Tom Wolfe Takes on the Rich

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“‘Tarantulas’ was the term the late-19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche—steady … steady … some of us rich people went to college, too—used for those who are consumed by resentment. Unable themselves to be great men, they burn with a feverish fervor, expressed as righteous anger, to tear down the reputations of those who are. Nietzsche regarded it as one of the human beast’s deepest, darkest motivations.

Every fool who lets himself be “bailed out,” i.e., given hundreds of millions of rehab money by the government, learns that lesson the hardest possible way. He lives it.

They creep about our office like silverfish. We call them “the spooks.” The purpose of their lives seems to be to make sure we can’t use the five jets … They don’t say that in so many words, of course. All they say is that we can’t use them to go anyplace that can be reached via commercial aviation … and no place, period, outside of the U.S.

So what does that leave? Maybe East Jesus, Montana? Malaria, Mississippi? Coralsnake Sands, Arizona? As for maintaining an even strain and boffing bimbos in the Caribbean—don’t even reminisce about such things.”

– From Tom Wolfe’s new Vanity Fair fictional piece called “The Rich Have Feelings, Too.”


Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He’s been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →