The Man in White

Review of Hooking Up. Maureen Dowd, New York Times, November 5, 2000.

I love Tom Wolfe. Maybe too much. Whenever some big bizarro thing happens in what he calls ”the lurid carnival actually taking place in the mightiest country on earth in the year 2000,” I want him to give it his electric Kool-Aid acid test. I want the man in the white suit to do his usual exhaustive reporting, turn the labels inside out and the hypocrites upside down, skewer the puffed-up phonies and pruned-down lemon tarts, and tell me what’s what in one of those jittering, dazzling riffs of his.

I am dying to know, as the Time Warner-AOL merger careers along, how he would satirize the fascinating Henry James collision of the old print world and the new dot-com world, the anxious wriggling food chain of Bob Pittman, Steve Case, Gerald Levin and Ted Turner. How would he limn all these awful dinner parties where Old Media kisses up to New Media, with Old Media desperately trying to be more casual by casting off its tie, and more hip by droning on in tiresome digibabble? What would Wolfe make of the dread synergy, the bumper-car game of Disney values and ABC values and Leonardo DiCaprio’s star turn as ABC White House correspondent? And how gleefully the Wolfe-man could have carved up the chundering, blundering parade of House Torquemadas in the risible and overblown impeachment scandal, and the bevy of leech women, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp…

New York Times