Sunday, September 04, 2011

Mises sobre os romances policiais

Em The Anti-capitalist Mentality:

Now this reader is the frustrated man who did not attain the position which his ambition impelled him to aim at. As we said already, he is prepared to console himself by blaming the injustice of the capitalist system. He failed because he is honest and law abiding. His more lucky competitors succeeded on account of their improbity; they resorted to foul tricks which he, conscientious and stainless as he is, would never have thought of. If people only knew how crooked these arrogant upstarts are! Unfortunately their crimes remained hidden and they enjoy an undeserved reputation. But the day of judgment will come. He himself will unmask them and disclose their misdeeds.

The typical course of events in a detective story is this: A man whom all people consider as respectable and incapable of any shabby action has committed an abominable crime. Nobody suspects him. But the smart sleuth cannot be fooled. He knows everything about such sanctimonious hypocrites. He assembles all the evidence to convict the culprit. Thanks to him, the good cause finally triumphs.

The unmasking of the crook who passes himself off as a respectable citizen was, with a latent antibourgeois tendency, a topic often treated also at a higher literary level, e.g., by Ibsen in The Pillars of Society. The detective story debases the plot and introduces into it the cheap character of the self-righteous sleuth who takes delight in humiliating a man whom all people considered as an impeccable citizen. The detective’s motive is a subconscious hatred of successful “bourgeois.” His counterparts are the inspectors of the government’s police force. They are too dull and too prepossessed to solve the riddle. It is sometimes even implied that they are unwittingly biased in favor of the culprit because his social position strongly impresses them. The detective surmounts the obstacles which their sluggishness puts into his way. His triumph is a defeat of the authorities of the bourgeois state who have appointed such police officers.

This is why the detective story is popular with people who suffer from frustrated ambition. (There are, of course, also other readers of detective stories.) They dream day and night of how to wreak their vengeance upon successful competitors. They dream of the moment when their rival, “handcuffs around his wrist, is led away by the police.” This satisfaction is vicariously given to them by the climax of the story in which they identify themselves with the detective, and the trapped murderer with the rival who superseded them.
É possivel que faça sentido. Mas parece-me um bocado forçado sugerir influência da "mentalidade anti-capitalista" na tendência dos romances policiais apresentarem o detective privado como o "herói" e as forças policiais como incompetente - afinal, também poderíamos considerar o contrário e dizer que essa apologia do sector privado face ao público é uma marca da mentalidade capitalista.


PR said...

Já agora, os dois principais detectivos dos policiais (Sherlock Holmes e Poirot) também faziam parte da "burguesia": detectives privados [pelo menos na altura das estórias] muito bem na vida, de modos afectados e que podiam já viver de rendimentos. A estória do Mises parece-me sociologia de casa-de-banho...

Anonymous said...

O ilustre trotskysta ernest mandel escreveu um livro fenomenal chamado Delightful Murder: A Social History of the Crime Story

Miguel Madeira said...

Eu estive para falar desse livro, onde ele dá uma interpretação totalmente oposta do fenómeno detective privado - bom / policia - mau.

Para ele a ideia é dar uma visão positiva dos "gentleman" da alta sociedade (os detectives) face à polícia recrutada entre o povo.

De qualquer forma, suspeito que Mises estava mais a pensar no "romance negro" norte-americano, em que o detective vive à beira da falência e é frequentemente, ou um ex-policia de giro, ou um ex-criminoso.