Admission time. I like watching reruns of The Love Boat during the day sometimes. I think POP has Throwback Thursdays where they do a Love Boat marathon. Hour after hour of the wacky hijinks of The Pacific Princess crew. And a while back, something occurred to me during one of these old shows.
They could never get away with half that stuff today.
There was one particular episode where Red Buttons played a handsy old lech. He spent most of the episode trying to get Julie, the cruise director, into bed in the most overt ways. Yeah, sexual harassment today. Lying, cheating, subterfuge, sex... all good clean fun with a laugh track in the background. Back then we didn't think anything of it. Today? Do we ever stop thinking everything of it?
Another time, I was at my favorite used bookstore. The owner had just gotten a ton of old crime paperbacks and she was sorting through them while I perused her old SF titles. Every once in a while, she would hold up a book to show me the cover. The old covers of crime novels were the best back then. No shame. No hiding of sex or murder or lewd behavior. And the verbiage on the covers... Whoa, nelly. Hot stuff. And totally politically incorrect. Hell, one of Mickey Spillane's novels is called The Erection Set for petesakes. (He didn't write erotica, btw - he wrote awesome crime. Check him out sometime, if you haven't already. Start with I, The Jury.)
I told her we couldn't get away with that today. With a dismayed look, she agreed. And then she went back to happily sorting through books from a time when they could get away with it. I even bought a couple.
Personally, I love the old shows and the old novels. They harken back to a simpler time. One of the best compliments I've gotten so far about my second book - Accidental Death - was that it reminded the reader of the old hard-boiled crime novels. I'm pretty pleased with that. Oh, there isn't lewdness by anyone's definition, but I like to think it has that same unapologetic tone. Life is rough and when there's murder afoot, who's got time to be all soft and fluffy? People are rough. Why soften their edges? Or maybe it's just me.
Right now, I'm reading a gothic novel from the early 1970s. Loads of fun. And that's really the point isn't it? Read what's fun for you. Old crimes novels are fun for me.
What's fun for you?