In reading this excellent story at ESPN.com on the Michael Vick dogfighting fiasco, a funny thought occurred to me. I'll hopefully have time to say more about the story and about the Vick case tonight, but then it hit me. What did Tom Wolfe's two most recent novels cover? I Am Charlotte Simmons covered an elite private university in the south called DuPont University, where the combination of academic competition and a strict socioeconomic caste system lead to an out of control party scene, with the obnoxious, swaggering lacrosse team at the top of the totem pole. A Man in Full revolved around a number of events, but the most central one was a star black football player accused of misconduct, which fractures the fragile truce between the Atlanta's white and black elites, with shock waves that resonate down throughout the city.
I've still never gotten around to reading I am Charlotte Simmons, but I can't recommend A Man in Full highly enough to anyone who wants a very nuanced, very humorous view of the complex state of race in the modern urban "New South."
As for what I'm hoping to get to later, I'd say that the ESPN article specifically and the Vick case at large, like Wolfe's novel, offer a very instructive view into many wider issues, notably the intransigence of urban gangs.