Thursday, September 22, 2011

Film Noir and Hardboiled Fiction

I'm taking a film noir class this semester, and consequentially, I've got murder on the brain.
In fact, I just finished reading Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep. Call me a nerd, but I LOVE that book. It has insane people, murder, mayhem, and a couple of bookstore scenes. What more could a lit/mystery junkie ask for?

Anyway, I'm including a link to Raymond Chandler's essay, "The Simple Art of Murder," and a list of my top ten favorite detectives (in or out of film) of all time.


10. Nancy Drew

9. Hercule Poirot

8. The Great Mouse Detective

7. Miss Marple

6. Harry Dresden

5. Philip Marlowe (aka Doghouse Reilly)

4. Father Brown

3. Sam Spade

2. Charlie Chan

1. Sherlock Holmes

Friday, September 2, 2011

Of Men and Monkeys:

So, I've been thinking about monkeys today. It started in the shower--like many brilliant ideas do. At least for me. Moving on...

What is it with flying monkeys and dancing monkeys? They're everywhere, and they are the most prominent fictional monkeys around. Besides Aladdin's Aboo. But I digress...

I'm beginning to suspect that there is something very significant about flying and dancing monkeys.

Why, you ask?

Monkeys reflect our [humans'] fear of becoming subservient drones (i.e., slaves to the man [probably because we use monkeys in so many ways. Think rocket ships, test subjects]). But is there a fundamental difference between a dancing monkey and a flying monkey? And, if so, which one is better off? If they serve as representations of mankind, which I'm arguing they do, which kind of monkey would you rather be?

Here is my theory:

A dancing monkey has a master and dances to a beat. A flying monkey has a master and acts as a henchman. Both monkeys serve to promote and/or increase the master's gain. So it all comes down to the master...

Witch or Organ Grinder? That is the question.

And this is where my thoughts become goopy and metaphorical.

Metaphor one: marriage. Would you rather be married to a witch, or a go-getter (who may also be a musician, this part of my analysis is unclear)?

Metaphor two: life. Would you be happier as Slave-who-must-dance or Slave-who-must-run-errands-and-listen-to-a-crazy-woman-cackle-all-day-long?

I have no answers.