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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Heard

50 Shades of Shut The Hell Up

Ball Gag

Some books are simply not worth my time. Mostly, those books end up on the bestsellers list. You won’t catch me reading Danielle Steel. Not a huge fan of John Grisham or Nora Roberts, although I have enjoyed a few of their novels. Dan Brown lost my interest after it became apparent that he wrote the same story over and over again with different names and just barely different places. Robert Langdon is like the literary Chuck Norris – ain’t shit gonna get in that old, tweed-sporting professor’s way. To me, bestsellers mean nothing. The same people making those books popular are the ones helping Iggy Azalea to the top of the charts. So, no thanks.

When 50 Shades of Grey began popping up everywhere, I read a brief synopsis and was not interested. It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with a little spanking, or that I can’t handle kink. It’s simply that if I am going to take the time to read something, I’d prefer to get more out of it than cheap thrills. It’s easy to get a bunch of people to read something sensationally explicit. It’s easy to create a storm around kinky sex stories. It’s easy to entertain with murder mysteries and over-the-top suspense. When Bukowski made his brief, liquored up stint at USPS an entire novel and left you wanting more at the end, that, that was talent. The true measure of a writer is being able to turn ordinary things into extraordinary stories. At least, that’s how I feel.

Really, 50 Shades is just another wine and cheese party in the decade of Desperate Housewives. Another book of cheap thrills on the bestsellers list. A paperback Iggy Azalea. Read it if you need to. I’m good.

But, the Jeeboners are boycotting the book and the upcoming film for an entirely different reason:

Consent is not enough. It is not enough to justify BDSM or any other exploitative sexual practice. Consent is too flimsy a foundation for Ana Steele to justify the destructive things that are done to her by Christian Grey in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” For this reason I consider “Fifty Shades” to be grossly sexually destructive – especially of women – and I am boycotting the film.

Now here’s something new. A Jeeby fanboy who is poking around in other people’s sex lives – in this case a fictional character – to make sure they’re doing the sexy times right. Of course, I jest. This is nothing new. This is all the christicles do. This is the very foundation of the church. Scrutinizing how we bump uglies. It’s simply all they talk and think about, and I’m beginning to wonder how healthy it is to be so, so, so obsessed with other people’s sex lives that you’ve taken it a step further and begun to obsess over the sex lives of people who don’t even exist…

Jeremy Neill over at Everyday Ethics (is it really ethical to pick apart how strangers do the sex?), continues on by saying:

“As long as he or she is consenting, it’s OK.” No it’s not, because people consent all the time to practices that they know are destructive and this doesn’t make such practices right. First, people can be pressured by their culture or their peers into things that they know are harmful to them. The fear of being left out or laughed at can motivate the teenager to do drugs that are physiologically damaging to his body.

Consent. I don’t think it means what you think it means. Consent, as it is applied to sexual activity, must be given by an adult. Your teenager scenario is not the same thing. If you had made the same comparison with an adult, that adults get pressured into doing drugs that are physiologically damaging to their bodies, well, then you would have had an apt comparison. However, adults don’t succumb to peer pressure with as much ease as a teenager does. If an adult jumps head first into a red hot bowl of crack, they are usually fully aware of the consequences. If that’s what they want to do with their life, who am I to judge? One of my favourite writers lived to the ripe old age of 86, was one of the most prolific of the beat writers, and left a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten, all while doing intravenous heroin damn near every day of his life.

Besides, there are other things that are damaging to our bodies that we do every day. Drink soda, eat fast food, go stretches of time without exercising. Are you suggesting that we all need a babysitter to stop us from doing anything that might harm us? Or is it just the sexy stuff that bothers you?

The sixteen-year-old girl ‘consents’ to sext pictures of her naked torso in order to fit in with the social climbers at school.

Again, you’re comparing a 16 year old real-life girl to an adult fictional character. You might want to put the cap back on your glue, fella.

The twenty-one year-old college student ‘consents’ to a group sex experience because he wants other kids to think well of him.

If the 21 year old kid regrets it later in life – and that’s a big “if” – then he’s just like the rest of us flesh and blood humans who have made mistakes and learned from them. The greatest thing about being an adult is the freedom to choose for ourselves, and make those mistakes. It is how we continue to grow.

Sometimes persons dupe themselves or are seriously misguided and can do things that are destructive even when they do not realize it.

It must curl your hairy toes to think you have no fucking business stopping them, too. It’s called adulthood. Every one of us makes mistakes. Even you, Jerms.

A lot of sincere National Socialists in World War Two believed that what they were doing was right. Their mass murders of the Jews were destroying their souls, but they believed such practices to be fine.

Oh, Jermy, sigh. Murder – and I’ll say this slowly so you can absorb it – is illegal. Especially the sort that starts with 'G' and ends in 'enocide'. You see? Murder ends a life. It’s irreversible. You can unbuckle a ball gag. You can’t unmurder your victims!

A lot of people in the 1930s and 1940s actually believed – this is true – that cigarette smoking was a healthful practice and that it would sooth their lungs, calm their nerves, and enable them to live longer.

Now we know better, and yet smoking is still legal, and many people still make the choice to stick a smouldering fag in their mouth and ritually blacken their lungs. Even in movies! Movies which you probably don’t boycott because a character is smoking!

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is a carcinogen for the soul.

Wait, what?

Wait, what?

Can I see the data on this? Is this a UC Berkeley study? Sounds like a UC Berkeley study.

The point is that history is full of examples of mass cultural delusions.

Indeed it is. My favourite is the God Delusion.

Just because large numbers of people think that something is right or intriguing or cool doesn’t make it in fact right or intriguing or cool. A democratic majority is a poor basis for a healthy sexual morality.

Wait, did you think… that because so many people are reading 50 Shades of Grey, that it means those very same people are now purchasing nipple clamps, stocks and paddles? Did you also think that those who read Harry Potter lined up at the 9th platform at train stations the world over just to hurl themselves into a brick wall? Did every farmer sleep in fear of an animal uprising after reading Animal Farm? I don’t even want to think about what you envision people doing after reading Frankenstein…

Dude, part of growing up and becoming an adult and watching TV shows, movies and reading books, is the knowledge that there is a vast difference between entertainment and reality. People who watch or read murder mysteries are not killers. It’s just… different. It takes them somewhere else, somewhere they’ve never been and will never go. It’s entertainment and escape. If we had trouble deciphering between what we are entertained by and how to behave in real life, murder would not be in a historically significant decline in the Western World. At the rate we watch murder shows, we’d all be killers.

“Fifty Shades” is wrong because it is stirring up a desire in people for exploitative sexual practices.

Right. Like Dexter is stirring up a desire to become a vigilante serial killer, or True Blood is stirring up a desire to be a vampire or The Wire stirred up a desire to be a drunken cop in Baltimore.

It makes people want to do things that enable predatory industries like sex trafficking to flourish.

Again, I’d like to see the data on this. Personally, I don’t buy it. I’ve read plenty of books and seen plenty of movies and not a one has made me want to reenact it. Mostly because I’m sane. A little bit, anyway.

Do not go to this film and do not let your friends go to this film.

In the wise words of one Zack de la Rocha,

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

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