Monday, January 12, 2009

Disappointed and disgusted

I recently fell head-over-heels in love with the musical Ragtime. Fantastic music, historical content, strong characters, the show has everything! I listened to the show over and over and read the libretto a few times. But, as always, that wasn't enough; I wanted to read the story upon which the musical was based. I went onto the library website and looked up "Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow."

Not being in high demand, I got the book after only being on hold for a few days. I started reading it as soon as I got it.

"Whoa, skip that line," I said to myself only a few pages in.

A few pages later the same thing happened.

"That's uncalled for and inappropriate," I said, skipping it and thinking it was an isolated event; the author couldn't go on for 200 more pages like that, could he?


Yeah, no such luck. It would get really good and engrossing, only to throw in another paragraph about sex. I really am okay with just innuendos and hints at it, but when it gets explicit, that's where I draw the line. I mean, for heaven's sake, it's a novel about the turn of the century and starving immigrants, oppressed Negroes, ignorant society people, and the waking of a nation. Sex was a part of it (duh, it's a part of civilization as a whole), but there are other ways to write the same thing without being super raunchy.

The same thing happened with 1984 and Wicked. Wicked is an excellent musical, but the book is embarrassingly obscene. 1984 may be considered a classic, but it was just sex sex sex (and actually it wasn't very explicit; but it was, no joke, on every single page by the middle of the book).

"But," some people may argue, "sex is only a symbol; it's a part of life; etc. etc."

Blah blah blah, excuses excuses. One of Victor Hugo's characters is a prostitute and he manages to be sensitive and modest about it the subject.

Anyway, I wish there was a way to clean flick books just like clean flicking movies. I really do like Doctorow's style and ideas; I'm just way uncomfortable with the stuff he throws in such a casual manner.

It kinda makes me wish I had the ideas first. :P Lame.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Aaaa-men. It disappoints me and cheapens books when they explicitly talk about sex - that's not a new idea. Come on, come up with something original. Do you really need to use it for filler?