Re: RARA-AVIS: can noir writers advocate social reform?

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 28 Nov 2006

At 11:08 AM 28/11/2006 -0800, you wrote:

>Kerry J. Schooley wrote:
>"Transcend," in my Canuck Oxford, is to "be beyond the
>range or grasp of (human experience, reason, belief
>etc.)" ...To have low expectations for transcendence
>is to deny it's practical existence. Which, unlike any
>other literary form, noir does.
>Well if that's the definition of transend(ence), then
>denying its practical existence isn't much of a

Yeah, I'd have thought so too, but that's the definition and there it is, a major impulse in western culture just the same, as you indicate in your second paragraph.

> And there are several other literary genres
>that approach noir's no-transcendence endings.

Approach perhaps, but name the others that deny transcendence, please.

>It is the quest for transcendence (or the
>lower-on-the-totem-pole survival) that is significant.
>It is the struggle that lends life its nobility, even
>doused with a serious dose of futility.

Yes, it's so hard to give up the notion of transcendence, especially when it's been drummed into us from the get-go, but that's no reason for a school of thought or genre not to tackle the subject. Just the opposite, in fact. What if life isn't noble? What if that's just some value people ascribe to life in an attempt to make sense of it? What if nobility is just some label we attach to our behaviour to lend value to self-interest? What if it doesn't work and all we're left with is survival?

Oh my, Kerry

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