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Tag Archives: crime

My Review of Shaft, by Ernest Tidyman

10 Nov

November 10, 2018

Shaft is a deep book. Oh, not in the sense that it touches on deep issues and ponders difficult sociopolitical questions, but in the sense that it puts you in Shaft’s head and he thinks deep thoughts about everything.

Every freakin’ thing.

Reading this book I wonder if Shaft has ever had a happy day in his life. The book can be a ponderous read at times because Shaft ponders everything. Nothing is just surface, everything is fodder for Shaft’s dark and dolorous musings. There’s a dark cloud behind every beam of sunlight in Shaft’s world. There are bad intents behind every person Shaft sees in the street, and in every glance Shaft sees the bad behind the good. To be fair, Shaft comes by that worldview honestly, and it serves him well in his job, but even when the case is wrapped and Shaft is playing a board game with a child, he’s deep in brooding. And what is he brooding about? How the child beat him in the game, and Shaft will get better and beat him next time, then have to let the kid win after that because, after all, he’s an adult playing a kid in a kid’s game. Even downtime with a young child brings out the rain clouds.

Does Shaft ever smile?

Despite all that, I liked the book. It feels like a slice of the seventies and this is a book that could only have been written in that era. On the other hand, it deals extensively in stereotypes. Every black person is a militant or a drug dealer. Every Italian is connected to the Mafia. Every white girl wants to sleep with a black man and every white man is afraid of the black man. I would stop short of saying there is anything truly racist about this book, but I can see the arguments. However, Shaft does have some clearly anti-Semitic thoughts about the Jews, making the title of the next book, Shaft Among The Jews, more intriguing.

I read the book because I always like reading the source material behind classic films, and the movie Shaft is an undisputed classic. The big question is, of course, is the book better than the movie? I have to say no. I enjoyed the movie much more. Even if I was listening to Isaac Hayes’ soundtrack as I read the book I couldn’t help but feel like Shaft is not a character I’m in a hurry to revisit, at least in literary form.

 

 

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Newsfail Quick Hits (December 2017)

4 Dec

December 4, 2017

The news media is a huge industry. Think of all the stories that appear in all the newscasts, all the websites, all the print media, etc etc etc. Not every story will make perfect sense, nor will every story be well-written or even get to the heart of the matter. Here are a few quick examples.

Let Go is like eBay, except that it doesn’t involve shipping. It is up to the parties involved to coordinate an exchange. In other words, it is a site where strangers set up meetings where one brings money and the other may or may not kill them for that money. What can possibly go wrong? I think that’s the real story here.

 

Star WARS.
The Force is from Star Wars, not Star Trek.

By now you’d think a writer working on a major New York newspaper and reporting on entertainment and media would know the difference. That’s a total fail.

 

This next one is not really a failure. In fact, this may be very clever. 

The article doesn’t mention where or how she was smuggling the baloney until the second paragraph, where it also contains the phrase “sausage smuggling,” which is probably not something you should google from work. 

By the way, she hid bologna under the floor mats of her car. I have no idea what you may have been thinking.

 

So how many times did she give birth outside the US?

 

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