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The author Tom Wolfe, who died this week at the age of 88, was decidedly not a Jewish writer.
But, he knew about Jews. Or, at least, some Jews.
Bonfire - Vanities - Confrontation - Blacks - Mayor
The Bonfire of the Vanities opens with a confrontation between blacks and a Jewish mayor, snidely nicknamed “Goldberg!” by the crowd. The book also features a Jewish district attorney named Abe Weiss. The book’s main character, Sherman McCoy, is a “master of the universe” — which is a pretty good translation of ribbono shel olam — which is supposed to be God, not a highly successful bonds trader.
In A Man In Full; the main character, Charles Croker, accidentally calls a businessman named Herb “Heeb.” Awkward.
Charlotte - Simmons - Adam - Gellin - Star
In I Am Charlotte Simmons, there is Adam Gellin, who tutors the star athlete Jojo Johanssen.
In Tom Wolfe’s honor, I re-read his classic piece of new journalism, Radical Chic and Ma-Mauing the Flak Catchers, published in 1970.
Wolfe - Story - Party - Conductor - Leonard
Wolfe tells the story of the famous fundraising party that conductor Leonard Bernstein (whose centennial we mark this summer) and his wife, Felicia, threw for the Black Panthers at their New York apartment.
The guest list included some of the most famous luminaries of American culture: Otto Preminger, Broadway lyricist Sheldon Harnick, and Barbara Walters, among them.
Guests - Panthers - Platform
The guests sat, enraptured, as the Panthers regaled them with their platform.
We want all black men exempt from military service. We want all black men who are in jail to be set free…We’d like to take kids on tours of the white suburbs, like Scarsdale, and let them see how their oppressors live…We want peace, but there can be no peace as long as society is racist and one part of society engages in systematic oppression of another.
Anything - Century - Publication - Radical - Chic
If anything, the almost half century since the publication of Radical Chic has only underscored how much work has been left...
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