Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

I Have Seen Where Tom Wolfe Has Slept By The Silver Stream

I decided I would use such a situation in my book. It was here that I began to run into not Roth’s Lament but Muggeridge’s Law. While Malcolm Muggeridge was editor of Punch, it was announced that Khrushchev and Bulganin were coming to England. Muggeridge hit upon the idea of a mock itinerary, a lineup of the most ludicrous places the two paunchy, pear-shaped little Soviet leaders could possibly be paraded through during the solemn business of a state visit. Shortly before press time, half the feature had to be scrapped. It coincided exactly with the official itinerary, just released, prompting Muggeridge to observe: We live in an age in which it is no longer possible to be funny. There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known.

Tom Wolfe, ladies and gentlemen. The topic: semi-fictionality.

1 Comment

  1. JES

    Sweet Jesus, was he good at what he did!!!

    I wouldn’t have come up with his word “crystalline,” but there are a fairly small number of writers I love whose writing is, to me, so good that it is transparent, so the word is perfect for that. I read these writers and I feel like their stories and ideas are flowing straight to my brain the way that I see or hear things in the real world, without actively perceiving the intermediate tool (book, computer, magazine) used to deliver them. The writing is organic and natural and whole. I am self-aware enough as a writer to know that I have maybe achieved that only a couplafew times in short pieces over the past 40+ years of scribbling (I re-read those pieces more often than I should probably admit), so I deeply, deeply admire those whose art and skill and craft as writers allows them to do it in long form, over and over and over again.

    You are on that short and special list.

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