So you can read my books

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
                     - Christina Rossetti
 Popular literature has always denoted what society is running towards ... and from

 Take Horror.
 Horror Fiction authors and films have to appeal to the public interest,
 so the horror within their story has to reflect society’s current view of what is fearful.
 Consequently from this you can understand the context from when it was written.
 So if books begin to write more about the perverse nature of man, does this indicate a more perverse society?
 In another genere, great Crime fiction offers what no sociology text can provide,
 To feel the living, breathing essence of New Orleans, both pre- and post-Katrina,
 check out the Dave Robicheaux series by James Lee Burke.
 In like manner, Rock Music remains the most democratic of mass media—
 the only one in which voices from the margins of society can still be heard out loud.
 It does not so much influence society as reflect it.
 Take our current movie fascination with the Superhero --
What is a hero? 
There are many views on that. 
Part of the definition
would contain the thought
that a hero embodies what is best in ourselves,
rising above what we feel is the worst in us all.
 I believe CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER reflects the quandry of the common man
 in today's society --
 trying to fit into a world that no longer seems to believe in anything much beyond power and self-interest.
 It is the classic story of the Child learning that Adulthood was a tarnished dream after all.
 It is telling that every hero that enters into public consciousness has experienced 
 significant trauma in his or her life that has practically defined them,
 a trauma that serves to motivate them in their lives as superheroes
 (Batman and Spider-Man serve, of course. as the perfect examples),

  traumas to which they are, and will always be, unable to reconcile themselves or fully resolve.
 But though both Batman and Spider-Man will, out of necessity, never be able to reconcile
 their respective traumas, they do, in fact, manage to live with them ...
 As must we all -- and perhaps that is our fascination with superheroes:
that they do well what the rest of us struggle through day by day.
What do you think? 
What makes a hero? 
Does our literature, our entertainments
reflect who we are?
Is the emphasis on Lust rather than Love
in 50 SHADES OF GRAY symbolic
of what is felt
throughout our society?


  1. Hero is a word which I think is used to easily in our society. Skilled sportsmen and women are not heroes just because of their athletic process.
    My heroes are people who achieve incredible things, and do it for the benefit of others. And, on the whole are not paid for their work.
    It is going that step further. Volunteering to work with ebola patients, knowing the risk, hoping to make a difference...

  2. A hero will act in an emergency without considering how it will affect him. Sex sells, or prostitution wouldn't have survived.

    I read what I choose. I don't read something just because everyone else is doing so. I read for interest or because I like a certain author's writing.

  3. Hi Roland - you've given us some good examples here ... I'm not sure if you'd consider Jazz to fit in to your democratisation of peoples and ideas. I think people 'want' rather than aspire and don't realise they need goals to achieve.

    I just dislike the way many follow and don't understand why ... celebrity is not helpful: many are not good examples ...

    But as has been said unless you have a passion and a desire to work your way through and learn your craft - achievement means little.

    I'm very independent ... and do what interests me, rather than follow the trend. However I should do more for others and don't do enough - something I need to rectify ..

    I hope all is well with you - and this post is such an important one ... cheers Hilary

  4. Elephant's Child:
    Yes, definitely. Those brave doctors and nurses who volunteered to work with ebola patients are, indeed, heroes.

    Success does not make you a hero. It just makes you financially secure. Chris Pratt, who went from homeless to starring in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, became a hero not from his success at the box office but when he showed up various children hospitals, wearing his movie gear and letting ill children try on the leather jacket to their delight.

    I will sometimes NOT read a book just because everyone else is reading it. I am a loner. :-)

    Sex sells but love sustains ... at least to me. ;-)

    Like you, I tend to read what tickles my fancy no matter what genre it may be.

    Oh, certainly the liking of jazz helps defines a person.

    Your take on "want" is astute. Wanting is vague while goal seeking is specific and helps add an momentum to our lives.

    I may want to fly a plane, but unless I take lessons, I will always stare up at the sky in longing.

    I bet you do more for others than you realize. You strike me as a true hero. Giving that one word of comfort is more heroic than any gold medal!

  5. Funny, my wife and I were discussing something similar when we came out of seeing Guardians again the other day. Despite the dystopians, the horror films, the movies where people screw each other over, what films are the most popular? Films like The Avengers and Guardians. And not just because they are superheroes. Those films show people coming together and working as a team. They carry such a positive message. And people respond to that. I think it reflects what we really want as a society.

  6. Alex:
    Exactly. Nolan's BATMAN was popular. But Lucas' STAR WARS was seen multiple times, for it provided people from various classes coming together for a common cause, it was fun (not depressing), and the sense of wonder was that which we first had in childhood. So, too, THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

    I think we want to feel good about life when we walk out of a movie or close a novel. If it is fun enough, we will watch or read it again as you and your wife did with GUARDIANS.

    By the way, I want a dancing Groot in a pot toy!! :-)

  7. I find that what goes for horror in terms of current public sentiment tends to echo in the science fiction world. Mood and concerns play to the plot.

  8. Maybe this isn't the same as the idea of a hero, but Kennedy's Profiles in Courage comes to mind because the men (sadly, no women are in his book) he describes were often ordinary but at a key point in their lives stood up for what they believed in, despite the often painful personal circumstances.

  9. Raquel:
    Explicitness in gore or sex seems to draw audiences, too. And many plots seem but echoes, don't they?

    No, Kennedy's Profiles definitely illustrate what true heroes are. Light sabers are not needed, only the courage to be the light. :-)