Cue John McEnroe (he was before your time, kids). Is this Crazy Anon Day? I really hope that this isn’t the same person as the last crazy anon. I really have not gotten such off-the-wall questions since “What do you look like?” or “bobmamama bum bum bum bum lla sjsjssmsjejde,wk ?” Inquiries about my harem have been simply mystifying. Of course, let’s not forget the all-time classic, “How oldddz r u?”
I would say I follow tumblchums for the same reason that everyone else does, but now I worry everyone may be overthinking it. So the general reason I follow someone, who follows me or not, is probably because I think they most posted something interesting and I think they might do so again. And I figure if they don’t, I can unfollow later. What other reasons are there?
Let me just take this moment to say that I really do love questions. I’ve had this blog for almost a year and have gotten some really great questions during that period. Wonder of wonders, I’ve even had some very intelligent anonymous questions, prompting a tumblchum to remark: “You seem to have the most well read, intelligent anons.” I’m even a teensy bit vain and gratified by anonymous admiration.
But really. I’m not altogether sure why people ask intelligent questions anonymously, though I’m happy enough to answer. But who is ashamed to be asking about Chandler? I will answer (most) every question. I’ve given fair warning, however: I reserve the right to make fun of anonymous questions. So consider yourself warned, unless you’re a masochist or something.
Dear God, are you for real? My first thought was that this must be spam. But what’s the point of spamming without including an invocation to check out tumblrnet.bot or some such website?
So if this is a real person, let me respond with two pieces of advice:
- “-wise” is not an all purpose suffix you can slap on at the end of any word or sentence and have yourself an adverb or adjective.
- If you *ahem* pay attention, you would have the answer to your question. (Cliff’s Notes synopsis: I’m not looking for anything.)
Miami. It’s practically a byword recently. It’s the place everyone loves to hate. Or mock. If all else fails, they feign wide-eyed shock.
Yeah, it’s the place where a drug-addled nut might just chew your face off. Everyone else can bask in the horror. Miamians just shrug. It happens. So it happens here.
It’s a place where appetites are definitive. A news anchor calls the Philadelphia 76ers the 69ers. Everyone tee-hees. They must think about sex a lot down there. No shit.
Everyone wants to root against Miami. They’re plasticky and artificial. Just like the city. As rest of the country is drowns in sincerity.
I wish I had a nickel for every reality show about police in the Miami area. COPS, The First 48, Unleashed: K-9 Broward County, SWAT: Miami-Dade, Police Women of Broward County, Miami Drug Cartel. Hell, even Animal Cops: Miami.
When the allure of CSI: Miami and Nip/Tuck wears off, people are still fascinated. Can’t look away. When I moved away from Miami, the righteous New Englanders just wanted know one thing: “Why’d you come here?” They’d all go there if they had the chance.
Everyone wants superficial beauty and sex and bizarre gratification. They pretend they don’t. Pretend Miami has what they want. Then hate it. Except most Miamians don’t live lives of endless indulgence. They have endless weariness instead.
So keep watching your shows. Watch the bizarre shit that goes down in a poor, violent city. Shake your head. Pat yourself on the back. Drool a little. Jack off when no one’s watching. We just shrug.
Because the bizarre will happen. And it’ll happen in Miami. And everyone else will be transfixed. But in Miami, it won’t be the zombie apocalypse. It won’t be entertainment. It’ll just be the news.
Dancing. One of the perils of live music. They say the Baptists banned fornication because it might lead to dancing. I don’t have a moral objection to either. But I also like to sit back and listen to music without having to watch either. If I have to watch one, fornication would probably be more interesting.
But dancing feet rarely concur with me. They certainly didn’t that night. The blues band was middling, but it was something to do. So I sat there with the moll while the Chicago blues chugged along at a predictable pace. It wasn’t going to change my life, but it was pleasant enough.
Then the dancing began. A few friends of the band around the edges of the edge started it. Then a group of women in front of the stage. Some of them sashayed demurely. Then came guys. In search of demure derriere, no doubt. One jackass hopped around on one foot like he’d just gotten free from a bear trap.
It was time to see and be seen. Doesn’t mean it was pretty. One ungainly broad in a leopard-print sweatshirt shook her distended belly and stomped. Had all the grace of a beached whale. ”They don’t have any rhythm!” the moll protested to me. Didn’t matter. They had exhibitionism.
But off to the side, one guy wasn’t preening for the crowd or engaging in courtship rituals. He was too old for either. He had braces on both knees. Looked like he needed hip transplants, too. He seemed to move by hiccuping. But he was having a grand old time. He danced with his wife, but she had a hard time keeping up with his exuberance.
The geezer stutter-stepped and shook his hips to the beat. He was a randy old devil, thrusting his hips against his wife. It wasn’t pretty, but it was earnest. His wife had a hard time keeping up. He just played air guitar, balancing precariously on his rickety legs, while she caught her breath.
“Dance like no one is watching.” It’s an old cliché, and not always good advice. But if it’s bad advice, that’s alright. No one does it, anyway. Or so I thought. Lots of people say it. I’ve only ever seen him do it. Wasn’t that bad.
It is hard to choose. Chandler was a brilliant writer, and I love his novels, short stories, everything.
I would recommend Chandler’s essay first, actually. “The Simple Art of Murder” has been published as part of a short story anthology. But it’s also available to read online, and it is both a scathing indictment of Golden Age detective stories and an outline of Chandler’s own view of crime and crime fiction.
It’s hard to choose a favorite Chandler novel. The Big Sleep, Chandler’s first novel, is absolutely essential. Chandler considered The Long Goodbye to be his best—though I think some regard it as too long. The Lady in the Lake has some of his best descriptive prose. Ultimately, I think The Big Sleep is the most influential, despite some unraveled plot threads. It’s hard to choose my own favorite, but I think it is one of these.
What are you favorite Chandler novels, tumblchums?