Like many McCarthy admirers I am also a long-time admirer of the work of the Coen Brothers. I have taught both the novels and the films to students of one kind or another, although I currently concentrate on teaching film more generally. I mention this because I am likely to be making more references (albeit quite modest) to film theory than is usual in essays on McCarthy’s work, and I want to convey at least some idea of where I am coming from. In fact I have recently been working on Latin American film and the influence of this will also be apparent. My initial reaction to learning that the Coens were to film No Country for Old Men was one of keen anticipation. This is partly because I like the novel a lot, more than many I think; this is no doubt due in part to its evident relationship to genres (the Western, the crime movie) that the cinema has made its own but which some scholars regard as inherently inferior. Many, of course, consider “genre” as limiting by definition. My view reflects an ideological stance that makes one uncomfortable with the dichotomy at the heart of the project of modernity, between what Néstor García Canclini refers to as “democratization” and “renovation.” At the risk of oversimplifying Canclini’s categories, these imply respectively, and using his words, “the popularization of science and culture” (democratization) and “the need to continually reformulate the signs of distinction that mass consumption wears away” (renovation) (12).