Discussion: 'New Journalism' Author Tom Wolfe Dies At 87

I’m not Wolfe’s biggest literary fan, but he changed the way journalists approached feature stories. I saw the change occur midstream in my journalism career. There were others who were more influential, particularly John McPhee, but Wolfe brought it to the mainstream and I thank him for that.

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Well, I guess he’s off the bus.
peace.

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I enjoyed his books and his take even while worrying about the larger New Journalism’s school’s propensity to engage in a deep, personalized and often emotive pursuit of a truth that then somehow got presented as “the” truth. (My basic critique of everythin Matt Taibbi ever wrote that wasn’t due to whatever the FSB has on him from his Russian paper days). By presenting those takes as a metatruth, the truth about and underlying the truth, it invited the suspension of critical reading. And ultimately that degenerated into a dandy wrapper for false narratives, like the toxically pervasive “Al Gore is a big lying fake exaggerating phony know-it-all phony” narrative in 2000.

But that said, he will be missed.

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I liked him. I liked his books. He wasn’t perfect but he was fun and interesting and readable. He’ll be missed.

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I think I ought to replace my post with a tldr; and a link to this one.

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I hope everyone who attends his funeral has the good taste to wear all white.
T’would be a fitting tribute to this literary dandy.

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Ate it all up when I was a kid, then approached it more judiciously as a young adult and finally decided his style and politics had become tiresome. But I’d be lying if I denied his influence or talent. If we see the world through a lens wider than we did with “Life” and “Look” in 1963, it’s in part because he was shaking things up.

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Acid Test is one of my favorite books. I always tell people when they read it, they have to read all of the associated books as well: Cuckoo’s Nest, naturally, Hell’s Angels, and The Proud Highway. All of which are related, not just by Ken Kesey, but by the gang fuck of Neal Cassady’s wife by the Hell’s Angels at Ken Kesey’s La Honda ranch, with its dayglo tree trunks…

(The gangbang was recorded on audio tape by Hunter Thompson–who said it was one of the most disturbing things he’d ever seen–and recounted in every one of the above books but Cuckoo’s Nest. He lent the tape to Wolfe when he was writing Acid Test.)

I never cared too much for Wolfe’s novels, but his non-fiction was first rate.

All of my heroes seem to keep being whittled away to nothing… Sigh…

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I never read his novels, although some of his nonfiction was pretty good. From Bauhaus to Our House, though, was crap.

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he was also a great illustrator. I had a book of his drawings many years ago. I lost it at some point moving around from apartment to house, etc. It is out of print now, sadly.

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That’s a good summary of my attitude toward him as well. Still, there’s the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. It may not be a masterpiece but I continue to think of it as a great book and one that has acquired a certain poignancy as the years pass.

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Just as psycho-cultural history it’s something that captures a very different time. “Kandy-Colored Tangerine-Flake etc…” is still in my overflow book closet, and although it’s been a while I bet it still reads well. Like I said, nobody sensible would deny the talent, even if he was up and down over the years. Name a journalist now who’s a celebrity for having a flamboyant and incisive writing style—I don’t think you can do it.

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Good points. Matt Taibbi is to Kenny G as Wolfe or HST are to John Coltrane. And Taibbi is unreadable. Wolfe also voted for Bush in '04, which is pretty inexcusable. (And yeah thank God we didn’t get Gore as president; Heaven knows what would have happened.) That said, he will be missed.

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So, all that innovative writing finally got to him?

Jeebus H. Christ! Does no one edit this site?

Matt Taibbi is not unreadable.

You want to talk useless, “drill down” into the muck produced by Julio Iglesias nephew.

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Hey if you can read Taibbi more power to you.

Holy god, Kenny G and that stuff?

I think I’d rather be forced to listen to the Muzak channel I stumbled across on Sirius last week. (And I mean, I did listen to it for a while. It had been so long since I’d heard any Muzak, years, I admit I sat and listened for a bit in horrified fascination.)

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Peter Baker doesn’t do it for you? David Brooks?

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Good I hope you are joking, especially about Brooks. He’s become his oily old self again.