Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I was e-mailing someone today about politics and noir fiction and whether the genre leaned either to the left or to the right. My short answer is it can do both. Anyway, this is what I wrote:

It's funny to think that noir stuff leans toward the political right. Maybe if you're James Ellroy, but I think most contemporary crime novelists are quite liberal because they take on the troubles of society and not on the individual. The crime novel is the new social novel. THE WIRE is a good example and the writers for that show, Lehane, Richard Price, David Simon and especially George Pelecanos lean toward the left. I can understand thinking that the use of guns and violence are accepted tools of the right, especially gun usage; but I think there is a difference in portraying violence realistically and being gratuitous. However, I'm a huge fan of stylized violence - Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, etc. (I laughed my way through Hostel because there is apparently something wrong with me); so I am very guilty of using fictional violence, I'll admit it. What does that say about my political leanings? I have no idea. I guess if you didn't know me, it'd be possible to label me more conservative than I really am. A couple of years ago Keith Olbermann showed some footage of this automatic weapons get-together these gun hobbyists have every year in the Kentucky boonies, and I'm talking about high powered miniguns that shoot twenty rounds a second, and they were shooting up stuff and blowing shit up and Olbermann said something like, "I don't care what your stance on gun control is, that's pretty cool." There is something about destruction that fascinates us, I think; whether it is the breakdown of society, the tragic downfall of a single character or an old Pinto getting shot to shit. Perhaps that is what draws me to the genre more than anything.

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