Tom Wolfe and the Co-Eds

Posted on November 11, 2004

Bestselling author Tom Wolfe has spent his career chronicling the changes in our society. But the research for his new novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) shocked even this chronicler of society's worst excesses in prior decades. Wolfe told Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last night that he spent months hanging out at colleges such as Stanford, the University of Michigan and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in order to immerse himself in today's college culture. His findings were a real eye opener to the 74 year-old. No one dates, they just "hook up" for the night with a different person -- every night.

The girls keep books that list their sexual encounters, with a code for the acts performed, and a mere description of the guy since they usually don't know their names, e.g., "guy in green t-shirt." Alcohol and drug abuse are rampant. Partying at college campuses is nothing new, but Wolfe says that the the level of callousness and total lack of inhibitions is. He also says most parents don't have a clue what's going on.

Well, that's certainly comforting to know.

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