RARA-AVIS: JDM Passages: Robison

From: Todd Mason ( Todd.Mason@tvguide.com)
Date: 16 Sep 2002

The flag is down, Mike, but I suspect no one here is suggesting that JDM doesn't lead the league in most ways. Just this is an arguably weak area in the McGee stories, one not quite excused by TM's self-doubt in the monologues that are key to his "Rotarian hippiness." JDM clearly did identify with McGee, if not quite as blatantly as another MacDonald tagging his protag "I. M. Fletcher," and when one finds even such relatively enlightened, in some ways, attitudes toward sexual politics as JDM displays in several of his books, and relatively unenlightened bits mixed in, one does tend to think that the author is saying something more than just that his characters believe X or Y...much as the recurrence of incest in Thompson's books probably means more than merely easy shock value. TM

-----Original Message----- From: Robison Michael R CNIN [mailto: Robison_M@crane.navy.mil] Well, it looks like it's pretty much been decided that Travis McGee had a hypocritical double standard. But let's not judge JDM too harshly for this. Think of Lou Ford. That sick sonuvabitch murdered people, and we still like KILLER INSIDE ME and Jim Thompson, don't we?

My response is part in jest and part serious. An author can paint a pretty creepy protagonist and make a damn good book out of it. Personally, I'd gag if all the protagonists passed the politically correct test with flying colors. On the other hand, when the reader starts thinking that the bad in the protagonist is echoing those of the writer, it's time to toss the propaganda penalty flag.

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