finally slogged through my first ‘real book’ in about twelve decades; chandler’s long goodbye. mainly because i know the movie which the neighbor down the street says was a travesty because the book was about friendship and, after a lifetime of test-to-fail relationships, figured maybe i better give it a little peekski.
and i did put in an honest hundred pages or so (over the course, of course, of several days) before drifting back into orwellian trumpery whereupon donna picked it up and actually read the damned thing. then we streamed the movie, which didn’t hold up so good, as chandler would say.
asked the better half when she was finished; so, did he kill his buddy at the end, just like in the movie? you have to read it, she said. god i hate that.
was it about friendship, i asked? and she says yup you guessed it; read it for yourself.
so i did take it into the bath and soldier my watery blues through the last chapter – about five pages of fairly large type and short sentences, right to the bitter end.
ray chandler? what a fag. what a gyp. some private eye putzworth. talk about sexual undertones; after about eighty pages of tough-guy preening he falls hard for this dude and the force he encounters trying to deny it to himself lights up the literary firmament.
come to the final scene which requires some actual writing and the guy falls flat on his fat pipe-smoking face. can’t draw a scene to save his life, despite all the great liner notes about his genius and control from famous writers everywhere. nope: next stop flopsweat city, chokesville station.
well, you could chalk it up to the state of male friendship, i suppose – that neverending steel jacketed pile of fruity macho oneupmanship that feels ancient and unavoidable as the druids, now that they’ve had their day. if two guys were ever to actually meet on equal terms, the universe would explode into little fiery bits.
and dames, well chandler reserves his special brand of numbskull dorksmithery for women.
early in the book he goes on about blondes for two pages or so and you can bet the average five year old knows more about blondes than this wretched old wanker. o the subhumanity. everything he says sounds stolen out of a comic book then shamelessly ‘molded’ into his own ham-fisted fauxnoir patois.
Mailer famously said the only character a writer cannot write is one who is smarter than himself. well in that case guys ought to just give up trying to write about women. when a woman character comes up, just write ‘woman’ – don’t go on and on about it.
women are just like guys only moreso. hey don’t let the floppy bits and skinny guns fool ya; the force is strong in these lumpy ones. chicks are both literal and symbolic, dusted with a tinge of the eternal. born to own what men desire, their world lies far beyond the feckless feverdreams of your average subterranean horndog.
sex? more deeply obsessed and insatiable than mankind may possibly imagine. money? venomous as starving alleycats. power? just because they can sometimes pretend to work together for twenty minutes doesn’t mean it doesn’t corrupt. more. thoroughly.
look: ‘mystery’ writing should be mysterious. that’s why you can get more riled up looking at a woman’s face than peering into her private parts. their faces are their private parts. the rest is just for show, or not. at least they don’t write crappy novels about friendship, or maybe they do.
trust me: no woman can ever be a friend to a man, or another woman for that matter. again, it’s the sex thing; it’s all they ever think about.
c’mon, ray. every tough guy knows that.