Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The Body in the Record Room addresses a nasty presupposition. That presupposition is an almost-never-talked-about idea some people still hold. It is the idea that homosexuality leads to rape.
I wanted the book to deal with real evil. That nasty presupposition was a part of the real evil in the book. The little man's idea that homosexuality is NOT a choice, but is instead "who we are," was revolutionary in his time. In one way or another, some psychiatric literature listed homosexuality as a mental illness until at least the 1960's.
We are what we are born to be. I believe that is the case in regard to gender preference. My own heterosexuality is not threatened by someone else's other preference. Rape is violence whether it is heterosexual or homosexual rape. Rape is not caused by our sexual preference. It is caused by our choice to be violent.
Should mystery books deal with such topics? Well, I guess readers have a choice. You can choose a cozy, which I sometimes do. In those, the murder is distant. It is just an excuse for the rest of the story. Or you can choose some terribly violent, mass murder kind of book.
I personally like my books in between. I want them to deal with real evil, but I want the protagonists to be good people who somehow overcome. I want my heroes to have to struggle and to wonder if they will come out on top, but even if they don't win the day, I want to feel that they have triumphed.
I believe in heroes, in books and movies, and in life. My own life is built on my heroes. Why shouldn't my Roy Rogers' life be built on heroes too?
I'm sure some who read The Body in the Record Room were startled by the subject matter. Well, it is a real world. We do have to face difficult things. Thank God for those who live in such a way that they teach us how to face hard things well.
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