RE: RARA-AVIS: comic noir as black humor (was hardboiled comedy)

Date: 09 Mar 2005

Kerry wrote:
>> "..noir does not represent the tragic view of the universe. Tragedy is the failure to transcend specific human circumstance, usually character flaws, but allows the romantic view that such transcendence is not only possible, but desirable. Noir precludes the possibility of transcendence, and questions the desirability of attempts to do so. As Jack said: "Screwed," rendering efforts to unscrew ourselves comic.
Comic isn't the same as humourous, but humour does seem to me a characteristic of noir. My question is: is it essential? <<

* * *

I really like this more finely parsed distinction between noir and traditional tragedy, especially "rendering efforts to unscrew ourselves as comic." I think it follows that you actually could substitute
"ironic" for "comic" and then, the answer to your question is yes, irony, whether it's humourous or sad, is an essential characteristic of noir.

Best, Bruce

Bruce Makous Author, Riding the Brand

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