Re: RARA-AVIS: Spillane - what's up with that?

Joshua B Lukin (
Fri, 10 Jul 1998 00:33:28 -0400 (EDT) Dear Matthew,
My guess would be that unlike that of Ayn Rand, who came from Russia,
Spillane had no personal axe to grind on behalf of McCarthyism but simply
saw the Commies as efffective villains. Although historians seem to agree
that there was no Communist threat to the American Way of Life after 1949
(or possibly ever), the Red Scare of the fifties resulted in 27,000,000
Americans having to sign loyalty oaths as a condition of keeping their
jobs, hundreds of imprisonments, at least a dozen suicides, and many
mental illnesses. Take a look at Jim Thompson's _A_Swell-Looking_Babe_
for a fictional account of how, in paranoid fifties society, the
accusation of communism could destroy a person. For an easy introduction
to the tenor of the times, try Michael Barson's _Better_Dead_Than_Red_.
One of the earliest critiques of the phenomenon is Richard Hofstader's
_The_Paranoid_Style_in_American_Politics_. Within the context of the
fifties, Mike Hammer is simply being an all-Amurrican patriot.
Hope this helps,

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