Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The good, the bad, and footwear... by RM

Which crime fiction archetype do you find truly essential to the genre? Which would you like to see retired for a while?

What is essential to me when I read crime does seem different than when I read other fiction. With crime fiction I’m looking for something special:  entertainment, comfort, some kind of connection, and a conclusion. So much in life is conclusionless that it's nice to get a little closure. 

I’m also looking for characters that I admire, so to me, the good ol' good guy (take “guy” as male or female) is the truly essential archetype. Good comes in all kinds of forms, too, and I kind of prefer the good-but-troubled archetype, and a dash of bad doesn’t hurt either, because who isn't a little bad or a little troubled? 

For the second part of the question, there is no archetype I would retire, maybe because I simply stay away from the kind of stuff I don’t like, so have no opportunity to get annoyed. But if I found a book bristling with evil geniuses or obnoxiously self-assured heroes or gratuitously flimsy females, I’d retire it from my shelf, for sure. I may have blinders on, but I have a feeling the evil geniuses and flimsy females of popular fiction are dying a natural death and disappearing anyway. 

At the risk of veering off topic, there’s one archetype -- if that’s what you’d call it -- that really gets up my nose, and that’s the serious working woman in high heels. This applies more to movies than books, I guess, because you don’t get to see the characters’ feet much in books - but in reading too, if I get even a whiff of the protagonist tottering around crime scenes (for example) on spikes, it’s book closed. Or at least tainted by disappointment from there on in.
typical crime scene investigator having a puff

I think high heels look great at the end of legs, and I wear them myself on special occasions. But I know that if I’ll need to walk much more than a city block, or negotiate uneven pavement, an earthen path, sand or rocks, slippery tiles, more than three risers, inclines, declines, grass, gymnasiums, or thick pile carpet, forget it.

I'd like whoever’s in charge to stop putting the serious working woman of fiction in those uncomfortable, impractical, subjugating masterpieces of foot-torture. That kind of media sets a bad example for children, makes women feel inferior, and ultimately breeds contempt in men.

favourite footwear
A footnote re heels and other cinematic irritants: When I’m watching a good movie, with characters I like, my rating goes down a few stars if any of the following happens: A) protag wears heels on the job for no good reason , B) fridge door’s left open way too long, C) driver refuses to look at the road ahead, preferring to chat with passenger, D) protag brandishes gun irresponsibly. At that point I’m whisked right out of the plot and can only worry about aching feet (or even a twisted ankle!), a huge hydro bill, a crash, or dismissal. Wise-up, movie-makers!

Well, reading back on this post I see I’ve not only veered off topic but warped it, but at least you have my stance on heels: wobbly!


RJ Harlick said...

With you on the heels, both for myself and running after bad guy female cops. But you forgot about the plunging necklines that transform the competent no nonsense female detective into a sleezy sex symbol. Good post.

catriona said...

Sarah Jessica Parker is now suffering from back and hip problems caused by her years in Blahniks. I love that she's said it straight out and warned young women off them. Me? Can't walk in the things and never wear them.

Unknown said...

Ya. High heels and plunging necklines can be a hazard, but that's just common sense, even if you just say them aloud.

Susan C Shea said...

I see stills from crime shows and laugh at the glamorous female cops wearing plunging necklines and pouty expressions. To me, that's such an old stereotype, from cheap 1950 detective magazines. But then I see Fox News anchors and pundits and realize it is still flourishing, if not in my house! You are so right on those high heels/ Remember the photo of Melania Turnip getting her stiletto caught in the grass as she struggled to look cool while boarding the helicopter on the WH lawn? Yeah, that.

Lisa Ciarfella said...

Here here...
Heels, hit the highway!