Monday, August 26, 2013

Talking About Violence in Crime Fiction

Ben LeRoy of Tyrus Books has been the center of much discussion around the web about his stand "On the Repercussions of Crime Fiction".  He has links to the previous posts where the conversation started and he'd like to continue the discussion with  his post.

I know this may sound strange but I believe that much of violence in our society goes through cycles across the generations.  For the past four generations of my lifetime there was the violence of Prohibition followed by a pair of world wars, then came the relative peace of the fifties.  The Viet Nam war reared it's ugly head along with the violence that sprouted alongside the Civil Rights Movement in the Sixties.  In the late seventies and eighties when my children were growing up you couldn't find a toy gun in any store.  Now with my grandchildren the swing is in full force again with violent video games and TV shows.  And the stores are full of pretend weapons once again.  And yes, I was appalled when my then four year old grandson told me he wanted to be a cop so he could kill people.  Thankfully he's found other interests and grown out of that particular phase. 

The violence in our society this time has grown much worse and more hate oriented.  And there's the difference.  When you teach hatred it always spawns violence.  As writers we should try to show the repercussions of violence more than focus on the act of violence itself for its shock value.  I don't believe you need to sugar coat the violence because it has been a part of the world since Cain killed Abel, but you don't have to glorify it.     


Thomas Pluck said...

Well said, Sandra.

sandra seamans said...

I try, Thomas.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I very much agree.

sandra seamans said...

I think it bothers people more at our age, Patti. We grew up with most of the violence off screen and page. Cowboys rarely bled on screen until Sam Peckinpaugh's "The Wild Bunch". Since then the screens are covered in blood.