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Christopher Hitchens: Andy Warhol at MoMA, 12 October 1989

... United States these days, let alone infamy. Celebrity is all and Warhol saw it coming even before Tom Wolfe did. Ultra Violet, to whom I keep on giving menshes, has asked all who were seduced and profaned by the Sixties to join her in repudiating drugs, sex and parties. She urges Scripture, and tells us of her dreams. (‘Once I broke through to ...


Jay McInerney: The Great American Novelists, 23 April 1987

... revaluation of the borders between journalism and fiction and inspiring, among others, Mailer and Tom Wolfe. It gave a push to the notion that the pale artifices of fiction were irrelevant to the Sixties. The novel was declared dead. In Cold Blood, The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, The Armies of the Night, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – these ...

Fie On’t!

James Buchan, 23 March 1995

The Oxford Book of Money 
edited by Kevin Jackson.
Oxford, 479 pp., £17.99, February 1995, 0 19 214200 3
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... Law, 1715 And for the moderns: Papa! What’s money? Dickens, 1848 Daddy ... What are bonds? Tom Wolfe, 1987 I do not know if Mr Jackson is aware of this intellectual degeneration. He is anyway imprisoned by his project, for an anthologist must pluck his flowers in as many meadows as he can find. His own tastes run to Pound’s Cantos (admirably ...

Going Postal

Zachary Leader, 5 October 1995

The Paperboy 
by Pete Dexter.
Viking, 307 pp., £15, May 1995, 0 670 86066 2
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Third and Indiana 
by Steve Lopez.
Viking, 305 pp., £10.99, April 1995, 0 670 86132 4
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... a bar called Elaine’s’. (The novel is set in 1969, so Yardley is to be imagined drinking with Tom Wolfe, or Truman Capote.) Dexter, a successful novelist who still works as a newspaperman and lives in the sticks, on an island in the Puget Sound, clearly detests Yardley, but Ward is no hero either. At times in Dexter’s fiction, a Ward-like manner ...

Big Daddy

Linda Nochlin, 30 October 1997

American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 635 pp., £35, October 1997, 9781860463723
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... demolish the critique of Modernist American architecture concocted by a chauvinist die-hard like Tom Wolfe, his liberalism has its limits. Identity politics plays no role in his understanding of contemporary representation. While he is all for the rights of blacks and gays to free artistic expression he is decidedly less happy with recent feminist ...


Julian Loose, 25 June 1992

Crystal Rooms 
by Melvyn Bragg.
Hodder, 342 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 0 340 56409 1
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... score of Indians, Nazis, pythons, Zulus and midget Japanese aircraft had been shattered by Tom’s index and middle finger’). The narrator of The Nerve announces, ‘My problem is to transfer to you a degree of intensity,’ and this seems a near-universal ambition in Bragg’s writing. Such grandiloquent gusto doesn’t always escape absurdity (from ...

Operation Barbarella

Rick Perlstein: Hanoi Jane, 17 November 2005

Jane Fonda’s War: A Political Biography of an Anti-war Icon 
by Mary Hershberger.
New Press, 228 pp., £13.99, September 2005, 1 56584 988 4
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... bumper stickers, for example, saying ‘Jane Fonda: John Kerry with Tits’. Phyllis Schlafly and Tom Wolfe have both described the memorial wall as a ‘monument to Jane Fonda’. A set of urban legends has sprung up around her visit to Hanoi in the summer of 1972: a prisoner of war, ordered by his captors to describe his ‘lenient and ...

Not Enough Delilahs

Andrew O’Hagan: Lillian Ross, 4 July 2019

by Lillian Ross.
NYRB, 219 pp., £14.99, June 2019, 978 1 68137 315 7
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... liarOther hand:Kenneth Tynan – creepTruman Capote – leechGeorge Plimpton – slickTom Wolfe – talentlessPhilip Roth – jerkIt was a mercy she only had two hands. To be fair, there were some men she liked. They tended to be showbusiness people. She liked Robin Williams, Charlie Chaplin, Tommy Lee Jones and Al Pacino. She also liked ...

If you don’t swing, don’t ring

Christopher Turner: Playboy Mansions, 21 April 2016

Pornotopia: An Essay on Playboy’s Architecture and Biopolitics 
by Beatriz Preciado.
Zone, 303 pp., £20.95, October 2014, 978 1 935408 48 2
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Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny 
by Holly Madison.
Dey Street, 334 pp., £16.99, July 2015, 978 0 06 237210 9
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... agoraphobic, addicted to Pepsi and Dexedrine, and almost never left his mansion. In 1965 he told Tom Wolfe that he hadn’t been outside for three and a half months and had only left home nine times in the past two years. Why would he? He worked on his eight-foot-wide bed for three or four drug-fuelled days at a time ‘without sleeping or ...


Hal Foster: Reyner Banham, 9 May 2002

Reyner Banham: Historian of the Immediate Future 
by Nigel Whiteley.
MIT, 494 pp., £27.50, January 2002, 0 262 23216 2
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... throw-away, smarty-pants, look-at-me’, which might seem to ally it with the New Journalism of a Tom Wolfe. But Wolfe is a reactionary, and his nasty swipe at modern architecture, From Bauhaus to Our House (1981), must have sickened Banham (who wrote a positive review of The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline ...


Paul Rock, 17 September 1981

... it is translated into a set of symbolic tokens. In Radical Chic and MauMauing the Flak-Catchers, Tom Wolfe has described how Californian administrators were exposed to ‘Mau-Mauing’, a mock-demonstration held far away from the ghetto audience but within reach of a City Hall which was to give money in aid. And Murray Edelman, in a book entitled ...


Geoffrey Hawthorn, 1 April 1983

A Treatise on Social Theory. Vol. I: The Methodology of Social Theory 
by W.G. Runciman.
Cambridge, 350 pp., £25, March 1983, 0 521 24906 6
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... approvingly reviews Marquez, commends Henry James, discusses some ‘splendid stuff’ from Tom Wolfe and starts a chapter with Angela Carter on rooms by the hour in Japan. If this is social science, it is in style and scope not social science as we have come to know it. As we have come to know it, this science has, in its more principled ...

News of the World’s End

Peter Jenkins, 15 May 1980

The Seventies 
by Christopher Booker.
Allen Lane, 349 pp., £7.50, February 1980, 0 7139 1329 0
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The Seventies 
by Norman Shrapnel.
Constable, 267 pp., £7.50, March 1980, 0 09 463280 4
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... They would also notice some strange inclusions: for example, essays on David Frost, Kenneth Clark, Tom Wolfe and Germaine Greer – Sixties figures to a man. Booker’s earlier book, The Neophiliacs, he tells us, was ‘a detailed, analytical account of the astonishing changes which had come over Britain in the Fifties and Sixties’. This time he has ...

Secretly Sublime

Iain Sinclair: The Great Ian Penman, 19 March 1998

Vital Signs 
by Ian Penman.
Serpent’s Tail, 374 pp., £10.99, February 1998, 1 85242 523 7
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... scored for speech: hysterical italics, the incontinent stutter of periods (...) that derive from Tom Wolfe, not from Céline. The apologetic language droppings (‘pardonnez-moi’) and compulsive Americanisms (‘rimshot time in Vegas’). The temptation with this fast-food prose (‘People don’t drop their haitches, they drops Es’) is to become a ...

Slumming with Rappers at the Roxy

Hal Foster: Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing, the Marketing of Culture by John Seabrook, 21 September 2000

Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing, the Marketing of Culture 
by John Seabrook.
Methuen, 215 pp., £9.99, March 2000, 0 413 74470 1
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... by David Brooks, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and blurbed by the usual suspects from Tom Wolfe to Christopher Buckley, it is entitled Bobos in Paradise – Bobos for ‘bourgeois bohemians’.* Its argument, which confuses cappuccino with bohemia and a pension-plan invested in money-markets with a political sell-out, is as follows: Marx ...

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