Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Spillane and misogyny

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 11 Jul 2006

Jim Doherty wrote:

>Did NO such thing. You were the one who said
"Spillane has not stood the test of time." What is the "test of time," if not continuing to be read, consistently, over a long period of time?

That's a question you probably should have asked *before* you responded to my statement (and began beating me over the head with it, something I see you have continued to do in this latest round. Lovely. I'll address that first, then).

"The test of time" is perceptual at least as much as it is quantifiable, and as such, is NOT strictly factual. I say again for emphasis: it is NOT STRICTLY FACTUAL, and therefore you can no more call me "wrong" on this than I can call you a "blasphemer" for being an avowed Catholic.

Perception is NOT reality, Jim.


And if you disagree, then it is a difference of *OPINION*, and not of *FACT*.

Clear and unambiguous enough for you?

>If you want to say, "Spillane doesn't wear as well as
Hammett or Chandler,"

I do.

>or "Spillane isn't nearly the
sytlist that Hammett or Chandler are,"

That, too.

>or "Spillane's characterizations aren't as believable as Hammett's or
Chandler's," those are all opinions, quite defensible opinions, that you're entitled to hold and entitled to make arguements for.

I was pretty sure I already knew the difference between "opinion" and "fact," Jim, but thanks for the refresher course.

>But if you say, "Spillane hasn't stood the test of time," you are, quite simply, misstating a fact.





My blood type is A+. That is fact. It is provable and quantifiable. Assessing the relative merit of a writer is always going to have an element of subjectivity to it, especially in discussions such as this one, on lists such as Rara Avis.

And *THAT* is a fact.

I initially responded piece by piece to your points, but as I was re-reading it before sending it out, I realized that you were just saying the same thing, over and over. Since I'm not interested in boring the rest of the members of Rara Avis (I know, too late!) by replaying that scene in my reply, I took the liberty of weeding out the rest of the subjective pedantry we've both put on display in this discussion.

Oh, one more thing.

I don't really give a damn whether or not Mickey Spillane's red-baiting xenophobia is germaine to the subject we're discussing. I do care that we not allow a discussion of the politics he may or may not have put on display in his writing to devolve into a political "walk down memory lane." Because for every "colorful annecdote" you can produce about some eccentric lefty Berkeley professor, I can produce two about people like a boyhood friend of mine, currently in public service, who is a "cultural conservative," and a borderline fascist with all of the compassion of a rattlesnake.

I don't want to get into that sort of discussion. It's not why I come here.




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> Yahoo! Groups gets a make over. See the new email design.

RARA-AVIS home page:
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 11 Jul 2006 EDT