1) Because you aren’t stupid.
I confess that I haven’t read the book. In fact, if I found myself stranded on a desert island with just 50 Shades of Grey and a screwdriver, I would stab myself in the eyes with the tool so that the option to read the book would be permanently removed, even when I’m on the verge of going insane from boredom and solitude.
(Although I guess I could just toss the book in the ocean and then use the screwdriver for something more sensible, like opening coconuts. Too late now. Rookie mistake.)
But I don’t need to read it to know how incredibly, inconceivably idiotic it is.
Today, someone on Facebook quoted a line from the novel:
“Finally, my medulla oblongata recalls its purpose, I breathe.”
I thought this was a joke, so I looked it up.
Nope. Not a joke. Completely real. That line actually appears in a best selling piece of literature. That line was written by someone masquerading as an author, approved by someone masquerading as an editor, published by someone masquerading as a publisher, and then consumed by millions of people masquerading as literate.
I found some other excerpts that are almost as bad/good:
“That’s the bottom line. I want to be with him. My inner goddess sighs with relief.”
“Her curiosity oozes through the phone.”
“My scalp prickles as adrenaline and fury lance through my body, all my worst fears realized.”
“My inner goddess is beside herself, hopping from foot to foot.”
This is some very, very stupid material. It reads like a thesaurus procreated with a script from a soft core porn and then the baby fell into a vat of Lifetime Channel DVDs. My inner goddess is rolling her eyes, my inner brain is hurting.
I hope your medulla oblongata recalls its purpose and stops you from seeing this tripe.
2) Because you don’t go for cynical, boring, corporate marketing ploys.
This isn’t really a film. Film is art. Art exists for a reason. It speaks to us. It communicates a truth. Art is beautiful, moving, real.
This is a business decision. It’s about as artistic as the end cap display at the grocery store. It’s a marketing gimmick. It exists to be consumed, and for no other reason. It will enter into your mind — your medulla oblongata, if you will — and lessen you. It will steal another piece of your humanity. It’s the opposite of art — it’s a complete inversion. It is to art what a black hole is to the sun.
Nobody responsible for this movie ever at any point said to themselves, “Geez, now this is a story that really needs to be told.” It doesn’t need to be told and it isn’t a story. It’s loveless sex and degradation. No narrative, no message, no redemption. If that’s all you want, you’ll find plenty of it at the strip club down the street.
And if you just want to hear about a wealthy man who sexually manipulates and dehumanizes women, all you need to do is turn on the news. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, anyone? There’s your real life Christian Grey.
Yes, of course, plenty of other terrible movies have been conceived, produced, and released for absolutely no reason but to make money for Hollywood. The new entry in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series could be a perfect example of this. But, compared to 50 Shades of Grey, even a film about mutated, crime fighting turtles comes out looking like Casablanca.
3) Because you’re a Christian.
If you’re not a Christian then move on to the next point. If you are, then move on to Scripture:
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures. – Galatians 5:19
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:28 (in this particular case, substitute “man” and “him” with “woman” and “her”)
Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. – Ephesians 4:19
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. – 1 Peter 4:1–3
But most importantly, we have to remember that sex is an act of love, an act of giving. And love has never been described better than this:
Love is patient, love is kind… it is not self-seeking… Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – Corinthians 13:4
The problem with the sex portrayed in this movie, or in any trashy romance novel you find at the airport, or in many other films and TV shows, or in many actual relationships, is that it’s always self-seeking, never honest, never truthful, never trusting, and never protecting. There is no hope in it, no kindness, no sacrifice. It’s selfish and removed, which makes it stale, which is why people tire of it so quickly and become so bored with it all, which is why they consume so much porn and bounce between so many different one night stands.
Christians might wrestle with these temptations, but they shouldn’t try to make excuses or pretend that it’s OK in this case because they really enjoyed the book. That’s nonsense, a cop out, and they know better.
4) Because you’re a feminist.
If you aren’t a feminist, this still applies. If you are a feminist, I can’t possibly understand how a disturbing fantasy about a wealthy man physically dominating a woman could ever be considered acceptable in your circle. Are we sure E.L. James isn’t Bill Clinton’s penname? Does John Edwards have a co-writing credit on this thing? I haven’t checked, but I’m half expecting Woody Allen or Roman Polanski to be listed on IMDb as executive producers.
I’ve long struggled to define feminism, but if 50 Shades of Grey makes the cut, then feminism is dead and buried.
Surely the movement is worthless if it won’t loudly reject a book about a woman’s adventures in being manhandled and used by an emotionally stunted playboy.
But surely feminism can easily clear a bar so low and finally condemn this mindless, guttural sewage.
And surely there is hope for our society if we can all awaken from our moral and intellectual slumber enough to come to our collective senses over 50 Shades of Grey.
Surely that is not too much to ask.
Surely I am a naïve fool.
This thing will be a box office smash and we all know it.
Oh well. On the bright side, it’ll probably spawn 8 sequels and 14 remakes, which means I’ll be able to reuse this post a bunch of times.