RARA-AVIS: Thus spake Jim (and Kerry, too)...

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 03 Sep 2003

And lo, Jim declared:

>Snide but good-natured cracks about my Jesuit
>education may now begin.

Nah, not me. I'm just gonna watch BLACK ROBE again. Now THERE'S a hard-boiled western. And if I recall correctly, the book wasn't so cozyish, either. It's like the darkside of the Leatherstocking Tales. Nasty, nasty, nasty...

Anyway, I agree with you, Jim. If someone's amoral, they're beyond good or bad -- they just don't care, they don't even see good or bad. As you pointed out, Jim, it's so frigging obvious how much Marlowe cares about ethics and morality and obsesses so much over the difficult choices he has to make that I too am thunderstruck.

An amoral person isn't someone who just occasionally commits an immoral (or even just an illegal) act. That would be like saying someone who drinks a beer is an alcoholic.

Even I can see that. And I'm a heathen.

Oh, and Kerry wrote (regarding my post on violence):

>Of course, writers may not do it well, but I think we'd be wrong to assume
>that the depiction of extreme violence automatically means the writer is
>untalented. The question is, do such depictions have intrinsic value, and I
>suspect the answer might, even after weighing the reasonable nays, be yes.

Which is why I said (note my emphasis in CAPS)

>There's nothing particular literary or ground-breaking about GRATUITOUS
>offensiveness. It's USUALLY the sign of a weak writer, not a strong one.
>I'd rather a writer try to mess with my head, not my gag reflex.

Granted, one man's ceiling is another man's floor, and obviously, violence or sex or anything else that pushes buttons can and is often used well by many writers to challenge, to push, to provoke -- and maybe even to make us think.

But for every writer who uses it well, there are a thousand hacks and pretentious gits out there who miss the point entirely. They're the ones who push buttons and run away -- or even worse, they stand there with nothing to say when you answer the door.


Kevin -- # Plain ASCII text only, please. Anything else won't show up. # To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # majordomo@icomm.ca. This will not work for the digest version. # The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

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