I need to comment and I now need to get it off my chest. I don’t want to read the book and what I really want is others to read something else.
This post will be based on my limited interaction with the publishing phenomenon known as “fifty shades”.
I have read the “taster” chapter on amazon and more to the point I have read enough reviews to give me a degree of “wisdom-of-the-crowd” opinion.
I’m concerned. I am beginning to wonder if our written fiction is about to fall down into the abyss into which we have seen the film industry fall. This abyss is the realm of “diminished expectation” (DE – shortened as I am writing this on an iPhone). I borrow this concept with a knowing glance that it is not mine but was brought to me by Dr Mark Kermode.
I think that there is,unfortunately, rather too much parallel in this case, as the film rights have already been snapped up.
DE looks at the fact that we become so used to bring fed rubbish films that we stop wanting anything better. What’s more is that we even stop thinking that there might be something better and that we don’t like it if our films display a degree of intelligence. What this effectively means is that more and more money is fed into producing films which are getting worse and worse. The book “the good, the bad, and the multiplex” (reviewed below), brings this up and shows just how far the film industry has fallen into this abyss. Even worse,is that the moral structure of such films is becoming highly questionable (sex and the city 1 and 2 for instance). Dr Kermode argues that the money could be spent making really good films but instead we get Avengers Assemble in Three bloomin D as well.
Why do I care? I care because I wish for artistic expression and story and strong narrative thread to win out over meaningless titillation.
This is where 50sheds of grey comes in. It is a book which is badly written (I’ve read enough thanks). It is a book which has a surfeit of titillation. If you really want badly written soft porn then there is plenty which is free and easy to find on the Internet (go and find it yourself if you’re that interested).
What I do not want is it to be hailed as a publishing triumph (it’s a triumph of marketing in that Everyone is talking about it). I do not want it to be hailed as introducing those who do not usually read into the world of books. This is the unsubstantiated nonsense which was spouted at the time of all the Harry potter books (at least they had a strong story).
What this book does do, is titillate, playing toward the increasing sexualisation of our culture. This can only be a bad thing. It cheapens and demeans us and stops us from thinking. This is exactly what is being done to modern cinema with its preponderance of guns,explosions and soft porn direction (see: any film by Michael Bay).
Can we all read a decent book now please… There are plenty below for you and some are very approachable to the hard-of-thinking.