Tuesday, November 16, 2004


...in The New York Times today -- praises him because, among other things, he "takes risks in his novels to describe the moral climate of the age."

Risks? What risks? The risk that his politics might prevent him from being invited to an Alec Baldwin party in the Hamptons?

Excuse me: Cops take risks. Firefighters take risks. People who work the graveyard shift at 7-Elevens in high-crime areas take risks. Tom Wolfe puts on a white suit and watches beery teenage couples tongue-kiss. Maybe he's in danger of suffering upper back pain from scrunching his neck to read the brand name on the waistband of a coed's thong, but that's not what I call risk.

Brooks wants you to think that, apart from brave, risk-taking Tom Wolfe, no American novelist has written about America's moral climate since they took prayer out of the public schools. Well, David, I'd be happy to lend you my copy of Philip Roth's The Human Stain as soon as I finish it. (Of course, when Brooks says "describe the moral climate of the age," he doesn't mean "describe the moral climate of the age" -- he means "fulminate against the moral climate of the age from a conservative point of view." Good is good, evil is evil, and anyone who sees the world as morally complex is not to be taken seriously and will burn in hell for all eternity.)

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