Re: RARA-AVIS: Marlowe as racist

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 30 Aug 2001


I agree with your take on Fred's observations and questions about Marlowe being racist. I, too, take his "only a shine killing" comments as an ironic criticism of the cops who dismiss it as such.

And the casual use of racial slurs and stereotypes was a, from today's perspective unfortunate, part of the time. His use of those words seems largely benign to me. Marlowe is not one to hide it when he looks down on someone. As an example, just look at the way he talks about Bay City cops, individually and collectively. So I think his animosity towards the various races would be a whole lot clearer if he really was a bigot.

Also, Fred, wasn't Big Sleep Chandler's first novel, not Farewell My Lovely? Or are you claiming Farewell was his first "LA novel"?


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