The Bonfire of the Vanities

Not rated yet!
Brian De Palma
2 h 05 min
Release Date
21 December 1990
Comedy, Drama
After his mistress runs over a young teen, a Wall Street hotshot sees his life unravel in the spotlight, and attracting the interest of a down and out reporter.
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The Federalist Staff2
The Federalist

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  • Sexytime: Is Rudy Giuliani Right That 'Everybody' Cheats?
    On Sunday’s “Meet The Press,” Chuck Todd questioned whether Rudy Giuliani could critique Hillary Clinton’s practice of defaming her husband’s mistresses because “you have your own infidelities, sir.” Regardless of whether the logic of Todd’s questioning holds, Giuliani’s response alarmed many Trump critics. He said, “Well, everybody does. And I’m a Roman Catholic, and I confess those things to my priest.” Mollie I was somewhat surprised by how much this comment upset people. Russell Moore said the remark was “Defining deviancy down.” The Daily Mail thought it worthy of a news story (“Rudy Giuliani – married THREE times, just like Trump – says ‘everybody’ is unfaithful (but it’s OK for him, he’s a Catholic who’s been to confession)”). Most bizarrely, The New York Times thought it worthy of a news story (“Rudy Giuliani, Continuing Rebuke of Hillary Clinton, Says ‘Everybody’ Commits Infidelity“)! Giuliani’s repeated adultery is offensive, but I’m not sure that his comments in this interview were. Christians do believe that everybody is unfaithful. Jesus once said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Assuming that no human has ever managed to keep this standard, we’re all guilty. And Giuliani wasn’t talking about Bill Clinton’s infidelity but, rather, Hillary Clinton’s involvement with the practice of gaslighting and destroying women whom Bill had slept with. That’s related to infidelity, but a separate and distinct issue. The outrage-du-jour here reminded me of Jimmy Carter’s interview with Playboy, where he said, “I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.” Oh that we could all be so honest about our failures to be faithful. So in this sense, Giuliani is right to confess his sins of adultery. But there are still a few problems with his statement. 1) It makes light of the serious problem of adultery. Giuliani has two failed marriages. He did not treat his second marriage, which produced two children, with the respect it required. His wife and children were harmed by his behavior with his now-wife. Saying “I confess those things to my priest” is insufficient. Repentance means to turn away from sin, not continue in it and treat confession as a Get Out Of Jail Free card. Lack of fidelity to one’s spouse should be taken very seriously, and we should guard our hearts and bodies from temptation. 2) Trump and many of his surrogates aren’t well-suited to comment on marriage. Healthy marital norms include exclusivity and permanence. These are important to the stability of marriage and marriage culture. Since the critique of Hillary Clinton’s actions disparaging the women her husband slept with relates to integrity, ability to uphold these norms is relevant. Marriage scholar Ryan Anderson notes, “The norm of permanency ensures that children will at least be cared for by their mother and father until they reach maturity. It also provides kinship structure for interaction across generations as elderly parents are cared for by their adult children and as grandparents help to care for their grandchildren without the complications of fragmented stepfamilies.” Marriage is a public institution and Giuliani and Trump’s marital failures make them poor spokespeople to discuss integrity. 3) Not everyone cheats. Come on. People who struggle with a particular sin sometimes like to believe that everyone is struggling with the same sin. But in the cheating department — assuming we’re using the definition of cheating in action and not just thought — it’s not true that everyone is doing it. The General Social Survey has tracked this for decades and recent numbers suggested infidelity is on the rise, yet it’s still in the 15-20 percent range. That’s not in a given year, but over the course of the marriage. So it’s too high, but not at the Giuliani-suggested levels. 4) Fidelity is a virtue that helps us judge character. We choose our elected officials in large part because we support their policies. But in recent memory, no one has done a better job of teaching the importance of a strong moral character — and the problems caused by its lack — than Bill Clinton. His treatment of countless women, from peers to interns, as sexual objects to be used for gratification, and the lies he told and perjury he committed to avoid being held accountable for his inconstancy, were an expensive waste of goodwill and led to a breakdown in civility. How we treat each other in our most intimate relationships is a good, albeit imperfect, guide to general character. Hillary Clinton’s practice of targeting Bill Clinton’s other women who threatened her ambitions does provide a window into her character. Donald Trump’s infidelities and his bragging about sleeping with married women provides a window into his. Neither the Clintons nor Donald Trump have done a particularly good job of modeling healthy marriages. We should not dismiss the problems infidelities cause, and we should praise those in public life who have modeled healthy marriages, including the last two presidents. Rich “Bonfire of the Vanities” was much better as a book and movie than it is as a presidential election, yet here we are. I mean, according to Wikipedia, it was “a drama about ambition, racism, social class, politics, and greed in 1980s New York City and centers on three main characters: WASP bond trader Sherman McCoy, Jewish assistant district attorney Larry Kramer, and British expatriate journalist Peter Fallow.” Granted, it’s presently 2016, but when we look to the presidential election, we have an interstate expat senator from New York, by way of Chicago and Arkansas, a WASP real estate magnate from New York, and their coteries, enablers, and defenders, many of whom are also from New York, including Trump’s present wingman and former U.S. associate attorney general Rudy Giuliani. There isn’t an obvious Jewish conspirator, but I’m sure the Internet could supply us with one. With those coteries, enablers, and defenders comes the ribald, the profane, and a heaping helping of New York values. Tom Wolfe, writing “The Bonfire of the Vanities” in the early 1980s, foretold this: “In this little room full of people he was suffering the pangs of men whose egos lose their virginity—as happens when they overhear for the first time a beautiful woman’s undiluted, full-strength opinion of their masculine selves.” The presidential candidates certainly hail from one of New York’s little rooms. Moreover, Trump’s predilection for pushing back against any woman he feels has slighted his masculinity is bordering on legendary. It’s as if every time he hears such a perceived slight, it’s the first time, and he must reestablish dominance. The presidential candidates certainly hail from one of New York’s little rooms. Giuliani is less given to standing outside Megyn Kelly’s window holding a boombox blasting “In Your Eyes,” though he’s equally fond of wives. Just as Trump is on his third, so is Giuliani. He loses sight of that fondness, and what constitutes doctrinal divorce, when discussing his purported Catholicism. Then, he implies rumors of his own infidelity are both accurate and cool because, hey, when it comes to charges of infidelity, everyone has them, plus he goes to confession. As to Giuliani’s indiscretions and confessions, that’s between him and a number of people, none of whom are me. As mayor of New York City, and during his brief stint as America’s Mayor, he performed capably. Politicians don’t have a rich tradition of keeping it in their pants. Thus, Giuliani is correct: for as long as there have been elections, there have been accusations of infidelity. The charitable reading is that he was saying just that, in his own terse, New York way. Trump, on the other hand, is newer to the art of seeking civil service, and has never been America’s anything, other than maybe our pitchman for the art of infotainment. In politics, he’s focused more on hosting fundraisers for a variety of politicians from both major parties, including numerous ones for the Clintons. Nevertheless, he is equally versed in not keeping it in his pants. Nor is he particularly bothered by this truth. Hillary is another mattter. As to the husband of the only declared Democrat in the race, Bill Clinton, a.k.a. Slick Willy, well, he didn’t get his nickname because it failed as a double entendre. Moreover, Hillary, being rather focused on attaining power herself and knowing her best shot was through Bill, wasn’t exactly a poor victimized wife regarding his dalliances and was instead a fierce enabler. It’s just who we are at this point—a nation watching two members of the worst generation doing battle to be the last of them to lead us. So when evaluating Giuliani’s comments, and the sad and sadly unentertaining spectacle that is election 2016, I am unperturbed. It’s just who we are at this point—a nation watching two members of the worst generation doing battle to be the last of them to lead us, and being horrible in the process. We can choose sides, pretend that either Giuliani is correct or that Team Clinton is the one dropping brave truths. Or, instead, we can acknowledge that Giuliani isn’t running for president, even if his relationship with fidelity raises question about the veracity of other things he says. We can also accept that though there is probably some truth to Giuliani’s proclamations about the former first lady and the likely future first husband, our main candidates are, in fact, Trump and Hillary. And they are terrible. We can also acknowledge that Giuliani was over the target when he criticized Hillary’s treatment of the various and sundry women who at times looked as though they might become obstacles to the Clintons’ quest for power, that she made expedient choices informed by which of those women would be forgettable and which would have staying power. For a candidate who is seeking to be a champion for all women, it’s a fair criticism. Champions don’t get to pick and choose based on who is an asset versus who is a potential stumbling block. Alas, to return to the good Wolfe, in this election, in this contest between various power-hungry New Yorkers and their competing fragile egos, bullshit reigns. We can be upset about this particular bullshit and the lowered moral expectations that led us here, or we can simply accept that this is the Baby Boomers’ last dance and there was no way in hell they were going out in any other way. For them, it ends not with a whisper, but a bang. ]]>
    (Review Source)
  • ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Isn’t Super Original, But It’s A Marvelously Fascinating Film
    (”The Bonfire of the Vanities” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The film establishes no significant milestones whatsoever, but it's a much-needed island of semi-sophisticated entertainment.
    (Review Source)

Counter Currents Staff2
Counter Currents Publishing

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)



  • Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood (2012)
    (”The Bonfire of the Vanities” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]3,070 words

    Tom Wolfe
    Back to Blood: A Novel [2]
    New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2012

    Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood is a quick read despite its 700-page length, and absorbing. Of his four novels, The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) about race tensions in New York City is the most famous, but his second, A Man in Full (1998), is better. The novel I have not yet read is I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004). After Bonfire and A Man in Full the press stopped promoting Wolfe so much, and only Bonfire has been made into a movie. The author goes against the grain of an increasingly rigid and totalitarian society.

    Back to Blood is set in contemporary Miami. Wolfe says it is a novel about immigration, but it is really about its social after-effects. Although his focus is on Cubans, who dominate the city, his panoramic sweep encompasses Negroes, Russians, Jews, Haitians, and the tiny American (white) minority.

    The book’s title and theme are drawn from the stream of consciousness of fictional Miami Herald editor Edward Topping:

    A phrase pops into his head from out of nowhere. “Everybody . . . all of them . . . it’s back to blood! Religion is dying . . . but everybody still has to believe in something. It would be intolerable—you couldn’t stand it—to finally have to say to yourself, ‘Why keep pretending? I’m nothing but a random atom in a supercollider known as the universe.’ But believing in by definition means blindly, irrationally, doesn’t it. So, my people, that leaves only our blood, the bloodlines that course through our very bodies, to unite us. ‘La Raza!’ as the Puerto Ricans cry out. ‘The Race!’ cries the whole world. All people, all people everywhere, have but one last thing on their minds—Back to blood!” All people, everywhere, you have no choice but—Back to blood!

    Major plot threads concern the police, street crime and sophisticated upper-class organized crime, the conglomeration of disparate races and their mutual hostility, city politics, high society, art and art forgery, television news and entertainment, relationships, psychiatry, and the ubiquity of sexual license and pornography.

    The entire Greater Miami area, including the local government and police force, is now run by first- and second-generation Cuban immigrants Wolfe told an interviewer:

    As far as I know, it’s the only city in the world where people from another country, with another language and a totally different culture, have taken over in this way. Invasions do the same thing. Whites, or what they call “Anglos” in Miami, are down to about 10 per cent of the population now, which is a huge change. Of course, our government created this unusual situation.

    Both Left and Right believe Wolfe disapproves of the change, though he praised race replacement in Miami in the final paragraphs of his essay “Pell-Mell” [3] (The Atlantic, November 2007). “Pell-Mell” is his positive take on the alleged Jeffersonian origins of American openness.

    But Wolfe really isn’t an ideologue. His orientation is and always has been fundamentally cultural and aesthetic rather than political, though in recent years he has declared himself to be a George W. Bush-style neoconservative. I think his extremely objective reportorial eye confuses people, causing them to read their own attitudes into his work. A 1971 article stated that he had no religious, political, or club affiliations, and among the authors he “reads and rereads” are Max Weber and Friedrich Nietzsche.

    The novel’s protagonist is a young, heavily-muscled Cuban American cop named Nestor Camacho, raised in the Cuban enclave of Hialeah, characterized by block after block of small casitas (houses) with tiny, concrete-covered front yards that the women hose down on Saturdays.

    And no trees.

    Nestor had heard of a time when all over the country the very name Hialeah summoned up a picture of Hialeah Park, the most glamorous and socially swell racetrack in America, set in a landscaper’s dream, a lush, green, wholly man-made 250-acre park with a resident flock of pinkest flamingos . . . now a shut-down, locked-up relic, a great moldering memento of the palmy days when the Anglos ran Miami.

    Another major character is Magdalena, also from Hialeah, a young Cuban American beauty who works as a nurse for celebrity psychiatrist Norman Lewis. She dumps her boyfriend Nestor for Lewis, whose specialty is treating porn addicts (in particular, a powerful but sleazy billionaire named Maurice Fleischmann), and Lewis, in turn, for handsome Russian oligarch Sergei Korolyov. Korolyov is an honored Miami citizen, art collector, “philanthropist,” and, it turns out, ruthless gangster.

    Wolfe’s handling of point of view is sophisticated. Nestor and Magdalena are the two main point of view characters, with Negro Police Chief Cyrus Booker and Yale-educated Edward T. Topping IV, the WASP editor of the Miami Herald, two minor ones. One scene is shown through the eyes of Professor Lantier, a light-skinned Francophile from Haiti. When writing of Lantier’s love for his daughter, Wolfe briefly enters his consciousness: “A man’s life doesn’t begin until he has his first child. You see your soul in another person’s eyes, and you love her more than yourself, and that feeling is sublime!”

    In a TV interview with Charlie Rose, Wolfe expressed pride that he had written I Am Charlotte Simmons from the female protagonist’s point of view. This wasn’t a feminist boast; he was taking credit for a technical achievement. A female reviewer of the book thought he succeeded [4]. He might also have added the cross-generational element, since he was writing about people much younger than himself, just as he does in Back to Blood. (It is hard to believe that Tom Wolfe is 83.)

    Likewise, in Blood a major portion of the narrative is told from Magdalena’s point of view. In addition, it is noteworthy that the two major characters through whose psyches Wolfe tells the story are Cuban, two others black, and only Topping, a minor character, is white.

    Only once or twice does he slip. For example, Wolfe’s Cuban cop recalls the following lines spoken by an astronaut on TV, words Nestor loved “and believed in their wisdom and remembered them in every moment of police work that involved danger”:

    Before every mission I told myself, “I’m gonna die doing this. I’m gonna die this time. But I’m dying for something bigger than myself. I’m about to die for my country, for my people, and for a righteous God.” I always believed—and I still believe—that there is a righteous God and that we, we in America, are part of his righteous plan for the world. And so I, who am about to die, am determined to die honorably, fearing only one thing: not living up to, not dying for, the purpose for which God put me on this earth.

    Although this is an archetypal white American philosophy, it is virtually certain that nothing remotely resembling it ever passed through the mind of a Cuban American.

    The nuances of race are presented less from a scientific than a cultural point of view, the way most people think about them in real life.

    Lantier, the Haitian professor, is obsessed with whiteness and his remote, part-French ancestry. He harbors deep contempt for dark-skinned Creole-speaking Haitians and for American blacks. He desperately wants his beautiful daughter to “pass”:

    She’s a very nice-looking young woman . . . Even as those words formed in his mind, he knew he was putting her on a second tier. She wasn’t as beautiful as a Northern European blonde, an Estonian or a Lithuanian or a Norwegian or a Russian, and she wouldn’t be mistaken for a Latin beauty, either, despite having some features in common with a Latina. (p. 183)

    Blacks view Cubans as white, and resent them for it. When Miami’s black police chief, Cyrus Booker, tangles with his Cuban superiors—his superiors are all Cuban—he bitterly describes them (to himself) as “white hypocrites”: “Every Cuban in this room thought of himself as white. But that wasn’t the way real white people thought of them. To the real white boys they were all brown people, colored folks, just a shade or two lighter than he was.” (p. 425)

    Nestor’s Cuban partner routinely employs racial slurs when referring to blacks, a habit that terrifies Nestor, who, like most Americans—at least white ones—rigidly polices his own thoughts, a socially-imposed Pavlovian reflex George Orwell called “crimestop [5].”

    The two cops are officially relieved of duty after surreptitious cell phone video of them speaking and behaving in a “racist” manner during a crack house bust surfaces on YouTube and is subsequently fanned into a major controversy by the media.

    Even so, Cubans deeply resent and envy “Anglos,” i.e., “white people of European ancestry.” In Miami, many Latinos are “as white as any Anglo, except for the blond hair . . . That’s what Mexicans were thinking about when they used the word gringo: the people with the blond hair.” (p. 29)

    Before Magdalena becomes disenchanted with her psychiatrist boyfriend, she thinks: “God, he was good-looking! Her americano prince! Blue eyes . . . wavy brownish hair—she preferred to think of it as blond . . . tall . . . Nestor was only five-seven and bulging with muscles . . . bulging! . . . so grotesque! Norman’s hair, so thick and wavy and blond . . . blond! she insisted . . . She was living with the americano ideal!” (pp. 153-54)

    When Nestor dramatically rescues a Cuban “refugee” from the tall mast of a ship, the media show up. “The photographer was a swarthy little guy . . . Nestor couldn’t tell what he was.” But the reporter “was a classic americano, tall, thin, pale” named John Smith. “How much more americano could you get?!” (p. 59)

    John Smith befriends Nestor and plays a major role in the story. Despite his mild-mannered ways he is a resourceful, hard-nosed investigative reporter. Notwithstanding his youth and certain other differences, Smith the Yale graduate is obviously the fictional counterpart of the 83-year-old author, also a Yale graduate.

    Nevertheless, Wolfe does not express unqualified admiration for the press. He speaks disparagingly of “the so-called media,” “about a dozen of them, dressed like the homeless but lent gravity by all the microphones and notepads in their hands and, above all, by two trucks with telescoping satellite transmitters extended a full twenty feet up in the air for live broadcast.”

    There are some Jewish characters as well. The less savory are powerful billionaire porn addict Maurice Fleischmann, attorney Ira Cutler, and 60 Minutes’ obnoxious TV interviewer Ike Walsh (Mike Wallace), referred to as “The Pissing Monkey” (Chapter 5).

    Fleischmann’s groin and inflamed penis are covered with herpes pustules. He masturbates to pornography and ejaculates as often as 18 times a day. (I didn’t look it up, but you can be certain Wolfe has researched it.) When he’s in public he constantly scratches his crotch surreptitiously in a futile attempt to relieve the chronic pain and itching.

    Ira Cutler, the Miami Herald’s ace libel attorney, is

    a well-dressed, well-fed, highly-buffed pit bull when it came to legal questions, and he loved litigation, especially in the courtroom, where he could insult people to their faces, humiliate them, break their spirits, ruin their reputations, make them cry, sob, blubber, boohoo . . . and it was all sanctioned.

    Sounds like the quintessential Jew.

    One suspects that in real life most of the ultra-expensive “Russian” enclaves in Miami, and the smooth, well-to-do oligarchs are Jewish, but Wolfe depicts them as ethnically Russian.

    Male-female relationships in Back to Blood are of short duration and frequently interracial. Race differences take a back seat to social status and raw sexual attraction. Of course, such attitudes are now systematically imposed from above, a fact Wolfe studiously ignores. Characters move from one partner to another. “Romantic” relationships are not stable or long-lasting: “He has been seeing her, dating her, which is to say, these days, going to bed with her, and loving her with all his heart.”

    When Magdalena’s Cuban roommate Amélia gets dumped by her boyfriend, she tells Magdalena, sniffling:

    That’s the way Reggie put it. “I’m going to have to let you go. This just isn’t working out.” Those were his actual words. After almost two years, “this just isn’t working out.” What the hell is “this,” I’d like to know, and what is “working out” supposed to mean? He also said, “It’s not your fault. . . .” That’s what’s called a “relationship.” When I hear that stupid word, I want to stick my fingers down my throat.

    Shortly afterward, Amélia has a new beau.

    Wolfe also offers many common sense observations: “As has been true throughout recorded history, rare is the strong man strong enough to shrug off a woman’s tears” and “Men don’t notice a girl’s makeup until it’s missing and even then have no idea what’s missing.”

    Based upon a variety of reviews of Back to Blood, I had not expected the book to be as good as it is. The raw narrative power of A Man in Full is less in evidence, except in certain scenes such as the tense, funny prologue in which Miami Herald editor Edward Topping and his wife search for a place to park at a posh night spot, or Magdalena’s public humiliation by the fifth-ranked chess player in the world, a man who eats like a pig.

    However, the fact that Wolfe’s methodology faithfully documents contemporary life is in itself intrinsically compelling. He depicts aspects of the world screened off by the media, which most people therefore never see.

    As in all his works, contemporary life is rendered with great granularity. The Internet, YouTube, pornography, and defriending people on Facebook are all mentioned. Nestor Camacho, who likes to play around with his iPhone rings, programs in music by Cuban, Argentinian, and black rappers and punk bands including Bulldog, Dogbite (Dog Bite?), Rabies, and Pit Bull. Grand Theft Auto and celebrities such as “Leon Decapito” (Leonardo DiCaprio) and “Kanyu Reade” (Keanu Reeves) make brief appearances.

    Wolfe does the same legwork for his fiction that he does for his nonfiction. Writing in 1989 about his first novel, Bonfire, he said: “I never doubted for a moment that to write a long piece of fiction about New York City I would have to do the same sort of reporting I had done for The Right Stuff [his nonfiction account of the American space program] or Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers [6], even though by now I had lived in New York for almost twenty years.”

    The author was escorted through Little Haiti by a Haitian American anthropologist, and the city’s Irish-born police chief “took the covers off an otherwise invisible Miami.” Wolfe spent time with police officers, and was shown around the city by a Cuban-American journalist from the Miami Herald who concurrently directed and produced a documentary called Tom Wolfe Gets Back to Blood (2012) about how Wolfe researched the novel: it aired on PBS television and was screened in more than 40 independent theaters.

    Wolfe visited a strip club (Chapter 14, “Girls with Green Tails”), an orgiastic yachting regatta where a horde of drunk, half-naked white youths dive-bombed his boat (Chapter 8, “The Columbus Day Regatta”), crack-ravaged black slums, and was present at the private pre-opening of Art Basel Miami Beach where billionaire collectors ferociously compete with one another to pay millions of dollars within minutes for objectively ludicrous and obscene works of “art” (Chapter 10, “The Super Bowl of the Art World”).

    All these events and more are vividly recreated in the book.

    I initially thought that privately-owned Fisher Island in Biscayne Bay [7], described by Wolfe, was fictional, but it, and the ferry Magdalena and Dr. Lewis take to get there, are real. So is Star Island [8], the ultra-exclusive man-made island in the Bay where an episode of the Jewish-produced reality TV series Masters of Disaster is filmed at the mansion of uncouth, failed hedge fund czar Boris Flebetnikov.

    When her boyfriend Korolyov drives Magdalena north to the restaurant where she ends up being humiliated by chess master Zhytin in a harrowing scene, they pass through Sunny Isles [9]: “We’ve just entered Russia.” The restaurant is still further north . . . Hollywood, Hallandale: “the Russian heartland.”

    The restaurant scene (Chapter 16, “Humiliation One”) is extremely well-written and conveys withering contempt for psychiatrists. Zhytin dissects the species into two categories, “logotherapists” (talk therapists) and “pill therapists” (biological psychiatrists). In 1997, while writing A Man in Full, Tom Wolfe suffered clinical depression after undergoing a quintuple heart bypass. An intensely private man, he consulted a psychiatrist at that time.

    Even in Wolfe’s watered-down version, the “Russian heartland” isn’t entirely Russian. Korolyov’s art forger, Igor Drukovich, maintains a secret studio inside an “active adults” Jewish retirement center in Hallandale, where the residents are all from New York City and Long Island (Chapter 15, “The Yentas”).

    The entire art-related subplot provides Wolfe with a superb opportunity to report on and express his jaundiced view of the farcical nature of contemporary art and art economics. As in many of his past works he speaks scathingly of the American elite’s nostalgie de la boue—“nostalgia for the mud.”

    The architecture of Miami’s City Hall [10], a former Pan American Airways building, is also described in detail.

    A reviewer of Charlotte Simmons noted that

    Most authors write about one person again and again: themselves. . . . Yet it is a particularly rare achievement when an author can imaginatively empathize with as vast an array of contrary personalities as we encounter in Wolfe’s work. Wolfe . . . clearly does not stay indoors. He walks his white suit into the dark corners of American social, sexual, and criminal life and returns with an intuitive, empirical, and arresting grasp of his fellow citizens.

    Wolfe has spoken of the writer’s “damnable problem of material.” Brute reality necessitates personal observation, research, and reporting as the foundation for fiction. Emerson said that every individual has a great autobiography to write—but he didn’t say they had two. “Write about what you know” can take you only so far: “[L]iterary genius in prose,” Wolfe maintains, “consists of . . . 65 percent material and 35 percent the talent in the sacred crucible.” He explains his view, and his conviction that novelists should employ the literary techniques developed by European authors from the 18th century through 1946 to write about real life, in his seminal essay “Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast: A Literary Manifesto for the New Social Novel [11]” (Harper’s, November 1989), written shortly after the publication of The Bonfire of the Vanities.

    It is this richly factual reportorial foundation, combined with Wolfe’s flamboyant, utterly unique talent to exploit it, that makes Back to Blood and his other works, fiction and nonfiction, so informative and absorbing to read.

    A comparative absence of Political Correctness [12] doesn’t hurt either.


    (Review Source)
  • WASPs in the Jewish Establishment: The Short Unhappy Life of Casey Johnson
    (”The Bonfire of the Vanities” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Casey Johnson

    2,550 words

    Lesbian heiress, socialite, and Hollywood celeb Casey Johnson, 30, was found dead in the bedroom of her West Hollywood home on January 4, 2010. Jewish gossip website TMZ reported [2] that Johnson, last heard from on December 29, 2009, had been dead for several days before her body was discovered by a maid. A coroner’s toxicology report has yet to be issued, but foul play is not suspected. Johnson suffered from diabetes and had a history of drug abuse.

    Casey Johnson’s death provides a convenient window into the seamy underbelly of the contemporary WASP “elite.”

    A Squalid Life

    According to [3] the Daily Mail (UK):

    Yesterday it was revealed that Ms Johnson lived her final days in squalor in a rubbish-strewn slum with no electricity, water or gas, and rats in her swimming pool. Cut off from her family fortune, the 30-year-old Johnson & Johnson heiress’s privileged life spiralled out of control into a drug-fuelled hell. She reportedly lived without basic utilities at her rented home because she couldn’t afford to pay the bills and kept her Porsche hidden in the garage to prevent it from being repossessed. “There are dirty dishes everywhere and rotting food. There is graffiti on the walls. The pool looks like a swamp,” the source told the New York Post. Ms Johnson is thought to have been dead for up to seven days before her body was found.

    Photo captions read “Squalid: Conditions were said to be ‘slumlike’ inside Casey Johnson’s LA home” and “Infested: The grounds of the home, which was crawling with rats.”

    A Hollywood socialite, Johnson appeared as herself on the cable television programs E! True Hollywood Story and The Fabulous Life of . . . Her friends included Hilton sisters Paris and Nicky (Hilton Hotels), Nicole Richie, and Susan (Penn) Gutfreund, a former beauty queen and flight attendant who married the Jewish “King of Wall Street,” John Gutfreund. The Gutfreunds are believed to be [4] the model for the Bavardages in Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities. They live at 834 Park Avenue in the same building as Casey’s father Woody Johnson and Rupert Murdoch and his Chinese wife—the building where Casey grew up.

    Father Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson IV (born 1947) is best known as the owner of the New York Jets football franchise, which he purchased for more than half a billion dollars in 2000 from the estate of Jewish oil tycoon Leon Hess (Amerada Hess Corp.).

    According to Vanity Fair (note the explicit racism casually directed even at white members of the social “elite”):

    Casey went to the Chapin School, the tony Manhattan private school, then to Marymount, a Catholic girls’ school, and finally to high school with Paris Hilton at Dwight. Hilton never graduated from the school known to some New York preppies as Dumb White Idiots Getting High Together, but Casey did, and she went on to Brown University.

    She dropped out during her freshman year.

    For three years Casey dated Jewish “nightclub promoter-turned-marketer [5]” Mike Heller, and worked for and remained life-long friends with Lizzie Grubman, the daughter of wealthy entertainment attorney Allen Grubman.

    Lizzie Grubman, a publicist with a celebrity clientele, is a woman of some interest. In 2001, after being asked by a security guard to remove her Mercedes SUV from a fire lane outside a busy nightclub in the Hamptons, Grubman notoriously smashed the vehicle into a crowd, badly injuring 16 people. She was charged with multiple felonies and faced up to eight years in prison. However, she served only 37 days in jail. She allegedly also received special treatment from the cops, who did not conduct a breathalyzer test.

    Multiple accounts of the incident report that Grubman, prior to plowing into the crowd, yelled at the security guard [6], “Fuck you, white trash!” Grubman’s career and social standing have not suffered permanent damage from the affair.

    In a 2006 interview with Johnson, Vanity Fair reported:

    “The stupidest mistake of my life,” was to turn down [Paris] Hilton’s invitation to be her co-star on The Simple Life. Nicole Richie—Paris’s third choice, some say, after her sister, Nicky, and Casey—got the job instead and has parlayed it into a promising career. Casey’s ‘dream’ was to be an actress, but a serious one. “I kick myself in the butt every day,” she says of the lost opportunity to jump-start an acting career.

    Casey Johnson will primarily be remembered for hard partying, adolescent-style feuds, and numerous lesbian affairs. One flame was Jewish film executive and former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel’s daughter Courtenay Semel [7] (formerly the girlfriend of Lindsay Lohan), who set Casey’s hair on fire during a fight.

    In November 2009 Casey was charged with grand theft for stealing $200,000 worth of jewelry and clothing from another ex-lover, model Jasmine Lennard [8], leaving a used vibrator on the bed. Immediately prior to her death Casey and “reality TV”/skin magazine celebrity Tila Tequila [9] announced their engagement to be married. Tequila was born Tila Nguyen in Singapore to Vietnamese parents who subsequently moved to Houston.

    Casey Johnson also lavished time and money on non-white children’s charities including [10]

    the sherp Orphanage, in Kenya, and the Malawi Project, a group that Madonna helped establish to support children who have lost their families to aids. Casey says the work has helped give her focus. “It’s so boring to do nothing. Believe me, I’ve tried it. It’s, like, how many days a week can you actually go shopping? You get burned out. And you feel like shit. You think, What have I ever done to alter this world? What will people say?

    A Distinguished Legacy

    Casey’s great-great-grandfather, Robert Wood Johnson (1845–1910), with brothers James Wood and Edward Mead Johnson, co-founded pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson in 1885–86. Edward left the company in 1897 to found drug company Mead Johnson. (This Johnson family should not to be confused with the similarly-named heirs of the privately-owned S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc., a home care products company [Pledge, Windex] headquartered in Racine, Wisconsin, founded the same year, who remain active in their family firm.)

    Today New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, maker of prescription pharmaceuticals, medical devices, Band-Aids, Tylenol, Baby Shampoo, and Acuvue disposable contact lenses, is one of the world’s largest corporations. The company’s major innovations include antiseptic individually-wrapped surgical dressings, the first aid kit, and duct tape.  An early investor in China, the company opened its second production facility there in 1993.

    Casey’s great-grandfather, thrice-married Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. (called “the General” due to his administrative service as a brigadier general during WWII) (1893–1968), headed the company from 1932 to 1963, building it into the international powerhouse it is today.

    Though slight of build, because of his intensely competitive spirit he became a swimmer, horseman, and tennis player. He flew all the early types of airplanes, including the original single-motor biplane, the monoplane, and the Autogiro, as helicopters were first called. He also liked to race his oceangoing sloop and won a case full of cups. (Waldemar Neilsen, The Golden Donors [1985], 117)

    Johnson established a Sound Government Program within Johnson & Johnson that encouraged dozens of employees to serve in elective and appointive offices in state and local government. His passion for corporate decentralization meant that purchased subsidiaries operated under virtually autonomous bosses, and his conviction that if you “make your top managers rich, they will make you even richer” created many millionaires.

    The General died in 1968, leaving the bulk of his $400 million fortune to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, today the fifth largest foundation in the country and eighth largest in the world.

    Father Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson IV

    Casey was the daughter of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and his first wife Nancy Sale (Frey) Johnson (known as Sale), a model from St. Louis. The couple had three daughters: Casey, Jamie and Daisy.

    Robert Johnson’s second wife is former actress Suzanne Ircha Johnson, by whom he has two sons, Robert Wood Johnson V [11] (2006–  ) and Jack Johnson (2008–  ). Both boys were born before the couple was married. Woody Johnson also has at least one other former mistress (excuse me—”girlfriend”), Erika Mariani [12].

    Woody has been described by a sportswriter as “a slender, bespectacled man who reveres Galileo, yet occasionally goes heli-skiing in the Canadian Rockies. He is more knowledgeable about the complexities of the Human Genome Project than the nickel defense. He knows actors and celebrities better than he knows his fellow NFL owners.”

    He worked for the family corporation as a young man with the expectation that he would one day join the firm as an executive. However, in 1965 his grandfather, “the General,” ousted his father, president of domestic operations Robert Wood Johnson III (1920–1970) (Casey’s grandfather), from the firm following a family quarrel. Subsequently, Johnson III, an alcoholic, died of cancer at the age of 50 and his son Woody no longer had a future with the corporation. Today Johnson & Johnson is not family owned or run.

    Woody had five brothers and sisters (Robert III’s children—Casey’s uncles and aunt). Two brothers died in 1975—one in a motorcycle accident and one from a cocaine overdose. Sister Elizabeth Ross “Libet” Johnson [13] has been married and divorced five times and also had a string of boyfriends. In 2003 she established an orphanage for Cambodian children in Phnom Penh for $10 to $15 million. Libet also cares for a Cambodian boy she moved to the United States.

    As a philanthropist, “[Woody] Johnson, whose wealth comes from a combination of inheritance and investments, remains active in the push for diabetes research, but his big push in recent years has been finding a cure for lupus, which strikes black men and women far more often than whites”—a cause to which he has donated millions of dollars.

    Mother Nancy Sale (Frey) Johnson Rashad

    Casey’s stepfather was Negro ex-football star, television sportscaster, and convert-to-Islam Ahmad Rashad (born Robert Earl Moore), whom Sale Johnson married [14] after her divorce from Woody. Sale is Rashad’s fourth wife. By this marriage Casey acquired five black step brothers and sisters, four born (by various wives) in, and one out of, wedlock.

    In 2007, after a failed attempt to adopt a Cambodian girl, Casey Johnson adopted a white-looking daughter [15] from Kazakhstan, Ava-Monroe. Hotel heiress Nicky Hilton was the child’s godmother. In early 2009, in the words of one website [16], “Sale Johnson took custody of Casey’s young adopted daughter Ava, because Casey was living with the child, in squalor, and under the influence of drugs in her L.A. home. Woody Johnson and Sale ceased all financial assistance to Casey at that time, and Casey became estranged from both of her parents.”

    Cousin Jamie Johnson

    James Wittenborn “Jamie” Johnson (1979–   ) has previously been profiled [17] on this site.

    Suzanna Andrews noted in Vanity Fair, “Next to Casey, the best-known Johnson of her generation is Jamie, whose documentary Born Rich probed the psyches of the young and set-for-life. Jamie comes from the scandalous side of the family—the one descended from the General’s brother, Seward, whose marriage to his Polish chambermaid, Barbara “Basia” Piasecka, sparked an embarrassing three-year inheritance battle.”

    Older readers may remember the case, which garnered enormous publicity and was the subject of books by two Jewish authors, Barbara Goldsmith’s Johnson v. Johnson (1987) and David Margolick’s Undue Influence: The Epic Battle for the Johnson & Johnson Fortune (1993).

    “Seward,” the son of company founder Robert Wood Johnson and brother of the General (Robert Wood Johnson, Jr.), was J(ohn) Seward Johnson (1895–1983). He had six children by two wives before marrying his Polish maid in 1971. Forty-two years his junior, she wound up with the bulk of his fortune.

    One of Seward’s children was Jamie’s father, James Loring Johnson, who once funded a documentary attacking white rule in South Africa. Another child (Jamie’s aunt) was Mary Lea Johnson Richards (d. 1990), the wife of Jewish producer Marty Richards [18]. They produced the homosexual Broadway play La Cage Aux Folles and the anti-white movie The Boys from Brazil (1978).

    Jamie Johnson’s first documentary, Born Rich (HBO 2003), described by [19] the New York Times as “biting the hand that feeds him, on film,” splattered mud on his father and grandfather. “Mr. Johnson, who grew up with his older sisters and brother on a luxurious New Jersey estate with servants and horses, said he didn’t find out he was rich until he was 10 years old and a friend at school found his father listed in Forbes magazine as one of the 400 wealthiest men in America. In the film, Mr. Johnson portrays his family as almost comically out of touch with reality.”

    After his second film on the same subject, The One Per Cent (2006), was broadcast on Cinemax, a Jewish reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Robert Frank, described Jamie [20] as “the rich man’s Michael Moore.” “Jamie follows his father from the croquet court to family meetings asking about the film and his family’s wealth. His father tries to answer his questions on several occasions, but eventually gives up, walking out of one interview with his head in his hands saying, ‘I can’t take any more. It’s too much for me.’” Jewish Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, in one of his last interviews before his death, accused Johnson of advocating socialism and abruptly walked out.

    But, Frank notes, “Mr. Johnson insists he’s not opposed to wealth—including his own.”

    The author of a regular column about the rich [21] in Vanity Fair, Jamie Johnson will presumably analyze his cousin’s life and death in an upcoming issue.


    The Establishment pretends that non-Jewish whites constitute a cohesive elite that controls the United States. As a Mexican employee of Village Voice Media sneered while denigrating factual statements about white dispossession, “You know, because all those white men and women in Congress, the Senate, and 95-some percent of American legislative bodies just don’t cut it!”

    An examination of the Johnson family reveals that whites in the Jewish Establishment are white in name only. They symbolize the downfall and subjugation of the race to which their ancestors belonged.

    The public “influence” of Casey’s father, or her cousin Jamie Johnson, for example, exists only as long as it promotes the goals of the dominant anti-white elite. Woody Johnson’s two most notable public roles have been membership in the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) and serving as the fourth largest contributor to the presidential campaigns of Zionist George W. Bush. This is not “leadership,” but irresponsible followership.

    Contrast the Johnsons’ aimless hedonism, conformism, and unseemly desperation to be socially accepted with the coldly calculated, tightly coordinated behavior of their Jewish counterparts who ruthlessly shoved the U.S. into the Middle East to serve Zionist interests. Jews are a purposive, cohesive ethnic elite; aimless, directionless whites are raceless. Indeed, if they were not, they would be unceremoniously and pitilessly destroyed—as everyone knows.

    Casey’s adopted Kazakhstani daughter, Ava-Monroe, was named after her idol, half-Norwegian strumpet Marilyn Monroe, who degradingly served the same alien racial and social groups in her day as the Johnsons do today.

    I see a lot of similarities between us. Her life makes me sad. I don’t think she was very happy. She was just very, very complicated and sort of a deep person, and nobody realized that. They thought she was some dumb blonde, and she wasn’t. She was a smart, smart broad. And I think that sometimes people look at me and think, Oh, Casey Johnson, she’s stupid, she’s blonde, she’s an heiress.

    And now she’s dead, her short, unhappy life over forever.

    (Review Source)

Christian Toto2
Hollywood In Toto

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Why ‘Carlito’s Way’ Is Superior to De Palma’s ‘Scarface’
    (”The Bonfire of the Vanities” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    carlitos way brian de palma review

    In Brian De Palma’s “Carlito’s Way,” Al Pacino plays the “JP Morgan of the smack business.”

    Carlito Brigante has been a criminal for 25 years and has spent five years

    The post Why ‘Carlito’s Way’ Is Superior to De Palma’s ‘Scarface’ appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

    (Review Source)
  • De Palma’s ‘Domino’ Could Be His Worst … Ever
    (”The Bonfire of the Vanities” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    DOMINO de palma review

    Brian De Palma’s “Domino” begins in Copenhagen, and for no apparent reason, in the barely-distant future of “June 10, 2020.”

    An investigation between two cops, Christian (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Lars

    The post De Palma’s ‘Domino’ Could Be His Worst … Ever appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

    (Review Source)

American Renaissance1
American Renaissance

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • There Will Never Be Another Tom Wolfe
    (”The Bonfire of the Vanities” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    The system would have to destroy him.

    The post There Will Never Be Another Tom Wolfe appeared first on American Renaissance.

    (Review Source)

Steve Sailer1
Taki Mag

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Left Coast’s Right Turn
    (”The Bonfire of the Vanities” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    (Review Source)

PJ Media Staff1
PJ Media

(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • New Batman Movie Previewed in 20 Minute Video
    (”The Bonfire of the Vanities” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ed Driscoll var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': ' Warner Brothers 1988 Batman Preview Video RARE Making Of 1989', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); OK, to be fair, it was the then-new first Batman movie starring Michael Keaton, which was previewed in a 1988 video, which as the sci-fi themed Website i09 notes, Warner Brothers released "to Prove Tim Burton's Batman Wouldn't Suck:"Holy crap. Has it really been 25 years since Tim Burton's first Batman film came out and proved superhero movies could be serious? People forget this seemed impossible at the time, which is why WB made this fascinating behind-the-scenes promo video in 1988.According to the special's director, Andrew Gillman, the video was made to reassure distributors and merchandisers the movie wasn't going to be a campy update of the 1966 Batman TV series. The entire video is fascinating, not just for taking a look at the making of the movie, but also revealing how people generally thought of comic book-based entertainment back in 1988 — and how much people had to be convinced the now seminal film wasn't going to be a disaster.Warner Brothers was riding a very curious wave in the late 1980s -- Full Metal Jacket, released in 1987 was pretty awesome late-period Kubrick, even more so in retrospect, and Lee Ermey and Adam Baldwin continue to receive plenty of well-deserved goodwill from the film. Batman turned out to be far better than anyone expected, with Michael Keaton as brilliant example of stunt-casting that actually worked.And then came Bonfire of the Vanities, in which Warner purchased the rights to the definitive novel of the 1980s -- and did everything they could to make its adaptation a politically correct unwatchable mess.Well, two out of three isn't bad -- and compared to today's cinematic culture, it's fun to look back at an era when Hollywood hadn't quite yet exhausted itself. class="pages"> ]]>
    (Review Source)

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