Sunday, July 23, 2006

Spillane and Bukowski

I promise to stop whining about Spillane after this, but this came to mind earlier today and I cant' resist... One of Spillane's traits is masculine self-pity. Hammer, tough guy though he is, is always in constant self-degradation and even self-hate. (This is evident also in the males of Sin City, who doubt and hate themselves.) This one reminded me all of a sudden of Charles Bukowski. In his books men, especially his alter ego, Henry Chinaski, pretend to be tough guys, but are actually feeling a pity for themselves. It just manifests in anger towards everyone else (especially women, whom he thinks should be wearing skirts, not trousers, which has always been oddly conservative of Bukowski who is, by most, regarded as a subversive writer). Just like in Spillane and Hammer.

So, my thesis is this: Spillane and Bukowski are two opposites of the same line. Bukowski is to mainstream literature what Spillane is to crime literature. Both even use same sort of clipped sentences. (And you do know that according to feminist literary theory, short hardboiled sentences are just an attempt to prevent any outside attacks towards male ego in not showing any sort of emotional impact.)

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