F*ck the Literary Establishment
How a bunch of rabble-rousers, outsiders and ne’er-do-wells concocted creative nonfiction and changed journalism forever.
Having never heard of Wolfe or, for that matter, new journalism before I first read the “Tangerine-Flake” article in 1963 certainly contributed to the surprise of the experience. I don’t think I had ever read Esquire magazine either, or actually purchased a copy, anyway, until then. I had read Defoe, Dickens, Twain, novels assigned in my high school English classes. On my own, I read a few Hemingway novels and stories. I had always been a reader, not necessarily an enlightened one. At home, I chose books from my father’s meager library in our basement, whatever titles seemed interesting. He had some good books by John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. I had watched those movies; the books were better. James Michener’s Hawaii was so damn long, and I was often bored, wanting to give it up. But I kept reading, turning pages, through many weeks until I finished. I was glad I did. He wasn’t a great writer, but he sure could pack a lot of information into a story. I never watched that movie.