Re: RARA-AVIS: Ellroy

From: Kerry Schooley (
Date: 27 Nov 2002

At 05:32 PM 25/11/2002 -0800, you wrote

>Let me quote Kerry Schooley from a few days ago for you then:
>"Something like 150 million killed in the past century. Yet we prosper and
>keep counting. I can't think of another author who so effectively catches
>these amoral, hysterical times. I don't care if he (Ellroy) is an asshole."
>Sounds like someone describing Ellroy as either transcendent or literary,
>to me. Of course you could split hairs and say that you don't see either
>of those words in what is said, but I was responding to the entirety of
>the post from which I cut and pasted the above statement.

It's flattering to be quoted, but you might stop attributing your subsequent misinterpretations to me, then using me as straw-dog in your circular arguments.

I can only guess at what you mean by "literary", other than that as a negative attribute for genre fiction. But hardboil or noir is unquestionably a literary form. Ellroy does not transcend the genre. He doesn't need to. From Hammett to Chandler to MacDonald to Mosley and Ellroy the genre has always been about the individual, as everyman, trying to find and maintain moral values in an amoral and corrupt world. As for whether this is one of the "great themes of the twentieth century", I don't encounter it much beyond our genre. That's why I like hardboiled fiction.

It does seem to me that your objection is to the amount of profanity and the universal corruption depicted in Ellroy's books. Not enough recognition of the good people in this world who do things for entirely altruistic reasons. I'll not debate the state of the world with you, but I do think that this is not an idea consistent with this genre; that what's needed for the world to be right are more positive role models. Or maybe more sit-com Fonzies, tough guys with hearts of gold. Spade and Marlow were lone knights, but their motivation was anything but altruism. The dick works for money, by definition.

As for the profanity, you're not the first to determine merit by counting the number of bad words used, but it seems a superficial meter at best.


------------------------------------------------------ Literary events Calendar (South Ont.) The evil men do lives after them

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