There was a post today on DorothyL, the mystery digest, that really bugged me.
My spouse and I recently had an argument about the morality of showing a
murder in every episode–the implication being that people, especially children, would take away the impression that the world is a violent and menacing place. I countered with the argument that the show contains a fundamental morality in the search to apprehend the evil-doers and bring them to justice. I think the same applies to writing murder mysteries.
The world is a violent and menacing place….and one murder-a-week on any TV series is a far cry from the number of murders that are actually committed in the United States each day. But beyond that, how could a murder mystery possibly be construed as immoral? It’s wrong to murder somebody… and that’s the basic assumption & message of every murder mystery ever written.
That said, does that make Barry Eisler’s RAIN series, or Lawrence Block’s HITMAN series, or Thomas Perry’s BUTCHER BOY, or Donald Westlake’s PARKER books immoral to read and enjoy because the protagonists engage in immoral behavior?
This is the kind of neanderthal thinking that gets books banned… and leads to things like that English teacher who was castigated for asking high school students to write a murder mystery in her creative writing course.
Then again, a lot of folks on DorothyL also think MONK is offensive because it makes fun of someone with obsessive compulsive disorder.