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David Skene-Melvin stated in a previos message:
  Not for Canadians the anarchistic 
libertarianism of the hardboiled private eye carousing as he pursues a 
career of vigilantism.  If our villains are to be brought to book, we 
want the state to do it.  Canadians don't trust entrepreneurs as lawmen; 
we don't believe in privatizing justice.  Americans are romantic and hope 
for Justice; Canadians are realists and settle for Law.  American popular 
culture idolizes the sociopath, the alienated who cannot relate and get 
along, and thus purveys an American dream that is in reality a nightmare 
of anarchy, a community of fear in which the hand of every person is 
turned agaisnt each other.  So we have the American demand for guns, for 
in this dystopic arena where one must be a gladiator to survive it is the 
best-armed who have the best chance -- weapons make the man.

In my view, the three American authors who have best expressed this view 
of American society are Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Ross 
Macdonald.  It is interesting that all three were outsiders.  Hammett 
came up from the underclass, while Chandler and Macdonald were both, 
despite their birth, culturally British because of their upbringing.  All 
three transcended the genre and wrote mainstream literary novels.  John 
D. MacDonald was a repetitive hack and Robert Parker is a self-indulgent 
disappointment.  Hammer by Spillane represents the amoral Fascism 
adumbrated by John Lawrence, (supra).


My own opinion on the above:

I kept the quote rather long as to avoid to exacerbate some of the above
statements by isolating them from the context.

I will not mix with Canadian HB fiction merits as I have no experience of it.

However the above quote goes one directory up! trying  to go for general

Not being Canadian  myself I however agree:  there is a lot of differences
in the social organization, Law and Police between this country and the USA. 
This was felt even during my only two trips to Canada.
But where the above statement is sliding off is when it implies that all HB
is only between Law, Police, Outlaws and PI. Wrong!! deadly wrong...

It' about violence in the society( physically or by vicious institutions of
uncontrolled power... whatever is the power: money, politics, abuse of
official position... etc) It's true that in a certain way and sometimes, HB
is showing a quest for justice...
I doubt that Canadians, even obedient to their Law, are not attracted by
justice. At least some of them are. Or should be!

If some component of violence in the society are universal (money,
corruption, politics) the form taken for its expression varies with
countries and time periods. So the great founders of HB are not always a
good reference as for the form taken by  violence and the type of person
that will react against it...
Do not forget that the USA from the beginning of the 20th century to approx
WW2 was a kind of uncontrolled country ruled by savage capitalism, the mob
and corrupted officials... Do not forget the Big Depression as well (1929-1935).
This is why Hammett and  others position their subjects and characters the
way they did, result of the world they lived in.

In other words:  Canadians, in which sector is your social violence?...
in which safe are you hiding your  national  'corpses'...?  this  is where
HB could develop excellent themes.

Also, USA today is not as chaotic as presented by the media, or even as the
Americans finally believe it is. But it is true that fear is generated
unconsciently by this. 

I should say that in the 90's world, open expression of violence(not always
physical) can be found mostly in: the emerging powers of the Far East, in
the worldwide problem of  uncontrolled immigration waves, the failure of the
West to keep his economic development and life standard in his own
territory. Do not forget the Virtual Violent World promoted or created by
the media, especially TV, and its influence on less cultured populations.
 All this creating thousands of factual situations everywhere.
In this type of mess a PI could be one possible character  in  some
situation but... a lot of other profiles could fit HB fiction as central
characters, as the reaction against the aggressions comes from the man
himself more than from his social activity (this is one of the constant
vectors of HB).
The reactions always come when the social defense system is unable to cope,
does not want to cope or is too corrupt to cope with the real daily
problems. So vigilantism.... maybe? but only as a final necessity.

 Also,  pointing out the 'un-adapted' profile of the great founders, as
individuals, to the American mainstream society is no justification at all.
Most of artistic creators are product of unbalance: in regard of the society
around them ... or inside themselves (obsession, fears, even psychotic
personalities, are common  in artists and especially amongst writers)
The most creative ones often have impossible personalities or a life which
defies any social classification.
So the unbalancing just made that Hammett, Chandler and others, were
creative writers and critical of some of their surroundings.
 As were some "authentic" American authors living some unbalance
themselves... and producing quality HB then and now.

Sorry for this already long development, but IMO something is fundamentally
shocking in the statements of Mr Skene-Melvin.
Maybe other followers of the group could express it better?

As for Robert B Parker, the statement is correct: his recent production is
lame and hollow. On the contrary of his  earliest novels. 

As for John D Mac Donald:  he wrote so many things that it is dangerous to
emit such a destructive statement. Ignore Travis Mc Ghee which is a gimmick
requested by a lot of today readers:  they want a central repetitive
character... Blame TV and publishers... Not JDM (HB was not in favor in the
last 25 years in USA)  Read the novels of his earliest production and the
picture is totally different.  He is certainly not one of the very great,
but he is just one rank below with some of his novels.


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