RARA-AVIS: Re: Violence for the sake of...?

From: crimeflix ( jmks100@aol.com)
Date: 23 Mar 2005

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Dave Zeltserman" <davezelt@c...> wrote:
> Jason,
> Thank you for taking my post out of context

I don't think I did, actually...

 To be precise I
> mentioned Hammett, Thomnpson, and Cain, and I didn't state that
> writers today should do this, but that it if the above writers
> could do it than it can be done. I also discussed my own internal
> struggle with this - whether using profanities is the easy way out
> and just displaying a lack of skill or whether it makes the writing
> more natural. And hypotheticals like "My guess is that Thompson and
> Cain, and especially Goodis, would have loved to use more natural
> street language but simply couldn't" is kind of ridiculous (or
> should I say "fucking" ridiculous).

No, actually, this happens to be true of crime fiction and literature in general from the '50s...It's not hypothetical, it's a fact that writers were constrained then and I used Goodis as the likely example...You're correct that Thompson was old fashioned in that way-- so that's a good point--but Thompson was also a product of his time and upbringing...If he born in the '60s or '70s and writing today would his language be affected? Absolutely...

 Actually, everything I've read
> about Thompson would contradict that statement - he was kind of an
> old fashioned guy who couldn't understand Stanley Kubrick not
> wearing a suit to work. Did Willeford use profanities in his
> writing? I've read a lot of his works, and that doesn't stand out.
> Going to have to double check on that.
> Btw. I've seldom (if ever) found Hammett's writing/dialogue
> but I've found many current writers who try to use street language
> sounding awkward and unnatural.
> Won't get into The Pulp Fiction question since I love that movie,
> and besides I wasn't talking about movies, but really talking about
> my own internal struggle on the issue. So don't take offense - I'm
> not saying what you should do or implying any lack of skill on your
> part, but more questioning out loud what I should be doing.

No offense taken at all. I thought we were just generalizing...but Stella should be offended! (LOL)

> -Dave Z.
> --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "crimeflix" <jmks100@a...>
> >
> > A poster the other day talked about how Thompson, Cain, Chandler,
> etc
> > wrote excellent tough prose without cursing, so writers today
> should
> > do the same...This really doesn't make sense to me at all. Of
> course
> > it's possible to write tough without cursing but writers in
> the '50s
> > were constrained by the times. My guess is that Thompson and
> > and especially Goodis, would have loved to use more natural
> > language but simply couldn't--their publishers wouldn't have all
> owed
> > it. Good writing usually overcomes this but sometimes the lack of
> > profanities in writers for that era sticks out for me. I love
> > Highsmith, for example, but sometimes her writing seems awkard to
> me
> > when she writes something like "he cursed" without letting us
> > what the curse is...IMHO, George V. Higgins really opened up the
> > language of crime fiction with the The Friends of Eddie Coyle,
> > later Willeford and Leonard picked up the torch...Today, I think,
> > crime writers have much more freedom of language the 50's pulp
> > writers, and this is a good thing....Similarly, the language in
> crime
> > films has evolved. Think Double Indemnity vs. Pulp Fiction?
> Because
> > Double Indemnity was effective without cursing that means that
> Pulp
> > Fiction should've had no cursing because Double Indemnity was a
> > classic? Sorry, but that just doesn't hold up for me.....
> > J
> > http://www.jasonstarr.com

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