America's Carnival Barker

Tom Wolfe died yesterday at age 88, after a long and colorful career as America's carnival barker. I don't mean that in a pejorative sense. The carnival barker has a certain reputation for brazen dishonesty in overselling his product. (We'll get to that in a moment.) But he is also our enthusiastic guide to a raucous and colorful spectacle, and that seems like a perfect description of Wolfe's work as he conceived it.

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