Paul Wilson: Fifty Shades of Dysfunction, Coming to a Screen Near You

fiftyshades14f-1-webFifty Shades of Grey, the huge best seller by author E.L James is coming to the big screen and I wanted to get ahead of Jack on this one before he does his review…

The trailer is out; I just watched it and it’s nothing short of disturbing.

Often referred to as “mommy porn,” Fifty Shades has been compared to “9 ½ Weeks” and “The Story of O” – all three examples of female characters being sexually manipulated or abused by the men.

What could possibly be more entertaining for your $12 ticket than that?

In the trailer a voice utters the words, “I don’t do romance, my interests are very singular,” whereupon it goes into rapid fire scenes, clearly depicting a BDSM playroom.

For those of you, including me, who haven’t read the book, Ana is a 21 year old, introverted virgin, covering an interview for her college paper featuring Grey, a benefactor. Ana’s father died when she was young, mom had a revolving door of husbands and her childhood years a mess. Grey is 27, devastatingly handsome and was found at age four next to his dead, crack whore mother’s body; his chest covered in cigarette burns. Grey’s sex life started at 15 at the hands of his mother’s friend who seduced and regularly “beat the shit out of him.” That loving relationship lasted for 10 years. When it ended, Grey became a “dom” in the BDSM world with 15 women under contract prior to meeting Ana.

As the story progresses, Grey brings her into his “playroom” and explains, “I’m fully aware this is a dark path I’m leading you down, Anastasia.”

He then demands she sign pages of contracts that dictates her every move from how she dresses to their sex life requirements. Every critical review I’ve read concerning the book describes it as nothing short of terrible writing; bad, embarrassingly bad.

James has a shortage of words at her disposal, inserting “oh my”  into the narrative for Ana 68 times and “holy cow” 82 times according to Maureen Dowd’s review.

If I can bottom line it for you, it’s a book, aimed largely at female readership, that makes an erotic work of fantasy from the life of a messed up, hurting girl, combined with the childhood abuse of Grey and their subsequent conjoined behavior.  Press high speed on the blender and what comes out is something that’s flown off the book shelves at record speed. fifty-shades-grey

But why?

Why don’t females with enough cognitive thought process to read and follow the story line find this abusive behavior abhorrent?

Dr. John Bird from the National Association for People Abused in Childhood says, “Abuse shouldn’t be looked at light heartedly and certainly shouldn’t be praised.”

Enter James and her twisted tale; which is just the icing on the icing.

To my thinking, when James created the characters of Grey and Ana, she asked readers to overlook the lifetime of abuse because – since it mostly takes place in the bedroom – it’s ok for Gray to manipulate and abuse Ana because, well, it’s hot!

No, it’s not, it’s abusive.

So who exactly is reading this and who’s going to go to the movie?

Bowker, the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information, tracks readership of books and according to them, less than 30 percent of purchases are to women with kids at home, 14 percent of purchases were for readers older than 55 and 20 percent of buyers were male.

“It’s a remarkable phenomenon. Nearly one in five adult fiction books purchased for women in June were from the Fifty Shades Trilogy,” says Jo Henry, Director of Bowker Market Research. “A recommendation from a friend or relative is the primary factor in both discovering and ultimately purchasing the Fifty Shades books.”

Word of mouth, the most powerful marketing tool.

And according to the Christian Post, a leading evangelical publication, “There is no difference between the percentage of Christians who have read Fifty Shades of Grey and the percentage of all Americans who have read the book, which has at times been described as mommy porn.”

Of females calling themselves practicing Christians, nearly 20% have read the book.

Who are these women providing casual, social acceptance to violent, abusive behavior against their own gender by reading the trilogy and, no doubt, will plan girl’s nights out to see the movie?

Why is this glamorized?

For my taste, this strikes way too close to family and friends I love who have been victims of abuse, sexual and physical, to find any place in my world to make it seem ok.

Regardless of my point of view, it’s not OK.

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17 Responses to Paul Wilson: Fifty Shades of Dysfunction, Coming to a Screen Near You

  1. mike t. says:

    had no idea what the book was about. and now that I know, am astounded at it’s popularity. with you on this, paul.

  2. the dude says:

    Little known fact about this ‘book’; It began as Twilight fan fiction.
    Yes, let THAT sink in for a while. Lets you know the depth of the literary well the story is drawing from.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      I read that but was pushing 800 words as it was so some stuff had to hit the cutting room floor. I could hit this from two other directions I’d bet; I just don’t want to turn it into the five time repeat of “Stanford’s is Moving” saga.

  3. balbonis moleskine says:

    What fun is a little slap and tickle if the pretty lady won’t even have the courtesy to choke you out?

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      And I add again, females are fawning over it. I had a good friend tell me I didn’t get it because girls like a different kind of porn than guys do; therein lies the difference. As I said, I’m a long way from a prude, but I’m not a porn guy. I have a hard time accepting the abject dysfunction, disorder and pain almost always in the lives of the “actors.” Just not my cup of tea for the same reason this book doesn’t trip my trigger.

      • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

        As if the actors in those movies are any less dorked up mentally than “mainstream” Hollywood actors….

  4. chuck says:

    What softens the edges of this dog eat dog world, in my opinion, are the many, many brilliant, patient and beautiful women who pull us back from whatever precipice and testosterone fueled stupidity we boys are consumed with at any given moment. This most recent assault on our values and traditions with respect to the fairer sex is just another sign of an American decay and the fu*kin apocalypse.

  5. Jack Springer says:

    Why would women fawn over a book or movie that promotes their abuse by a man?

    I’ll never understand women.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Jack, my point exactly. I know a handful of brilliant women who thought this book was amazing! It’s funny, it’s the GUYS on here speaking up for the females! It’s clear two way abuse, even more so for her and it’s like the readers can’t get enough of it!

  6. rkcal says:

    I just think it’s fad mentality.”Everybody else is reading it, so I have have to read it to be in the club.” (See: “Twilight”, “Harry Potter” series, etc: books that were far more popular than their literary worth). From what you describe, the book probably is not written on a level that would promote most readers to engage in deeper thinking about its themes and concepts. Doesn’t excuse the popularity.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Rkcal, the demographic company who tracks sales said this is a record setting word of mouth sale. Nothing’s come close to the number of books sold because it was recommended by a friend. So you’re totally correct.

  7. harley says:

    women reading a book about other women being abused? are you serious wislun?
    I would pay a dime for this book.
    had sisters growing up…if my dad knew that some scumbag was abusing my
    sister he would be ending up in the street.
    what had happened I never read this book but if todays woman gets a
    orgasm reading this crap we are in trouble.
    I still offer you the chance to meet at outlaws…this is a great article…and
    we finally agree on something.
    your friend.
    harley

  8. expat says:

    Women like to be dominated by manly men. It’s a fact of life that harks back to our hard-coded primate social structure. Why would anyone be surprised that in a world where most men are weak and flabby and insecure, women are gobbling up fantasies of being dominated by strong men?

  9. Orphan of the Road says:

    Misogynist: A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.
    H. L. Mencken

    Smoke pot, get a four-game suspension from the NFL. Cold-cock your girlfriend/wife, get a two-game suspension.

  10. Good luck with that says:

    I have no use for porn and/or smut peddlers.

    The only thing worse than a sexual abuser is a violent sexual abuser.

    I too attribute a portion of social decay to crap like this.

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