"...I suffer for my art," to slightly paraphrase Lloyd Cole. An essay worth reading by Andrew Klavan on Sin City and its beautful, sadistic, artful nihilism.
Academic doctrine and Sin City may seem oppositional, but they are actually mother and child. More to the point, they are Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill.
Erasmus points interested readers to his own meditation on the subject, which proceeded along vaguely similar lines:
So, instead of Nazi doctors sadistically torturing women, we have antiheroes sadistically avenging them. Progress of a sort, perhaps, and a visceral, pagan sort of honor-killing satisfaction, but ultimately one that civilization has to reject. The reader may protest that Basin City is intentionally constructed as uncivilized: all power is corrupt, only one policeman stands as decent, etc. And, indeed, this is a convention of many modern neo-noir films. But the true, fascinating dilemma of classic noir is: what does the good man do in an evil millieu? Only one of the stories approaches this dilemma, and it concludes with a hero's self-sacrifice, and the one (depressing) glimpse of decency in the entire film. The other two protagonists are killers who, do good, sort of, by killing men worse than they. But this is not heroism, but vendetta.
Erasmus doesn't know what it says about modern culture, if anything, that gifted artists like Miller and Rodriguez consider these themes worthy of prolonged meditation and æstheticization, but he doubts it's anything good.