Re: RARA-AVIS: Spillane - what's up with that?
Fri, 10 Jul 1998 09:31:03 -0400 Ahah! This is exactly the point I am trying to make! I just can't believe
that he simply
saw the Commies as an "effective villain". The dialogue is FAR too biting,
harsh and polluted. This comes from the man's soul. This is a portal into a
psyche, a "stream of consciousness" straight from the heart.

I see him writing these novels, anger boiling out of him, slamming the
typewriter with
every keystroke, sweat pouring off his brow, getting up every 15 minutes to
his hand against the wall, (lit cigarette dangling ash over the
typewriter), the pure anger
and frustration of it all just too much for him. Here is a man with too
much anger inside
him to write clean, crisp dialogue - this dialogue flows from the well of
his soul.

Or maybe I'm dreaming. Maybe he worked 3 hours each night after watching
My Three Sons re-runs. Sigh.


jblukin @
07/10/98 12:33 AM

Please respond to

To: rara-avis @
cc: (bcc: Matthew Harding/scnm/Stentor)
Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Spillane - what's up with that?

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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