RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: Why are you here?

Date: 27 Jan 2000

Juri writes, interestingly,

"There is some fascination in reading about people who seem to have no hope. They are put against the wall and they try to do something about it and don't always succeed. The communication in these books is always about something else than normal relationships, or rather: the normal relationships have been replaced by those that prevent people to have normal relationships. Greed. Lust. Anger. Hate. And the communication has to happen with guns, fists, deception. It's not the animal in us, it's the animal in the society. And this is why I like hardboiled literature - it portrays people more truthfully than the classical mystery tradition in which a man is an animal, calculating but nevertheless an animal. This might seem like a contradiction with the usual attitude about HB, but I'm behind my words."

So a noir world, darker than the souls of those caught in it? Reinhold Niebuhr's wrote a book in the 20s or 30s, Moral Man and Immoral Society: thesis is something like individuals have sin, but combinations of individuals
(corporations, unions, society) create more badness than the sum of the individuals. I would agree, except for the proletarian view of the rich as born and brought-up bad--they're different from you and me, as Fitzgerald once said, and I think many HB novelists would agree, though not in the positive way Fitzgerald may have allowed. I'll qualify that to say that Chandler, for instance, seems to distinguish between the ones that made the money (the entrepreneurs) and their children, who always had the money.

And it's a society that favors the rich and powerful--in the US that translates into a country that hasn't lived up to its promise, so a larger sense of social betrayal that perhaps can't be transferred to other countries(?). Hence the special satisfaction of social or class revenge when someone rich or connected gets to suffer, in part because the PI or character causing the suffering is outside the social-judicial-governmental network.

Thoughts on an Inside Day; when it snows, the words come out too. What do you think?

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