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"He is known for wearing his trademark white suit in public." Ha. This sentence seems to be based on something like, "I can't believe he wears that out in public." If it were objective, then public (as well as trademark) would be redundant.

This criticism is mistaken. Wolfe might have stated in a public interview that he wears a white suit while in his home, but not outside of his home. This possibility is consistent with the statement "He is known for wearing his trademark white suit", though it is not consistent with the criticized statement. The criticized statement is thus more informative while still being correct.

...but if he had worn it only at home, how could he have become "known for it?" Sorry, I agree that "in public" should be deleted. As an American, I'm generally OK with "trademark," but I'm worried that English speakers in other countries and non-native speakers could misinterpret this casual use.Carlaclaws (talk) 23:19, 17 January 2009 (UTC)[reply]

A Man In Full[edit]

The article claims this novel wasn't as well-received as his previous works. I don't think that's the case; as I understand it, the novel was well-received by many critics, as well as being a bestseller. It was only after the book's positive reception that some literary figures (namely those characterized by Wolfe as his three stooges) disparaged the book and its author. I've revised the article to reflect this, but if I'm mistaken, let me know. Neilc 03:33, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Is five million really the most an author has ever received for a movie deal? What about JK Rowling and Harry Potter?

Whoever is editing this page, let me suggest one change of some importance. Innovators or new journalism or creative nonfiction use the term "nonfiction" with no hyphen. The New York Times in the Bestseller list uses the nonhyphenated form as do most bookstores. Whoever edits the final version, I suggest the more recent and widely accepted: nonfiction. Small point, but of some importance.

I believe the movie rights for HP were sold by Rowling relatively cheaply; the article on the first movie says "An agent of Warner Brothers bought the movie rights to the film at a relatively low price soon before the book's incredible success.", although I'm not sure if that refers to just the first film or subsequent films as well. Anyway, if someone has evidence that subsequent movie rights have been sold for more, the text can be adjusted to say $5 million was a lot "at the time". Neilc 07:36, 27 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]

The words "At the time" are already included in the article.Bengaska 04:07, 23 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Further to the first comment, this sentence isn't sourced: " His comments sparked an intense war of words in the print and broadcast media among Wolfe and Updike, and authors John Irving and Norman Mailer, who also entered the fray." Adamcarley (talk) 18:08, 7 November 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Source added. Schazjmd (talk) 19:15, 7 November 2022 (UTC)[reply]

relation to thomas wolfe[edit]

does anyone know if tom wolfe is in any way related to thomas wolfe (author of look homeward angel, etc.)? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

They're not related. (Please remember to sign comments on talk pages with four tildes, like this: ~~~~.) dbtfztalk 02:40, 10 April 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Charlotte Simmons Dubious Claims[edit]

I put a 'citation needed tag' on the comment that I Am Charlotte Simmons was praised by 'many college students' for 'accuracy and focus,' but honestly the statement itself, and the ones following it, are vague and weasely and probably can't be corrected in their current form.

I deleted 'ivy league' from the setting of the novel and replaced it with 'prestigious': the fictional university has scholarship athletes, much like Duke and Stanford (prestigious, but not Ivy), which do not exist in Ivy League schools.

Story about being reported dead[edit]

I hosted an evening with Tom Wolfe in Toronto on April 24th. He had never heard of the story about his being reported dead in 2003. Perhaps it should be deleted.

It's now sourced and brought up to date. The anecdote (and his reaction to it as published today in WSJ) is revealing about Wolfe and ought to stay IMHO Oldpilot 18:31, 14 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
It's not sourced (the citation is for Wolfe's reaction in today's WSJ, and not for the original story). So we have an unsourced story and a sourced denial of it. We should delete it. Guanxi 19:08, 14 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I removed it. Guanxi 19:18, 14 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I removed this again from the article. It's interesting but, per WP:ASR, I don't feel it's significant to his broader biography. For the interest of Wikipedians, the removed statement is below:
  • Wolfe is quoted in The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2007, as having written:

"Blogs are an advance guard to the rear. For example, only a primitive would believe a word of Wikipedia (which, though not strictly a blog, shares the characteristics of the genre). The entry under my name says that in 2003 "major news media" broadcast reports of my death and that I telephoned Larry King and said, 'I ain't dead yet, give me a little more time and no doubt it will become true.'

"Oddly, this news supposedly broadcast never reached my ears in any form whatsoever prior to the Wikipedia entry, and I wouldn't have a clue as to how to telephone Larry King. I wouldn't have called him, in any case. I would have called my internist. I don't so much mind Wikipedia's recording of news that nobody ever disseminated in the first place as I do the lame comment attributed to me. I wouldn't say 'I ain't' even if I were singing a country music song. In fact, I have posted a $5,000 reward for anyone who can write a song containing the verb forms 'am not,' 'doesn't,' or 'isn't' that makes the Billboard Top Twenty."

My goal will be to make this article sparkle until Tom cuts us some slack -- hey, Tom, we're only 6-years-old! --JayHenry 03:51, 2 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Cultural references[edit]

  • Wolfe is depicted in the Simpsons episode Insane Clown Poppy, though the real-life author does not actually make a guest appearance, as he has no speaking lines. In the brief clip, Wolfe's trademark white suit is splattered with chocolate; immediately he rips it off as if it were tissue paper, revealing another pristine white suit underneath.
  • Wolfe is mentioned in the 2005 animated film Madagascar where Mason the monkey says "I hear Tom Wolfe's speaking at Lincoln Center." (the other monkey, Phil, signs frantically) and Mason responds, "Well, of course we're going to throw poo at him!"
  • Wolfe was featured on the February 2006 episode, "The White Stuff", of SPEED Channel's Unique Whips, where his Cadillac's interior was customized to match his trademark white suit.
  • In the episode "Lorelai's Graduation Day" of Gilmore Girls, Rory meets Jess in New York who is reading Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test". This book is also referenced in the episode "Take The Deviled Eggs..." when Town Selectman Taylor says something along the lines that people can drink as much "electric kool-aid" as they want.

The above was the "cultural references" section of the article. Since Wolfe is an author who wrote prolifically about 40 years of popular culture it seems rather... misplaced... to have this section suggesting that his role in pop-culture is best exemplified by his two appearances on the Simpsons. --JayHenry (talk) 05:56, 29 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]

I think the section should go back in, for two reasons: first, I think it's interesting information, and second, people tend to like adding in the references-type stuff to articles, so there may as well be a space for it, instead of it ending up all over the article. Korny O'Near (talk) 15:12, 29 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Those are two really really bad reasons. TheScotch (talk) 06:19, 5 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]

The fact that information is interesting is a really bad reason to include it in an article? Korny O'Near (talk) 20:34, 5 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Well, I disagree that it's interesting. As I noted way back when, Tom Wolfe is one of the most culturally significant authors of the 21st century, and yet this section focuses on trivial references (as in, so small that they are insignificant) in a few modern shows that were popular quite recently and then a comic book. I think that someone who is even remotely familiar with Wolfe's impact who reads this section is going to conclude that Wikipedia's editors are uneducated for highlighting such trivial things. The man wrote several of the most famous books of the last century, so mentioning that a character on "Gilmore Girls" once read a major American novel and referenced "electric kool-aid" makes us look like idiots. There are probably hundreds or thousands of references to "electric kool-aid",in the last forty years. The solution is not to mention all of them, or to even mention more of them, but to discuss how significant his works are in the body of the article. Mentioning some trivial reference like a Gilmore Girl's character reading TEKAAT just makes us look like foolish, ignorant amateurs. --JayHenry (talk) 01:19, 7 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Okay, that's fair. I moved the two listed items in which Wolfe actually appeared into a new section, "Television appearances". I still think the Incredible Hulk reference, at least, is interesting. Korny O'Near (talk) 05:03, 8 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
It doesn't matter if it's interesting (which is a subjective measure), the criteria for inclusion on Wikipedia is notablity not if it's interesting or not. I Feel Tired (talk) 03:21, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]


When Wolfe was first put up for membership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters he was rejected, this rejection being engineered by enemies within the Academy. A great deal of controversy was generated, although Wolfe was eventually admitted in 1999.

The article ought to mention this. Someone who really knows the particulars ought to add it. (talk) 22:23, 3 June 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Cultural References[edit]

Happened to hit this page after Wolfe appeared on the Charlie Rose Show this week. I noticed in the cultural references that there is no mention of the Robert Altman film, The Player. Although Wolfe does not appear as a celebrity cameo, there is an ongoing joke about acquiring the rights to his "new book." I think Altman was poking fun at the fact that 2 Wolfe books had been adapted for the screen at the time and both were failures financially, even though Hollywood execs were falling over themselves to spend a fortune to produce a 3rd. Thought it might be worth mentioning. (talk) 07:08, 13 June 2008 (UTC)[reply]

The article sparkles[edit]

One of the better articles on wikipedia in hard to find detail, writing, and even-ness. Should go up for GA. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:20, 29 March 2009 (UTC)[reply]

The 'New Journalism'[edit]

How innovative is Wolfe? When you consider James A Mitchener, John Dos Passos, Thomas Berger. All of these writers had a style of writing that blended real-life events with fictional characters. Surely Wolfe is using no more than 'exaggerated style' in his writing of 'true people'Johnwrd (talk) 21:16, 26 May 2009 (UTC) and true events.[reply]

No, no, the innovation of Wolfe and New Journalists was applying novelistic techniques to non-fiction writing. There are no fictional characters in new journalism. For example, Wolfe would ask people what they were thinking when something happened and then render their thoughts in his pieces as internal monologue. Things like that were an innovation to journalism. All "new journalism" is real people and real events in real settings with unconventional writing techniques. That's totally different from Michener or Dos Passos who used conventional writing techniques and real settings to tell fictional stories about fictional people. --JayHenry (talk) 01:20, 27 May 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Dubious American Lexicon claims[edit]

The article states that Wolfe "is credited with introducing the terms "statusphere," "the right stuff," "radical chic," "the Me Decade," "social x-ray," and "good ol' boy" into the English lexicon." But the citation is thin, a web page bio with no sources. To claim that Wolfe actually coined these terms, a source covering etymology is needed. (talk) 12:38, 6 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I can tell you that he did NOT coin the term "good ole boy" and doubt he would claim ownership of this term. FrancisDane (talk) 14:00, 18 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Agreed, let's delete until a better source is provided. (talk) 20:14, 26 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

To nitpick, the source does not actually claim that Wolfe coined these phrases and they originated with him and did not exist before; it only calls them "Wolfian phrases", which could also mean that at least some of them are pre-existing coinages that he merely popularised. Anyway, I removed the bogus entries and reported what the source says more accurately, and got rid of the weaselly passive construction. Now the source may be poorly researched, but at least the claim is attributed to a specific person, so all the blame is on the original claimer, not Wikipedia, for any inaccuracies. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:42, 9 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Marital status? Single? Dating? Married?[edit]

Does anyone know about his Personal Life? Has a nice girl snatched him up yet? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:54, 9 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]

From Picador Press's online biography of Wolfe, www.tomwolfe.com/bio.html: "Wolfe lives in New York City with his wife, Sheila; his daughter, Alexandra; and his son, Tommy." I believe the wife is Jewish. The reason I mention this is that some people have accused Wolfe's work as having anti-semitic overtones. He was interviewed about his and said that he could not be anti-semitic because he married a Jew. I am not the kind of person who sees anti-semitism everywhere, but I have to agree that some of his work depicts Jews in a bad light. Maybe this should be a separate topic of discussion. FrancisDane (talk) 13:58, 18 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks Francis! This should be in the main article to appease tha haters! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:16, 25 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

I find the excuse that he can't be anti-Semitic because he has a Jewish wife to be a rather weak argument. TV/radio show host and political analyst Lou Dobbs has an immigrant Mexican wife yet is generally considered to be a bigot by the Latino community. Quite a few Nazis had Jewish roots themselves (not to invoke Godwin's Law or anything). Balst32 (talk) 03:58, 25 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Marrying or for that matter being Jewish is no bar to at least a Ceremonial Antisemitism. (talk) 22:15, 13 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, and if the spouse is a self-hating Jew, the sky's the limit! (talk) 20:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)Flossie[reply]

"Holding a cross to a werewolf"[edit]

Did he really compare wearing an American flag pin to "wielding a cross against a werewolf" regarding his "liberal" friends? For someone so accomplished in the literary world, you would think he'd know that werewolves could care less about holy symbols unless they're made of silver and used to strike them. I know this sounds like a minor quibble but this is pretty basic Western cultural myths we're dealing with...most folks know them like the back of their hand by the time they reach junior high school or so. Balst32 (talk) 03:55, 25 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

I think that may be the joke. Most liberals aren't likely to be impressed by the bona fides implied by an American Flag pin. (talk) 21:47, 18 June 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Copyright problem[edit]

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Neat article on a neat guy[edit]

Not sure if it is just how interesting the fellow is as a contrarian and a New Journalist or that we have done a decent job on his article. Kudos to whoever has been the main contributor.

Would love to see us get this to GA. 22,000 views per month and just a fascinating figure with a lot of high hit links from him (his books, movies of them, etc.) I guess the major things would be making sure we have all (or the GA amount) of content. And then polishing.

It's even funny that he disses Wiki and someone on this talk page said that we should use that as motivation to make his page sparkle. I think just his work should motivate us to do that! (Even more the nonfiction and the New Journalism anthology with Hunter Thompson and Paper Lion and all that.)

I wonder, how about including the story of "Tiny Mummies". The piece where Wolfe ripped the New Yorker and its esteemed editor (the gall to satirize the satirists!) His editor at the New York Review was put under pressure from a Kennedy administration calling to pull the story. The editor said, send us a letter and we will print it!  ;)


TCO (talk) 22:22, 28 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Missing: The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce[edit]

Esquire Magazine, December 1983, pp. 346-374 http://www.stanford.edu/class/e140/e140a/content/noyce.html — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:27, 1 November 2012 (UTC)[reply]

The usage of Tom Wolf (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) is under discussion, see Talk:Thomas W. Wolf -- (talk) 05:58, 19 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

no mention of "Tom Wolfe's Los Angeles" ????[edit]

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0923944/ Tom Wolfe's Los Angeles (1977) TV Movie | Drama | 10 January 1977 (USA) Reviews: 1 user Stars: Migdia Chinea
Am I the only other person who remembers this? Even the google fails.... GangofOne (talk) 09:48, 10 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Ok, sorry Google, sorry I doubted your omniscience, here's a newspaper clip... I am NOT hallucinating https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=757&dat=19770125&id=4XRSAAAAIBAJ&sjid=za0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=5752,2578600&hl=en . Be Bold GangofOne (talk) 09:58, 10 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]

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Wolfe and Lawrence[edit]

I wonder if Wolfe was aware that he was born on the very day that D. H. Lawrence died, and whether this had any influence at all on his style. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:25, 15 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Historic Present[edit]

Wolfe is also responsible for the use of the present tense in magazine profile pieces; before he began doing so in the early 1960s, profile articles had always been written in the past tense.

The Historic Present is a device that greatly precedes Wolfe. When novels were serialised in magazines, readers would be accustomed to this style. Valetude (talk) 23:18, 15 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]
That's true, but Wolfe was apparently the first one to use the device in non-fiction profile pieces. It makes sense, as part of the approach pioneered by Wolfe (and a few others, like Gay Talese) to apply novelistic techniques to journalism. Korny O'Near (talk) 15:41, 18 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Per Korny, the hallmark of New Journalism is the use of literary styles to present non-fiction topics, and Wolfe is a pioneer in the field. It isn't the use of a literary tense per se that Wolfe first used, it was the use of the historic present in nonfiction journalism that he pioneered. --Jayron32 16:10, 18 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]


"a highly experimental account of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters" - what is being described as 'experimental' in this expansion on EKAT? Is this referring to the literary style Wolfe took in the book? Is it referring to the account itself? I've always assumed he researched/interviewed the folks mentioned and then wrote up info for the book. If someone has some insight I'd appreciate an explanation as to what the phrase is referring. Thanks! THX1136 (talk) 02:39, 14 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]

"Critics of Wikipedia" category?[edit]

This is a cat on the article but it's mentioned nowhere in the text, as far as I can tell -- should it be removed? jp×g🗯️ 16:08, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]