James Wolcott

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James Wolcott
Born (1952-12-10) December 10, 1952 (age 65)
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Occupation Journalist, novelist
Language English
Genre Journalism

James Wolcott (born December 10, 1952) is an American journalist, known for his critique of contemporary media. Wolcott is the cultural critic for Vanity Fair and contributes to The New Yorker. He had his own blog on Vanity Fair magazine's main site which was awarded a Webby Award in 2007.

Background and education

Wolcott was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and raised in a suburban setting. He attended Maryland's Frostburg State College for two years. From there, he moved to New York City, to work at The Village Voice, first in the circulation department answering phone complaints, then as a receptionist.[1] He is married to Laura Jacobs, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He began practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique in 2007.[2]


Since arriving in New York, Wolcott has been a columnist on media and pop culture for such publications as Esquire, Harper's Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and New York Magazine. He was lured to Vanity Fair by the late Leo Lerman, then the magazine's editor.[3]

Wolcott wrote a novel, The Catsitters, published in 2001. In 2004, he published Attack Poodles and Other Media Mutants, a critique of right-wing media in the United States. In addition, he recently contributed the foreword to Geoffrey Beene's forthcoming book, Identity.

His memoir Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in Seventies New York was published October 25, 2011.

In 2017, he advocated for the overthrow of the Trump administration by American intelligence agencies.[4]

Political donations

In 2015 and 2016, Wolcott made 14 donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and one $200 donation to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. No contributions to Republican or other political parties were reported.[5]

Awards and honors



  • Wolcott, James (2001). The Catsitters: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins. 


  • Wolcott, James (2004). Attack poodles, and other media mutants : the looting of the news in a time of terror. New York: Miramax Books. 
  • Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in Seventies New York
  • Critical Mass: Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades, and Hurrahs [7]
  • — (Dec 2012). "Dry, with a twist". Spotlight. Vanity Fair. 628: 169–171. 
  • — (Jun 2013). "Andrew Breitbart's Circus Maximus". Vanity Fair. 634: 52–53. 


  1. ^ Epstein, Joseph (October 16, 2012). Essays in Biography. Mt. Jackson, VA: Axios Press. p. 483. ISBN 978-1604190687. 
  2. ^ Wolcott, James. "Welcome, My Brother! | James Wolcott's Blog". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on May 29, 2010. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  3. ^ "James Wolcott:A Q&A by Russ Smith & John Strausbaugh". New York Press. April 24, 2001. Archived from the original on March 18, 2011. 
  4. ^ Wolcott, James. "Why the Alt-Left Is a Problem, Too". 
  5. ^ "OpenSecrets.org Search". opensecrets.org. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  6. ^ John Williams (July 30, 2014). "James Wolcott and Frank Bidart Among 2014 PEN American Winners". New York Times. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  7. ^ Garner, Dwight (October 24, 2013). "'Critical Mass,' a Collection of James Wolcott's Writings" – via NYTimes.com. 

External links

  • James Wolcott's blog, Vanity Fair webpage.
  • James Wolcott's blog, jameswolcott.com
  • Maneker, Marion, "The King James Version: Critic James Wolcott, the reigning monarch of the literary put-down, is about to publish his first novel, and legions of his victims are already sharpening their knives", New York magazine, June 11, 2001
  • Bernhard, Brendan, "Medium Cool: James Wolcott on lowbrow vs. highbrow, common sense and his first novel, The Catsitters", LA Weekly, June 27, 2001.
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