Cablegate: Argentina: Evaluation of Us Speaker Tom Wolfe, Tracker
DE RUEHBU #1223 2462020
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 022020Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1933
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001223
STATE FOR IIP/G/WHA: CBARONE; IIP/WHA: PCOZZENS; IIP/SV: MBANDLER;
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OEXC OIIP SCUL AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: EVALUATION OF US SPEAKER TOM WOLFE, TRACKER
1. SUMMARY AND DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITY: Tom Wolfe, one of our
country's greatest living writers, put the U.S. Embassy at the
center of Argentina's leading cultural and popular event of the
year- the Buenos Aires International Book Fair, an event that
attracts more than 1.2 million people. With an active Mission press
effort prior to his arrival, and careful program planning to reach
distinct audiences, Wolfe established his primacy among all invited
Argentine and international writers at the 34th Buenos Aires
International Book Fair by drawing the largest audience for any
event during the three-week fair, filling to capacity a 1,000-seat
auditorium, and maintaining press coverage for weeks after his
visit. Wolfe's avuncular talk covered a wide range of timely
subjects including his trademark "new journalism" which brought him
to international fame. However, the core of his message, which
riveted the audience, was about U.S. culture. Without intending to
be a defender or promoter, his broad historical context and
semi-detached perspective provided his Argentine audience with a
great deal of food for thought.
The audience soaked up the information and sought more from the
charismatic speaker. A large crowd followed Wolfe to the stand of
his Argentine publisher to purchase his book, get an autograph, or
simply chat more about his experience as a writer and a journalist.
A reception at the Ambassador's residence provided an opportunity
for members of Argentina's media and cultural elite to meet and talk
with Wolfe. His lecture on "New Journalism" for an audience of more
than 200 journalism students at the popular MALBA Museum was another
hit. He was also the keynote speaker for the opening ceremony of a
Master Journalism Class, sponsored by Clarin, Argentina's leading
newspaper. It is rare for a U.S. Embassy-sponsored cultural figure
to garner front-page coverage, but combined Mission efforts
accomplished just that, with full front-page pictures of Tom Wolfe
in his traditional white suit appearing on leading cultural magazine
covers and multiple feature articles before, during, and after his
Thanks to a carefully planned and executed cultural program and
press schedule to engage diverse audiences, the U.S.
embassy-sponsored speaker and his message about journalism and U.S.
culture dominated the cultural scene for several weeks. Argentine
and international press followed Tom Wolfe's visit closely, with
almost paparazzi-like attention. Coverage of his activities in
Buenos Aires potentially reached tens of millions of Argentines
through broad newspaper, wire service, and television coverage.
2. DATE, FISCAL YEAR, QUARTER: May 2-6, 2008; FY 08; SECOND
3. TRACKER NUMBER, MISSION PROGRAM PLAN THEME AND AUDIENCE REACHED:
TRACKER NUMBER 30751. More than 1,500 people attended his activities
in Buenos Aires in person. Coverage of his activities in Buenos
Aires potentially reached tens of millions of Argentines through
broad newspaper, wire service, and television coverage. Spanish,
Chilean, Brazilian, German and U.S. journalists participated in his
press conferences and attended his speeches, attesting to the
international stature of one of the greatest living U.S. writers.
4. RESULT/IMPACT: Hosting a talented and renowned writer such as Tom
Wolfe sent a strong message to Argentines that the U.S. Embassy is
committed to the highest quality cultural and intellectual exchange.
In speeches at the Book Fair, with journalism students, at literary
events, in press conferences and multiple television interviews, Tom
Wolfe emphasized the role of non-fiction in chronicling the true
spirit of the times. He urged journalism students and editors to
fulfill their democratic responsibility to focus on reporting the
truth. He encouraged writers and readers to create and demand more
"realistic" fiction, more narrative reporting to paint the
complexity of the world in which we live. Major national newspapers
("Clarin's" leading cultural magazine "N", "Buenos Aires Herald's"
"GetOut" Supplement, "Pagina 12's" "C&E" - "Cultura y Espectaculos"
supplement, "Perfil", "La Prensa", business-financial "Ambito
Financiero", radio stations and TV channels (America TV, viewership
400,000; and Channel 13, viewership 2,000,000) carried interviews
with the famous journalist. The author urged young writers to either
"get out of your apartments" and "get out on the streets" to report
reality or face extinction.
5. NON-USG SOURCES OF IN-COUNTRY FUNDING/IN-KIND SUPPORT: American
Airlines, Faena Hotel and Clarin co-sponsored the program.
6. QUALITY OF U.S. SUPPORT AND IIP OFFICES INVOLVED: Excellent.
Mike Bandler worked hard to find us a high-profile, award-winning,
best-selling author whose books are known in Argentina and
worldwide. Post very much appreciates the energy and enthusiasm
Mike put into the recruitment of Tom Wolfe, as well as the thorough
and professional support given by Camille Barone in IIP/WHA.
7. THANKS AND REGARDS.