RARA-AVIS: Re: Our Heroes will Stand a bit Smaller

From: jacquesdebierue (jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com)
Date: 20 Jan 2010

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    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Michael Jeter <michael.damian.jeter@...> wrote:
    > Robert Parker has died. Many will discuss his work, pointing to the
    > holes, and I cannot deny those holes. The characters I know best,
    > Spenser, Susan, and Hawk, did not always play, in the minds of many,
    > as real. Would someone like Spenser call someone like Hawk not
    > ¨sidekick,¨ but ¨friend¨? Would a couple like Spenser and Susan really
    > exist? Isn´t she just a projection of the male libido? But, I submit,
    > the fantastic " the possibility that we can be more than what we are,
    > that we can rise above the mundane, that we can run ten miles around
    > Boston every day, cook gourmet level food, have a meaningful and
    > passionate love affair after many years, call our opposite our friend,
    > and have an mentoautomatic repulsion, disgust, for evil in all its
    > forms, not because of any creed or membership, but just because our
    > inner compass knows the true, north and otherwise. And if we cannot do
    > these things, it´s nice to believe that someone can.

    Not for me. It's not realistic. nor is it psychologically believable. When the series entered this territory, it started looking like a yuppie's dream, or a literate version of a computer game. The idea that you can have it all is close to the idea that you can get something for nothing, i.e., an infantile idea. I prefer characters who do unusual things but are not heroes in this idealized fashion. Guys like Elmore Leonard's Stick, for example, or Willeford's Cockfighter, guys who cannot be easily characterized as good or bad.

    However, I can see the enormous attraction that the Hawk, Spenser, Susan trio held for many people. But after a certain point, I simply could not believe in any of it. I also got bugged by the amount of explaining that Parker was doing. There was also a certain amount of "goodism", overt intention to fix society's problems and so forth. In the first several books it worked fine, but then it got too preachy and overt.

    I realize this is not a eulogy, but then, insincere opinions are worthless.



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