Re: RARA-AVIS: Changing standards for masculinity (behavioral, not just muscle)

From: Patrick King (
Date: 26 Mar 2008

--- jacquesdebierue <> wrote:

> How about the "behavioral" changes in masculinity,
> say, among the PIs
> and other heroes of hardboiled land? Me, I think
> Ross Macdonald gave
> the kiss of death to the macho warrior, at least in
> the PI subgenre.
> Have we come a long way from Three Gun Terry,
> Cardigan and Mike
> Hammer? I somehow doubt that those types of
> operatives would go over
> well today.
> Overall, I think crime writing has gotten much more
> realistic, in a
> sense, it is much better today - not to deny the
> attractions of the
> older, pulp-style heroes, of which I'm a great fan
> and will always
> remain so.
****************************************************** Speaking of realism and behavioral changes, in a conversation about James Bond recently, it was pointed out to me that in espionage, bi-sexuality is a requirement. both Mata Hari and T.E. Lawrence had this ability. While we see reference or implication in the work of Graham Green, John LeCarre, and Frederick Forsyth, it is seldom referred to directly in books about spies. Yet when brought to my attention, it is obviously an important tool in an arsenal of political con artists.

While I agree that realism is heightened in modern writing, plot cohesion seems much less important today. Books are more often character driven. Plots tend to meander and resolve anyway they happen to. Less and less do you get the well-packages tale that comes from THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, or THE KILLER INSIDE ME. When a modern book does offer a good story populated by realistic characters, people find out about it fast and it becomes an instant classic, putting a great stress on the writer to come up with and equal or better follow up.

Patrick King

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