Having reviewed a movie without seeing it, I thought I might also review a book without reading it.
Last night on the radio I heard a discussion of a current No. 1 best-seller called Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, supposedly a real person, according to Amazon.com. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so my wife went to the Amazon site and read me some of the reviews.
According to the descriptions we read, the book has only three little flaws. 1) It is idiotically conceived and very badly written. 2) The parts intended to be lust-provoking are merely comical. 3) Behind all the lush growth of silliness lurks a filthy and unwholesome message. Other than that, it’s fine.
The story goes something like this: Some empty-headed turnip of a college gal hooks up with this guy who’s a drop-dead gorgeous handsome hunk of a billionaire, only 26 years old, with an infinite capacity for copulation, all sorts of artistic talents, the vocabulary of a parakeet, a glossary of politically correct “ideas” serving him for a brain, yatta-yatta, and they go on to have a lot of orgasms. Some of the reviewers counted up the times the same phrases and dialogue were used throughout the book, and the numbers are staggering.
Warning: If you read this monstrosity and liked it, you can’t come to this blog anymore. I mean it. You might have something catching.
You might think that real writers would rise up in mutiny against this sort of thing. I mean, we knock ourselves out trying to produce something of quality, and along comes this dreary laundry list of orgasms to take over the top of the best-seller list. But the publishing industry has been this way for quite a while now. They hire as editors people who scraped through community college with a C- average, whose prime qualification is that they can work for peanuts because mommy and daddy are subsidizing them to live in the big city. Having hardly more literacy than a swarm of mayflies, they often publish books that real editors, once upon a time, would not only have rejected, but would have also tried to shoot the author.
But what is most deeply objectionable about this particular “book” is its insinuation that really primo sex is of the bondage-and-domination, sado-masochistic kind. This is probably the first stirring toward the normalization of S&M–followed, inevitably, by its introduction into public school “sex education” curricula, TV sitcoms, the military, and the mainline/flatline churches. Disputing its legitimacy will be termed “hate speech,” and small-business photographers will be sued for refusing to memoralize some S&M couple’s flogging session.
Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin…