The French have a phrase for it. The bastards have a phrase for everything and they are always right.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
And when she spoke her voice had the lucid emptiness of that mechanical voice on the telephone that tells you the time, and if you keep listening, which people don't because they have no reason to, it will keep on telling you the passing seconds for ever, without the slightest change of inflection.
Friday, September 5, 2008
The average man is tired and scared, and a tired, scared man can't afford ideals. He has to buy food for his family. In our time we have seen a shocking decline in both public and private morals. You can't expect quality from people whose lives are a subjection to a lack of quality. You can't have quality with mass production. You don't want it because it lasts too long. So you substitute styling, which is a commercial swindle intended to produce artificial obsolescence. Mass production couldn't sell its goods next year unless it made what it sold this year look unfashionable a year from now. We have the whitest kitchens and the most shining bathrooms in the world. But in the lovely white kitchen the average American housewife can't produce a meal fit to eat, and the lovely shining bathroom is mostly a receptacle for deodorants, laxatives, sleeping pills, and the products of that confidence racket called the cosmetic industry. We make the finest packages in the world, Mr. Marlowe. The stuff inside is mostly junk.
I smelled Los Angeles before I got to it. It smelled stale and old like a living room that had been closed too long. But the coloured lights fooled you. The lights were wonderful.
"The fear of today," he said, "always overrides the fear of tomorrow. It's a basic fact of the dramatic emotions that the part is greater than the whole. If you see a glamour star on the screen in a position of great danger, you fear for her with one part of your mind, the emotional part. Notwithstanding that your reasoning mind knows that she is the star of the picture and nothing very bad is going to happen to her. If suspense and menace didn't defeat reason, there would be very little drama."
I own newspapers, but I don't like them. I regard them as a constant menace to whatever privacy we have left. Their constant yelping about a free press means, with a few honourable exceptions, freedom to peddle scandal, crime, sex, sensationalism, hate, innuendo, and the political and financial uses of propaganda. A newspaper is a business out to make money through advertising revenue. That is predicated on its circulation and you know what the circulation depends on.
I could hear the hum of the air conditioner somewhere out of sight, like a locust behind the building.
I pushed through it into the suddenly cool indoors. It felt good after the hard desert heat, but it felt artificial too, like the soothing touch of an embalmer.
We gave Beverly Hills the swift and climbed along the foothills, saw the distant lights of the university buildings and swung north into Bel-Air. We began to slide up long narrow streets with high walls and no sidewalks and big gates. Lights on mansions glowed politely through the early night. Nothing stirred. There was no sound but the soft purr of the tires on concrete.
The level in the bottle was a lot lower now. It was smooth and you hardly noticed it going down. It didn't take half your tonsils with it, like some of the stuff I had to drink. I took some more. My head felt all right now. I felt fine.
I waded over to the desk and put an elbow on it and was stared at by a pale thin clerk with one of these mustaches that get stuck under your fingernail.
There was a desk and a night clerk with one of those mustaches that get stuck under your fingernail.
I am just using this as a place to record some quotations from Raymond Chandler's book, because I keep losing them when write them on scraps of paper, not because I expect anyone to read this. This ridiculously silly blog title is actually a title of one of his books, oh my!