Re: RARA-AVIS: The moral implication of killing

From: hardcasecrime (
Date: 24 Oct 2007

It does seem to me that there is a basic difference between discussing the death penalty (or any other topic) as it appears in or relates to fiction and discussing it purely as an issue in the real world. I'm not saying one's better or worse than the other -- it's not -- but there are different places where each is appropriate.

If this were a mailing list about cooking, and people used it to compare recipes, discuss cooking techniques, share menus, review restaurants and chefs, etc., and someone started a protracted diatribe about cruelty to animals, would that be appropriate? It would be a perfectly reasonable topic to discuss -- but not in that location, since that's not the purpose of that discussion group.

Similarly, a protracted discussion of the Anthony Pellicano case would not (I think) be appropriate on Rara-Avis -- he's a detective, but he's not a detective in *fiction*, which is what we're here to talk about. Now, if someone wrote a novel about Pellicano, fine; if someone said, "What novels resemble the Pellicano case?" fine; if someone wanted to talk about books that raise issues similar to those raised in the Pellicano case, fine. But to just talk about a non- fictional case itself, at length, for message after message after message, with nary a reference to fiction along the way? I doubt I'm the only person here who finds that annoying and disruptive. It's a conversation I might well be interested in taking part in somewhere else -- but not here.

Just my 2 cents, obviously, and if the broad sentiment is otherwise, so be it. But this is not what I, at least, come to Rara-Avis for.


P.S. To avoid any misunderstanding, I am not complaining at all about the *content* of anyone's comments. It's not that I am offended by one or the other sides in the death penalty debate, or that I am bothered by the discussion of sensitive topics, or anything of the sort. I only object to polluting a crime fiction list with an extended discussion of a topic other than crime fiction. Talk about the *connection* between fiction and the real world all you want -- but when you start talking *only* about the real world, you're doing in the wrong place.

--- In, Michael Robison
<miker_zspider@...> wrote:
> Curt Purcell wrote:
> So does brutal interrogation, but I hardly see the hot
> lights and rubber hoses of a Gold Medal classic as an
> appropriate jumping-off point for a debate about
> Abu-Ghraib or Gitmo. Why? Because fiction is
> fiction. It's make-believe, no matter how "realistic"
> it pretends to be. That's why I read it.
> ***************
> Not much I can say to this. To me, the connection
> that fiction has to the real world is what makes it
> vital and relevant.
> miker
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