Re: RARA-AVIS: Chandler's "Noir Feel" for LA (was Denise Hamilton)

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 17 May 2004

At 10:36 PM 16/05/2004 -0400, you wrote:

>I haven't read many (hardly any) westerns, but going by the movies, evil
>in westerns is embodied in the civilization that is encroaching upon the
>open spaces of the frontier (geography), bringing with it all of
>civilization's corruption. Hardboiled and noir are (often) set within
>that corruption that has become inescapable after the open spaces had
>been paved over.

Yes, I agree. "Function of geography" was too vague.

May I suggest that you and Jim have ended your "rules" discussion a touch too comfortably? Seems to me a lot of rules, perhaps all of them, tend to serve one group of people at the expense of others, or will work in one situation but not so well in another set of circumstances. Sometimes this is deliberate, other times less so, but quite often when following the rules is inconvenient for the powerful, they ignore them, even though it is the powerful that so often get to proclaim the rules.

But I don't think there's much point in us comparing our own moral philosophies, and I apologize if that's what I've been doing. My point is simply that noir deals with moral issues. It may be argued that that is true of all crime writing, but I'm inclined to think that some crime writing does not, and that this is one of the characteristics that distinguishes noir from other crime writing. Maybe it is just what distinguishes the crime writing that interests me from that which does not.

It is what I most enjoyed about Cock Fighter, for instance. Willeford devised an entire system of rules and morals based upon pitting one bird brain against another. Metaphorically very noir indeed.

Best Kerry

Best Kerry

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

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