RARA-AVIS: Writing So Bad It's Good

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 24 Jun 2000

><< Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who
> didn't know the meaning of the word fear, a man who
> could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the
> eye of death -- in short, a moron with suicidal
> tendencies.>>

Mario noted:

>Actually, this sounds uncannily like a classic Richard Prather paragraph. The
>guy was way ahead of his time, almost postmodern, in his humorous reworking of
>the cliché³®

Or maybe it could be Prather's literary ancestor, Robert Leslie Bellem's Dan Turner, except then it would probably scan something like this:

Mike Hardware was the kind of private orb who didn't know the whatzit of the word fear, a yegg who could yuck it up in the puss of danger and practice the art of spittery in the viewport of the big beddy-bye -- in short, a numb noggin prone to turning off his own bulb.

That's probably why fans of hard-boiled can shrug off so many lame parodies of tough-guy writing that come from non-fans: it's been around almost as long as the genre itself, and the best has always come from the inside.

Of course, the big question still remains: did Prather and Bellem know how funny they could be? Somehow, I think they did.

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/

New fiction from Anthony Neil Smith and Jochem Vandersteen, a Reader's Survey and Talkin' 'Bout Shaft. Can you dig it?

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