Re: RARA-AVIS: What does Nolan say about Black Money?

Date: 08 Jan 2005

Interesting post, Kerry. A couple of responses:

"Vegas has since gone legit as a family playground now, meaning youth is exposed to it while forming their own values and brand loyalties."

Not that it counters your point, but Vegas has switched back, replacing the family friendly image with its current slogan, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." It seems not enough of the families' money was staying in Vegas -- guess they were taking advantage of all of the loss leaders without hitting the tables to pay it all, and more, back.

"The question though, is what's colloquial during the mid-sixties when television has spent 20 years stamping out regional dialects and gotten everyone talking like mid-Atlantic evening newscasters?"

For the record, it'd be just over 10 years for most of the US. Due to an FCC licensing freeze, TV was pretty much restricted to major cities through 1952. After the freeze, however, TV spread quickly, reaching near national saturation by the end of the decade. In addition, at least at first, TV had its biggest impact on movie attendance. Didn't book sales go up a bit in the '50s with the rise of paperbacks?

As for TV wiping out regional dialects, you've clearly never travelled through the American South, or between boroughs in NY, for that matter. In fact, just this week, PBS ran a documentary called Do You Speak American that examined the wide variety of speech patterns (not the same as dialects, but . . .) in the US.

"Macdonald's writing isn't colloquial in the way that Ellroy's is, but Ellroy latches onto the lingo of jazz musicians or the scandal-sheet yellow press for its stylistic flourish. This more jargon, the language of determined subcultures, not the dialects of average people."

We hear that a lot, from him as much as anyone else, about Ellroy using jazz speak. But does he? Did anyone ever really speak that way? It's always seemed to me that it's a carefully constructed, stylized lingo that bears about as much relationship to the sppech of real jazz musician as Chandler's tough guy language is like real tough guy speech. For the record, although I have developed some problems with Ellroy's eventual overreliance (in my opinion) on his schtick, I don't mean the above as a putdown. Quite the opposite -- real or not, Ellroy's and Chandler's languages work very well on the page.


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