Re: RARA-AVIS: Surprise Endings

From: Terrill Lankford (
Date: 13 Nov 2005

-----Original Message----- From: Sent: Nov 13, 2005 8:06 PM To: Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Surprise Endings

Joy wrote:

"The racism, sexism, classism, and every other variety of bigotry of books from bygone eras (even much of the Old Testament) bother me, and I avoid them."

To varying degrees, I can put those traits in vintage books into context. What really gets to me are contemporary writers who set their books in the past and use it as an excuse to revel in racial, ethnic and homophobic slurs. It too often seems like an excuse to spew those vile sentiments, whether because they agree with them or just to shock, while retaining the easy out of saying, Hey, it's not me, it was the times. I found that excuse less and less compelling from Ellroy, finally had to stop reading him, well, that and his increasingly slack writing.


I understand where you're coming from here, Mark, but it brings up an interesting writing problem. If a writer decided to place their story in less "enlightened" times, how would they handle this issue without being offensive to our more tender sensibilities while still being authentic to the way many people used to speak? Especially - but certainly not exclusively - bad people?


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 13 Nov 2005 EST