RARA-AVIS: HB nonfiction

Bill Hagen (billha@ionet.net)
Thu, 2 Jul 1998 00:03:45 -0500 (CDT) Interesting thread on HB nonfiction.

Mention of a piece on Liston reminds me that Norman Mailer has done some
nice work on boxers (as well as murderers), but not sure I'd call him HB,
though _Armies of the Night_ (March on Pentagon) had some passages as
good as any Chandler "rants." What used to be called the New Journalists,
early Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson, Ed Abbey, and some of the underground
press writers (Paul Krassner, editor of _The Realist_), had moments of
hard-edged lucidity -- along with the posturing.

A writer I've read occasionally, Marcelle Clements, did (and may still do)
interesting interview-features in the 80s. I'm looking back at "What
Happens to Pretty Girls" (collected in _The Dog Is Us_) at her cynical view
of folks in the modeling business: "Some tell the truth, most lie. You
promise them that you won't use their names, but still they lie. They're
used to it; they do it well."

While we're thinking nonfiction, we might consider what older nonfiction
writers--journalists especially--helped create the "style" of HB. For
instance, go back and read H.L. Mencken who so impressed young Richard
Wright with the way words could be used as weapons.

Bill Hagen

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