retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Not all my commentary is about retailing and business, and, naturally, the reactions I often get don't always fall within the so-called lines to which MNB mostly dedicates itself.

Which is great.

Take, for example, the brief review I did before I took some time off about the latest season of "Bosch" on Amazon prime Video, based on the Michael Connelly novels.

MNB reader Jon Berg wrote:

While I always enjoy your POV and stance on the business issues you present, I really like the fact that you balance all that with entertainment, sports, politics, etc.  Because none of us lives in a business acumen "only" world.  I think your balanced approach is totally spot on.  Which leads me to your recommendation for "Bosch."  I picked up on the series long ago, based on your review.  I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  My wife was born and raised in inner city LA and later east LA.  We both agreed, watching the show is like a mini-mosaic of visiting there.  The good, and the not-so-good of course.  Please keep the recommendations coming, they are a core part of your well rounded approach with MNB.

But, of course, not everyone agrees.

Another MNB reader wrote:

The Bosch character is a self-righteous prig who allows his passion to rule his brain.  In Season 8, for instance …

Well, I'm going to stop there, because the rest of the email sort of gives away the end of the eight-episode series.  I don't want to do that, and I tried to avoid giving away the game in my review.

I do think that it is possible to be self-righteous without being a prig.  It also is possible to be a prig without being self-righteous.

I did a little checking, and  the dictionary definition of "prig" is, "a self-righteously moralistic person who behaves as if superior to others."

The dictionary definition of "self-righteous" is, "having or characterized by a certainty, especially an unfounded one, that one is totally correct or morally superior."

Which is interesting, because going into this dialogue I would've thought that I'd rather be self-righteous than a prig … but, in fact, according to the dictionary, it is entirely possible that it may be the other way around.

Then again, maybe it is a moot point.

I think there are people in the world - in fact and fiction - who try to make decisions because they believe those decisions are the right thing to do.  In fact, the American detective novel is founded on the notion that the protagonist is willing to go farther than anyone else to do what is necessary to make things as they ought to be.  With more concern for individuals than politics or power structures, to fight for the little guy vs. the institutions that often rule our lives.  It often is framed as a battle between ethics vs. expediency.

And sure, sometimes passion rules the brain, because the protagonist of such novels often has a passion for a kind of justice that less honorable people do not.

Raymond Chandler, who in many ways invented the form, wrote:

“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

“He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him.

“The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.”

To characterize such people - in fact or fiction - as "self-righteous prigs" is to miss the point, which is that someone has to be willing to go down those mean streets and behave in an honorable manner that is utterly unfamiliar to those who say they are concerned about the greater good, but actually are more focused on their own well-being, and glowing their own power, influence, or wealth.

At this point, you may be reading this and wondering if I had way too much time to think during my days off.  Which is fair.  And maybe true.

So, I'll just end with this.  The MNB reader who takes issue with "Bosch" refers to "season 8."

But there has been no season eight.  Not yet anyway.  Though, as I pointed out, Harry Bosch will return in a new series on IMDBm, during which he will follow a different path - though on familiar mean streets - originally laid out for him in more recent Connelly novels.

I'm thrilled to be able to go with him.