Books where people are killed

I have a confession to make: I own books where people are killed.

Not real people, of course — no, just made-up secret agents and innocent bystanders and terrorists: the usual thriller casualties of dan-browns and robert-ludlums.

Surely this makes no difference, though.

Clearly such works are wrong — they cannot be excused because of any literary, artistic, political or scientific value (hah!), and murder is illegal. It’s an abomination. Have you seen how trigger-happy the people in some of these filthy tomes are? Bang, bang, people are dropping left and right, often in gruesomely contrived ways, all for the sick titillation of the reader!

Why, I could probably claim this… this smut increases the likelihood of me going postal; who knows, I might even be right in some statistical sense. For me this just seems a silly puppet show, and maybe a chance of letting off some steam: but maybe thrillers increase the chance of me wrestling someone to the ground and sticking an icicle in his eye — because I certainly sympathized with the villain of the Day of the Jackal more than with the heroes (heck, I can’t even remember them) — how’s that? I’m a perverted would-be head of state assassin aficionado! I heard on Wikipedia the man who killed Yitzhak Rabin, plus one that wanted to kill the Great White Bush, had read the book — what more evindence do you need for the malign potency of such evil works no-one but the degenerate and deviant would ever find any pleasure in!?

In addition to this, in such books even the “heroes” engage in manifold other illegal and distasteful acts in addition to murder — theft, trespassing, vandalism, and so on. And most of these books certainly have, I repeat, no artistic value whatsoever. They’re just filthy titillation!

Away with them! To the bonfires, friends of decency! Allow these perverts hide among us no more, hide like they were actually human! They’re murderers! Murder-enablers! Death-lovers! Evil, evil subhuman scum people!

Evil!

Given that I am irrevocably stained and mutilated by exposure to this filth, maybe I should turn myself in to the pol —

Oh, wait. That would be silly.

Apparently getting off on exciting make-believe violence, theft and trespassing is somehow different from that one suite of things that would, too, be illegal if done to real people: all kinds of distasteful pieces of sex and sexuality. And while no-one objects to Dan Brown wasting a few people to titillate his readers, and (almost) no-one thinks the Saw movies should really be illegal for being such murder porn, just draw a naked minor, and —

Well, Boing Boing has a horror story of prudish overreaction Gone Mad!, involving an American collector of Japanese comics; and Neil Gaiman says all that needs to be said in answer to that. Read what Neil says; I agree with it all.

Curious how many people are willing to defend the rights of imaginary people when there are so many real ones in need of help; I always though the wrong and sick part in murder (and other crimes I don’t find appealing either) was that there was a real person being hurt… but apparently some people don’t see things that way.

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