I just want to set the record straight. We don't live in a uniquely degenerate age. We've been corrupting our children for at least a century and a half. In fact, judging from these sample covers, we used to do it with a lot more panache than anything the web offers today.


"For the anchor's weighed and the sail is spread!"


So the next time you find yourself wondering what happened to the innocence of days past, remember the humble, filthy Dime Novel — the medium that popularized cowboys, spawned superheroes, delivered sports excitement before radio and awakened generations of young men to a vast catalog of worldly experiences.


Story titles in Beadle's Pocket Library pioneered modern rap lyrics.

Dude. I've had this dream, like, so many times. The feathers and fringe make it work, is all I'm sayin'.





Now, I don't want my critique of dime novel depravity to imply that I object. I'm a man of the new millennium. Having been a teenage boy myself, I admire these periodicals for nurturing pubescent fantasies in an era renowned for hypocritical sexual repression. It reminds me of the internet in the 90's.



"Dick and Bob were almost paralyzed with amazement. The supposed women were British officers, and this was not what the youths were looking for."


I'll even go so far as to wish that lewd dime novels would make a comeback. We don't have enough Dicks commanding their own titles anymore. These days they all command cabinet positions or legislative committees. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)


Don't stop, baby. Young Sponge-Hunter has it under control.


The truth is, our culture hasn't degenerated morally. Only in its depiction of immorality. If there's one universal constant, it's that teenage boys will find their smut. Back then, we made them read to get it. Can today's pr0n make that same boast?

Of course not. Bitches.


(Tremendous thanks to Stanford's Dime Novel and Story Paper Collection for an awesome site.)



Text © 2005 Kris Andrews