Re: RARA-AVIS: 3/29/02 - Top 100 List A QUESTION RE: VOTING

Date: 29 Mar 2002

In a message dated 3/29/02 8:10:33 PM, writes:

<< Remember that hard boiled has developed from the pulps and popular fiction, not what is called great literature. It's up to you to define best. >>

    Thanks for taking the time to give me your views on this issue. I really appreciate the effort. I disagree with virtually everything you said, but it was helpful to have you say it.
    There's nothing magical or even all that difficult about defining terms and agreeing on them. People do it all the time about subjects more mundane and more esoteric than the one at hand. Also, the fact that hard-boiled fiction came from the pulps rather than some higher literary realm does not render it too pedestrian to be assessed. In my opinion, strong hard-boiled fiction can stand up against any other fiction.
    The problem here (if it is a problem) is that you guys are deep into "do your own thing" on choosing this list, but you want to give it a name that will make it sound like the RARA-AVIS group has spoken out with a collective voice about which hard-boiled characters are best. That's not what's happening. What we're really doing is creating a hundred different lists using a hundred different criteria and then we're adding up the votes as though the totals really meant something.
    The list you referred to may or may not have been created with clear criteria; I don't know how they did it. They could have come up with all of the examples you laid out either way. I've pushed for clarity because I believe that the collective knowledge and wisdom of this group could produce some insightful choices if we could only agree about what it was we were choosing.
    I've said enough on the subject now, and to tell you the truth I've lost interest in the exercise. You're obviously having a good time doing whatever it is you're doing, so I won't nag you anymore.

                                    Jim Blue

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