After reading Erin's Friday post I was... well, inspired is probably going too far. But I did take her point about the "unpopular opinions" fad going around Facebook. Yes, people were looking at that prompt and thinking they had to post things that were inherently negative: I hate this, I think this thing everybody likes is stupid, and so on. I have in fact contributed to the problem (saying that I can't stand The Wizard of Oz, an opinion I have expressed here).
And since I think we have rarely been in a situation that required positivity more than the present day, I'd like to be part of the solution. So here are 10--mostly unrelated to crime fiction publishing--positive opinions.
10 Positive But Unpopular Opinions
1. I actually like the Electric Light Orchestra. "Serious" listeners to pop music think Jeff Lynne's 70s band that mixed classical strings and occasionally horns into the arrangement is silly and a sign that one is easily misled. I disagree. Trying something different often resulted in some spurts of genius (There has never been an arrangement besides Lynne's of Roll Over Beethoven that included actual Beethoven) and even though the later years were fairly disposable as Lynne lost interest ("The music plays/so loud and clear/but somehow I can't make you hear/the dream is gone") much of what is there is still worth listening to.
2. I think baseball is infinitely more exciting than football. "Baseball is a slow sport." Sure. If you're not paying attention. You want to be a casual fan who only has to look up every once in a while when 22 men try to knock each other down? Enjoy American football. For a "fast sport," I've never seen an activity that has so much downtime. But hey, to each his own. For me, the fact that something can happen at any time in a baseball game, and the situations that develop around each pitch make it a nail biter from beginning to end.
3. I think there should be cursing in cozy mysteries. I get it--many readers want a clean, safe space to read about violence, death and avarice. That's fine. There should be such a thing without question. But when I write a character who stumbles over a murdered corpse and has to say, "Oh, drat!" I think there should be an alternative. Perhaps two versions of each book should be issued: One with "bad" language and one sanitized for your protection. I don't think people who want a "clean" version are wrong. I just don't think they're all the readers.
4. I'm all for saying "happy holidays." People already think I'm a lefty liberal idiot, so I might as well go the whole way. What's wrong with acknowledging that not everybody celebrates Christmas? What's wrong with noting that not everybody celebrates ANYTHING? Those who rail against "political correctness" are missing the point. It's about accommodating those not in the majority to make everyone feel more comfortable. Where's the problem with that?
5. I still think Superman is the best hero. Keep your dark brooding types. Think of a better argument in favor of fair immigration: A being from another place comes here, has enough power to take us over and make us do his bidding, and instead decides to use his unique abilities and help in any way he can. There are lessons here and they aren't about who has the best things.
6. I think the Beatles are better than Beyonce. This is not to diminish Ms. Knowles at all. I thought the Beatles were better than Michael Jackson, Elton John and whatever other act was supposed to surpass them. Come up with better songwriting, better musicianship, more innovation and... you can't.
7. I think newspapers will survive. Yes, there will be massive changes and there will be downsizing. But I'm encouraged by the fact that the best investigative, in-depth reporting done during this past election cycle (about which no more will be said) was done by Newsweek and the Washington Post, followed by the New York Times. And in the week after the election, 41,000 people bought subscriptions to the New York Times.
8. I think independent bookstores can prevail over online sellers, and will. Sure, you can buy anything--literally--online and have it at your door within two days. But when you need a suggestion for your next read, do you want it to come from another reader, or from a algorithm? I once had a site recommend a certain DVD to me because I had bought a vacuum cleaner from them. The signs are there. Independent bookstores rule.
9. I think comedy is about to have a renaissance. And I don't mean just because political satire will be EVERYWHERE. I think the tide is turning in comedy and there will be a wider range of product to take in. It doesn't all have to be raunch or children's animation and nothing else, and soon we'll see that it's not. The recent Ghostbusters wasn't a great movie, but it did show off a tiny sample of the talents of Kate McKinnon, and she's going to be huge.
10. I believe the next four years will lead to something good. It'll take a while and it won't be fun, but activists will be born. Already the actor Michael Sheen has announced that he is no longer the actor Michael Sheen and is now the activist Michael Sheen. And the thing about activists is they're the people who get stuff done. Because they're, you know, active.
Last positive note: Pitchers and catchers report in 56 days. Happy holidays, to those who celebrate!