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‘Radical Chic’ Turns 50

On June 8, 1970, Tom Wolfe’s prescient cover story, “Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny’s,” was published in New York magazine. The piece dissected, among other absurdities, Leonard Bernstein’s Park Avenue shindig for the Black Panthers in classic Wolfe fashion.

Much has changed in fifty years. If Tom Wolfe wrote something like it today, the mob would cancel him, undoubtedly. An embedded Millennial Maoist brigade at New York would mutiny and nix the essay — along with Wolfe’s career. He and William F. Buckley Jr. would be chased off Firing Line for speaking too thoughtfully, too aristocratically. Never mind the substance.

Then again, some things haven’t changed at all. Imagine our own woke celebrities and elites throwing a lavish party to honor themselves, themselves, themselves (and the Black Lives Matter activists and Antifa). John Legend and Chrissy Teigen host in their mansion, perhaps? Guests include: Sophie Turner, Barbara Streisand, Jane Fonda, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Patton Oswalt, Alec Baldwin, Leonardo DiCaprio, RuPaul, Chris Cuomo, Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon, Chris Hayes, Mia and Morning Joe and third wheel Willie, the DeBlasio family, the Clintons, the Obamas, Nancy Pelosi, the Squad, and Prince Harry and Princess Meghan. I’m swooning.

But can you imagine?

Chrissy was trying to coax the Black Lives Matter peeps into the living room. They were rather uncomfortable, because the white guests were on their knees, kente clothes draped over their shoulders. Cuomo was over in the corner, washing Lemon’s feet. “Has it been 9 minutes?” he whispered to Lemon.

“Johnny!” Chrissy said. “Tell the fascists to come on in!” Johnny was still in the back of the living room, defending his wife on Twitter from @realDonaldTrump. “Fascists!” said Johnny. “Come on in!” Then the Antifa members entered, offering vintage Molotov cocktails.

Never show up empty-handed . . .

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