EppsNet Archive: Tom Wolfe

2017: The Year in Books

2 Jan 2018 /

These are the books I read in 2017, roughly in the order listed. Not as many as I wuld have liked but I spent the first half of the year having a mental and physical breakdown. I’m back on track now.

The ratings are mine. They don’t represent a consensus of opinion.

Books of the Year: Death on the Installment Plan by Louis-Ferdinand Céline (fiction) and From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe (non-fiction).

Happy Father’s Day

21 Jun 2010 /
Fathers Day

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.

— Mark Twain

A wise son maketh a glad father.

— Proverbs 10:1

Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later . . . that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called ‘Being a Father’ so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.

—Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

Genius Takes a Walk

18 Apr 2010 /
J. Pollock ? - A Dreidel Drawing

The Conceptualists would answer: It’s not permanence and materials, all that Winsor & Newton paint and other crap, that are at the heart of art, but two things only: Genius and the process of creation! Later they decided that Genius might as well take a walk, too.

— Tom Wolfe, The Painted Word

Books Etc.

7 Feb 2010 /

Thanks to the annual Super Bowl Sunday Buy One Get One Free sale at Books Etc. in Laguna Hills, the works of Bellow, Borges, Bukowski, Brautigan, Cheever, Eco, Grace Paley, Dennis Potter, Pynchon, Robbe-Grillet, Philip Roth and Tom Wolfe have found their way onto my bookshelf for a capital outlay of only 32 dollars American.

A Day at LACMA

30 May 2007 /

We drove out to LACMA last weekend to see The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890-1950, and Re-SITE-ing the West: Contemporary Photographs from the Permanent Collection.

I love exhibits like this . . . I’ve lived in California my whole life and I feel like these Western landscapes are part of my DNA.

While we were there, we also took in the Dan Flavin retrospective. Flavin’s work consists of standard fluorescent tubes arranged in patterns not beyond the imagination of the average six-year-old.

I tried viewing them up close, far away, from the side . . . I couldn’t make heads or tails of any of it.

LACMA helpfully provided a detailed theory of Flavin’s work in the form of a fold-out brochure with a lot of small print, but I didn’t read it. Isn’t art supposed to provide some sort of pleasure and/or illumination — pardon the pun — on its own merits?

I was reminded of Tom Wolfe’s epiphany in The Painted Word, that the distinction between, say, a Jackson Pollock painting and the splatterings of a kindergartener is that the kindergartener’s work lacks a persuasive critical theory:

All these years, in short, I had assumed that in art, if nowhere else, seeing is believing. Well–how very shortsighted! Now, at last, on April 28, 1974, I could see. I had gotten it backward all along. Not “seeing is believing,” you ninny, but “believing is seeing,” for Modern Art has become completely literary: the paintings and other works only exist to illustrate the text.