Tuesday, May 27, 2014

50 Shades Shadier: Chapter 14

Ana and Christian are sad about things. 

Hey so after I wrote this, Elliot Rodgers murdered a bunch of people because women weren't blushing and forgetting to breathe around him the way Ana Steele does around Christian Grey.

I'd like to say more but I haven't managed to put together anything sensible yet, but I feel like I ought to mention it, particularly since last week, we read about CG's ex, Leila, who almost shot Ana and and CG.

EL James misrepresents the world on basically every page in large and small ways. It doesn't matter that EL, for instance, doesn't understand how popular mac and cheese is in Seattle. But I think it does matter that the big "danger" in this book is an unstable ex-girlfriend. It matters because even though Christian exhibits nearly all the textbook traits of an abuser, EL creates straw-men in order to make CG look better by comparison. José refuses to accept "no" in the first book. And now Ana's boss is a super-creep. And then Leila shows up in Ana's house with a gun.

But of course, statistically, Christian has always been the biggest danger to Ana. Because he's the boyfriend! And it's always, always, always the boyfriend. It's basically never not the boyfriend. Almost all women who are victims of gun violence are attacked by an intimate partner, not a stranger. Women who are shot in their own homes, like Ana almost was, are virtually always shot by a partner or former partner. In the US, three women are murdered by an intimate partner every day, on average. Women get killed by their boyfriends, not by their boyfriends' ex-girlfriends. Women get killed by men.

I bring this up because Christian Grey is exactly what a dangerous misogynist thinks he sees when he looks in the mirror--a clever man who knows what's best for women. A "gentleman" ready to treat a woman like a piece of property--but for her own good! A "catch" who's not like the other guys! No not at all! I bring this up because I find this entire shitty book indicative of a culture that tells men that women are things to be possessed.  And that is a mindset that gets people killed.

We're not starting out with a lot of jokes, I'm afraid. But sometimes this shit just isn't that funny.

There are some jokes after the break, I swear.

On to Chapter 14!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

50 Shades Shadier: Chapter 13

Leila doesn't shoot Ana. Ana has some drinks with Ethan. 

I’m typing this from the bar at a bar. (Editor’s note: meta!) It took me ten minutes to screw up the courage to be the one weird jagoff typing at a computer and I mean, what’s the big deal? All these other jagoffs are looking at their phones, so is it really that weird for me to put my set up my Compaq Presario tower? I mean I had to get somebody to run an extra extension cord, but I really don’t see what the big deal is. 

I worked way too hard at that joke. I’m sorry. I’m just trying to kill some time before I have to start in on this chapter. Because let’s be real: it starts with one of the absolute most terrible starts of all time. I mean check this out: 

Holy fuck.
She’s here, gazing at me with an unnerving blank expression, holding a gun. My subconscious swoons into a dead faint, and I don’t think even smelling salts will bring her back.

Right? I mean look at that. Do I even have to say anything about it at this point? I don’t, right? You’re right there with me. I mean here’s my one question: who administers the smelling salts to subconscious? Inner goddess? I don’t even know what’s happening anymore.

So, let’s talk about what’s happening anymore:

Our story thus far:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

50 Shades Shadier: Chapter 12 part 2

Ana goes back to her apartment and Leila is there with a gun. 

The other day, I took a call at work and helped someone make a tour reservation. Pretty often people inquiring about tours will describe their party like this: "x adults and y children," perhaps presuming that the children will receive a discount. They will not! Because that would encourage more of them to attend, and perhaps create the false impression that the tour is aimed at children, and it isn't.

The reason I bring this up is as follows: I let the caller know that the tour is recommended only for children ages seven an older, but that that was a recommendation and not a rule. But in the midst of a busy day, hurrying through this explanation, I now realize that rather than using the perfectly good word "rule" I used the 50 Shades nonsense phrase "hard limit" and I find this deeply embarrassing. Fortunately, there's still some chance that the caller hadn't read the book, and even if she had, there's that chance that she might've given me the benefit of the doubt and thought to herself, "Oh, there's no way that this nice man answering the phones at a chocolate factory sees any connection between this simple phrase and Ana Steele, Seattle's most famous fictional resident."

Fingers crossed! is all I'm saying.

So. We're nearly halfway through this book, and, by extension, halfway through the trilogy. We're going to get a bit of movement in one of our subplots at the end of this chapter, but let's be real: Leila is a subplot. She didn't even appear in the first book, except for in the form of a few words in a hushed phone conversation in the final chapter. The resolution we seek is between Ana and Christian--we want them to either break up, or we want CG to stop being such a dick. Halfway through this mess, he's ceased to be a dick all the time but is still a real dick lots of the time, and I see no evidence that he'll ever totally change his dickish ways.

But whatever--I bring this up because even when EL does some things that feel like plot, it's not really plot, because it has nothing to do with the Ana's character, and she's the protagonist. It's just some stuff that happens while she happens to be in the neighborhood. Plot, if it's any good at all, has to have a specific relationship to our protagonist. The best plots resonate with the weaknesses of a protagonist and give the protagonist an opportunity to grow in order to overcome those weaknesses. Ana has so many weaknesses that I think she might just be a lost cause. Oh well!

So where were we?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

50 Shades Shadier: Chapter 12 part 1

Elena stops by and later Ana and Christian have sex on a piano. 

So. Let's get real for a minute. Google tells me that I'm getting something like 100-150 reads of all these posts and that's not terrible but it's also not particularly impressive. More people could be enjoying this nonsense, I believe, if they knew about it or whatever.

So: if you're reading this, please do me a favor, because I am quite literally posting this on my birthday and you're supposed to be nice to people when it's their birthday. Here is the favor: tell someone else about this blog. 

Doesn't have to be big. Put it on your facebook or your twitter or your myspace or your hashtag or your linkedin or whatever thing you do. And maybe someone else will read it and they'll think it's funny and also we'll have helped some more people decide to never ever read the actual book. Because that's what this is really all about: bringing down EL James evil empire. If we're not careful, the movie versions of this mess will end up in actual movie theaters, and quite possibly bring civilization to a standstill with their terribleness. We are basically all that stands between society and anarchy, so if it isn't too much of a bother, post a link somewhere, and send a little traffic my way.

I'm tired of seeing that all of my hits are courtesy of Chinese search engines because I expect that that's some kind of weird accident, right? Or like, a few nights ago, half of my hits were from the Ukraine and that doesn't make any sense, right? It can't possibly be true that I have anything like a Ukrainian readership, can it? (Editor's note: please prove us wrong in the comment section below, dear Ukrainian readers!)

That wasn't so hard, was it? Thanks!

I should note that you don't necessarily have to send your friends to this particular chapter because even if you've been following along, this chapter makes little sense and is terrible. This is another one of those chapters that's going to be basically totally pointless. We're going to introduce some new nonsense related to Christian's first ex--Elena--and we're going to have a "cliffhanger" ending featuring Christian's most damaged ex--Leila--but mostly this is just padding. I'm really looking forward to telling you all about Leila because for real: it's super obvious where EL looked for inspiration when she was writing Leila's scenes:

We swears to serve the master of the precious.
Yeah that part is going to be super fun! I swears! Well. Kinda fun, sort of. Any excuse for me to talk like Gollum is a huge bonus for me. Maybe even enough to get me through the next couple chapters! Small victories. Small victories.

So where were we?