RARA-AVIS: Re: Urban Fiction

From: Gonzalo Baeza (gbaeza@gmail.com)
Date: 10 Jan 2009

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    I'm sure this is what we had in mind when we first tackled so- called "urban fiction." I'm definitely buying this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Noir-Mystery-Suspense-African- American/dp/1605980579/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1231602317&sr=1- 1


    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Burton Smith <kvnsmith@...> wrote:
    > On Jan 7, 2009, at 10:35 PM, rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com wrote:
    > > Now Kevin, at least, you seem to be basing your judgements upon
    > > actually
    > > having read a few of these books, but are you reading them as
    > > their target audience? Wouldn't these exaggerated, cliche,
    > > stereotypical bad black men resonate differently in that different
    > > cultural context? Basing my assumption more on friends I know who
    > > big fans than any actual sales figures, isn't the primary
    audience for
    > > this genre black FEMALE? And isn't the emphasis (again, based on
    > > with fans, not having actually read them) of these books more on
    > > black women who love men who have embraced these stereotypes than
    > > the
    > > men themselves? If so, it'd make perfect sense that the men would
    > > exaggerated stereotypes, just as bad boys are exaggerated in all
    > > lit.
    > I'm beginning to think you're right. Just as there's a
    > large market for gay male erotica among women, so too does a lot
    > this stuff seem to be aimed at the romance market -- or at least a
    > very uncritical target audience. I think I was mislead by the
    > settings, which had me hoping for some gut-level homegrown,
    > hip-hop version of THE WIRE. I got Fabio in blackface instead.
    > And yes, I'm fully aware of the echoes of previous cultural debates
    > my gripes about urban fiction. But I want to make it clear -- I'm
    > against the idea of this stuff (just like I wasn't against much of
    > dumbed-down "neo-noir" stuff I railed against a while back) and I
    > don't want it banned or, er, white washed. But I would like it to
    > better written. And less impressed with its own existence.
    > Even a cliché, in the right hands, can be an intriguing,
    > character. But cardboard is cardboard, regardless of cultural
    > Plus, I still think "urban fiction" is one of the dumbest and most
    > meaningless euphemisms I've heard since "African-American." Just
    > other day, I heard a Fox announcer discussing African-Americans
    > were born and grew up in Europe, apparently unaware of how
    > he sounded.
    > I dunno. Maybe this stuff will evolve, or more likely it will serve
    > a training ground and its better writers will move on to bigger
    > better things, just as lesbian pornmeisters like Westlake and
    > moved up to the big leagues.
    > Kevin Burton Smith
    > The Thrilling Detective Web Site
    > New Issue Sort of Up
    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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