Re: RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 18 Feb 2005

At 03:28 AM 18/02/2005 -0800, you wrote:

>No, we didn't agree. The Doherty definition of tough
>and colloquial stood hard and fast until Jack Bludis
>nailed his infamous "hardboiled = tough" thesis to the
>rara-avis door, introducing the heresy that you no
>longer have to be colloquial to ascend to hardboiled

Much as I admire Jack's brevity and thought, I still believe Marlowe moved in a different world than many of his clients. That was his purpose as knight errant, to save the damsels from the dragons of their base nature and the low caste criminals who would exploit them. And so we get the colloquialisms. Moose Malloy, anybody?

>Personally, I agree with both you, Kerry, and Mario,
>on the class issue. I think that hardboiled is
>predominantly class-based, but if the rich guy can
>pass through the eye of a needle, he can be hardboiled

What I've said above doesn't make Chandler's work noir, however. Or at least it doesn't qualify as looking at the world from the bottom up, and I think that is a necessary characteristic of noir. This is where you can have the atmospherics, but not the essence. If noir means screwed, as Jack so eloquently puts it, then it's hard to see the winners in capitalist society as screwed. Of course, nobody wins forever, but some seem to manage it until they die.

Anyway, what I started to say was that this is one area where hard boiled and noir brush up against one another. Colloquial and working-class are not the same things, though, as Mario pointed out, one is often used to reveal the other. And a working-class background does not rule out an interest in the arts, for that matter.

Educate me some more, Kerry

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 18 Feb 2005 EST