In these two devastatingly funny essays, Tom Wolfe examines political stances and social styles in our status-minded world.
In "Radical Chic", Wolfe focuses primarily on one symbolic event: a gathering of the politically correct at Leonard Bernstein’s duplex apartment on Park Avenue to meet spokesmen of the Black Panther Party. He re-creates the incongruous scene - and its astonishing repercussions - with high fidelity.
In the companion essay, Wolfe travels west to San Francisco to survey another meeting-ground between militant minorities and the liberal white establishment. "Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers" deals with the newly emerging art of confrontation, as practiced by San Francisco’s militant minorities in response to a highly bureaucratized poverty program.
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This brilliantly told piece of history is one that no doubt many power people hope you'll never find out about. Wolfe's writing is so rich with humor and insight, and the narration is so good, you'll think you're watching a play.
Identity politics pay
My favorite character was the Flak Catcher.
Yes. Cropp's delivery is consistently excellent for non-fiction.
That Lyndon B. Johnson created the victim grievance economy with its requisite Mau-Mauing and Flak Catching that we know and love today!
Although a satirical account of 1970s politics, the essays proved to be highly prescient and should enjoy a resurgence in light of recent fashionable identity politics movements.