Kevin, you make very good points. One that I would add is that pulp
literature, together with the production of the literary heavyweights
(Dos Passos, Steinbeck, etc.) of the thirties, convinced people that corruption is an essential feature of the landscape, regardless of who is at the helm. This trend was never reversed in literature and film. It seems to be a deep conviction, apparently impossible to erase at this late date. I don't think it's so much cynicism as a strong belief that what underlies everything is corruption. In the hardboiled genre, Chandler and Hammett did their share to spread this view early on.
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