Re: RARA-AVIS: Bloody Words

From: Schooley (
Date: 12 Jun 2001

William Denton wrote (about his panel at Bloody Words):

> (Mine didn't go perfectly but they did fine jobs. Jose
> Latour, who wrote OUTCAST, was on mine, and said some really interesting
> things about noir writing in Central and South America, none of which I
> can remember now.)

You do yourself a disservice, Bill. Jose Latour talked about the difficulty and danger of writing noir in his home country (Cuba) because political authorities saw it as threatening. It depicted them as the corrupt power-mongers they are. Clearly they feared the possibility it could lead to social and political change.

Peter Chambers began by admitting he didn't feel he had a place on the panel as a noir writer, and so he acted as a foil, prodding Latour to clarify and expand his comments into areas that might be more relevant to North American writers and readers.

Part way through, Gregory Ward provided an example of how authorities in "western democracies" try to silence fans and creators of noir fiction, by saying he felt there was a line that should not be crossed into sensationalism and implying anyone who crosses that line lacks moral decency. Making this comment at a gathering of people who read and write about murder was an especially revealing hypocrisy. It became clear that writers who depict shocking scenes in order to shock their readers are often moralists who feel their readers should and need to be shocked by the state of the world.

Your panel also dealt with the social relevance of a form that does not provide uplifting moral messages. Latour's comments showed how the grim realities presented in noir provide social transparency, revealing how power and corruption work, and their consequences. Such transparency is essential to the human need for redemption. But to even imply in fiction there will be a change in the human condition is to be brutally dishonest.

It became evident during the discussions at your panel that the difference between cosy and noir is the difference between entertainment and art. My only regret was that we didn't hear more from Chris Rippen, but he had plenty of opportunities if he'd had something to add.



<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<LOOKING FOR FUN>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The evil that men do lives after them at
Literary events in Ontario's Golden Horseshoe and around the world at
<<<<<<<<<<<IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES>>>>>>>>>>>>

-- # To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # This will not work for the digest version. # The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 11 Jun 2001 EDT