tv Tom Wolfe Back to Blood CSPAN May 20, 2018 9:30am-10:31am EDT
>> many of these authors have appeared on booktv. you can watch them on our website, booktv.org. .. >> well, good evening, everybody. >> hello, everyone. >> i'm mitchell caplan. >> i'm -- [inaudible] >> welcome. [applause] on behalf of all of us with the miami book fair, we want to welcome you to the 29th book fair, believe it or not. [cheers and applause] [applause] this is a remarkable
undertakin undertaking, to take the work of hundreds and hundreds of volunteers. we have a a remarkable board of directors who work extremely hard at doing this year-round. none of the federal could happen without the good support of everyone here at miami-dade college. what's give them a huge round of applause. [applause] >> we are appreciative of the sponsors. without the sponsors and the funding from foundations and governmental agencies we would not be able to bring you all this wonderful literary extravaganza. >> many of your friends of the miami book fair. that's a way you can support this book fair and make sure goes on for another 29 years as well. if you look downstairs, you
are more than welcome to sign up. i'd also like to tell you that make sure you pick up of fairgoers guide. we have a air remarkable program this year. tomorrow we start at around 4:00 p.m. with lemony snick it. for all of you who have kids, he is coming with his new series and he will be there at 4:00 p.m. followed by junot dia diaz, a wonderful writer. and then chris hayes, many of you may know him from msnbc's. he will and the program at night. we have an incredible program happens in spanish and other languages as well. >> we have more than 70 writers from 70 countries and latin america andat spain that will be with us as well as the featured country this year. we invite you to the opening of the pavilion next thursday and we will have the first lady of the country doing the honors of opening the
pavilion. please come by and learn about their culture and literature throughout the whole weekend. >> and on a personal note, i've been working with alina very closely. she is the executive director of the center here the college. before that she was the director of the miami book fair for a lot of years. it's just been announced that she is now the director of cultural affairs for the entire miami-dade college. [applause] we want to congratulate her on her new appointment. >> thank you. i'm looking forward to that. part of my new responsibilities is to also work very closely with miami international film festival, celebrating 30 years in march. we have the director with us this evening. mark your calendar for that as well. >> you will see l.a. with
books in them an opera with books inn them so her influence will be everywhere. >> can i take two more minutes of your time to see if you can join me in recognizing mitchell for 30 years and his leadership and vision. >> thank you. [applause] >> she said we can do this without our sponsors. we also can do it without our publishers who support us and we are very fortunate to have in our midst one of the really most brilliant publishers we have not only in this country but probably worldwide. he is the publisher of little brown. i know michael is here
somewhere. please stand to be recognized. thank you michael. [applause] >> one of the great sponsors we've had foror many years they've been huge supporters of the miami book fair and that's channel too. to get our program off the ground i want to bring our vice president and chiefef operating officer dolores. please welcome her. thank you all. [applause] >> thank you everyone. welcome. my name is dolores paradigm the coo for wp bt to which is your public television station. now, what i love about the miami book fair is that for
me, it represents how we should be known here in miami. sure we have beautiful beaches, we have interesting politics, i think increasingly we will be known for our wacky characters, but if you look to the person to your right and if you speak to t the person to your left, what you'll find are engaged, informed cultured citizens. we are a smarter city than we give ourselves credit for. we need to get comfortable with that idea. i hope it's because you've been watching more public television, but i'm sure there's no better way to take us to the next level than to hear from a literary icon. tom wolfe was born in virginia and earned a phd from yale. he spent his first ten years as a newspaperman doing general assignment reporting.
i bet if i called on many of you you could easily name his novel novels, the right stuff in our time, the bonfire of the vanities, a man in full, and many more. now, back to blood which reflects miami back to all of u us. how are we going to react all of that. he is credited with the birth of new journalism and the desk of the american novel by some. he is the mark twain of our time. how lucky are we to have a moment in time with him and what better way to start this conversation them with a ownished author in his right and a man whose name is synonymous with leadership, our own former mayor manny diaz. let me turn it to you, hopefully we can get him appear. please welcome them.
[applause] >> good eveningen everybody. let's get this started. in bonfire of the vanities, you chose the upper east side is your setting. a man " in full. [inaudible]] and then you wrote about college sports on a fictional college. many believe it was duke especially since your daughter attended and graduated from duke. question is, why miami? how did you come to choose it as the backdrop and what surprised you the most. >> my first purpose was to write a book on immigration.
this was when i was still working on my last book and people would say what you going to work on next. i said i wanted to do something on immigration and then always get the same response. that's really interesting. and they go to sleep standing up a horse, but i thought it was a really great, i wasn't interested in how people get in, but what they do once they are here. my first choice was the vietnamese in california who are here in huge numbers. they've now migrated up toward san francisco. there's a famous old newspaper. i couldn't speak vietnamese and i can read the paper either.
then i heard the following fact about miami. miami seems to be the only city in the whole world in which people from another country with another language and a very different culture took over at the voting machines a big metropolitan area in slightly over one generation. i said i've just got to go see what this is all about. i thought the great industry was tourism in miami and then i found out that for some time it's been shipping, including shipping that made the miami federal reserve bank have more
cash than all the rest of the federal reserve systems banks put together, but it seems to be pretty honest work and i don't know if he's here tonight, an argentine journalist told me miami is choice number two for everybody in latin america. and once i was here i knew so little but i have a lot of friends including the mayor and the chief of police, that's not a bad way to start. >> of course when you are down
here we both told you you had the mayor and the chief of police who had both immigrated to the united states in the same year of 1961 and both from an island. >> didn't realize it was the same year. john was born in dublin and i don't know how many of r you really remember john, his face he is the ultra irishman and when you look at him you know you're talking to a tough irishman. one of his colleagues said john only had to draw his pistol twice. the rest he just looked at him. [laughter] that's how i got started and what a great way to start. john really put me on a safe vote which i had never heard of before the miami marine
patrol. like a pancake, 25 feet long and he goes 45 miles perer hour overwater. you can't think unless you shoot holes through them. nobody can turn them over. but anyway, they couldn't have helped mee more. i had a nice introduction from the mayor. >> let me ask you, racial and ethnic strikes, not to mention class and taking those rooms seem to permeate your novels. you purposely look for this and then choose a location or does a location lead to the strife. >> maybe i'm breaking, i think there's so few writers who
want to touch the subject of race, ethnicity and all those things. it makes people nervous. that's what america is all about. i was born and raised in richmond and there are only two types of people there. black and white. that was it. most of the weights were white anglo-saxon protestants so when i went to get my first job in springfield massachusetts people would say what are you and i did know what they're talkingan about. springfield was a city were people who couldn't get a job in boston or new york would come to springfield. a city of about a hundred and 70000. everyone is either irish,
italian and it was important for them to know where you came from. this country is, it's the great meeting place for people from all over the world. somehow they get here and it's fantastic. i started to say mark is wonderful country, there are some that criticize that some of the characters are one-dimensional or play-doh stereotypes. >> i think that with pride.
try to find some complicated side of a great lawyer, the name will come to me,. [inaudible] >> what about the main characte character, even the new york times criticized that he was real that distinguish them from those around them. what do you feel they had in common with some of your other protagonists and more specifically what did his morality or choices have in common? >> i didn't mean to write about a cuban policeman. i do these things a little bit
backwards. there's a subject or locale interest me and i walk in and i wait for the character to arrive. which they inevitably do. i had a great introduction to the police and they would steer me in this direction and i was always the right direction. i'll be in mostly grateful to them. john can be here tonight. he's in bahrain. >> by the way, thank you for mentioning angel. >> let me just say angel has the greatest voice and
temperament that i've ever seen. angel was used for talking hostages out of buildings. when some crisis had come to miami-dade they would put the chief on television they put angel because he had this voice, this calm voice and they also had been a very brave undercover policeman but it's a voice i remember. it was never put on. he had great charm but he was himself. i wasim so shocked when he died a couple years ago. >> what was it about hialeah
that made choosing on it the way you did. how are you correctly able to zero in on the fact that that is a pretty important aspect. >> arrived here thinking it was a racetrack. there still are things like tour de force races and this and that. it was the greatest track just to look at. they had flamingos in the infield and they planted the shrubs aroundt, the infield that they require in order to keep the color. if they don't have this to eat they turn white and they feel terrible. it was gorgeous place. when i got here, i find out
that the real little havana is hialeah but it's not for a little. it's 225,000 people. you go to the café and you watch the old men play checkers across the street. >> speaking of oscar, you have an incredible reputation for the amount of research that you do when you're writing a book. how do you compare the research you did to the research you did in miami for blood? i only give ever done this before so what was it like
having a camera following you around during your research. you will see for yourself what happened to me when oscar follows me around. the one thing i couldn't do without any cameraman in on private interviews, there's nothing that puts a conversation to a halt faster than a tv camera. i noticed my posture wasn't very good. that was the first thing i notice. but i think he did a brilliant job. >> a few years back you came to miami with a book about art and its contribution to city life. in your book, high-end art
plays an important role. of course you use the new art movement as one of the backdrops. could you take a minute to talk about art and what it means to the city. >> used to be totally underestimated. now it's a driving force. artists are the best real estate developers in america. i see this in, new york all the time. they moved to some godforsaken neighborhood in the worst part of brooklyn and the next thing you know it the rich can't wait to pour in and by territory. look at the success. [inaudible] sometimes they don't treat them nicely. in providencee rhode island,e
where you may know the name buddy chauncey, but he got the ogreat idea, he talked to real estate people who had a lot of dead property in the middle of province to let artists use these lofts and it was the smartest thing he ever did. he suddenly found a corporation, the civic improvements were happening. the rigor there, is to be
covered in pavement. he had all the parking asphalt taken away and each week they came down to the river with spring incense and music is playing on the vote and people would gather around that river. that's the power of art. it doesn't matter what the artists i like, just as long as they are artists. every well-to-do art collector
has an aa who chooses for him or her what he or she likes. oh, i didn't know i liked that, but it just works. it's a form of religion, i really believe that, in which you don't have any morality, you just have places to go to worship. by the way, i will ask one more question and will open it up to all of you who i'm sure have lots of questions for tom. after bonfire of the vanities, you got into a few tiffs with other authors about what real writing is. you got into a particularly nasty spat referring to them as the three stooges. regis trying to start a fight just to be provocative?
there seems to be choosing of the sides when many along the 4d street corridor or find the theme. [inaudible] do think this fight has had a negative impact on reviewers of your book? do you think you see each new book is a chance to get even? >> in a way, yes. [laughter] i couldn't resist. everyone said don't answer a review. it shows you been hurt in your sensitive, but i had three of them and they were allwh old men. old men who are successful don't sit around writing reviews, but these guys did. john was so old in public print he complained of his bladder problem. norman mailer who had to rusted out hips and he was going around on crutches and
john, i kinda made fun of him he was pushing 60 which really isn't all that old and so i had the perfect title, my three stooges. a stooge on stage is someone who sets up the lines for the comedian. i said this is all they've done. they've set up lines for the comedian, but a lot of people never forgive that. they also happen to think it was brilliantly funny but people thought i made a terrible gaffe by saying what i really meant. this is not true of many, but when a politician says what he really means, that's aghast.
they say he should've known better than that. the reason i have a long distance love of joe biden is that there was a big outbreak of some disease in mexico, very contagious. the camera thect exact disease and he was asked by a reporter, if you had a daughter that went there, would you advise your daughter to go toe mexico tomorrow and he said hell no. the denunciations of him telling the simple truth were unbelievable. you have to honor the politicians like that. officially, this program is about back to blood, but itea really has to do with manny diaz. on friday will be the publication will launch of
miami transformed and i haven't read it. >> you're in it though. t why didn't you give me an advance copy. >> there is a big feud as to what really transform cities and of course tom was talking about art but the chief was all about security. the police department in safe neighborhoods. >> you know john better than i do but i couldn't agree with more. >> will you help me out with some questions? 10q for holding back onn that last one. >> let's think these two gentlemen here. québe [applause]
[applause] we would love to have your questions. if you would line up behind this gentleman will get through as many as wego can. >> a book or two ago, you wrote a description of hip-hop music that was so on the money that i thought to myself, tom wolfe really gets you po hip-hop music. do you like hip-hop, and second, as a writer, due in do anything special to get inside the brain of something that so foreign to you or have you been doing it for so long that it just a second nature? >> to answer your first question, no i don't like hip-hop music. [laughter] , but i do like country and western. one of my f favorite titles is that in my truck in her drivewa driveway. that so, so much about the
character. if it had been a sob or alexis or toyota in the girls driveway, isn't that great, just wonderful. that may my truck in her driveway ♪ ♪. and railroad music. ♪ ♪ ♪ is not a bad railroad song i've never had a chance to say this before. >> mr. wolf, i remember the last time you were here in the audience asked why don't youhy write about miami and you said no call has already done a good enough job for that. without holding you up to it, i really enjoyed your book but i'm wondering did you feel anysu pressure and have you read other authors from miami or were you inspired by them, i'm just curious about the process. >> carl is in a league by
himself. i think i have read every word he's ever written. he's brilliant in the social logical sense without making it seem social logical and he writes these thrillers but instead of finding a body on page three, you find a guy who falls down at the strip club and you go on from there. is absolutely brilliant. i don't read many people who have done miami justice because it only look around, they want to write about south beach and are certainly things to be written about south beach, but there's other parts of miami and they tend not to write about them.
maybe they have, but i haven't seen it. >> sex plays such a big role in your book and a lot of your characters are really driven by it. i remember when i saw you in new york maybe five years ago, you told theld audience that sex is god's little joke. what did you mean by that. >> slu in new york about five years ago. you were reading a latin jazz ensemble was playing and it was near nyu and near the end you look at the audience and you said sex is god's little joke. what did you mean by that? i still believe that. [laughter] just read the papers today and yesterday and you understand.
you have all these ambitions but you can't get rid of that urge and it's going to torment you. it was god's little joke because god said you can do whatever you want but you're going to procreate and work and have more of your time whether you want it or not there's a country so full of unwed mothers. it's a tough thing to pull off and it's very hard to be ceo of the bank and also be a mother, a good mother.
it is god's little joke. sometimes it isn't funny though. >> it's good to be here. i'm an immigrant from the bronx new york and i was just wondering were you able to get by with or without spanish. as an immigrant i find it very difficult to get along well without spanish and i'm having my own difficulties with that. also, how is your salsa dancing. >> i am great at the tango the sauce is kinda beyond me. >> but the spanish, just would be interesting how you got along with or without the
spanish. are you fluent, did you get fluent, did you have an interpreter with you, how did youyo amass your ability to transform this town into englis english. >> i learned only about 45 minutess ago that i made a mistake, a glaring mistake. i was pointing out that because the miami herald, years ago when massive immigration wasve coming in the worthe world, broadly speaking were against it. there was a lot who resented the stand they were taking so again i was just informed that's really not correct
spanish, i'm just asking your opinion which would you use if you used it. >> that are really no and i think by this town not becoming a bilingual town, it has over the years that are still not a blanket statement that this is a bilingual townn and i think that's the flavor that's missing that our african-american children and are caucasian children are notot being brought up to speak both spanish and english and i just want to be a stand for that that that's what needs to happen here. hello.
i am referring to charlotte simmons and i'm wondering, after you transgendered into charlotte simmons if you think there is any hope for a young college woman, i am a college teacher and i'm wondering if you think there's any hope for college women these days. >> in general terms, when i wrote i am charlotte simmons, i went to many different colleges and it was not meant to be duke but my daughter was at duke and had gothic architecture like duke but honestly it wasn't supposed to be. it was entirely fictional. the theme among undergraduates at that time was, if she
doesn't come across on the fourth day, that's it. today is a little bit different. if she doesn't come across by the second date, and i was talking to one student he says what's this about dates. maybe that's it. this was a theory that i think is worth mentioning, tell me if i'm right the ubiquity, the use everywhere off cell phones which also take pictures, just as ipads take pictures has cut down some of the wildness.
everybody loves to take out their camera but if you doing something absolutely insane, this haunts people. the films developed in a kit in the wrong hands, youtube loves these wild college parties. it's making people much more careful. i like this theory. i can't say for sure not, but wouldn't that be interesting if there is a good effective information? technology. [laughter] >> let's take three more questions. the three people who are in line. >> i'm a native from miami and thanks to you, about 20 years ago there were three gentlemen running across i-95 asking if
they could help my husband and i. i knew what was going down, having read bonfire of the vanities. they were coming to help me at all. we were robbed at gunpoint. i've since lived here for a long time and raised three children and it's a wonderful city. i love miami. i just wondered, after having donene your research and meeting all these interesting characters that we clearly have no shortage of here, is this the kind of place you think you could live. >> there's no blanket statement that i can make because there's such variety in miami. i don't know the statistics for single mothers and things like that, you probably do. it's such a complicated subject but it would be hurt people to cut down, it seems
to me. >> you think you could live here. >> osher. property has been going up in price. i was told you could come to miami and you could get a four or five bedroom apartment down near the ocean for $400,000, but it's reversed. the real estate decline hit miami long before the recession of 1987, but i hear you can get those great bargains anymore. >> to more questions. just the two people who are left. m of the.ginning
[inaudible] the mayor of new york city is told by a mob back to blood. i noticed now the title of your book, aside from being a great phrase is there any symbolism to the fact that you began your novel work using that phrase and now it's the title of your latest book. >> tell me that phrase again. [laughter] i felt i had to explain in the prologue ofpr the book, this was not wet blood. although if there's any fans who would like that, you can interpret it anyway you want but it was bloodline. i do honestly believe in an age in which religion is fading, particularly among educated people. in some areas it's a gaffe to admit the religious. any university, you could be
in the english department and say you don't believe in the theory of evolution and they'll find a way to get you out. it's unfortunately true. i think in an age like that, everybody wants to be able to believe in something. everybody wants to believe their own beliefs are chiseled in stone, if not by god than by darwin. i think it's quite natural to retreat to your own people after 911, in new york, this
is how you have two kinds of allegiances. the reverend and pat robertson both announced that 911 was the result of homosexuality in america. that was pretty far-fetched theory but i said wait a minute, they're both from l'virginia. i went to the same college. what are they doing. they're both virginians and you can'tgi go around talking about virginians in that manner. i think often we have two sets of beliefs. i think everybody identifies themselves with the particular status group which, if it's belief or absolute, carved in
stone would make your group, not yourself but would make your group the most important. i've been in a country store during the secondhe world war and here were these three good old boys from north carolina, just talking, and one of them says, they were tied up the second world war and it all seems to lead back to the sky hitler. instead of sayin sending all these votes with supplies, when we just go shoot them and another of the good old boy says i'm sure it's not that simple. you can't just go over there and t shoot him. he said i'll shoot him, you just give me about. just give me over there.
even then it may not be as easy to do. the cemetery what i do. our government never thought of this but i walked to the front door, ring the bell and when he comes to the front door, all shoot him. another little boy said i'm sure it's not that simple. he's probably got a wall around the place. you can't just go bargingng in. he said okay, here's what you do. and hide my rifle underneath raincoats in a minute around the back of the place and when it gets dark to climb over and hide behindd a tree. in the morning when he comes out to be, i'll shoot them. [laughter] the good old boys really, it's typical of their thinking that they feel, maybe all of us do
from time to time that the government is useless, you cannot count on the government to do anything for you. you can't even count on them to defend you. you have to do a lot of things yourselves. they want to be able to go over there and shoot hitler if the government doesn't do it for him. they are perfectly comfortable being in that rural status grou group. i've discovered that i'm kind of behind the times.
the cotton. it's about the worst job and they have dried up leaves. you cannot find a native born north carolinian who will any longer pick cotton. but they do all all of these. they're happy enough to get it. >> i am from columbia. i live here for 20 years. i got the idea to interview all my friends that came from
different countries for a book that gladly you wrote about immigrants coming to miami. my question is if that book is going to be published in spanish because you have such a unique way to see a. >> it will be published in spanish but the hold up is translation. if i had finished the book on time like sixgh months ago but i've always been able to do reading pretty well. >> your writing about us. [inaudible] thank you very much.
[applause] >> best-selling author tom wolfe from 2012 passed away this monday at the age of 88. he appeared on book tv several times over the last two years and you can watch all of his appearances on booktv.org. >> here's a look at some books being published this week. john mccain recalls his career and shares his thoughts on the current political climate in the restless wave. in faxon fears, james clapper reflects on his personal life. my father's business recounts how former dollar general ceo expanded his family business.
[inaudible] also being published this week, pulitzer prize winning journalist offers his thoughts on today's economic and political landscape. nbc whether anchor al rocher chronicles the deadliest blood in american history in ruthless tide. that escalated quickly is the collection of mtb francesca ramses thought on current, political and social issues. they also explore the growing militia movement in the u.s. and chosen country. look for these titles in bookstores this coming week and watch for many of the authors in the near future on book tv on c-span2. >> the reason i'm not as interested in looking at that first book is because i have new questions that i want to wrestle with.
i want to make sense of the world that we have now. that book i conceived of in 2012 and 2013 and 2014 in the aftermath of the killing of travon martin. i had questions i wanted to ask about blackmail identity. in the aftermath of such a tragic, violent, racist inciden incident, a conversation that i knew we were going to have was around the idea of the endangered black man, the endange idea of what it takes to raise lack boys in a white supremacist society. these are questions that we always ask in the aftermath of
these tragic occurrences. to me, what we hadn't been asking and what we hadn't been wrestling with was the interior lives of 17-year-old black boys like travon martin who, unfortunately was not able to proceed and ask himself questions about who he was and what shaped him and what forces made him who he was and create a political identity or an identity to help them survive this world. at the time he was killed, i was 25 years old and looking at the life i had not limped for believing that at different stages i would have or could have been a travon martin or demetrius who is my cousin and killed at 17 years old, not making it to 21, not
seeing past 25, and reaching that age and not having a plan for it and not understanding who i wanted to be. i wanted to ask questions about that. what i also wanted to do with that book was to challenge, there's plenty of literature written by black men addressing and wrestling of becoming your self in the context of a white supremacist nation. what we don't really have is blackmail literature willing to deal with the fact that we live in a homophobic nation. understanding all of those other forces do come down to
bare on your sense of identity and from sitting from the position of the black header heterosexual male, i wanted to interrogate that and the way that the feeling of oppression, the reality of oppression overdetermined my political identity and myself identity, but also what privilege does and what understanding that you serve both and what a no oprah served duds. i wanted to understand those questions in those different forms of violence. it's not to say those questions are still with me, but i have worked through that in the book and i don't want
to look at that so much anymore because there has been a political shift and a tied shifting that makes other questions more urgent to me. although those things that i'm dealing with in the first book are ever present. things that i want to think through now and i'm thinking through the writing of the second book and i won't get too much into it because i'm not writing it, really. they sent me a check and i'm supposed to be writing it but the question that's, and how do we address the crisis, the election of donald trump very
clearly is a crisis moment and i want to owner honor that and acknowledge that this is something that has real world consequences, but the forces that create the moment in which he was elected has been here. these are foundational ideas that produce the context for which a donald trump could be elected. how do we honor the anxiety a very real crisis that he presents but also get at the root causes of this crisis. >> you can watch this and other programs online booktv.org. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2. television for serious readers. here's our primetime lineup. first up they provide a
history of the war refugee board created in 1944 by president franklin roosevelt with the objective of assisting jewish refugees. then it's the lucas prize, awarded by columbia university for books on american topic of political or social concern. at 9:00 p.m. on book tv "after words", best-selling author explores the science behind how the body ages. : : : that'll happens tonight on booktv on c-span2, television for serious