30 March 2014

The Choirboys, by Joseph Wambaugh

This book is sort of a sick farce. It has made me laugh aloud, and I will read the whole thing (I'm not quite done as I write this), but "redeeming social value?" No. I suppose there are some cops who fit Wambaugh's description, but I doubt that there are many, and I doubt that there are any who quite fill these caricaturizations.

Of course, the book is dated. Its copyright is 1975. Sexism, racism, and homophobia (especially the first and third) were not quite as objectionable then as now (and really, racism was--if not worse or more common--somehow different back then, perhaps more in the open? One could write a book on that subject, and I'm certainly not qualified.), and what was considered to be illegal and/or antisocial was actually a little bit different.

So, having not completed the book, I'll reserve some--not much--judgement for now.

The "Choirboys" are a group of LA cops who meet after work in MacArthur Park for drinking and debauchery. This is known as "choir practice." The book is made up of stories of their various adventures on and off duty.

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