50 Shades of Asshat

I like pot noodles, especially the curry ones. I don’t claim that they’re great cuisine, or even good food, but every now and again I fancy one and I thoroughly enjoy it. Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this.

I do not like Fifty Shades of Grey. I bought it to find out what all the fuss was about, because if I want to be a best-selling author, it seems like a good idea to learn from people who are already doing it. I am none the wiser. But  there are plenty of reasons I don’t like it.

I think the prose is very ordinary. To me, the central relationship does not read like a loving,  playful, if dark-tinged partnership between two adults exploring their sexual preferences.  It reads like a psychotic control freak who wants to painfully beat a vacuous, smitten innocent whenever she steps outside his idea of the bounds of acceptable behaviour, including such heinous crimes as rolling her eyes.  I don’t care what dark past Mr. Grey has.  As far as I’m concerned, he’s still an utter shitbag and I don’t see why Ana should have to put up with his crap so she can “heal” him.

But, it’s a fantasy. So Ms. James can have her version of a BDSM relationship and her multi-orgasmic was-recently-a-virgin who’s never masturbated and is up for sucking her own bodily fluids from the end of a riding crop if I can keep my FTL spaceships and psychic powers and magic systems.  The worst crime the book commits for me is being very unsexy and rather boring*.  But why should anybody, including Ms. James, care what I think? It has over 5000 five star reviews on amazon UK and has sold over 40 million copies.

I don’t think anybody’s claiming it’s a great work of literature, just that it worked for them. And I owe my sister, and various other people, a huge apology. When they’ve told me they liked it, I’ve told them it’s crap, instead of engaging in a conversation to find out what they enjoyed about it like a civilised person (which is what I was trying to do in the first place). So, sorry everybody for being such a gigantic asshat about it.

Obviously, taste is never right or wrong. We all like what we like, and hoorah for market diversity and for being surprised by people and the variety of the world! I am out and proud about liking pot noodles and will carry on eating them regardless of the fact that I know they’re rather dreadful and other people can’t stand them.

*If you’re turned on by pages of poorly written contracts (repeated!) then may I recommend some of the hardcore stuff? Give Bjarne Stroustrup’s The C++ Programming Language: 2nd Edition a go (definitely superior to the 3rd). Vast amounts of incredibly well thought-out technical detail, and just wait ’til you get to the private member functions. Or for the really kinky amongst you, try using abstract base classes, pointer to member functions and templates together.


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