RARA-AVIS: Re: Was Marlowe a racist?

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 14 Sep 2000

>Yes times have changed. Today one Black can and often does call another Black
>a nigger. But if the same is uttered by a White, or an Americian Indian for
>that matter, watch out. But when a Black calls a White a Cracker does the
>White react the same as a Black being called nigger by a White? I think not.
>Chandler simply wrote his stories on the acceptability (ugh! Political
>Correctness) of his day.

Gee, some of you really have something up your butts about political correctness.

But political correctness has nothing to do with not calling blacks
"niggers" -- that's just common courtesy, respect and tolerance. You know, old-fashioned stuff like that. Maybe some of you younger pups can read up on it.

Yeah, there are some PC types who overdo it, zeroing in on imaginary slights where no offense was meant or intended (and it's these zealots who the term "politically correct", coined by liberals themselves, actually referred to), but surely most people find such terms as wetback, spick, redskin, kike, wop, nips, chinks, frog, offay, cunt, Pepsis, faggot and the like objectionable. And they were considered objectionable long before anyone had ever heard of the phrase "politically correct," even in the "good old days."

And the lame defense that some members of some group use some term among themselves has nothing to do with it. I'm sure most of you are called things by friends you'd rather not have your mother call you. Just because you shit in your toilet, doesn't mean you should shit on the sidewalk.

Anyway, was Marlowe racist? He was a man of his time, and yeah, he fell into some sweeping over-generalizations, and used some unfortunate slurs, but he was smart enough, for the most part, to rise above it. He certainly showed more sympathy towards the
"coloreds" in FAREWELL, MY LOVELY than towards the cops who dismiss the incident as "just another shine killing." As someone else pointed out, there's a healthy (and pretty obvious) amount of irony in Marlowe's comments, when he uses racist terms.


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