Re: RARA-AVIS: Sidekicks

From: Stewart Wilson (
Date: 14 Nov 2001

Jim Doherty wrote:
> This is allowing a murder to occur, when
> he's already decided that this murder is unacceptable
> morally or ethically, and, further, when he has the
> means at hand to prevent it. By deciding not to
> prevent it he, in effect, becomes an accomplice to the
> very murder he's already decided is immoral.

I agree. It really does taint the morality of the supposedly moral character. I see this kind of moral sleight of hand frequently, not just in sidekick/protagonist relationships, but in dealing with other minor characters as well. In the only two Hiassen (okay - not hard boiled) books I've read, a cop character named Al Garcia masquerades as moral, meanwhile abetting the protagonist's brutal murdering sprees. But after Al has to kill someone in self defense, he is plagued by visions of the man's death.

I think the honorable guy/sociopath ploy only works once. As soon as the sociopath acts against the honorable guy's morals, the honorable guy either has to discontinue the relationship, or be tainted. Mark Blumenthal pointed out the Bill Denton's Grofield/Parker example was bad because both characters are immoral. I think the same argument applies to all of the other examples given in the sidekick discussion. both are immoral; it's just a question of how much more immoral the
'bad' one is.


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