Mau-mauing the flak catchers

Is the title of one of two stories set on the west coast of America at the end of the sixties in a book (wiki) (Tom Wolfe) by the writer Tom Wolfe.

As a digression I found Tom Wolfe by mistake.  As a teenage fan of Jack Kerouac I was interested in finding out about his inspiration as a writer and the name Thomas Wolfe (wiki) came up so I went to buy one of his books at my local bookstore and went home with the doyenne of ‘New Journalism’.  Not that I’ve minded as I ‘ve enjoyed both the collected journalism – from which I’ve usually leant a lot – and the novels, particularly, ‘A Man in Full.'(wiki) says:

Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, Tom Wolfe’s fourth book of social commentary, consists of two devastatingly funny essays, closely related in theme and substance, dealing with political stances and social styles in a status-minded world.


In the companion essay, Wolfe travels west to San Francisco to survey another meeting ground between militant minorities and the liberal white establishment: the newly emerging art of confrontation developed by young blacks, Chicanos, Filipinos, Chinese, Indians, and Samoans in response to the bureaucracy that grew up in and around the poverty program. Wolfe’s account of the performances of such masters as the Mission Rebels, the Youth for the Future, and the New Thang, and the responses of the catchers of the flak, including the Mayor himself, makes for uproarious farce. But the points he makes about racial and ethnic game-playing in America’s class wars are inescapably valid.

Roland Ries, (wiki) the Mayor of Strasbourg, (with the red scarf in the pictures above) organised a meeting today at a local venue to listen to the views of local people.  It was very different from the encounters in Mau-mauing the flak catchers.  As the pictures show the Mayor and his Adjoint (On the right of the Mayor) listened respectfully to the local residents who had turned up.  The residents were not seeking to access funding but raising concerns about the nuisance caused by some rowdiness on New Years Eve, the problems caused by visitors to the entertainment complex we were meeting in and the main concern, as in my experience it usually is in city centre areas where there are a lot of people living in high density housing, was about ‘le parking’. The Mayor said he wasn’t Father Christmas coming with a solution to the concerns but that the issues raised would be borne in mind as plans are made for the future of the area.  As I have also experienced at such meetings most of the people present were active in one way or another.  Take away the staff of the Mayor and the Council, the people who worked at the establishment and the local councillors, then there were the people I recognised from the local branch of the Parti Socialiste, and that was about it.

The last picture is the mural from the wall outside the Laiterie that I’ve always quite liked.

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One Response to “Mau-mauing the flak catchers”

  1. Kindergeburtstag Mannheim Says:

    Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you
    taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way
    too much time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

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