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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Tom Wolfe

At best, I and all other bloggers are just poor pale comparisons of that unwieldy God of Journalism, Tom Wolfe. Anything he writes is an event to me. I don't care how faint his feel of today's American pulse is. The man's words are a scald to all those who consider a browse through US Weekly or In Touch as enough for them to state they are well-informed.

He has a new piece in this month's New York on the mag's founder, Clay Felker-a man of whom I've never heard. Here's the opening paragraph:

I took a second look—I was right the first time. The man’s shirt had a
button-down collar … and … French cuffs with engraved gold cuff links … a boy’s
lolly boarding-school collar … and … a set of cuffs from a partners meeting at
Debevoise & Plimpton … This shirt had to be custom-made … had to be.
Likewise, the man’s jacket … Catch the high armholes and the narrow cut of the
sleeves. They clear the French cuffs by a precise eighth of an inch. They’re
just short enough—just so!—to reveal the gold cuff links and not a sixteenth of
an inch shorter. Check out the shoes!—brown leather cap-toed English oxfords
custom-fitted so closely to his high-arched feet, they look absolutely petite,
his feet do, as if he were some unaccountably great strapping Chinese maiden
whose feet had been bound in infancy to make sure they would be forever tiny at
teatime … I could not imagine how a man his size, six feet tall and 200 pounds
at the very least, with a big neck, a burly build, a square-jawed face, could
possibly rise up from his chair here in a little bullpen slapped together out of
four-foot-high partitions in the sludge-caked exposed-pipe-joint offices of a
newspaper not long for this world, the New York Herald Tribune, and support
himself, no hands, teetering atop that implausibly little pair of high-arched
bench-made British cap-toed cinderella shoes.

Makes me want to go back to teaching. Preschool.

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