Monday, June 06, 2005

A Guilty Pleasure

A couple of decades ago, I remember watching Ebert and (Siskel) praise the marketing genius of the "Dirty Harry" movie franchise. Paraphrasing Ebert's comments from memory, "Harry shot people for all audiences. He shot up a gang of black armed robbers and a sadistic killer who ‘escaped justice on technicalities’ in his first picture - then turned around and shot up a conspiracy of white fascist cops in his next picture." In later pictures, he went on to partner with vengeful victimized feminists. He carried out equal opportunity killing for an evolving emotionally beleaguered audience in need of some cathartic relief.

That critique comes to mind as I read Vin Suprynowicz's The Black Arrow. In this novel, the protagonist sticks black feathered shafts in tyrants big and small, whether they are thuggish DEA agents, rapist cops, lying tax assessors or conniving property-stealing politicos. Modeling his criminal perpetrators from news we read today, the reader is treated to an alternative scenario where the scions of the state are held responsible (in vivid anatomical detail) when they destroy the lives and property of their victims. This book hits the spot when you're taking a time-out from forgiving your enemies.