When Tom Wolfe Talks, People Listen

wolfe062408 When Tom Wolfe Talks, People ListenTwo things we learned from reading Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Dealbook column in today’s New York Times: 1. Tom Wolfe rides the Hampton Jitney; and 2. He thinks Sherman McCoy, the protagonist of his 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities would be sunk in the current economic climate. (Join the club, Sherman!)

As Mr. Wolfe tells Mr. Sorkin: "He would be eating his heart out wanting to run a hedge fund, but he’s not smart enough!" Well, thankfully he’s also totally fictional.

In the column, Mr. Wolfe shares his views on the current crisis in late-late capitalism with vague, oracular pronouncements like "It sounds like even the firms that aren’t in trouble are in trouble" and "It has always interested me that the word ‘credit’ comes from the word ‘credere,’ which means ‘to believe’… It only works if people believe in it."

In April The Times hosted a series of discussions about Vanities on its Reading Room blog.