Re: RARA-AVIS: Macdonald versus Spillane: Daddy Figures

From: Joy Matkowski (
Date: 30 Oct 2007

I think you have great insight there, Kevin. Plus I always prefer a rescue mission to a vengeance mission, in real life and in fiction.

Joy, not doing much pleasure reading lately

Kevin Burton Smith wrote:
> I think some of it at least has to do with when you read them, and
> where you sit politically. Not totally, of course, but in a sorta
> general way.
> When I was doing an essay on Macdonald several years ago, I heard
> from a lot of fans, and it turned out many of them had read him in
> their early twenties or late teens. There's something sorta paternal
> about Archer, the detective as father figure, I think, that appeals
> to the adolescent or young adult mindset. All those troubled kids in
> those stories, and it was always Archer, come a-calling, who dug down
> deep and understood.
> And of course, Macdonald's heyday was the sixties and seventies, an
> era chockful of young adult angst and father issues. To question the
> status quo is, in a way, to rebel against your father.
> You like to talk and question, to understand, read Macdonald.
> Whereas Spillane's kill-'em-all mindset probably finds more of a home
> with those who favor physical force as a solution to almost any
> problem. Daddy knows best.
> You prefer to push around someone to prove the right of your cause,
> you'd probably love Spillane. It plays right into the might-is-right
> mythology.
> Of course, it's not all cut-and-dried -- it's just a theory, and I
> haven't even had my coffee yet. Lots of people love both authors, but
> rarely, I'm sure, for the same reasons.

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