Tom Wolfe on Stupid

Author Tom Wolfe was recently interviewed by the Financial Times, and had a very interesting take on “stupid” (among many other things) that could cause at least one man excessive ribbing at the next foo-foo liberal cotillion.

“You should have been here when Eisenhower was president; he was not very good in a press conference because he would start a sentence with a relative clause and by the time he started adding more relative clauses and appositions, he never got to the subject or the predicate. So he was called really stupid. How can this guy run the country? But, you see, all he did was win World War II.

“Very few people remember the way Reagan was portrayed as an idiot,” he adds, citing a comment by Henry Kissinger that, after 20 minutes in Reagan’s company, one found oneself asking: “How on Earth can the fate of the free world be in the hands of this man?” And yet for all that, says Wolfe, Reagan kept making the right decisions.

“Bush is portrayed as a moron. I’ve only conversed with him a couple of times — not for very long — but I found he was more literate on literature than the editor of the New York Review of Books, Bob Silvers. I’ve talked to both of them, and he makes Bob Silvers look like a slug.”

Wolfe also goes on to note that, as for national leadership, “literature doesn’t win wars.” Too bad that isn’t the case. Defeating an enemy by carpet-bombing them with anti-war books would indeed fulfill my irony needs for many years to come.

There is a certain group of people from whom being called “stupid” should be worn like a badge of honor. An immediate, vocal, and unopposed impugning of the intelligence of a political opponent of any sort, or person in a leadership position, is often the first sign of an inferiority complex in an intellectually inadequate accuser — unless I do it.

Author: Doug Powers

Doug Powers is a writer, editor and commentator covering news of the day from a conservative viewpoint with an occasional shot of irreverence and a chaser of snark. Townhall Media writer/editor. alum. Bowling novice. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan. Contact: