“When the tests showed Kathy’s brain was wooden, my worst fears were confirmed,” a spokesman for Mr. Doody said.
“He asks that his privacy and that of his family be respected in this difficult time.”
Chandler is a superb writer, and his detective, Philip Marlowe, is the distilled essence of a hard-boiled cynic–with gut-level integrity.
The plot is convoluted, but intelligible.
Not so, the movie’s plot, which is famously incoherent but fun to watch, for all that.
After all, Bogie and Bacall and director Howard Hawks suffuse it with noir atmosphere.
After a while, you stop caring that it makes no sense. You just soak it up.
Still, I knew Chandler’s novel was different. At least, that’s what I vaguely remembered from reading it years ago. So, I decided to revisit it.
It’s a great read, not only for Chandler’s prose style but for Marlowe’s interaction with tough guys, rich guys, sleaze balls, cops, crazy women, and shrewd women, all looking for an angle in 1930s LA. Marlowe knows how to play their games, but keeps his integrity (without being goody two-shoes) as he does it.
What makes Chandler and Hammett’s work so different from the classic English whodunits?
Here’s my take. In the hard-boiled American genre, the whole world is steeped in evil sharpies. We aren’t totally focused, as we are in classic English mysteries, in finding the single person who committed the murder (given that everyone in a small, well-defined group has a plausible motive–and perhaps some clues pointing in their direction).
In the American genre, the whole underworld is implicated. Lots of them “done it.” The problem is not just finding one guy. It is unraveling the whole tangled mess of lies and crimes. Since the private eye must travel constantly in that underworld, his (or her) problem is maintaining a moral compass while all about him have none.
Sleazy as that world is, what fun to be lost in it, guided by such capable hands as Chandler’s.
Gomer was the good-hearted, clueless goober, first in Mayberry, then in the Marines–a beloved character for the Baby Boom generation.
The “Marines” show was a spin off from his success on the Andy Griffith Show.
Nabors, it turned out, was also a fine singer, and had a variety show for several years after the sit-com ended.
Originally from Sylacauga, Alabama, he spent his final decades in Hawaii, living with his husband of nearly forty years, Stan Cadwallader. (NYT obituary here.)
I have a small, personal connection to Jim Nabors, who was a business major at the University of Alabama, as was my Dad and my brother Steve. My Uncle Harry was a professor of marketing there and actually taught Nabors. From all I heard, Jim was apparently just as likeable in person as he was on TV, and, unlike his characters, was a thoughtful, cultivated man.
May he rest in peace.
Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple
◆ The devastation–human and material–keeps growing from California wildfires
◆ Stand and Deliver: Goodell send letter telling NFL players he wants them to stand during anthem. (ESPN)
No specifics on how the league plans to ensure it or act toward players who do not stand.
Comment #1: ESPN broke into their political coverage to cover this sports story.
Comment #2 re Trump vs NFL kneelers: ZipDialog predicted
(a) the league would cave after seeing the fans’ and advertisers’ reactions,
(b) Trump was politically smart to make this an issue; most people respect the flag, and ALL his base does; and
(c) when Trump won on this issue, he wouldn’t be shy about saying so.
◆ Horny Harvey and Hollywood Hypocrisy
Comment: Now that he has been destroyed, the powerful people and institutions will finally speak.
I completely understand why the weak and vulnerable kept quiet; they are victims. But the powerful and well-entrenched who knew about this have no such excuses.
◆ The next phases of the Weinstein story, as I see it
Comment: Here are some obvious angles. The question is whether the media wants to investigate, given that they are directly implicated, along with their powerful friends:
◆ Henry Kissinger meets with Trump. What’s that about?
Comment: Kissinger has made one of the most sensible and serious proposals about working with China to resolve the North Korean crisis. He is also the most trusted intermediary to broker a deal between Beijing and Washington and to carry back-channel messages between the two. (Kissinger’s proposal was contained in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, subscription)
My guess: Trump listened to Kissinger, said “great, if Xi is willing to do it. But if he won’t or it doesn’t work, tell him the US will act unilaterally in a wide variety of ways that the Chinese won’t like.”
Hat Tip to
◆ Randy Helm for pointing out that the NYT deserves credit for breaking the story
The New York Times exclusive names names and includes many “on-the-record” quotes, together with vivid anecdotes.
Here’s the opening:
Two decades ago, the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what the young actress expected to be a business breakfast meeting. Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower, she recalled in an interview.
“How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” Ms. Judd said she remembers thinking. –New York Times
The NYT, quoting two anonymous officials at Weinstein’s company, say he reached “at least eight settlements with women” regarding “sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact.”
Another former employee goes on-the-record to say that Harvey Weinstein’s conduct “wasn’t a secret to the inner circle” at the company.
To its credit, the New York Times includes a prominent link to Weinstein’s response.
The main dynamics here are sex, money, and power.
There’s a huge hypocrisy angle, too, since Weinstein’s dozens of successful films, first at Miramax and then at the Weinstein Company, helped define positive roles for modern women.
Expect some political fallout, too, since Weinstein was a very big player in Democratic Party circles.
Reports should inquire whether the recipients of his support were aware of these allegations and settlements, which appear to be known in entertainment circles (where Democrats have extremely good connections).
There should be no partisan gloating. This is a sad story of woman after woman coerced, a pattern that lasted for years, according to the Times.
In any case, the Republicans have no space to gloat. They have their own scandal: An upstate New York Congressman, prominent in anti-abortion politics, is leaving congress after texts surfaced showing he had gotten his mistress pregnant and urged her to have an abortion. No abortion for you, but my mistress is a different story.
I certainly enjoy them, in print, on TV, and in movies.
Many stories that are not framed specifically as detective stories really are. Perry Mason (the old black-and-white shows) are always “whodunnits.”
It’s not surprising, then, that I enjoyed Marco den Ouden’s article about why people enjoy detective stories so much (Foundation for Econ. Ed.)
Most of the article is about den Ouden’s love of Harry Bosch novels, written by Michael Connell, but he advances a general argument, too. Here’s the nub of it:
That is the appeal of the crime novel, of the police detectives on television and in the movies. We see them as avenging angels, as heroic figures who will stop at nothing. We see them as empathetic warriors who, like Bosch, will not let politics or other impediments stop them.
Whether it is Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport or Owen Laukkanen’s duo of Windermere and Stevens, we find in these characters the relentless searcher for truth and justice. –Marco den Ouden for FEE
The search for truth and justice are obviously central, but there are other attractions, too, I think.
The weakness, typically, lies in the psychological development of characters (except, at times, the detective).
So, what do you think?
To keep up, occasionally click on your favorite “breaking news” website.
Depending on your tastes, that could be Drudge, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or Associated Press.
Of course, once they start interpreting the story, they’ll spin it in their familiar ways.
The current news from Charlottesville can be summarized in less than two minutes, tops, and the networks have 24 hours to fill. They will fill them with high drama, idiotic confrontations, and conjectures, mixed with hard reporting and intelligent commentary. How wild can the conjectures get? When CNN was covering the missing Malaysia airliner, they asked experts if extraterrestrials were to blame.
Intentionally or not, the cable channels heighten viewers’ anxiety with flashing alerts and breathless reporting, following by a sincere look, a bite of the lip, and a calm, “Our thoughts and prayers go out…” So do the thoughts and prayers of the extraterrestrials, I’m guessing. For more on that, tune to CNN.
That’s what we know so far. A newscaster could read it, with appropriate video playing in the background, in under two minutes.
But they have hours to fill. Instead of filling it with serious and illuminating talk, they will fill it with repetition and, within a few hours, snarling political adversaries.
Skip it and keep your blood pressure down.