RARA-AVIS: Realism: HB vs. cozies (was: Those were the days)

From: Anthony Dauer ( anthony.dauer@erols.com)
Date: 09 Sep 2000

Actually Chris, I think you've argued my point for me to some degree ... cozies present a very finite world that most people do not live in and we've seen time and time again that what we romanticize about such places rarely reflects the reality of them. While the American hard-boiled genre depicts scenes and events that can be found 24/7 throughout the US and elsewhere ... we see them on the evening news, we read about them in our daily newspapers, we hear about them from our co-workers at the water fountain, and in some cases we live them ourselves. Very few live the cozy lifestyle or witness it on a frequent basis. That is if one believes that's how life is in those quaint English villages and shires ... personally I don't and I don't believe that's how life is because it goes against human nature. Maybe there are a few who fit within the confines of the stereotype of a the cozy genre, but in the case of HB ... there's a plethora of examples of its realism everywhere. My local newspaper's a perfect example, today's Pravda on the Potomac (alias The Washington Post):

        Prince George's Police Officer Indicted

        Latest Shooting Scenario Refuted

        South Maryland Official in Trouble Again

        Drunk Driver Gets 2 to 6 Years in Death

        Quick Verdict in Maryland Tunnel Deaths

        Alexandria Woman's Suite Accuses Officer of Rape

        Man to Stand Trial in Sister's Slaying

        2 Vehicles Sought in Double Shooting

        Ex-convict Gets 30 Years in Break-in

        Male Suspect in Child Abuse Case Found

        Priest's Murder Tests Kenyan Reform Efforts

        When Officials Get Secretive

        Doctors Who Kill

        Who Wouldn't Be Afraid of Being Followed (relates to the "Latest Shooting Scenario Refuted")

... and as far as "cozies" go, there is an interesting piece on "foie gras" pancakes (served with a mango chutney) an appetizer on the menu at the Butterfield 8, an upscale restaurant that can be found at the former site of Garfinckels downtown. And there's an editorial piece on a "Kinder, Gentler Canada" ... how cozy! ;)

volente Deo,

Anthony Dauer Alexandria, Virginia
"If you don't leave, I'll get somebody who will." -Raymond Chandler (1888-1959)
Hardboiled http://www.adau.net/judas_ezine/

-----Original Message----- From: Chris Routledge Sent: Saturday, September 09, 2000 5:49 AM
Sure, I agree. But that still doesn't explain why hard-boiled writing is considered more realistic than the cozies. That world existed too, you know, and while most people were unlikely to experience life in an English country vicarage, I suspect the appeal of reading about it was at least in part one of vicarious experience and admiration for those who did. That, it seems to me, is what hard-boiled fiction depends on too. In this respect it's rather like the protestant reformation: if the cozies are the Catholic church, offering liturgy in Latin and demanding heavy taxes, the American hard-boiled writers, like Martin Luther, offered a translated bible, and a liturgy people could understand. That doesn't mean the contrivances went away, though, they just became better presented for local conditions.
-- # To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # majordomo@icomm.ca. This will not work for the digest version. # The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 09 Sep 2000 EDT