Saturday, February 07, 2015

More Raymond Chandler, Please! America Needs Chandler!

No American writer writes better than Raymond Chandler.  Chandler was considered Pulp.  Hemingway got a place in the canon of Literature.  That should be indicative of what is dreadfuylly wrong with us.  Raymond Chandler told the truth.  Ernest Hemingway is supposed be the truth.

Raymond Chandler knew that Hemingway was a bully with powerful friends and a typewriter. In The Big Sleep Chandler offered this insight via dialogue

Who is this Hemingway person at all?”
“A guy that keeps saying the same thing over and over until you begin to believe it must be good.”
“That must take a hell of a long time,” the big man said.
Not really, Chandler knew that Americans will buy anything as long as it was packaged nicely. How else did Obama get two terms and why is Dancing Withe Stars?

Hemingway  wanted the world to know that he was 'vital.' Okay.

Chandler was, as another great writer described himself to be, ' the broken hearted witness to mankinds' folly.'

Raymond Chandler wrote within what is called the 'hard-boiled' detective genre.  His prose is supposed to be black and white and anything but elegant.  Well, get this -

“There are blondes and blondes and it is almost a joke word nowadays. All blondes have their points, except perhaps the metallic ones who are as blond as a Zulu under the bleach and as to disposition as soft as a sidewalk. There is the small cute blonde who cheeps and twitters, and the big statuesque blonde who straight- arms you with an ice- blue glare. There is the blonde who gives you the up- from- under look and smells lovely and shimmers and hangs on your arm and is always very tired when you take her home. She makes that helpless gesture and has that goddamned headache and you would like to slug her except that you are glad you found out about the headache before you invested too much time and money and hope in her. Because the headache will always be there, a weapon that never wears out and is as deadly as the bravo’s rapier or Lucrezia’s poison vial. There is the soft and willing and alcoholic blonde who doesn’t care what she wears as long as it is mink or where she goes as long as it is the Starlight Roof and there is plenty of dry champagne. There is the small perky blonde who is a little pal and wants to pay her own way and is full of sunshine and common sense and knows judo from the ground up and can toss a truck driver over her shoulder without missing more than one sentence out of the editorial in the Saturday Review. There is the pale, pale blonde with anemia of some non- fatal but incurable type. She is very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can’t lay a finger on her because in the first place you don’t want to and in the second place she is reading The Waste Land or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Provençal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindemith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them. And lastly there is the gorgeous show piece who will outlast three kingpin racketeers and then marry a couple of millionaires at a million a head and end up with a pale rose villa at Cap Antibes, an Alfa- Romeo town car complete with pilot and co- pilot, and a stable of shopworn aristocrats, all of whom she will treat with the affectionate absent- mindedness of an elderly duke saying goodnight to his butler.”
― Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
One of my favorite passages from The Long Goodbye ends the reverie of private detctive Phillip Marlowe's enchantment as he watches a stunningly put-together woman clinb a high dive ladder and plunge nto a pool -
"She opened her mouth like a firebucket and laughed. That terminated my interest in her. I couldn't hear the laugh but the hole in her face when she unzippered her teeth was all I needed."

Don't we all.   

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