A critical observer of pop culture today will easily
impression that the world is getting sleazier by the minute. Movies,
books, TV, magazines, and advertising all seem to “push the
they can. And I don’t mean the envelope of excellence, either. I mean
at the edges of propriety just to see what can be gotten away with.
This is progress, as many of the
purveyors of pop culture see it.
Curiously, the sleaze of the past, as depicted here in these
trashy novels, is fun to collect because it is, at least to me,
something of a comfort. A comfort? Yes, I find it comforting to
know that our present generation did not invent sleaze and that its
creation may not even be escalating at the rapid clip it often seems to
Further, it is a comfort to note that the makers of modern
sleaze often don’t even seem to be any good at it, at least not
compared with the striking examples you see on this page.
As in other categories of collecting, I find history lessons
Some, I suppose, might collect books such as these as literature, but for me it is all about the covers and titles. “Five luscious campus cuties on a no-holds-barred spree!” Or how about “Just his touch could set her blood on fire...Paula Has a Price!”
The creators of these books often seem to have trouble keeping
lust and violence apart. They presumably were aimed at a market that
had the same trouble.
Clearly the market for these books was men. Today, judging
what I see around, I would venture to
guess that women are now the main market for trashy
The covers and titles have changed accordingly. As for
the text inside the modern “romance novel,” well, it would probably
make the authors of the books on this page blush bright red.