Re: RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled Character Traits

Date: 02 May 2002

In a message dated 5/2/02 5:42:57 AM, writes:

<< The true test of any definition is to take it out of the experts' hands and to see how the great unwashed see it. We all know what hardboiled is or at least what we believe hardboiled is. >>

    Ah, so this is the "true" test of a definition. I didn't know that. I wonder if the folks who produce all of those dictionaries know that?
    A few days ago, you tossed Eddie Coyle, Matt Scudder, Easy Rawlins, and a handful of other characters out of "hard-boiled" pool, because they weren't
"truly" hard-boiled. Each of them failed some element of your "no-scumbags,"
 "no-pussies," "not truly self-confident" rule. Ah, there's that word again.
    Maybe the problem we're having is that the rest of us don't use enough, or at least don't use the correct, modifiers. Perhaps we aren't sufficiently hip to the meaning of "true" and "truly," and the need for their inclusion in any "truly" accurate definition.
    Jim Doherty may have a developed a broader meaning for "tough" and
"colloquial" than are in common useage outside the world of hard-boiled fans, but his terms are easy to understand around here, and they have proven to be both inclusive and useful.
    Jack Bludis said he thought you were overcomplicating the definition of hard-boiled. I believe you started out with a death grip on the idea that no one can accurately state "true" (couldn't resist that one) definitions of hard-boiled and noir, and that a sizable array of well stated arguments, logic, examples, and counter examples have not pried even one of your fingers away from that belief. Despite the involvement of well known hard heads like myself on the RARA AVIS list, you may have established that when it comes to hardheadedness, "you da man."

                                        Jim Blue

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