I'm on an author loop where the discussion recently has been about the status of Westerns. Several of us write, or have written them, and many of us remember, with great fondness, the old TV programs: The Rifleman, Bonanza, Have Gun Will Travel (my personal fav), Big Valley, and The Lone Ranger, etc. While some like Bonanza can be found on cable channels in reruns, I find myself not wanting to watch them again. Why, I wonder, since I adored them when they were new?
It's not just me who has matured. I think society has moved forward as well. Though the idea of a Paladin who helps the downtrodden is classic (Have Gun Will Travel), we need to see it within the context of our times. And times have changed. We no longer buy into the myth. Think Wikileaks. Think of political scandals now front and center. Anyone want to read about how a U.S. Senator was raped as a child? Our society can't buy into Good v. Evil and Good always wins. We know better. We lost in Vietnam. And maybe we weren't the good guys after all.
Whenever I catch a few minutes of Big Valley or some other old Western on TV, I try to remember where I was, what I was thinking, and why I liked it. It's a lovely trip down memory lane, but it's not where I want to live today. I'm all for the moment I'm in now, the future, and beyond. I've grown up, and so has our world.
It remains to be seen if it's for the better. I hope so.