Re: RARA-AVIS: soft boiled Sunday morning

Date: 10 Oct 2005

Maybe that, and the GG art on the covers, were reasons for their popularity. But those covers also show urban working- and under-class settings as well as clothing and body language typical of  people of these backgrounds. Many of their readers identified more with the stories of Cain,. McCoy, Thompson, or Goodis rather than a high-brow, culturally sanctioned one. Police and racketeers were many readers' antagonists, as well as the writers'. What seems amusing or camp today was much more than amusing when the 1950s crime novels were being written and read. The _Sunday Morning_ focus on those sexy outrageous covers, while good for Hard Case Crime now that King is their latest author, trivialized the genre (as Hard Cases writers, both classic and contemporary, certainly do not).

I thought King did a great job but I thought the reporter was uninformed and condescending. The piece started off with the host saying something about it sure wasn't high art but pulp did have a big following...John D. once commented that he wrote fiction for men who carried their lunches in buckets and he thought that they were his primary audience. Every time NYC talks about pulp or noir they do the hambone private eye send-up voice and then show a dame or two. I've been reading a lot of early John D and Charles Williams lately. They were the true voice of my father's generation, men who fought in the big war and came home thankful but profoundly different from the boys they'd been when they first went overseas. The best of the 50's paperbacks tracked the spiritual lives of these men (and those who fought in Korea as well), from John D, Williams, Vin Packer, John McPartland etc to the later group of Charles Runyon, Dan J. Marlowe and Dennis Lynds under different names. I wish just once that network TV (or hell, NPR) could do a serious segment on pulp without dismissing it right at the top. To a lesser extent, the crime pulps of the Twenties and Thirties did much the same spiritual tracking of immigrant groups, notably Jews and Irish Catholics. I don't quite understand how the media can take nancy Drew so seriously (and I'm all for it) but find male pulp ridiculous on its face. Amen, brothers and sisters; amen, the Reverend Gorman is retiring to his study now.

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 10 Oct 2005 EDT