The Ninety Percent of Grey

I don't fault Erika Leonard aka E.L. James for writing and selling the 50 Shades novels.
She started with Twilight fan-fic and gained enough popularity to publish and sell her stories. Everyone deserves the right to express themselves especially in a mid-life crisis.

While she admits she isn't a great writer and is embarassed whenever interviewed about her books at least she's laughing to the bank now. Good for her! (How I envy her actually!)

It is the people who bought/paid for the books who are to blame for propagating poor taste. Even so I hesitate to judge them too harshly. After all porn is porn. You have the right to masturbate to such things. 
Surely you wouldn't be comfortable seeing men watch explicit sex videos in public.

This proves two things (none of which are new): 
1. Porn for women sells. That's why the romance and trashy novel genre is so huge. Women tend to read more fiction than men. The porn industry knew this but somehow it takes a soccer-mom to show them how it's done.

2. Sensational hype snowballs. The word-of-mouth and media attention given to the novels hit a tipping point thereby accelerating its popularity.

The Internet enabled the dissemination of fan fiction and its style of prose. It's bad literature but fiction written by obsessed minds reveal the deepest id and fantasies of the writer. This is truly what people want to read about. This is pure sex! And sex should be dirty otherwise what's the point?

That's why fan fiction is shameless but well-received.

Now there's a reason why romance novels are a sub-genre of the fantasy genre. They are titillating stories that people want to read/hear about or watch on the screen. People do not necessarily want to act out such things though.

So there lies another one of the things critics of the books worry about: the promotion of the BDSM lifestyle. They think the popularity of 'Fifty Shades...' will send the wrong message that deep down inside women just enjoy being treated like shit. 

I don't think most of the readers want to be debased like Anastasia Steele. No more than being able to enjoy a murder mystery make you want to kill people or be killed. It's's fantasy. The intention is to be entertained.

The power of consuming fiction is such that we empathize and put ourselves in the protagonist's shoes. More so when the prose is written in the first person point-of-view.

If what the protagonist goes through is 'sick' or beyond the social norms then such prose feeds the id of our soul. Once the fiction ends we re-enter the real world. It is the ability to differentiate fantasy from reality that is the distinction of a diseased unhealthy mind and a normal person.

So reading fantasy doesn't automatically make you a bad person. Paying and thereby rewarding bad fiction doesn't make you a bad person either. You just have lousy yecchy taste.

E.L. James wrote Fifty Shades and you paid money for it. Congratulations! You have contributed to ninety percent of the world.

The ninety percent that is crap!


Popular Posts