The Corner

Re: Questions of Priority

Peter:   Please don’t tell people I am smacking Tom Wolfe around. I revere the guy as a great novelist, and also as a great “nose” journalist – one, I mean who can sniff out significant trends and interesting new ideas long before the rest of us notice them. I would never presume to smack Tom around. I just think he plugged into the wrong socket on the Darwin-Wallace priority issue, and maybe needs to re-examine it. (And yes, I’m sorry I gave Wallace’s middle name the irresistible extra “l.” Though normally an excellent speller, I have deep and intractable problems with last names. It’s taken me years to get “Leibniz” right, and I have to look up – hold on a second – “Nietzsche” every time.)

May I please recycle one of the half-dozen occasions ever that I have come up with a good verbal joke out of my own head? I was at dinner with a bunch of guys that included Tom Wolfe and retired CBS producer Perry Wolf. There was a minor difference of opinion about something we were discussing, resolved by the two of them meeting each other half way in a very gentlemanly fashion. “Ah,” I said, “Wolf is man to Wolfe.” Well, perhaps you had to be there …

I hope, anyway, I have got more readers watching these fascinating interviews you’re doing.

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