A response to the AbsoluteWrite September Blog Chain prompt, the painting "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper.
What is it about all-night diners in the American conscious? True, Seinfeld made the diner into the hub of the universe, for several self-absorbed, obnoxious New Yorkers. And true, diners were the original refuge for the travelling family, off to see the country. But the all-night diner, that's something else. It's a place of solitude for the downtrodden, the defeated, the lonely, the deeply flawed.
Hopper's inspired canvas captures that identity boldly, with nothing more than a diner, an empty street, three patrons, and a soda jerk. We look at the simplicity of the scene and we know that the man whose back is to us is a loser, that he has nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to do it with. And we know the couple seated across from him are something more than that, or something much less. The clerk, for his part, is either one of those types who never shuts up, or one those who takes a perverse pride in keeping his counter clean...and usually annoyingly wet.
Hopper's painting likely was inspired by cinema, and in turn has now--itself--inspired the same. But whether or not it inspired the movie or scene I'm about to mention, I cannot rightly say. Still, when I see the painting, these are the first things that come to mind. The movie? LA Confidential. The scene? Why the Night Owl killings, of course (for those unfamiliar with the movie, the Night Owl is a diner that is the scene of a late-night bloodbath).
The movie, of course, is classic film noir. It oozes sex and corruption, no one is clean, no one is exactly what they seem to be (and James Ellroy--the author of the book the movie was based on--deserves much credit for this, despite not participating in the production). Made in 1997, it could just as well have come from the 40's or 50's.
I see Hopper's painting and I absolutely know what's coming: they're all dead, the hooker and her married john, the dirty ex-cop with too many secrets, and the hapless clerk. Look, they're all there, and a couple of friends as well...
The Blog Chain (check 'em out):
orion_mk3 - http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month's post)
BigWords - http://bigwords88.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
robeiae - http://thepondsofhappenstance.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
pezie - http://www.erinbrambilla.com/ (link to this month's post)
Ralph Pines - http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
Cath - http://blog.cathsmith.com (link to this month's post)
AbielleRose - http://stainedglassinthenight.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
Darkshore - http://dustinbishop.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
dolores haze - http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
Alynza - http://www.alynzasmith.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
pyrosama - http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
xcomplex - www.arielemerlad.blogspot.com (link to this month's post)
lufftocraft - http://charactertherapy.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)