Saturday, February 14, 2015

I read 50 Shades of Grey so you won't have to

Remember when I said I'd be back with some epic, juicy content? This is not that. It may still be coming though. Or not. I don't know, I can't predict the fucking future. Anyway, here are some words.

As half the world is gearing up for Valentine's Day and the other half is preparing to get drunk on champagne at the '50 Shades of Grey' premiere with their besties, I've been battling the kind of insomnia that can make a person do some pretty drastic things. I'm talking, shameful, unspeakable things. In what has been my latest, most desperate attempt to get some shut-eye, for the past two nights I've been reading '50 Shades of Grey'.
I know what you are thinking, but no, I haven't felt the urge to self-harm since my early twenties. I just needed something to read that wasn't so interesting that it would make me actually want to keep reading (thereby robbing me of even more sleep, I'm looking at you Patrick Rothfuss), or would require more than the absolute minimal functioning of my brain. It has delivered amply in that last regard, but in the former - well let's say I'm one of those people who can't make herself look away from road kill.
I expected it to be awful. Just in the first chapter Christian Grey is described twice as "very, very good-looking" and once as "mega-successful" (please, god, won't anybody get this woman a thesaurus). I just didn't expect it to be this damn hilarious. And not just the sexy bits, as I'm willing to grant it's rather challenging to write about that without making an utter fool of yourself.1
E.L. James just takes the inherent ridiculousness of sex and then takes it up a notch:
(p. 87) "Two orgasms… coming apart at the seams, like the spin cycle on a washing machine, wow."
(Your clothing must be of extremely poor quality.)
It doesn't help the mood that James' heroin invariably responds to every situation by exclaiming "Crap", "Holy crap!", or, in a pinch: "Double crap", as in:
(p. 32) "Holy crap! He's wearing a white shirt, open at the collar, and tray flannel pants that hang from his hips."
(Holy crap, he is wearing clothes?)
(p. 102) "I get a sense he’s expressing his gratitude – maybe – for my first blowjob? Whoa?"
It's also quite disappointing that for all her sexual liberation, Anastasia Steele doesn't once in the entire novel manage to utter the word 'vagina' (ok, she mentions 'vaginal wall'. Once.) instead insisting on referring to it as 'down there', italicized, making it sound like someone's roach infested basement. She doesn't even think it. We know, because we get a privileged look at miss Steele's rich inner life:
(p. 59) " medulla oblongata has neglected to fire any synapses to make me breathe."
(Your what has what now? FYI, there are three mentions of "medulla oblongata" throughout the novel, all equally nonsensical, making me suspect E.L. James is about as confused about the inner workings of her brain as she is about her vagina.)
(p. 37) "My subconscious is metaphorically screaming at me."
(p. 46) "My subconscious is figuratively tutting and glaring at me over her half moon specs."
(I think I know what happened here. This was published long before that other apocalypse of language. I'm pretty sure that if someone were to dig up the original manuscript, they'd find a tired editor's note that says "THAT IS NOT WHAT LITERALLY MEANS!")
In fact it soon becomes obvious that Anastasia Steele is by no means the heroin of this story. The real protagonist is her subconscious:
(p. 186) "I think my subconscious has fainted..."

(p. 350) "My subconscious has found her Nikes, and she’s on the starting blocks..."

(p. 198) "My subconscious is behind the sofa again..."

(p. 49) "I flush at the waywardness of my subconscious - she’s doing her happy dance in a bright red hula skirt..."

(p. 192) "‘Ho’ my subconscious mouths at me."
I found pretty early in the story that I was rooting a lot more for the subconscious than for anybody else. She definitely has a lot more sass. All we know about miss Steele is that she read a lot of books and likes her tea "black and weak". Boring.
The only character more exciting than miss Steele's subconscious is her 'inner goddess', who, with only 58 mentions throughout the book, is a veritable mystery compared to the subconscious, with 80:
(p. 200) " inner goddess roars, ..."

(p. 200) "My inner goddess is going to explode..."

(p. 152) "My inner goddess glows so bright she could light up Portland."

(p. 58) " very small inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba..."
Fun, huh? Though I must say that for a goddess, she's not very dignified.
(p. 143) "My inner goddess is jumping up and down, clapping her hands like a five-year-old. Please, let’s do this…"

(p. 201) "My inner goddess looks like someone snatched her ice cream."

(p. 102) "My inner goddess has stopped dancing and is staring too, mouth open and drooling slightly."
On the other hand, she's rather athletic:
(p. 101) "My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves."

(p. 315) "My inner goddess has back flipped off the podium and is doing cartwheels around the stadium."

(p. 311) "My inner goddess pole-vaults over the fifteen-foot bar."

(p. 207) "My inner goddess is prostrate…"
(Ok, I was kidding about that thesaurus. Give it back now please.)
I once had an idea for a short story that was sparked by the endless complaints about reposts on 9Gag. It went like this: what if, in the future, to save server space, everything could be on the internet only once, and to put something on there, you would have to prove that you had a truly original thought that was never before had by anyone else in history. Those who were able to do this would be revered as gods, and teenagers all over the world would dream of one day being able to augment a Wikipedia article with those magical words "[citation needed]".
I didn't end up writing it though, because I figured it had probably been done before.

Where am I going with this? Oh right. This wasn't a very original post. I am aware of that. I'm afraid I'm always pretty much the last one to catch up with whatever is happening. In that regard, I just found out that the movie version of 'The Rum Diary' came out 4 years ago, so I think that's what I'll be watching tonight if I can't sleep.

I'll leave you in the capable hands of Tywin Lannister, for that one thing that absolutely never gets old.

(p. 113) "...even my subconscious is silent."
Yes. Let's keep it that way.

1 Fat pink mast. I'm just leaving this here for the 'Song of Ice and Fire' fans. You'll cry yourself to sleep again tonight.


  1. I read all three 50 Shades books. My inner goddess is hanging her head in shame. People kept telling me oh, the next one (book) is better. Um, no.


  2. At least yours isn't dancing the macarena in a back alley ;)

  3. Linda McNamara4/21/15, 1:17 PM

    could only find a really crappy cope of Charles Dance reading but I almost busted myself laughing at my work desk XD

  4. He's just epic, isn't he? ;-)