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Q1. What Are The Strengths And Limitations Of Contemporary Crime Fiction As A Vehicle For Radical Social And Political Critique?

2591 words - 11 pages

Crime Fiction is a genre that is never stagnate, rather it is always adapting and regenerating itself. By remoulding the structures of its stories and crimes to reflect the cultural and social values in society to appropriately fit the political or moral message it is trying to send. The genre can be used to raise questions about identity and morality. The social and political critique I will focus on in this essay is the questions Crime Fiction raises about this 'War on Drugs' and whether we can wage a War against a thing? Or is it merely just American propaganda used by politicians to group people together and pretend like they care. I will use HBO's television series The Wire and Stephen Soderbergh's film Traffic to portray how crime fiction can be used as a vehicle to critique for radical social and political critique. Such as America's capitalist society, the aspiration of the 'American Dream', issues of class and racial divisions, corruption in the state, the incompetence of police and authority, the loss of communication, lack of opportunities, the lack of protection or welfare from the state, loopholes in the justice system, to name but a few. Crime Fiction has developed and now reflects real issues of the lives of the vast amount of people caught up in this War. However, I do not feel that The Wire and Traffic suggest any kind of resolution to these issues and critiques. There are hints and suggestions but again, the failures of the political and social issues seem to be on a continual loop with no real answer of how to end or win this War. Yet, it could be argued that the American Government surrendered to this War a long time ago.
Traffic has three intersecting plot lines that reveal the scope of this illegal Mexican-American drug trade from the perspective of a user, an enforcer, a politician and a trafficker. It portrays not only the issues in the political and social society but also the War on Drugs itself, with the difficulty and sacrifice involved in such a War. It leaves the viewer questioning if it is worth pursuing or whether it has become a lost cause? The War on Drugs in this film seems to be a War on family members, society, recreation, personal freedom and reality. The films social and political critique is structured on the belief that this 'War' is inefficient and the resources, time and effort that are continuously being put into arresting drug dealers or users, could be used in helping and facilitating addicts or through better education in the prevention of drug use. The system in which they use to fight the War is one based upon informants, secrets and corruption. Therefore, how could society ever trust and fully support it, when people can exchange their freedom if they inform on someone else. The film also portrays a critique on this capitalist society, where money is everything, like Carl's wife who will do anything to have her upper class life back even though it has been based on deceit all along. This value...

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