Quick thought. While reading an editor’s blog yesterday (can’t remember which, or would link), they commented that the horror genre is dead, and that paranormal YA romance is booming. There was a lot of other interesting commentary made, but that’s what stuck out because it got me thinking about the cyclical nature of what’s hot and trending in any given decade. Apparently in the 80’s it was impossible to keep horror on the shelves. Step back, do an Adrian Veidt on the situation, and you quickly realize that today’s sense of insecurity, depression and frustration is the exact opposite of the 80’s heights of excess, confidence and money making. Opposites attract, which is why today we want the sweet escapism afforded by a vampire boyfriend who can take you away and protect you instead of the vampire enemy who only wants to rip out your throat.
This is true throughout history and different areas of life. Architecture as Alain de Boton pointed out on his slender but illuminating book The Architecture of Happiness is always at an opposite of the social state; ordered, severe homes are built during times of unrest while chaotic, romantic homes are built during times of great order.
Same goes for poetry. When do you think the Romantics blossomed, with all their wild images of nature, love, the ferocity of passion and so forth? Right on the heels of the staid Enlightenment.
People yearn to mix things up. When things are safe and prosperous they want wild adventure and danger. When things are chaotic and out of control, they want security and comfort. Pretty simple when you think about it, eh?