Re: RARA-AVIS: LA Confidential

Bill Hagen (
Fri, 8 Jan 1999 15:23:26 -0600 (CST) Thomas Jones recently wrote,
"None of the characters that Chandler had involved with the pornography
were seen as regular people with a simple vice, they all had other
problems. Joe Brody was a blackmailer who carried a gun, Carmen was a
gambler and a killer. They were all shown as being immersed in this sort
of underworld. This underworld wouldn't let them just dabble a little bit,
they were consumed by it."

Later, Bill Denton wondered about bundling porn with dope (or other vices).
This may be an older version of the "gateway" metaphor that activists like
to use to suggest that no drug is "innocent." [Used in arguments against
legalizing marijuana.] So perhaps porn and the desire for porn were
considered a sort of "gateway," as emphasized by the Legion of Decency and
campaigns against "immoral" books and films that began in the 20s?

I agree with Thomas Jones about the named characters in "The Big Sleep,"
but I seem to remember Geiger's "black book" had enough respectable names
for the D.A. to consider it a favor that Marlowe would hand it over to
him--so a coverup results, which is good for Marlowe's clients, the
Sternwoods. And when Marlowe has Geiger's staked out, doesn't he notice a
number of well-dressed men--and women--going in to pick up some porn? So
Geiger's porn business, and the fact that it was allowed to exist, seems
another indicator of how widespread simple vices (like gambling too) put
everyone close to the line.

Bill Hagen

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