Re: RARA-AVIS: Come on in - the water's fine

From: M Blumenthal (
Date: 20 Apr 2002

Rene Ribic:

> Like others on the list, I found the Best 100 Hardboiled Characters vote
> a mixed blessing. Although it did rather dominate the discussion for a
> while the Characters vote did liven things up & in particular it
> brought quite a few lurkers to surface. It was nice to see several women
> lurkers announce themselves - we blokes tend to dominate discussions,
> etc & I feel that it's not always our fault- it would be nice to have
> our sisters (& the other lurkers) make their presences felt more often.

Rene, The voting brought out a lot of lurkers who, to my knowledge, had nrver contributed before. Aside from the expected voters from English speaking Canada , USA, UK and Australia, we had voters from Germany, Japan, Finland, Sweden and Quebec which is mainly French speaking.. Judging from every listserv I have been on, I think the majority of subscribers are always lurkers. The sex is not important. It is hard to contribute something useful without having special knowledge or training. It doesn't help a list to have a lot of messages like 'I agree' or 'I really liked some The Maltese Falcon.' You have to contribute knowledge or some reasoned opinion why you feel as you do. I agree with you that many people are intimidated by Rara Avis. After all, many of the members are writers or academics. Yet I have never seen any contribution to this list get a response that doesn't treat the original as worthwhile.

I agree with you that men are more likely to be on this list than are women only because of its subject matter. I can only judge by my experience. My sister is an avid mystery reader, but I know she dislikes anything she considers too violent. My wife can't understand why I like such violent books and movies. I have managed to get her to read some of the non-hard boiled Westlakes, but that's it. I know that's certainly not a universal attitude. We have a fair number of women who are pretty active on this list, and I know a woman who still may be subscribed that regularly reads harder edged books than I. Mark, ducking..

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