Headline: Where is San Francisco’s Bonfire of the Vanities?
Sub-headline: The city is home to the biggest story in US commerce — yet the tech boom does not yet have its Tom Wolfe
Who but feuilletonist Janan Ganesh would celebrate The Great American Dandy, as conceived by kitschmeister Walt Disney? Mr. Wolfe is forgotten, except in this diverting celebration of a writer ,whose specialty was with the surfaces of the human endeavor: to celebrate the trivial, the vacuous, a kind of riff on what Television is! Was The Bonfires the natural literary inheritor of Aron Spelling’s pioneering ‘Dynasty’ ,recast and re-staged in New York City? The question ramify! As opposed to the exploration of time, place and character? Instead of a series of literary snap-shots of the greedy and self-seeking: a pastiche of what literature might provide to the reader? Or to be more generous a sub-genre of the literary endeavor? Or, again, just cultivating the possibilities of BestSellerdom in the waning days of Reganism?
Mr. Ganesh and Mr. Wolfe are kindred spirits whose sensibilities and politics resonate. Mr. Ganesh’s talent for evocation finds his rightful place in the Financial Time’s ‘Life & Arts’ section of this Capitalist propaganda sheet.
The reader will never confuse Mr. Wolfe with Thomas Clayton Wolfe of ‘Look Homeward, Angel’ or ‘You Can’t Go Home Again’ !
Tom Wolfe never left Richmond Virginia! and his animus toward Jews and Blacks was amply demonstrated in his ‘satire’ ‘ Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.’!
Some of Mr. Ganesh readership, with longer historical memories, will recall Vikram Seth’s ‘Golden Gate’ of 1986 which predates the 1987 publication of ‘The Bonfire‘ ?
The Golden Gate (1986) is the first novel by poet and novelist Vikram Seth. The work is a novel in verse composed of 590 Onegin stanzas (sonnets written in iambic tetrameter, with the rhyme scheme following the ABABCCDDEFFEGG pattern of Eugene Onegin). It was inspired by Charles Johnston‘s translation of Pushkin‘s Eugene Onegin.
Perhaps, a bit too highfalutin for Mr. Ganesh’s pseudo-egalitarian taste?