I'm not a fan.
50 Shades of Grey didn't blow my skirt up, or my rubber doll with a permanent O-shaped mouth. I didn't think it was well written (I get the plot probably wasn't the point) and I'm not crazy about the plagiarism aspects of Fan Fiction. And, yes, I've bitched about her fame given what many would say is sub-quality work. But, I need to get some things off my chest.
As you probably already know, E.L. James held a twitter Q&A #askELJames a few days ago.
Talk about whips and chains.
I read a few of the tweets. Someone forwarded them to me, knowing I'm not a fan. Some amused me. E.L got taken to task over the plagiarism thing, weak plot, etc. When you put your work out there, haters gonna hate and you best suck it up and take it like a writer. I'm a writer too. Not a world wide famous one like James, but I know criticism isn't fun, no matter how constructive. Nevertheless, it goes with the territory and you're gonna get some.
But how is calling E.L. James a cunt constructive?
Her mildly amusing Q&A quickly devolved into bullying and abuse like I've never seen.
I don't have to be a fan to know there're all kinds of wrong in that. My short list:
1. If you don't like the book, don't read it. Like it or not, James struck a chord with millions of readers across many continents. They relate. They loved it so much they wanted sequels. Movies. Lingerie. Wine. She's a billionaire. As a fellow writer I say, bravo. It's why we all write whether we will admit it or not. So, let's all just take our one-way ticket to bitter town and stop kvetching about it.
2. James borrowed the Twilight characters from Stephanie Meyer. If Stephanie Meyer doesn't mind it, neither should we. Certainly not enough to tell Ms. James to go fuck herself in a public forum.
3. If you already know you're not a fan don't get on the Q&A and ruin it for everyone that is. Keep your ugliness under wraps. Save the name calling for Donald Trump.
4. Finally, and this is HUGE. Stop mixing fiction up with real life. It's FICTION. James' story is about sadomasochism. But it's a story. Let's just say, for shits and giggles, it is as some suggest, about an abusive man flexing his considerable wanker at a younger, vulnerable woman. And let's say she's got some form of Stockholm syndrome, or she's just a nut, but either way she likes it. SO WHAT? It's FICTION. Political correctness is ruining art forms of every kind. No, I'm not going to argue whether or not 50 Shades is art.
Have you read Lolita lately? That's considered a classic.
Hannibal Lechter ate people with fava beans and a good Chianti. Clarisse, the FBI agent sent to study him finds herself attracted to him. The sexual tension between the two, while underlying, was still palpable. Hannibal is now a TV show. Fans send in recipes. They get the joke.
The Netflix series The Fall tells the story of a woman detective, Stella, sent to Ireland from London to catch a serial killer who tortures, rapes and kills women. Stella is a bit of a slut. She also finds the serial killer compelling (that's code for hot) a little too much so. She wants him, bad. And not in that "you're a killer and I want to put you behind bars," kind of way. If you get my drift.
Stephen King ran over a two year old with an 18 wheeler, buried him next to a dog, brought the little darling back to life (worse for the wear to say the least) to kill everyone in the neighborhood.
Millions of people loved all these stories and I haven't heard of anyone harming another as a direct result. I think it's safe to say, they get it.
No matter the medium or the quality, art should provoke. Make you think. Make you laugh. Or, cry. Piss you off. Scare the shit out of you. It's life, exaggerated, illuminated to get at a deeper, more important, truth. But, we can't handle the truth. That's why we dress it up in dog collars and fishnets and make it call us mommy.
Let's all try to grow up.