Re: RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled politics

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 18 Jul 2003

miker replied to Etienne:

"I disagree with your comment about the denial of auto-justification of power. In hardboiled detective literature, the exact opposite is the normal state of affairs. The detective's illegal activities are justified by the end result.

"The dominant political theme in hardboiled literature is that fascism defeats anarchy."

Can fascism be wielded by an individual? Isn't it by definition a social political movement? And I took it that Foucault, uh, Etienne was referring to the auto-justification of power within a culture, not an individual.

Yes, the detective's activities are often illegal and he often takes power into his own hands, but his power is severely limited. He rarely makes even a dent on the forces of society, at most takes out one boss who will soon be replaced by another just as bad, if not worse. Does he ever really defeat anarchy? I don't think so. At most, he keeps himself from being sucked into the void.


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