RARA-AVIS: Re: noir

From: Frederick Zackel ( fzackel@wcnet.org)
Date: 01 Oct 2005

Somebody help me out here. I read:

"I would refer you also to David Corbett's piece on existentialism in the current "Reflections of a Private Eye." In the existentialist view the world is chaotic, lacking in any meaning other than the meaning a person creates for himself through his actions. That's noir. The protagonist in such stories is no more doomed than we all are. If you excuse the sexist language, "Man's Fate."

Then I read Bruce, saying,
"Charles Ardai drew recently in speaking with him privately after his fine B'con panel on noir. He said that the Greeks felt their universe was determined by the gods, and when a Greek tragedy suggests that the gods were acting completely arbitrarily or unjustly, as in Oedipus Rex, it created a noir universe."

Einstein said he couldn't believe that God played dice with the universe. But He does.

Clendon then wonders, "The protagonist can't win because there is too much chaos in the way?"


And I started thinking about our current bunch of All-American creationists and Intelligent Designers, (twisting Dave Z.'s words) "all grasping for whatever hope they can get a glimmer of only to have it ripped away." In a universe of chaos, those religionists (?) are noir. They are screwed. To twist Kerry J. Schooley's words, they "aspire to a set of values that have no meaning outside their world... It is a set of values that can only be maintained with a lot of work done for no purpose other than to try to make that particular set of values work, and the strength of character to ignore the obvious consequences of that work..." Without Providence, without a loving personal god who makes sense and who watches over them, they're screwed.

Religion is rooting around in here somewhere, like a pig with truffles. In his daughter's biography, Hammett, an ex-Catholic, had come to believe that Random Chance ruled, which puts a sort of religious (or ex-religious) spin on "falling beams."

Kent's right, too, I think, that, "So in the end, ironically, I think Noir is about a growth in human awareness/consciousness. I think it means we have a chance. We have hope. It means we're willing to face the ugly things in life and go on from there." In a cold chemical universe (such as Camus or Satre's) we go on. I also don't think established, hierachial religion is the answer to feeling Doomed. I look at Creationists, for example, who talk like the Flintstones was How It Really Was 'way back when, and I think, in our post-modern world, they're losers, they're doomed.

Then Mark says,
"Brigid slips out of police custody after leaving Spade's presence
(perhaps seduces one of the cops, grabs his gun and shoots him?). We next hear of her in Casablanca. She's heard someone has information about the Falcon; he gambles at Rick's Cafe Americain. Unfortunately, as she enters the club, she spots Guttman and Cairo, who have heard the same rumors."

Oh man I'll go see that movie!

Fred Zackel
"lakhn mit yashtsherkes"

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