RARA-AVIS: Men writing women and vice versa & Hard Eight

From: Frederick Zackel ( fzackel@wcnet.org)
Date: 02 Sep 2002

Part of the problem with writing about the opposite sex is fantasizing what you think the opposite sex is, when in truth you haven't a clue in the world. I watched the most recent PBS Mystery series featuring Elizabeth George's cozies, figuring watching one of her stories on TV would spare me from reading an ARC of one of her books. Her main character Thomas Lynley was such "a sensitive male," I puked. He was more sensitive than any woman in the story, especially the 18 yr old murderer who used an axe to behead her father. (The only good part of the story. I perked up for that.) A sensitive male is what you buy for a postmodern woman who has everything. George has no idea what goes on inside a man's head, but her audience can identify with her cloying nonsense because their fantasy of what a sensitive male is corresponds to her fantasy. So she's a big name cozy writer. On the other hand I have four fingers and thumb. Ahhh, what I really mean is: how many hard-boiled male writers are only capable of writing "Beautiful Girls in Underpants with Machine Guns," which is no less a clueless manufactured fantasy. The diff between the cozies & the hard-boiled fantasies is women buy books, so cozies rule. The more cozies there are, the less reason men have to read. So men read less. Which means more cozies get published. Which means --

I'm such a sensitive male, my wife sent me to the video store to rent Hard Eight. She saw it by accident on Bravo, then said it's my kind of story. I missed it when it came out. Never knew it existed. Had a wonderful time with it. I tried checking the rara-avis archives to see what the list has said in the past about it, but my Apple 2E isn't awake yet.

Happy Labor Day. Don't go to work.


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