For Charlotte to hand over her flower, Wolfe is arguing, is for good old, churchy, homemade-casserole America to give itself over to the new, multicultural, academically "relativist," anything-goes America. Wolfe is not kidding about this stuff. He is more serious about it than the spinners who loaded up their "moral values" buckshot on Election Day--though he isn't any more convincing.
I Am Charlotte Simmons has come under heavy fire, probably because no one much feels like having a privileged red-stater wag his finger at our immorality right now. In Charlotte Simmons he serves up his opprobrium cornball straight, buying himself the insurance policy of campiness if you find his virgin-in-trouble scenario too preposterous. I personally believe that Wolfe's publishers did him a disservice by not releasing this book in the summertime. The book is trashy, time-killing fun. Though Wolfe, ever a fan of his own commercial triumphs, would no doubt say in public that he's cool with that verdict, you can feel, line by line, that he isn't.