, reading [A Man in Full] can even be said to resemble the act of making love to a three-hundred pound woman. Once she gets on top, it's over. Fall in love, or be asphyxiated. So you read and you grab and you even find delight in some of these mounds of material. Yet all the while you resist -- how you resist! -- letting three hundred pounds take you over.
    • Norman Mailer, review of A Man in Full in The New York Review of Books, 17 December 1998.
  • Wolfe responds to this review in a letter to writer Anthony Arthur, saying "All I got out of that is the fact that Norman has made love to a lot of three-hundred-pound women".

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