Thomas Kennedy Wolfe Jr. died yesterday at the age of 88. Farewell then, Tom Wolfe. With Ken Kesey (who was not not nearly so prolific) and Dr Hunter S. Thompson (who followed in your footsteps), you created and exemplified the New Journalism. You made us -- or me, at least -- see the realities of contemporary American society, the little things that everybody notices but pretends don't exist.
For half a century, you were a monumental figure not only in the English language, but also in the American culture. Through your eyes and your words on the printed page, you showed us the spirit of 50s (The Right Stuff), the 60s (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Radical Chic: Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers), the 70s (The Me Decade), and the awful mid-80s (Bonfire of the Vanities, your best novel, IMHO).
Although I can never hope to grasp the English language as tightly as you did, I do try to emulate your style. OK, I "borrow" from you, occasionally. As the old saying goes, it's the sincerest form of flattery. I will remember you.
In a December 2012 interview with Michael Moynihan, Tom Wolfe discussed not just a forthcoming Newsweek cover story (on the 25th anniversary of Bonfire of the Vanities), but also class in America, why the Prez made life difficult for Jesse Jackson, what's wrong with the stock market and a host of other still-relevant topics. Running time 1:21:48.