Friday, June 17, 2016

Why We Can't Have Nice Guy Things

Via Pulp-O-Mizer
In an effort to get a better handle on what people think of the old Mens Adventure Magazines (not sure if capitalized), I've been poking around the social media scene and running the pulp searches on the search engines.  There are ple
nty of resources out there, the aforementioned being the best I've found so far, but not nearly as much discussion as there is on the pulp sci-fi and fantasy front.

One thing I did find is a fairly recent article at, and it comes so close.  It almost commits to the genre before pulling back at the last minute and throwing a number of sops to the feminine imperative.

The title, Hard Case Crime: the Beauty of Male Passion, is a complete tease.  It extolls the virtues of male passion and sneers at the sensibilities of modern SJWs, but as is typical, feels the need to reassure 'my lady' that his fedora doth tip for thee.

Let's back up a step.  The story is actually about a modern publisher, Hard Case Crimes, which is now on the official watch list for this blog.  Hard Case Crimes publishes new works written in the old post-war style, complete with tawdry titles and lurid full color cover art (see every picture in this post.)  The publisher has been successful enough to land a TV series, and even published novels by Mickey Spillane (The Consumata), Gore Vidal (Thieves Fall Out) and Steven King (Joyland).

The analysis starts out great:
The simplest explanation for the popularity of Hard Case Crime is that the books, like most pulp fiction and the film noir movies it inspired, are about animus—the Jungian term for male passion. Like a Scorsese film, they depict men on the edge when the world is increasingly hostile to dangerous and flamboyant men. In the 1950s, writers like Jim Thompson and Dashiell Hammett brought readers into a world where carefully manicured lawns, Jell-O and white picket fences hadn’t taken hold.
Explains why these works are popular and compares them to the modern media's favorite punching-bag version of men:
Hollywood films, from American Beauty to Foxcatcher, neuter men who are passionate leaders in fields of the military or sports. Every sitcom dad seems to be an ineffectual schlub. 
Then devolves into standard apologies for non-apologetic men with this:
They aren’t liberals, but they also aren’t lad culture conservatives—juveniles like Gavin McInnes, always dropping his pants to get a reaction from the feminists.
And this:
Of course, a man must be able to read a woman’s signals, and it’s a good thing that feminism is teaching young men that no means no and yes means yes.
There's absolutely no need for that sort of, "an' it please the missus," forelock tugging, cringe.  If you're going to celebrate a more masculine form of literature, then be a man and celebrate it already.

Still and all, you have to give credit where credit is due.  Mark Judge may be a bit too obsequious to be an fully effective apologist for that old time religion, but at least he's trying.  And it's hard to come down too hard on a guy who ends his analysis with this sort of conclusion.
Hard Case Crime, and pulp fiction in general, expression of authentic male passion, of sweaty sexiness, in a world of pajama boys, government-mandated health food, and reactionary conservaive blowhards.
Speaking as a conservative blowhard: Brother, you're half right and half go-kill-yourself, ya coward.

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