A Noir Version of 127 Hours

We here at Noir Con absolutely love everything that’s noir or that even remotely resembles noir. I like all the golden oldies from times long past, but I also loved Sin City, which was kinda noir in its own right. There are plenty of other films that I love too. Take for example the Blair Witch Project. I have a thing for all things indie, too. And Blair Witch was definitely indie! Another film that I have loved, was Paranormal Activity. I wouldn’t exactly call that noir, but it was defo indie! I also have a thing for movies that tell a real story, or at least a story that could’ve been real. Think of The Hurt Locker, American Sniper and… 127 Hours.

What not many people know is that I have another hobby next to film noir, and that is hiking. And since 127 Hours is a film that tells a real story about a real hike, in which an unfortunate hiker caller Aron Ralston had to cut off his own arm, I really loved that movie. When I’m watching any kind of movie, I’m always asking myself if it could somehow be turned into a noir version of itself. And I’m thinking that it could. In 127 Hours, we witness Aron trapped between a rock and a hard place. When push comes to shove, he takes the knife to himself and proceeds with a surgery no man would ever have to face. The loneliness and desperation must’ve been gruelling. It seems to me that this would’ve been the perfect film noir moment.

I have hiked on many occasions in my life. I started out hiking when I was in my teens and am still doing it frequently to this very day. I wish I could be a weekly hiker, but my time schedule does not permit me to be that. I hike on average 4-5 times a year. While I have never been in a pressing situation such as that of Aron Ralston, I have had my own little dangerous moment…

This one time, I wandered of the beaten bath and decided to go for a little slippery rock climb. The climb didn’t look so dangerous, so I thought… what the heck. Had I known what would happen shortly after, I never would’ve attempted it. I slipped and twisted my ankle. It hurt. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t walk. So I sat down and took my boot off. The ankle was all swollen. Seeing as how I was close to a cold spring, I put my foot in the water and let the cold temperature take care of the swelling. I must’ve sat there for an hour or so.

All that time, I was wondering if somebody would come to my rescue. But it was a lonely trail and nobody came by. There was no signal so I couldn’t call anybody. I was on my own. Thankfully, my decision to dip my ankle in the cold water had paid off. The swelling went down and so did the pain. I was also smart enough to bring another pair of shoes. My ankle wasn’t going to go back into my hiking boot again. I wouldn’t have been able to fit it in even if I had brought a hammer. I brought my favorite pair of gym shoes with me. Just like my hiking boots, my gym shoes are of high quality and give me great support. I got the ones from New Balance that are recommended on Brian Bradshaw’s Boot Bomb site. They have low ankles, so I was able to fit in. I finished the hike back home with my regular shoes and saved myself from having to sleep a night under the stars in doing so.

I sincerely doubt that anybody is ever going to make a film noir about me and my klutzy hiking experience. But in that very moment where I was waiting around, trying to come up with the best solution, the panic was real. I mean, my mind was racing. What if it was broken? I was imagining that I’d had to spend the night there and then, on the spot. And maybe, the next day nobody would find me still. I was starting to fear like I would just have to hang out there and just die from hunger. It was the biggest scare of my life. When I told my parents and friends about it, they were in shock as well. How could I have been so careless? Why didn’t I bring anybody with me? I was not to hike on my own anymore after this. What if I had died!

Thankfully it only a sprained ankle. It hurt for weeks after the incident. The panic I experienced in the first hour was much worse than the pain from the ankle sprain. It was a long time ago, when I was still young, stubborn and stupid. But at that point, I had to admit that my parents were right. Hiking on your own can be dangerous. This one time I was reading a story on Reddit about a hiker who had found another hiker with a broken ankle. He was in basically the same position as me, except worse (since it was broken). He couldn’t do anything anymore. He had to just sit there and wait for somebody to stop by. And thankfully somebody did. That somebody was the guy who posted the story on Reddit. The poor guy. He was going for a relaxing hike, and he comes across a helpless fellow hiker with a broken ankle and he can’t leave him to his fate.

I’m glad I wasn’t in that situation, where another hiker has to sacrifice his afternoon to save my life. I got lucky when I merely sprained my ankle, instead of having broken it. I could’ve easily broken it. With the way my ankle twisted, I’m surprised that it didn’t! Must’ve been because I was still young then. But either way, it was a valuable lesson, this moment of lonely terror and panic. One that, to this very day, I intend to turn into a film noir short titled ‘1 Hour’.


Film Noir vs. Neo-Noir

A brief discussion of the Film Noir and Neo Noir genre written by: sourav sarkar More likely, a mood or tone, rather than a genre, ‘film noir’ usually refers to a period of filmmaking in France, right after World War II. First by French film critics around the 1940s. The literal translation means a ‘Black film’, seems fitting since many noticed the sense of darkness, downbeat, despair, insecurities of that time.

Film Noir

Often, a story would revolve around a cynical, hard-headed, male character, disillusioned from society’s norms, who would meet a beautiful, amoral, seductive female. Betrayal, manipulation, murder, all were common themes of the film noir. The violent, misogynistic views of anti-heroes are used to show the symptoms of society’s evils, moral conflict, and experiences of injustice. Often dealing with the underworld gangsters and criminals. Don’t expect many happy endings. The visual shots were taken from unusual places and use shadow and low lighting.

American crime and detective films such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), Murder, The Woman in the Window (1944), and Laura (1944) were released in France after the war, they are some all-time classics of the genre.

The difference between Film Noir and Neo-Noir

Neo-noir can be a separate genre on its own. Neo-noir, broadly speaking, it uses the film-noir visual aesthetics and themes and applies them to movies from the 1970s or even later noir mode. In other words, neo-noir is the modern version of the film noir but staying true to its historical themes.

Neo-noir films developed as a consequence of changing certain social attitudes. We see once more the audience building a relationship with the anti-hero. Some of the issues in neo-noir films include identity, subjectivity, generation, social consequences, and memory troubles. There may be lots of nudity and displays of sexuality, excessive violence and previously taboo subjects inclusive of pedophilia. This displays a change in society’s tolerance for content, adjustments in gender dynamics, racial diversity and so forth.

Finding other Noir Fans for a Date Night…

Many people love Noir but it is a bit challenging to bring many noir fans together. This is especially if the meeting is meant to be a potential date night. This is mainly because most of the people who love Noir do not go saying publicly to everyone that they do love it. As a result, one might be having neighbors or friends who love it but they all do not know about each other. Regardless of all this, there are particular tips that one can apply to find other Noir fans especially for a potential date night. Here are some of the top helpful tips for finding other Noir fans for a potential date night.

film noir love story
We can’t all be as happy as these two, or as black-and-white, but we can still find love…

One of the easiest and most convenient ways of finding other fans of Noir for a potential date night is using the internet. This is mainly because most of the people who love Noir have online presence. There are even online groups created by the fans so that they can be discussing various issues. From these groups one can readily bring up the idea of holding a date night. The idea can be introduced privately to a certain member or can be introduced to all the fans. After introducing this particular idea there is a high likely hood that most of the fans will be interested.

Another effective way of finding these fans for a potential dating night is joining some of the popular dating agencies’ websites. heck, if you are desperate why not just go with Psychic Love Finder and get a reading about your love future (http://psychiclovefinder.com), we are positive that will work.   While providing the details one should mention that he or she is a Noir fan, that’s the ticket.

Another effective way of finding other fans for a potential date night is bringing the subject of Noir while talking with friends. This is mainly because some of the Noir fans do not know each others. There is a high possibility of having Noir fans amongst friends who do not know that the other friends also love Noir. By bringing this topic up one is able to observe the reaction of the other people. This will mostly result to more conversation and a potential date night can be arranged from this.

Wearing something that shows one is a Noir Fan such as a t-shirt can also result to people arranging a potential date night. By wearing the t-shirt one is publicly announcing that he or she is a Noir fan. As a result, other Noir fans will approach him or her and this can result to formation of a group. This is a bold step and one needs not to be shy. One can also expect criticism from people who do not love Noir. After meeting with several Noir fans one can arrange how the meetings will be transformed to a potential date night. Therefore, by applying the outlined tips one can conveniently find other Noir fans for a potential date night.

Relocating to Texas (In the Hunt for a Good Realtor)

Relocating from one place to another can be a very time consuming process as you will need to put in a lot of time and effort for relocation. But the most important thing that you will need to do is to look for a real estate agent because finding a good real estate agent when relocating is the best way of getting complete peace of mind. The real estate agent will help you to find a place where you can live comfortably and will also assist you in safeguarding your financial interest when you want to buy a property.

You need to look for someone who is reliable and trustworthy and for this you will need to do proper research so that you can find someone who will fulfill all your needs and requirements. You will also need to look for the experience, skills and expertise of the real estate agent so that you can hire a professional who will offer you the best quality service at an affordable price.


There are different ways of finding a good real estate agent when relocating but the best way is to look for the experience of the professionals as it is the best way of assessing the quality of work that you will get from the agent.

With more years of experience, the real estate will help you in finding the best property so that you can relocate to a new place easily and conveniently without facing any kind of issues. The license of the real estate agent is also an important factor that you will need to consider and hence you will need to look for someone who has been licensed by the approved authority for carrying on the task of buying and selling properties.

This is the best way in which you can enjoy painless real estate transaction because when you hire a good real estate agent, you will help you make most of your money. The professional will also take less brokerage charge for his service and hence you will be able to save a considerable amount of money when you hire an experienced and reliable real estate agent when you are relocating.

Real estate agents are considered as the most important part of the buying and selling process who can offer you unique experience and insights for making sure that you can enjoy a smooth and hassle free relocation, so I’m on the lookout for a good Frisco Realtor for this process. Since relocation is the most incredibly important task, you will need to look for a real estate agent who is trustworthy and reliable since property is the biggest asset for you.

Therefore you need to look for a real estate agent with high degree of dedication and professionalism to their work as this is important for providing you with the highest quality of service. The agent also need to carry on proper investigation before buying or selling properties so that you can make the best deal without losing your money in any manner in the property transactions when relocating.


NoirCon 2012 – At-A-Glance


The best way to tell you about the line up for NoirCon 2012, is to let the line up speak for itself. Here it is in a nutshell or as NoirCon 2012 At-A-Glance! Take a moment to visit the websites of these talented individuals and see the noir magic that will come to life at NoirCon 2012!
NoirCon At-A-Glance 2012 [§,*]

Masters of Ceremony: Charles Benoit and Edward G. Pettit


Thursday, November 8th – Phila Mausoleum of Contemporary Art, 531 North 12th Street, 19123 www.philamoca.org, 267-
Heide Hatry – The Art of Noir
Peter Rozovsky – Project Noir Songs
The Scovilles – The Live Music of Noir
Oren Shai – The Condemned


Friday, November 9th – Society Hill Playhouse, 507 South 8th Street, 19147,
The Art of Noir – Heide Hatry
Career in C Minor – Wesley Stace, Nathaniel Larson, Cullen Gallagher (moderator)
Good Country People (Southern Noir) – Peter Farris, Vicki Hendricks, Jake Hinkson, Joe Samuel Starnes (moderator), Jonathan Woods

L.A.Noire – Megan Abbot, Lawrence Block, Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Santlofer (moderator), Duane Swierczynski
Double Trouble: Taking Noir Personally: Polito and Schenkar – Robert Polito and Joan Schenkar
Jeremiah Healy Interviews Otto Penzler

NoirCon 2012 Award Dinner – Penns Landing Caterer, 1301 South Columbus Blvd, 19147, 215-336-7404,
3rd Goodis Award (Block/Boxer), 3rd Kogan Award (Penzler/Kogan), 1st NoirCon 2012 Poetry Award (Polito) Music: DJ Mobita Entertainment: Grover Silcox- Tell Tale Heart


Saturday, November 10th – Society Hill Playhouse, 507 South 8th Street, 19147
True Crime – Megan Abbot, Alison Gaylin, Wallace Stroby, Dennis Tafoya
NoirCon 2012 Keynote Speaker – Robert Olen Butler

Jewish Noir – Jay Gertzman, SJ Rozan, Michele Lang, Kenneth Wishnia
Burlesque Noir – Frank DeBlase, Lulu Lollipop, Susana Mayer, Timaree Schmit
Duane Swierczynski Interviews Lawrence Block
NOIR [cash] BAR Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 Arch Street, 19107 – 10th Floor Grill

Sunday, November 11th – Society Hill Playhouse, 507 South 8th Street, 19147

Sex, Noir and Chandler – David Henry Sterry
Crime in Primetime: TV’s most innovative noir series – Jared Case (THE SHIELD), Rich Edwards (BREAKING BAD), Thomas Kaufman (HILL STREET BLUES)

[*] Times subject to change
[§] Panelists subject to change

Noir: Rumspringa gone horribly wrong!

When Amish children turn 16, the rules change. They’re encouraged to experiment and explore. The idea is that teens will come back to the church after tasting the modern world. For most, this means a tentative foray — a trip to the local movie theater, or driving lessons. But for some, the experience, called rumspringa, is all about sex, parties and fast cars.  Here is a story of rumspringa gone awry!
JUNE 21–An Amish man who sent hundreds of sexually charged text messages to a 12-year-old girl was arrested last week when he drove a horse and buggy to an Indiana restaurant where he had arranged a rendezvous with the child, according to police.
Nabbed in an undercover sting, Willard Yoder, 21, is facing four felony counts for allegedly soliciting sex from the minor. Yoder, pictured in the mug shot at right, is free on $20,000 bond.
In one text, Yoder told the girl that, “the proposed sex act would happen inside the buggy,” according to a Connersville Police Department report.
Yoder’s contact with the girl began with a random text sent to her phone. When the child’s parents learned of their daughter’s contact with Yoder, they took control of her phone and continued communicating with Yoder, who sent about 600 texts, as well as nude photos and explicit videos to the girl.
The parents then contacted the police, and officers took over the sting operation. After arranging the Wednesday night meeting, cops staking out the Takehome restaurant reported seeing “the outline of a carriage type buggy pulled by one horse and what appeared to be one occupant.”
Investigators noted that Yoder, who was busted outside the eatery, was cooperative and “walked his horse and buggy around the building and tied it to a post outside.” During questioning, cops reported, Yoder admitted contacting the girl’s cell phone “by chance” and “advised that he thought he was going to have sex with the girl,” whom he thought was 13.
Yoder also noted that he “realized that it was a bad decision and had never done anything like this before.” 

NoirCon and David Goodis revisit DARK PASSAGE in San Francisco

The Malloch Apartments, 1360 Montgomery Street (Between Filbert and Alta Streets).  Looking West.  Bay Bridge in distance.  The Malloch Apartments were designed were designed in the streamline Modern style by Irvin Goldstine and Jack S. and J. Rolph Malloch, a father-and-son architect team who were its first residents.  The four story, white and silver building stands justa block south of the edge of Telegraph Hill where Montgomery Street splits into two levels, and is sheltered by English hawthorne trees, giant draecaena, and a bright shrub of pink geraniums.   Bogart in third floor, front window.


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Note the frosted Art Nouveau Window
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Two forty foot high sgraffito murals by Alfred DuPont cover its north and west walls.  One mural depicts Commerce, a strong barrel chested figure who cradles the earth in his arms.  At the bottom, a freighter passes under the Bay Bridge, which was completed the same year as the Malloch.
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North Wall at Filbert and Montgomery, Commerce


The current resident of Irene Jansen’s third floor apartment  has posted in her window a card board cut-out of Bogart. 






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West Wall at Alta and Montgomery, the mural depicts Discovery, at whose feet sit a compass and a gold-rush-era clipper.


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Coit Tower looking up from 1360 Montgomery Street
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The famous elevator in DARK PASSAGE.  A young Bogart retracing the steps.  This is the most remarkable feature of the Malloch Building.  It can be accessed via a silver door in the building’s lobby.  The frosted glass elevator is exposed is exposed to the street and backlit, so that you can see the elevator rising in the night (as seen in DARK PASSAGE), as if through liquid silver.

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Frosted window on third floor outside of Irene Jensen’s apartment.

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Looking up the Filbert Steps toward Montgomery Street

Steps leading from the hill above to the Malloch Apartments at Filbert and Montgomery Streets.


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Upper street where Bogart saw Madge Rapf leaving Irene Jansen’s apartment





Moving east across town to the base of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Location of  Bogart throwing Clifton Young (Baker) off the rock to his death at Fort Point.




Schedule for NoirCon 2010

David Goodis, circa 1950, Atlantic City, New Jersey
David Goodis, circa 1950, Atlantic City, New Jersey


Thursday, November 4th, 2010 [Society Hill Playhouse, 507 South 8th Street]

7:00 PM DAVID GOODIS: TO A PULP – Larry Withers with Jared Case

Friday, November 5th, 2010 [Society Hill Playhouse, 507 South 8th Street]

8:30 AM Registration

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM PORNOGRAPHY IN NOIR FICTION – Reed F. Coleman, Jay Gertzman ad Christa Faust

10:00 AM – 10:15 AM BREAK

10:15 AM – 11:15 AM PHILADELPHIA NOIR PANEL (Akashic Books) – Meredith Anthony, Keith Gilman, Dennis Tafoya, Jim Zervanos, Duane Swierczynski, Carlin Romano

11:20 AM – 12:30 PM JOHNNY TEMPLE – Johnny Temple with Tim McLoughlin
(Recipient of the Jay and Deen Kogan Award for Excellence in Publishing)

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM IACW LUNCHEON FOR WILLIAM HEFFERNAN – With Cullen Gallagher

1:50 PM – 3:00 PM GEORGE PELECANOS – George Pelecanos with Laura Lippman
(Recipient of the David L. Goodis Award)

3:00 PM – 3:15 PM BREAK

3:15 PM – 4:30 PM – DARK PASSAGE: Noir Poetry – Daniel Hoffman, Robert Polito, and Ed Pettit

4:35 PM – 4:40 PM BREAK

4:40 PM – 5:40 PM WRITERS ON NOIR- Vicki Hendricks, Reed Farrel Coleman, William Heffernan, Seth Harwood with Cameron Ashley (Crime Factory)

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Awards Dinner at the Mummers Museum
Tim McLoughlin (Johnny Temple) and Sarah Weinman (George Pelecanos)

Saturday, November 6th, 2010 [Society Hill Playhouse, 507 South 8th Street]

9:00 AM – 9:15 AM Registration

9:15 AM – 10:30 AM LADY IN THE DARK: As Noir As it Gets – Joan M. Schenkar
(NoirCon Keynote Speaker 2010); Intro. Robert Polito

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM BREAK

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM PATRICIA HIGHSMITH AT THE MOVIES – Rich Edwards and Thomas Kaufman

11:45 AM – 12:00 Noon BREAK

12:00 Noon – 1:15 PM THROUGH A REARVIEW DARKLY: A Revisionist History of Noir – Megan Abbott and Anthony Neil Smith

1:15 PM – 2:00 PM LUNCH On-Your-Own

2:15 PM – 3:15 PM SORTING OUT THE SYNDICATE – Goombahs, Gonifs, and The Italian-Jewish Mob – John Buntin

3:20 PM – 4:30 PM DAMN NEAR DEAD 2 : LIVE NOIR OR DIE TRYING! (Busted Flush Press) – Patti Abbott, Scott Cupp, Christa Faust, Scott Phillips, S.J. Rozan and Reed F. Coleman

4:40 PM – 5:20 PM REALITY AND NOIR – The Everyday Quality of Evil

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM NOIR-GAY BINGO to Benefit the AIDS FUND. at the Double Tree

Sunday, November 7th, 2010 [Society Hill Playhouse, 507 South 8th Street]

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM TBA

10:30 AM – 10:40 AM BREAK

10:45AM – 11:40 AM FANTOMAS AT 99 – The Lord of Terror – Howard A. Rodman and David White

12:00 N – 1:15 PM LAST CALL – with William Boyle, William Lashner, Lawrence Light, and Jon McGoran
(Lunch will be provided along with LCP)



IN a new television commercial for Pine-Sol cleaner shot in an over-the-top film noir style, Diane Amos, who has starred in the brand’s ads for 16 years, drives a late-model convertible on the Pacific Coast Highway in California, moonlight dappling the ocean. When she reaches an opulent home, she climbs a stairway, then opens a door to reveal a shirtless, muscular man mopping the floor. Finally Ms. Amos, sprawled on a bed strewn with rose petals and bottles of Pine-Sol as the man mops beside her, purrs the slogan: “That’s the power of Pine-Sol, baby.”

HARDBOILEDS by Joshua Glenn

Gertrude Stein and others (including Strauss & Howe) have lumped Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald into a single “Lost Generation.” But there’s a critical, generationally specific difference between the cultural productions of Pound, Eliot, and other members of what I’ve called the Modernist Generation (1884-93), and that of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and others who belong to a generation born from 1894 through 1903. I call the latter cohort: the Hardboileds.


Like the Modernist Generation, a few of the eldest Hardboiled artists and writers served in the Great War (Dos Passos, Cummings, Hammett, and a very young Hemingway, for example, were ambulance or camion drivers), and/or participated in modernism’s first explosive moments. However, the Hardboileds didn’t regard themselves as belonging to the same generation as their immediate elders. Among the Modernist Generation, there were “paradoxical if not opposed trends towards revolutionary and reactionary positions,” according to a standard account of the era. But the Hardboileds saw themselves as “a new generation,” as Fitzgerald would write in his debut novel, This Side of Paradise (1920), one that had “grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken.”

The Modernists were an ambivalent generation, attempting to synthesize conflicting ideologies, all the while suspecting that unfreedom had been relocated inside their own heads; their juniors, the Hardboileds, who acknowledged the truth of the Modernists’ insight, were accordingly more fatalistic, pessimistic, and — after the brief drama of their expatriot period — bitterly resigned to unfreedom.

Malcolm Cowley’s autobiographical Exile’s Return (1934) explicitly supports Fitzgerald’s depiction of those men and women who were in their teens and 20s during the Teens (1914-23, not to be confused with the 1910s), and in their 20s and 30s during the Twenties (1924-33, not to be confused with the 1920s). In the book’s 1951 prologue, Cowley grumbles that “Lost Generation” is “as useful as any half-accurate tag could be” — i.e., for a generational cohort whom he describes as having graduated from college “between 1915, say, and 1922.” Cowley’s periodization dovetails almost exactly with my own scheme; his 22-year-old college graduates were born from 1895 through 1902. (Cowley himself was born in ’98.) Exile’s Return also agrees with my characterization of the difference between Modernists (whom the author calls “They,” in the following passage) and Hardboileds (”We”):

“They” had once been rebels, political, moral, artistic or religious — in any case they had paid the price of their rebellion… “We” had avoided issues and got what we wanted in a quiet way, simply by taking it…. “They” had been rebels: they wanted to change the world, be leaders in the fight for justice and art, help to create a society in which individuals could express themselves. “We” were convinced at the time that society could never be changed by an effort of the will.

The Modernists were ambivalent; the Hardboileds were hopeless. Cowley’s Exile’s Return may have been marketed as a guide to the so-called, imaginary Lost Generation. As a first-hand account of the experiences shared by writers and artists of the Hardboiled Generation, though, it’s indispensable.


High-, low-, no-, and hilobrow members of the Hardboiled Generation include: Hemingway and Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Howard Hawks, Bertolt Brecht, the Frankfurt School (Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, plus honorary Partisan Generation member T.W. Adorno, among others), the Surrealists (André Breton, Georges Bataille, Louis Aragon, Philippe Soupault, Paul Éluard, Robert Desnos, Antonin Artaud, Luis Buñuel, and René Magritte, among others), Nathanael West, Duke Ellington, Hart Crane, Chester Gould, Louis Armstrong, Ogden Nash, Jacques Lacan, Alfred Hitchcock, Vladimir Nabokov, Dashiell Hammett, Graham Greene, Jorge Luis Borges, Kenneth Burke, Wilhelm Reich, Preston Sturges, Peggy Guggenheim, Dashiell Hammett, E. E. Cummings, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, John Ford, Edmund Wilson, Buckminster Fuller, Buster Keaton, Peter Lorre, Weegee, and Philip Gordon Wylie.


A reminder of my generational periodization scheme:

1844-53: [Progressive Generation] Prometheans

1854-63: [Progressive, Missionary Generations] Plutonians

1864-73: [Missionary Generation] Anarcho-Symbolists

1874-83: [Missionary Generation] Psychonauts

1884-93: [Lost Generation] Modernists

1894-1903: [Lost, Greatest/GI Generations] Hardboileds

1904-13: [Greatest/GI Generation] Partisans

1914-23: [Greatest/GI Generation] New Gods (David Goodis [1917])

1924-33: [Silent Generation] Postmodernists

1934-43: [Silent Generation] Anti-Anti-Utopians

1944-53: Boomers

1954-63: [Boomers, Late Boomers, Post-Boomers, Generation Jones] OGXers

1964-73: [Generation X, Thirteenth Generation] Constructivists

1974-83: [Generations X, Y] Revivalists

1984-93: [Millennial Generation] Throwbacks

1994-2003: [Millennial Generation] TBA



If we define hardboiled fiction — as at least one critic has — as novels and stories in which an “anxious sense of fatality is usually attached to a pessimistic conviction that economic and socio-political circumstances will deprive people of control over their lives by destroying their hopes and by creating in them the weaknesses of character that turn them into transgressors or mark them out as victims,” then it becomes apparent that this generation’s lowbrow genre novelists (including Dashiell Hammett, Horace McCoy, Geoffrey Household, Paul Cain, Raoul Whitfield, Philip Gordon Wylie, and honorary Hardboiled Graham Greene; please note that “lowbrow” does not mean stupid or untalented) were by no means alone.

Among the most important works of high-, no-, and hilobrow hardboiled fiction are: John Dos Passos’ The 42nd Parallel and 1919, William Faulkner’s Sanctuary and Light in August, Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road and God’s Little Acre, Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust, Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not and For Whom the Bell Tolls, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front. NB: John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, and Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey are also hardboiled — but they’re middlebrow.


Less interested than Modernist Generation types had been in discovering a useable past, Hardboiled modernists also sought to eradicate anything romantic or sentimental — e.g., the excessively mannered, irrational, emotionalistic — from their work. Raymond Chandler, a member of the Modernist cohort, would explain that the hardboiled fiction of his juniors was their response to a postwar “world gone wrong, a world in which, long before the atom bomb, civilization had created the machinery for its own destruction and was learning to use it with all the moronic delight of a gangster trying out his first machine-gun.”

NB: Noir fiction, in which the protagonist is usually not a detective, but instead a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator, and in which sex plays a prominent role, was pioneered by Cornell Woolrich. The titles of Woolrich’s novels — e.g., The Bride Wore Black (1940), The Black Curtain (1941), Black Alibi (1942), The Black Angel (1943), The Black Path of Fear (1944) — inspired French critics to call movies based on them “noir.” But noir is not a hardboiled phenomenon. Born in 1903, Woolrich is an honorary member of the Partisan Generation, which also includes noir novelists Jim Thompson, Dorothy B. Hughes, and Charles Williams.

In a Minima Moralia entry titled “Tough Baby,” T.W. Adorno, also born in 1903, suggests that the Hardboileds’ effort to purge sentimentality is itself sentimental. The style of Minima Moralia itself, which was written in 1940s LA, is perhaps more noir than hardboiled.


Though Middlebrow wouldn’t triumph until midcentury, and though its most perspicacious critics would therefore be members of the Partisan Generation, its first flowering was on the Hardboiled cohort’s watch — and many of its most influential peddlers are members of this generation. Which might explain why Strauss & Howe’s influential (and pro-Middlebrow) generational periodization scheme, which is obeyed slavishly by generational trend-spotting journalists and marketers, lops off the youngest members of the Hardboiled Generation and assigns them to the so-called GI or Greatest Generation (1901-24, supposedly). Why 1901? Because that’s when Walt Disney, that world-beating avatar of Low Middlebrow, was born.

In every triumphalist middlebrow account of American history, things were going poorly until the so-called GI/Greatest Generation came along. Strauss & Howe are dismissive of the Lost Generation (actually the Modernists and older members of the Hardboileds), whose “selfishness and unreason,” “fatalism,” “stark nihilisms” (i.e., surrealism, Dada, expressionism, futurism, “Freudian relativism”), and “pessimistic theories” they contrast unfavorably (in their 1991 bestseller, Generations) with the “fearless but not reckless” manner of those “confident and rational problem-solvers,” the GI or Greatest Generation (actually the Partisans and the New Gods). Middlebrow, which deceptively styles itself as non- or post-partisan, approves only of those fictional generations that eschew fretting about subjective forms of unfreedom and focus instead on getting the job done: in the 20th and 21st centuries, the Greatest/GIs and the so-called Millennials. (Boomers, who worship the GIs and the Millennials, are forever kicking themselves for not being even more middlebrow than they are.)

All of which explains why Walt Disney, that master of cutesying up fairy and folk tales, national cultures, and real-world locales (i.e., the raw ingredients of ideology, which is to say resistance to the soft tyranny of Middlebrow’s hegemonic discourse), must be plucked out of his own generation (the Hardboileds) and assigned to the Greatests .


Further study of the semi-hopeful, semi-fatalistic Hardboiled Generation might provide useful clues — useful to saboteurs, that is — regarding the subtle mechanism that keeps Middlebrow ticking. This is not the place for such an investigation, but let’s just take note of the fact that Walt Disney, along with fellow Hardboileds Norman Rockwell, Bernard De Voto, Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Mortimer J. Adler, Mark Van Doren, James Gould Cozzens, and Thornton Wilder are among those who first either attempted to synthesize the energies of Highbrow and Anti-Lowbrow, by hustling a ham-fisted attempt at cultural and intellectual achievement known today as High Middlebrow; or who synthesized the energies of Lowbrow and Anti-Highbrow and cranked out a variety of wildly successful low middlebrow (i.e., semi-hopeful, semi-fatalistic) cultural productions, from Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers to Wilder’s Our Town, to — you know — all things Disney.

In fact, it can be extremely difficult — now, even more so than then — to distinguish pre-midcentury middlebrow productions from the non-middlebrow cultural milieux out of which they first emerged. Adorno and Edmund Wilson were perhaps the only critics born before 1904 who even attempted to do so; and for their troubles they’ve been castigated as “mandarins” and “elitists” — i.e., by middlebrow critics posing as populists — ever since. To the untrained eye, and to blunted sensibilities, there’s not a great deal of difference between Fleischer Studios’ Betty Boop, say, and Disney’s early Mickey Mouse cartoons. Yet the latter are middlebrow, Adorno and Horkheimer insist in their essay on the Culture Industry in The Dialectic of Enlightenment (though unlike Dwight Macdonald, who was influenced by Adorno’s criticism, they don’t use that term), while the former are not.

If this judgment outrages you, then imagine the scorn poured on Adorno for having dared to criticize jazz and certain films that we admire immoderately today (noir films, for example); or on Wilson, who reviled popular mystery novelists (Agatha Christie, Rex Stout) and the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien (”Oo, Those Awful Orcs”)! One’s admiration for these early, courageous anti-middlebrow critics grows by leaps and bounds.

Meet the Hardboileds.

MEMBERS OF THE 1884-93 COHORT WHO ARE HONORARY HARDBOILEDS: Anita Loos, Edward G. Robinson, Charles S. Johnson, Walter Francis White, Joan Miró, Jimmy Durante, John P. Marquand (all born 1893), plus Zora Neale Hurston (born 1891, but claimed she was born in 1901, so let’s split the difference and say she was born on the cusp of the two generations, too).

1894: Dashiell Hammett, E. E. Cummings, Harold L. Davis, Jack Benny, Donald Deskey, Jean Toomer, Norman Rockwell, Mark Van Doren, Walter Brennan, Isham Jones, Moms Mabley, Bessie Smith, Martha Graham, Paul Green, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Fred Allen, Stuart Davis, Harold Gray, E.C. Segar, James P. Johnson, Norbert Wiener, John Howard Lawson, Philip K. Wrigley, Meher Baba, Nikita Khrushchev, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, King Edward VIII, Isaac Babel, Joseph Roth, J. B. Priestley, Jean Renoir, Friedrich Pollock. Honorary Modernists: Aldous Huxley, Ben Hecht, Donald Ogden Stewart, James Thurber, Rudolf Hess.


Buster Keaton

1895: Buster Keaton, John Ford, Edmund Wilson, Buckminster Fuller, Max Horkheimer, Paul Éluard, Gala Dalí, Gracie Allen, Bud Abbott, J. Edgar Hoover, Lewis Mumford, Robert Hillyer, George Schuyler, Machine Gun Kelly, Babe Ruth, Michael Arlen, Robert Hillyer, Shemp Howard, Milt Gross, Dorothea Lange, Busby Berkeley, Ernst Jünger, F.R. Leavis, Robert Graves, Mikhail Bakhtin, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Rudolph Valentino, László Moholy-Nagy.

1896: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Howard Hawks, André Breton, Antonin Artaud, George Burns, John Dos Passos, Louis Bromfield, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ira Gershwin, Robert E. Sherwood, Blind Gary Davis, Ethel Waters, Mamie Eisenhower, Jimmy Doolittle, Irwin Edman, Raoul Whitfield, André Masson, Martin Niemoller, Wallis Simpson, Jean Piaget, Raymond Massey, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Oswald Mosley, Raymond Postgate.


1897: William Faulkner, Kenneth Burke, Georges Bataille, Wilhelm Reich, Bernard De Voto, Fletcher Henderson, Sidney Bechet, Rudolph Fisher, Frank Capra, Louise Bogan, Gene Tunney, Marion Davies, Thornton Wilder, Louis Lepke, Walter Winchell, Moe Howard, Amelia Earhart, Horace McCoy, Fletcher Henderson, Lucky Luciano, Louis Aragon, Philippe Soupault, Douglas Sirk, Walter Pidgeon, Pope Paul VI, Vito Genovese, Eric Knight (Richard Hallas), Joseph Goebbels, Anthony Eden.

1898: Preston Sturges, Herbert Marcuse, C.S. Lewis, René Magritte, Erich Maria Remarque, Bertolt Brecht, Paul Robeson, George Gershwin, Stephen Vincent Benét, Malcolm Cowley, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Eric D. Walrond, Aaron Douglas, George Jessel, Armand Hammer, Scott O’Dell, Norman Vincent Peale, Thomas Boyd, Horace Gregory, Berenice Abbott, Alexander Calder, Peggy Guggenheim, Hanns Eisler, Lotte Lenya, Golda Meir, Kenji Mizoguchi, Sergei Eisenstein, Alvar Aalto, Tamara de Lempicka, M. C. Escher, Henry Moore.


1899: Vladimir Nabokov, Alfred Hitchcock, Duke Ellington, E. B. White, Humphrey Bogart, Jorge Luis Borges, Leo Strauss, Weegee, Al Capone, Hart Crane, James Cagney, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Maynard Hutchins, W.R. Burnett, Fred Astaire, Thomas A. Dorsey, Hoagy Carmichael, Allen Tate, Irving Thalberg, George Cukor, Léonie Adams, Vera Caspary, Gloria Swanson, Walter Lantz, Juan Trippe, Doc Barker, Norman Taurog, Louis Adamic, Charles Boyer, Roger Vitrac, Erich Kastner, Charles Laughton, Noel Coward, Federico Garcia Lorca, Nevil Shute, Ramon Novarro, F.A. Hayek, Brassai, Jean de Brunhoff, Elizabeth Bowen, C.S. Forester, Bruno Hauptmann.

1900: Chester Gould, Adlai Stevenson, Spencer Tracy, Yvor Winters, Kurt Weill, Luis Buñuel, Charlie Green, Don Redman, Thomas Wolfe, Aaron Copland, Stephen Bechtel, Natalie Schafer, Taylor Caldwell, Margaret Mitchell, Jean Arthur, Norman Foster, Lefty Grove, Mervyn LeRoy, Agnes Moorehead, Helene Weigel, Erich Fromm, René Crevel, Robert Desnos, Hans-Georg Gadamer. Yves Tanguy, Leo Löwenthal, Franz Leopold Neumann, Ignazio Silone, Jacques Prévert, Wolfgang Pauli, Martin Bormann, Ignazio Silone, Antoine de Saint Exupéry, Gilbert Ryle, Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Hoess, Xavier Cugat, Adi Dassler, James Hilton, Geoffrey Household, Richard Hughes, Jean Negulesco, Nathalie Sarraute, Robert Siodmak, Charles Vidor.


1901: Louis Armstrong, Walt Disney, Robert Bresson, Marlene Dietrich, Jacques Lacan, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Zeppo Marx, Ed Sullivan, Sterling Allen Brown, Carl Barks, Ed Begley Sr., Whittaker Chambers, A.B. Guthrie, Bebe Daniels, Brian Donlevy, Melvyn Douglas, Allen B. DuMont, Nelson Eddy, George Gallup, John Gunther, Granville Hicks, Ub Iwerks, Allyn Joslyn, Harry Partch, Linus Pauling, Rudy Vallee, Chic Young, Michel Leiris, Henri Lefebvre, André Malraux, Enrico Fermi, Fulgencio Batista, Maurice Evans, Alberto Giacometti, Werner Heisenberg, Emperor Hirohito, Louis Kahn, Lee Strasberg.

1902: John Steinbeck, Langston Hughes, Karl Popper, Meyer Lansky, Eric Hoffer, Ogden Nash, Tallulah Bankhead, Ray Kroc, Sidney Hook, Wallace Thurman, Gwendolyn B. Bennett, Arna Bontemps, Christina Stead, Wolcott Gibbs, Thomas Nast, Ansel Adams, Kenneth Fearing, Mortimer J. Adler, George Carol Sims (Paul Cain), Henry Steele Commager, Richard J. Daley, Stepin Fetchit, Larry Fine, Strom Thurmond, Margaret Hamilton, Corliss Lamont, Max Lerner, Charles Lindbergh, F. O. Matthiessen, Talcott Parsons, Richard Rodgers, David O. Selznick, Jessamyn West, Darryl F. Zanuck, Anthony Asquith, Joe Adonis, Carlo Gambino, Albert Anastasia, Erik Erikson, John Houseman, Victor Jory, Ayatollah Khomeini, Max Ophüls, Oskar Morgenstern, Emeric Pressburger, Ralph Richardson, Leni Riefenstahl, Norma Shearer, Christina Stead, Alfred Tarski, William Wyler.

1903: Nathanael West, Joseph Cornell, Claudette Colbert, Evelyn Waugh, Eliot Ness, Walker Evans, Bob Hope, Countee Cullen, Roy Acuff, John Dillinger, Bix Beiderbecke, Arnold Gingrich, Erskine Caldwell, Vincente Minnelli, James Beard, Kay Boyle, Dorothy Dodds Baker, Arthur Godfrey, Edgar Bergen, Chill Wills, Ward Bond, Al Hirschfeld, James Gould Cozzens, Lou Gehrig, Curly Howard, Estes Kefauver, Clare Boothe Luce, Anne Revere, Dr. Spock, James Michener, Hans Jonas, Herbert Spencer, Bruno Bettelheim, Kenneth Clark, Raymond Queneau, Victor Gruen, Malcolm Muggeridge, Tor Johnson, Louis Leakey, Anaïs Nin, Alan Paton, Georges Simenon. Honorary Partisans: John Beynon Harris (John Wyndham), Cornell Woolrich, George Orwell, Mark Rothko, Bing Crosby, maybe T.W. Adorno and Cyril Connolly (all 1903).

MEMBERS OF THE 1904-1913 COHORT WHO ARE HONORARY HARDBOILEDS: James T. Farrell, Graham Greene, Peter Lorre, Salvador Dali, Edmond Hamilton, Pretty Boy Floyd (gangster), Edgar G. Ulmer (noir film director), S. J. Perelman (New Yorker humorist), A.J. Liebling (New Yorker journalist), Jacques Tourneur (noir film director) (all born in 1904).


HONORARY MODERNISTS: Ben Hecht, Donald Ogden Stewart, James Thurber, Rudolf Hess (all born 1894).

HONORARY PARTISANS: John Beynon Harris (John Wyndham), Cornell Woolrich, George Orwell, Mark Rothko, maybe T.W. Adorno and Cyril Connolly (all born 1903).

PS: African-American writers and artists born between 1894 and 1903 — e.g., Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman, Eric D. Walrond, Countee Cullen, Aaron Douglas, Rudolph Fisher, Arna Bontemps, Sterling Allen Brown, Gwendolyn B. Bennett, and Zora Neale Hurston (or so she claimed) — gave us the Harlem Renaissance. Which is not a hardboiled phenomenon! It’s a modernist phenomenon. In other words, black American artists and writers were (productively, perhaps) out of step with mainstream US culture; this would remain the case until fairly recently — the Nineties, say.

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