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Blood Will Tell

In Tom Wolfe’s America the Northern WASP elite is shallow and cowardly, the most sacrosanct minority groups seethe with ingratitude toward the majority and snarl at one another, culture is dominated by the conspicuous vulgarity of new and ill-gotten wealth, and manners and morals are in a catastrophic nosedive in which the relation of man and woman has been reduced to strip clubs and “hooking up.”  In other words, unlike the fictions in presidential speeches and media discourse, Tom Wolfe’s fictions tell the truth.  And, as our greatest stylist, he tells the truth in real American English as it is spoken, debased as it is by advertising, pseudomacho posturing, and polyglot immigration.

Wolfe’s unerring instinct has chosen Miami for his latest dissection.  A Caribbean free port, it is America’s Singapore or Hong Kong, where a majority of the population is one generation or less off the boat, in but not of our country.  Here effete WASPs cling to the shreds of deeply resented and envied prestige, whether or not lost in nostalgie de la boue.  Self-serving Cuban politicians and police exercise the official power.  The most vulgar of the vulgar New York rich abound, along with Russian gangsters and South Americans of every ilk.  The news media and educational institutions are only weapons in the struggle for power and place.  All groups are more or less corrupted by the moral...

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