We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I am a great admirer of Tom Wolfe's ability to have his finger on the pulse of the culture, and his ability to crystallize what's going on in a phrase, a concept, or in a story. I read Bonfire twice because it was so dramatic, realistic, and entertaining. Dickensian in scope, but maybe lacking in Dickens' talent for character portraiture.
On the other hand, over the years in real life I believe I have met every character in every one of Wolfe's books.
At City Journal, Tom Wolfe’s California - In the Golden State, the great writer first chronicled the social changes that would transform America. A quote:
“The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby” represents the first time that Wolfe truly understood and was able to formulate the big idea that would transform him from an above-average feature writer into the premier cultural chronicler of our age. Those inhabiting the custom car scene were not rich, certainly not upper-class, and not prominent— indeed, they were almost invisible to society at large. Wolfe described his initial attempt to write the story as a cheap dismissal: “Don’t worry, these people are nothing.” He realized in California that he had been wrong. These people were something, and very influential within their own circles, which were far larger than anyone on the outside had hitherto noticed.
“Max Weber,” Wolfe tells me, “was the first to argue that social classes were dying everywhere—except, in his time, in England—and being replaced by what he called ‘status groups.’ ” The term improves in Wolfean English: “Southern California, I found, was a veritable paradise of statuspheres,” he wrote in 1968. Beyond the customizers and drag racers, there were surfers, cruisers, teenyboppers, beboppers, strippers, bikers, beats, heads, and, of course, hippies. Each sphere started off self-contained but increasingly encroached on, and influenced, the wider world.