Why American Noir Is So Fantastic

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Gregory Whitehead

The fact is, in order to build our perpetually shining City On A Hill, we have created one bewildering blood bath after another, with the killing invariably executed in the name of God, for we are nothing if not righteous. That is our psychic core. What sort of radio casts forth from such a dark idealism? And what sort of radio casts forth when events force us, without warning, to face our bewilderment?

Consider the case of world famous hedge fund manager Sir Harry Hammersmith. In the summer of 2007, he announces a legacy gift of one billion dollars to his Alma Mater, an elite private college south of Boston called Plymouth Mather. He plans to deliver the fabulous gift in person, arriving by parachute to land at the dead center of the college quad.

Local dignitaries and the global media gather at the appointed hour. Harry does indeed fall from the sky, but there are a few little glitches: he has no parachute; he is stark naked; and he has no head. Within minutes of his body striking the turf, global markets crash, and the world plummets into the Greatest Depression.

– from Let Us Lay on Splendid Nights

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