Saturday, June 6, 2020

When heroes become villains... will you stop reading romantic suspense?

Candle in hand

So this thing with George Floyd is sad and tragic. It shines a light on something that is terrible - police brutality. And why would I talk about this on a romance blog? Because oftentimes, law enforcement officers depicted in our romance novels are heroes, and that's the way I have always been taught to view them. They are there to serve and protect. They shield the weak, uphold the innocent, and punish the wicked. They are held to a higher, more heroic standard. But that's not always the case, is it? Certainly, as it has shown us, not in real life. Does that take away from our love of the police, firemen, soldiers, and other lawmen as heroes in the books we read?

I have long been an admirer of the men and women who work to uphold the law. I respect the jobs they do in real life, and I understand those roles come with stress and heartache. But like in every profession and with every individual, there's always the bad apples in the barrel. What happened with George Floyd highlights that. I am not going to get into discussions of right and wrong and everything in between with everything that happened to him and countless others before him, only to say that it's a tragedy, and it's a terrible reflection of disease in our society. In the world today, in this day and age, we should know better. We should do better. We should be better.

Hawaii Five O

This afternoon I was sitting down to lunch with Steve and watching an episode of Hawaii-Five-O. It's one of my favorite police procedural shows. The characters are tough but compassionate, flawed, but honorable. But it made me think. It made me pause in my enjoyment of the show because George Floyd's treatment has cast a shadow over this genre in entertainment for me. And it made me wonder if I could or if I should keep enjoying these kinds of shows or books, and if for whatever reason, it might contribute to the problem with violence constantly depicted on screen and on the page. I hold the people in these professions up to a standard of behaviour, and it has been grossly violated with the likes of Derek Chauvin.

Romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres in romance. I love the heroic men and women who overcome incredible odds and evil to emerge triumphant and find love. I love the adrenalin pumping action. I love the intrigue, the mystery, the battle of good vs evil, of good winning. And I love that the heroes and heroines get their happy ending. More than anything, as with some series I've read over the years, the characters have become friends and family to me, and I have a vested interest in their well-being. But as with all romance, it's an ideal and it's fantasy. It's an escape.

Healing Danger by Maddie Wade Keeping Her Secrets by Maddie Wade Deadly Alliance by Maddie Wade and India Kells

Perhaps we should be looking for more realism in our fiction right now so that we can more clearly remember the plight of the less fortunate and the oppressed. Perhaps we shouldn't be escaping into fiction so that we see the world for what it really is. Perhaps not.

I questioned whether I should keep watching my favorite shows and reading my favorite books. I wondered if I should escape into these wonderful worlds that authors I love have created. And for a moment, I thought, maybe I shouldn't. Maybe I should face reality and live in this very painful world we are faced with right now.

But maybe not. The world is a scary, hurting, gut-wrenching place right now. With the constant news cycle, the deaths, the looting, the rioting, the injustice, it's not a very pretty place. It's one thing to face it and be aware of what's going on. It's one thing to mourn the dead and the injustice, and in our own small way, do what we can to raise awareness and just be kinder to our fellow man. However, I don't think we need to be bombarded with such pain, negativity, and futility constantly. It becomes too much, and the weight of it becomes unbearable. It can lead to despair.

Love heart hands

Yes, romance is escapism. My favorite TV shows are escapism. When we are faced with all the bad in the world, I think it's necessary to take a step back, draw breath, and do something positive to remind ourselves that there is good in the world still, be it in a romance novel where the hero saves the day, wins over corruption, or in a TV show where the cops catch the bad guys. I know it's all make-believe, but I think sometimes we need that make-believe with the happy ending to remind us that good can triumph, justice is served, and evil is vanquished. We hope in the world.

So for a while, I felt the weight of the world upon my shoulders, and I felt guilt over enjoying my favorite show, but in retrospect, I need to see the good guys fight the good fight, and be reminded that there are good guys in the world. I still believe that there are more good guys who uphold the law than there are bad. I'm not getting much of that in the news right now, and I'm well aware of what's going on in the world. It's hard not to. I'm not burying my head in the sand, but I need to be good to myself and have a bit of a breather from the negativity and remember the positive even if it's only in fiction through a romance novel or a TV show. I think I'm going to pick up a book by one of my favorite authors who write fantastic men and women who uphold the law, defend the weak, and fight against injustice.

How are you all doing? How have you been impacted by what's going on? What's your response to it?

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