A Bad Week For Writers

Tom Wolfe, author of a shelf full of seminal American journalism and literature, dead at 88.

And later yesterday, word circulated on social media (although I’ve found no confirmation yet in the dead-tree media) that Nick Coleman, longtime columnist (as with all columnists in the Twin Cities, it seems) for both the Strib and the PiPress, had suffered a massive stroke and passed away.

More on that when more details are available.

9 thoughts on “A Bad Week For Writers

  1. Somewhat strange that there is no mention on either local paper’s sites, given Nick’s past history with both papers.

  2. I find it strange that neither paper is saying anything, given both his tenures there and his connection to their beloved political family.

    Perhaps they’ve learned the essential lesson of dealing with anything Nick related: verify, verify, verify.

  3. Fire up the ol’ General Lee and take ‘er for a drive down to the protest, Night Writer.

  4. At least he was able to cross “acquire my handgun carry permit” off his bucket-list before passing away.

  5. Wolfe gave us remarkable insight into our times. For example, read “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” and “The Right Stuff” one after the other and you have a nearly comprehensive illumination, from different perspectives, of a particular time in our history.

    Coleman, not so much. He was illustrative, but in a dismal, not helpful way. I believe the term “knee-jerk” was coined with him in mind, on multiple levels.

  6. The only long-form Wolfe I have read is his The Kingdom of Speech. Wolfe’s main argument is that we live through speech,it is what makes man Man. In religious terms, human speech is the human soul.
    In the process Wolfe takes on two icons of the left, Charles Darwin & Noam Chomsky. He doesn’t argue against evolution as a biological fact. Instead he illustrates how the cultural elites, including religious elites, accepted Darwin not because his arguments were so good & obvious, but because they were looking for a way to not believe in a creator God. They wanted to do this so they could have a clear marker between the elites and the rising bourgeois & working classes in the 19th century.
    In other word, Darwin’s theories may have been very useful in the study of biology and zoology, but it was not progressive in the cultural sense. The cultural elites used it arbitrarily separate people into ruling and ruled classes, which is something people have been doing, literally, since the dawn of civilization.

  7. I’m kind of ashamed not to have read much of Wolfe, but I did see a talk of his in person. I also saw Naomi Wolf the same year, apropos not much.

    And Coleman? Not the time for me to talk about him. Suffice it to say that there is a fine line between acceptable exaggeration for an obituary and nauseating hagiography, a line the Pioneer Press crosses with abandon.

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