Review of Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny’s
by Tom Wolfe
June 8, 1970, New York Magazine
So before reading this article published in the New York Magazine (1970) I wanted to understand what it is Tom Wolfe is writing about.
Radical Chic’ a term coined by journalist Tom Wolfe. Describes the adoption and promotion of radical political causes by celebs, socialites and high society. Wolfe uses the term radical chic to ridicule composer Leonard Bernstein and his friends for they hosted a fundraising party for the Black Panthers ( A black revolutionary socialist organisation)
The article begins with some vagueness. The time is mentioned vaguely ‘ 2 or 3 or a.m,’ and the date which is precise. The sentence is complex with lots of commas used. It is in first person and you can already sense the writers voice. The an adjective has already been used to describe the way somebody woke up ‘wild alarm.’
From reading three lines of this article it already makes me aware that Tom Wolfe was more of an author and enjoyed writing in detail and in a format that is much more flexible that the news writing we have practiced on winol.
News articles typically start with Who, What, Where and when. Wolfe has stated when ( the date and time) and who ( Leonard Bernstein) and finally what (He’s woken up)
There are further details about the persons actions of waking up and that Leonard Bernstein could see himself as an ‘ Egregio maestro’ Italian? Spanish? I’m not too sure!
Description is then used to describe ‘Lenny’s’ thought/dream of the morning. That he performs a and electrifies a concert audience with antiwar appeal.
He describes a guitar using a metaphor he says its ‘like an accordion’ and uses humor ‘learn to play in eight days e-z diagram 110-IQ 14 year olds of Levitown’
Wolfe goes on to use the word ‘Negro’- taboo?
‘Mmmmmmm’ sounds non words.
More adjectives used like ‘very’ and ‘dry’ the women protagonist ‘Felicia is ‘beautiful’ ‘pale blond hair’
Lots of dialogue- This gives the protagonist a voice and personality.