RARA-AVIS: Jim Doherty's protest against Kehr's definition

From: Jack Bludis (buildsnburns@yahoo.com)
Date: 26 Jul 2010

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    Jim Doherty says:


    Re your comment below on Mr. Kehr's proposed definition:

    "'... a pervasive sense of urban menace and malign fate, conveyed by a Germanic visual style full of threatening shadows and forced perspectives; a fall-guy hero wrenched out of a comfortable existence by an arbitrary twist of fate or a moment of moral weakness; a femme fatale who leads the hero on with her sexuality but ultimately only wants to use him and toss him away; a downbeat ending that finds the protagonist defeated or dead - or, preferably, both.' Delete the words after the first semicolon, and I believe we have an almost perfect description of noir fiction."

    Delete the words after the first semi-colon AND the word "urban," because there are too many rural examples.

    And, once you've done that, what you're left with is a long-winded way of saying "a dark and sinister atmosphere."

    Yes, there are rural examples, and Kehr's statement is not long-winded, It's accurate but as I said and you failed to mention, not concise.

    "Dark and sinister" is concise, but not totally accurate.

    "Screwed" is more concise and every bit as accurate as "Dark and Sinister." But neither "Screwed" nor "Dark and Sinister" is as accurate and Kehr's definition in spite of the fact that he is wrong about the urban business, yes those things do get rural.

    Jack Bludis


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