Sharpton—symbol of (the former) America’s collapse

Harry Stein has a good article at The Fortnightly Review about the outrage that Al Sharpton—Al Sharpton—is now treated as a leading judge of racial morality in America. Stein speaks at length of the liberal media’s legitimization of Sharpton. However, as I point out in a comment, conservatives have done the same.

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Robert B. writes:

I have always thought that Al Sharpton was straight out of Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire Of The Vanities. The book being a very accurate representation of race hustlers, opportunistic Democrats and the malicious MSM.

LA replies:

And didn’t Bonfire come out in 1987, the same year as and just before the Tawana Brawley charges?

David B. writes:

A neocon like Harry Stein will ask the first question, “Why is Al Sharpton taken seriously by the American Establishment?” Stein doesn’t ask the followup, “Why is Al Sharpton embraced by the so-called Conservative Establishment” and “Why was he welcomed in the White House by George W. Bush?”

“Tom Wolfe’s “The Bonfire of The Vanities” did come out in 1987. I think it was before the Tawana Brawley hoax began. Wolfe had writeen a version of the story for Rolling Stone a few years before that I believe.

March 30

Greg J. writes:

Steve Sailer also made some notable connections between Wolfe’s novel and the Zimmerman affair:

The best guidebook to how this story will play out is of course Bonfire,with Trayvon Martin as Henry Lamb. Think back to how that plot ambiguously unfolds. Is anybody completely innocent?

Wolfe’s Bonfire, by the way, is 25 years old, but nothing much ever changes. Every few years we go through another one of these re-enactments of Bonfire, like the Duke lacrosse hoax. Isn’t it about time to admit that Bonfire has turned out to be, just as Wolfe bragged, the Great American Novel of our lifetime? Sure, the setting gets pushed out from NYC to some exurb in the middle of nowhere, the reporters are less alcoholic, and the Great White Defendant morphs into the Pudgy Mestizo Defendant, but the basics are here to stay. Heck, Al Sharpton is still around!

In case you are wondering, yes, the Rev. Bacon in Wolfe’s novel is more or less Al Sharpton functionally, but their personalities are very different. Bacon is cold and serious, while Sharpton is very funny. Reporter Peter Fallow is not particularly Christopher Hitchens. He’s more Anthony Haden-Guest, the illegitimate brother of actor / aristocrat Christopher Guest. Lawyer Albert Vogel is presumably radical leftist attorney William Kunstler. The Mayor of New York is roughly Mayor Ed Koch. The tall, rawboned explosively crazy white man who appears briefly in an early courtroom scene is likely Hunter S. Thompson.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 29, 2012 12:14 PM | Send

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