A Wolfe Sampler

"God, what a flood of taboo thoughts run through one head at these Radical Chic events...But it's delicious. It is as if one's nerve endings were on red alert to the most intimate nuances of status. Deny it if you want! Nevertheless, it runs through every soul here. It is the matter of the marvelous contradictions on all sides. It is like the delicious shudder you get when you try to force the prongs of two horseshoe magnets together... them and us." Radical Chic (1970)

"More fighter pilots died in automobiles than in airplanes. Fortunately, there was always some kindly soul up the chain to certify the papers `line of duty,' so that the widow could get a better break on the insurance. That was okay and only proper because somehow the system itself had long ago said Skol! and Quite right! to the military cycle of Flying & Drinking and Drinking & Driving, as if there were no other way. Every young fighter jock knew the feeling of getting two or three hours' sleep and then waking up at 5:30 a.m. and having a few cups of coffee, a few cigarettes, and then carting his poor quivering liver out to the field for another day of flying. There were those who arrived not merely hungover but still drunk, slapping oxygen tank cones over their faces and trying to burn the alcohol out of their systems, and then going up, remarking later: `I don't advise it, you understand, but it can be done. (Provided you have the right stuff, you miserable pudknocker).'"   The Right Stuff (1979)

"At that very moment, in the very sort of Park Avenue co-op apartment that so obsessed the Mayor...twelve-foot ceilings...two wings, one for the white Anglo-Saxon Protestants who own the place and one for the help... Sherman McCoy was kneeling in his front hall trying to put a leash on a dachsund. The floor was a deep green marble, and it went on and on. It led to a five-foot walnut staircase that swept up in a sumptuous curve to the floor above. It was the sort of apartment the mere thought of which ignites flames of greed and covetousness under people all over New York and, for the matter, all over the world. But Sherman burned only with the urge to get out of this fabulous spread of his for thirty minutes."   The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987)