White Southern novelist Tom Wolfe has died, age 88. Because he moved to New York as a young man, and had all his successes there, he's often not thought of as a Southern novelist, but his father was father was a professor of agronomy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, as well as editor of The Southern Planter (an agricultural journal.) That's where Wolfe's white suits came from—except that his were tailored in New York.
Quote from Wolfe's NYT obit:
In June 1970, New York magazine devoted an entire issue to “These Radical Chic Evenings,” Mr. Wolfe’s 20,000-word sendup of a fund-raiser given for the Black Panthers by Leonard Bernstein, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and his wife, the Chilean actress Felicia Montealegre, in their 13-room Park Avenue penthouse duplex — an affair attended by scores of the Bernsteins’ liberal, rich and mostly famous friends.
“Do Panthers like little Roquefort cheese morsels rolled on crushed nuts this way, and asparagus tips in mayonnaise dabs, and meatballs petites au Coq Hardi, all of which are at the very moment being offered to them on gadrooned silver platters by maids in black uniforms with hand-ironed white aprons?,” Mr. Wolfe wrote, outraging liberals and Panthers alike.
When a Time reporter asked a minister for the Black Panthers to comment on the accuracy of Mr. Wolfe’s account, he said, “You mean that dirty, blatant, lying, racist dog who wrote that fascist disgusting thing in New York magazine?”
The article was included in Mr. Wolfe’s second essay collection, “Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers,” published in 1970.
Read the whole NYT article here.
We've published a number of pieces about Wolfe's clear-eyed work, mostly by Steve Sailer, who's a fan.
There are also couple of posts by me:
We may write more about him—he deserves to be remembered.