Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey and ACTUAL LITERATURE

OK, so we've all established that I'm a bit of a book nerd.  On average I read about 2 books a week, sometimes more if I'm reading fluff, sometimes less if I'm really digging into some heavy non-fiction.

For the last year or so, I've used www.goodreads.com to track my books, read reviews and get a handle on my ever growing "To Read" list.

The cool thing about Goodreads, is that not only do you get great recommendations based on what you plug in and rate, but you get to read the reviews of other users and participate in any discussions stemming from the books you've ranked.

Now I want to preface this by saying, in no way am I a book snob.  I read it all.  Regardless of genre, author or subject matter, if something sounds good, or comes recommended.  I'll read it.

That includes reading things like Twilight, and 50 Shades of Grey.

I want to stop for a moment and give everyone a warning.  If you're rabid fans of EITHER of these series.  Stop reading now.  Because I'm going to rip them to shit.  And if you're fans and keep reading, I don't want to get into a big debate in the comments because I've offended you.  The following is my opinion and I'm entitled to it.

This entire rant was started by me stumbling across a thread on Goodreads that posed the following question:

"Which is your favorite; The Twilight Saga, Wuthering Heights or Romeo and Juliet?"

Now first off, I was highly impressed by the posters proper use of the semi-colon, but then again, this is the type of stuff that I notice.  Then I re-read the sentence and promptly lost my mind.  I mean seriously, I flipped my lid, startled my cat and did a mental double take.

Are you fucking kidding me?

My brain literally rebelled.  How could someone intelligent enough to correctly use ";" come to the asinine conclusion that this question even needs to be asked?

In what lifetime, will Stephanie Meyer EVER be considered in the same class as Emily Brontë and William Fucking Shakespeare?  I mean really.  No offense intended but REALLY?

Sorry, couldn't resist.
Now, I have read Twilight and to an extent I appreciate it for what it is.  I understand the appeal.  It's sweet, it's romantic.  I get it.  But on the other hand, it's poorly written and has a female lead character that is not only weak willed but a horrible example to young girls.  Not only does she declare herself in love with a guy she doesn't know and has barely spent any time around, but when he leaves her to save her own fool life she not only starts to shun her friends and family, but starts to physically endanger her life in order to feel close to him.  How is this healthy?  What are you trying to teach young girls?  That it's OK to give up your friends and hobbies for a boy?  That your life can't continue if that boy is no longer a part of it?  Fuck that.  Don't even get me going on the details of how unhealthy Edward and Bella's relationship is.  Beyond what I've mentioned already here are just SOME of the things that irked me about these books:

- Before they "date" he sneaks into her house to watch her sleep.
- He disables parts of her car so she can't go off to meet other friends because that would put her out of his range of protection. 
-  When he thinks she has died in an accident he tries to KILL HIMSELF. 
- He won't have sex with her before marriage because he basically wants to do as much as possible to keep her soul pure so when she eventually becomes a vampire she'll be less-damned than if they have sex.  This implies that people that have sex before marriage are I don't know.....bad people?  Can I take this moment to point out that Stephanie Meyer is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints (LDS)?  For those of you who aren't up to speed on the various religions. The Latter-Day Saints follow something they call the "law of chastity" that forbids adultery, homosexual behavior and PRE-MARITAL SEX.  Sorry kiddies, it also forbids masturbation and "immoral thoughts".  Guess what that means?  Your porn collection has gotta go.  

But I get it, it's entertainment.  But Shakespeare?  I think not.  

Now the Goodreads comment didn't mention 50 Shades of Grey but because of the controversy and the link to Twilight I figured I'd lump it in.

OK, so once again I'm going to preface this by saying, I've read the books, I am in no-way opposed to romance novels or erotica or anything like that.  What I am opposed to is bad writing, idiotic characters, shitty dialogue and cheesy sex scenes.

People ask me about 50 Shades of Grey ALL THE TIME.  Because I read so much, the either want to know if I loved it like they did, or exactly how shitty I found it.

Lets start with the positives.  These books are cute, at times very funny and yeah....that's all I got.  

For those that haven't heard.  E.L. James wrote these books originally as Twilight fan fiction online and based the characters roughly on Edward and Bella.  There are many similarities but basically she took the gist of it and added a lot of raunchy sex.  Sigh....Stephanie Meyer and her LDS Church buddies must just LOVE that.  But really that's what 50 Shades is, is mommy porn for the adults who read Twilight and really just wished that Bella and Edward would spend more time having hot glittery vampire sex.  Sorry was that too much? Let me get back to my point.

Christian and Ana's relationship is incredibly unhealthy.  I know, I know.  Christian was horribly abused and neglected as a child.  I get the trauma, I really do.  But the fact that he uses BDSM to control women because it's the only way for him to work out his neuroses is NOT HEALTHY.  BDSM is not therapy.  And the fact that he is having sex with and punishing women that REMIND HIM OF HIS DEAD PROSTITUTE MOTHER is fucked up on so many different levels that it just increases how sorry I feel for him.  Like with Twilight let's break down some of the issues I had with the series.  Bad writing and bad dialogue aside, here's what I balked at:

- Never in a million years is a VIRGIN going to not freak out when handed a non-disclosure agreement by a potential sex partner
- Christian's "rules" in their contract include things like what what to eat, how often to workout, what she should wear and how she should behave in public.  Now don't freak out, I know the contract is for a Dom/sub relationship but really.  
- He follows her and has her followed for "her own protection"
- He buys the company that she works for just so he can essentially spy on her.
- He refuses to let her see her friends outside of their apartment and places he deems "safe" without a bodyguard present
- He uses his power as the owner of the company she works for to get finance to reject a request for funding so that she can't go on a business trip with her boss because he doesn't like him and thinks he's hitting on her
 

I think I actually need a full paragraph to fully expand upon the issues with the Dom/sub relationship so here it goes.  He tells her at one point, that he actually wants to HURT HER.  Last time I checked, BDSM was about two consenting adults who enjoy giving or receiving pain.  Last time I checked, it wasn't OK to physically hurt your partner beyond what they have agreed to and are enjoying.  It's also not OK to go into a situation like that when the person in physical control is enraged or angry.  This is not a way for a couple to resolve a "fight".  That's how people get hurt.  That my friends is abuse.  Beating on someone because you are angry about something they did, is not safe or sane.  And in all honesty, a scenario like that has absolutely nothing to do with a sub's enjoyment of pain.  That's punishment pure and simple.  I think the thing that bothers me the most, is that E.L. James has openly spoke about how she did no research at all into BDSM before she wrote this book.  There are women walking around TRYING some of this shit because these books gave them ideas.  There are women talking about how they wish they had a man who took control like that.  That Christians obsessive behavior is just a demonstration of how much he loves her. Are you people listening to yourselves??

Trust me ladies.  If you were dating a man like Christian, his behavior would not be considered sexy.  Trust me when I say that if you were dating a man like that, that you would be running in the other direction.  Especially if you were a 20something virgin.  I'm all for wanting to help him, and I'm all for loving him despite his flaws.  But the man needs therapy and boundaries.  Because in real life kiddies, a man that stalks you and has you followed for your own protection, a man who tells you who you can and can't spend time with, a man who physically punishes you because of some slight and a man that runs to his ex-lover ever time you get into an argument is not the kind of man you would embrace a relationship with.  And in my opinion, touting this as the grand love story of our time is disrespectful to the multitude of women out there that struggle with abusive relationships and are trapped in marriages with controlling men like Christian that don't have the benefit of money and good looks.  I get that it's fiction but let's all take a step back and look at it for what it is.  

*exhale*

Now let's get back to the original question shall we?  Actually no, let's not.  Because when the day comes that Twilight is actually considered by scholars and academics around the world to be in the same category as Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet?  That day my friends is that day I hang up my trusty bookmark.  Turn off my eReader and start repenting for my sins because the fucking apocalypse is coming.  Screw the Rapture, the world is coming to an end people and we're all screwed.  Screwed I say!!

So literature?  I think not.  What this is, is fluff.  But if it were only fluff I could discount it and put it onto it's proper shelf.  But it's not just fluff.  It's fluff that teaches a young girl that her life is practically over if her boyfriend dumps her.  And it's fluff that makes impressionable women think that it's OK to let their lovers tie them up and spank them in anger.  It's not OK people.  And yes, I know, it's just fiction.  But the rabid fans running around preaching that they want to marry Edward or Christian make it more than just fiction.  They make it a source of influence.  And I don't know about you, but I can do without that type of influence.  So when people ask me, I'll pick Heathcliff every time.  Because although he's 50 shades of fucked up himself, I'm sure he could kick Christian's ass any day of the week.

Cheers,
Ash

p.s. I've seen a lot of people online saying stuff related to 50 Shades like, "Why do people think the writing is so bad?"  Two words for you.  Inner Goddess.  I want to smack that bitch upside her head with a two-by-four.  And if Ana called Christain "My poor 50" one more time I was going to scream. I'm sorry but every time I read that, I thought of 50 Cent the rapper and started singing "In Da Club"

"Go shawty, 'cause it's your birthday.  We gon' party like it's your birthday."

Sorry, I actually had to Google the lyrics to get the bad grammar correct.

Some "Inner Goddess" lines that make me want to scream: 

“My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves.” 
“My inner goddess sits in the lotus position looking serene except for the sly, self-congratulatory smile on her face.” 
“My inner goddess jumps up and down with cheer-leading pom-poms shouting yes at me.” 
“My inner goddess looks like someone snatched her ice cream.” 

Seriously?  Her Inner Goddess needs to shut the fuck up and sit in the corner of I'm going to spank her myself.

See? I'm not the only one!!

  Wuthering Heights FTW!!!

18 comments:

  1. Yeah, I couldn't get past the sample I read of it on my Kindle. :/ The writing is so, so painfully bad!

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    1. I forced myself. I'm pretty stubborn when it comes to abandoning books. And part of it was morbid curiosity. I just couldn't comprehend why people were loving it so much

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  2. Hey Ash, I tried to read both of those series...couldn't do either one. And I've tried to watch the Twilight movies...couldn't do that either.

    My wife read the 50 Shades series and was meh at best. She did enjoy the Twilight books for the fluff they are.

    The funniest thing from the 50 Shades series came from a staff gather from my wife's work. A few of us were chatting about the books and the husbands asked each other if they had seen any benefits from the wives reading the mommy porn. The common answer was no...the wives were too busy reading and the husbands fell asleep...not quite what we were hoping for.

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    1. I know a lot of people that had the same discussions, apparently my friends are more adventurous though because I knew people that were actually wanting to try stuff. And honestly, if that's what people are interested in and enjoy, go for it. But more often than not it was like the book, people doing things for the wrong reasons without the proper background and information. And that's where it gets scary.

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  3. I actually put Twilight down when I tried reading it. I couldn't understand what I was missing because it seemed like everyone I knew loved these damn books and I felt like I was back in high school again. No thanks.

    As for fifty shades: Someone left books 1 and 2 on a train in Italy and I snagged both of them and I started on the first. Horrible writing but entertaining. Haven't gotten past like the first 100 pages, though. I feel like I'll only want to read the first and be so exhausted by their ridic unhealthy relationship that I won't have any interest to continue on.

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    1. I read them all and Twilight I can forgive a bit more because I get why people are attracted to certain parts of the romanticism. Do I understand the fanaticism about it? Not at all. But then I don't really comprehend rabid fans of anything.

      As for my poor fifty? I really had a strong negative reaction to how unhealthy the relationship was. And like I said, I'm all for people doing what they want and enjoy, but I got really bothered by the sheer volume of women that were romanticising their relationship and going on about how sweet he was. I felt like screaming when women I knew would be like "But it all worked out in the end." That's my problem, in real life, stuff like this doesn't work out. And it goes back to trivializing the struggles of real women in difficult relationships. Not everybody gets a happy ending

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  4. Exactly the problems I have with Twilight! I read the books in about a week just to read them - the entire time I just kept hoping Bella would die. I was actually embarassed to read them and didn't tell anyone. Then one day I showed up at my friend's house unannounced and when it took her a while to come to the door she admitted she was secretly reading Twilight at the same time I was. We had a good laugh about that one.

    50 Shades - I never planned to read this. Just like you, I have no problem with erotica or romance - I just figured this was so mass-markety that it was probably going to suck. I had done Twilight and I wasn't going to do it again hahaha.

    Then my mom bought the book and gave it to me and said "Here, I need you to read this and tell me if it's ok for me to read." The book's been sitting on my nightstand for months now and I can't bring myself to read more than the first few pages. I'm thinking I'll just tell her to read it - she has to grow up some time ;-p

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    1. Bella and Ana both kinda fall into that category of TOO STUPID TO LIVE. I mean really.

      A lot of people have bitched and said, It's just fluff. Well newsflash, fluff is fine. There's a lot of well written fluff. Fluff doesn't excuse bad repetitive dialogue and a lack of background research.

      Oh lord, my mom actually read them. She basically skipped most of the sex and just read the background story. But I really really didn't want to lend the books to her at first.

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  5. Man, I had a whole rant written...and stupid commenting thingy hasn't been working. Anyways, I'll try again.

    There are very few things that I find more offensive than E.L. James' 50 Shades of Grey. Now, I've dabbled in the dark arts of dirty, so it has nothing to do with a prudish offense. What bothers me is the lack of respect for women, the lack of respect for intelligence, the lack of respect for sexual adventure/experimentation/freedom, the lack of respect for the English language and the written word, and the lack of respect for well, everything that she got wrong. Ugh. I'd rant more, but one day, I'll be writing my own 50 Shades of the Worst Book I Ever Read.

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    1. I found it incredibly offensive too. I know people in the lifestyle and like you I've dabbled but to write something like this and not I don't know, talk to people that live this lifestyle? Is just sad. I mean no wonder the community was pissed off because it demonstrates a worst case scenario relationship and doesn't shine a nice light on the whole thing. I could go on, and honestly my 50 Shades review on Goodreads got into more specifics but I'm just done with the whole thing. And the fact that they're talking about a movie is just horrifying to me.

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  6. AMEN! I wrote similar rants on both Twilight and 50 Shades. Some of the discussion forums I see on goodreads make me want to hurl.

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    1. OMG the discussions just kill me. I participated in quite a few and just had to stop. There are too many women on there that are just totally unreasonable about the subject. They love it and refuse to even acknowledge any of the flaws. I mean bad writing aside, there is so much that is just WRONG about them both. And in the grand scheme of things, especially when it comes to 50, there are better authors out there doing the same thing and they don't get a fraction of the recognition. She rode on the coattails of Twilight and it's unfortunate because there are much better authors that deserve the attention and fame.

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  7. Ha! This is great. I've been meaning to read 50 shades of whatever just so I can make fun of all the people I know in real life that love it.
    From what I understand, it's just porn for women who don't want to admit they like porn, no? Because that's silly.

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    1. Oh it's totally porn. But bad porn with cheesy 70s music and big hair. I'm all for reading trash when it's appropriate but there is such a thing as well written trash.

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    2. I'd rather watch a raunchy video on Red Tube any day. Did I just admit that? Oh-right, it's less embarrassing than admitting to liking 50 Shades and LOTS of people do that. (I couldn't bring myself to read the 2nd and 3rd books in the series...Maybe someday when I'm feeling a good rant coming...

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    3. Bahaha oh pervy Chrissy. Awesome. There's an entire thread on Buzzfeed.com of pictures of people caught reading 50 Shades in public. It's pretty funny. Don't bother with the 2nd and 3rd. You keep thinking it can't get any worse and it just does.

      Psst....if you want to read something of the 50 Shades nature but um....a hell of a lot better? Read Cherise Sinclair's Shadowlands series. Trust me. That's woman knows how to do kink in a romantic way.

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  8. I know several authors who said that Twilight helped them begin their writing career. After all if Stephanie Meyers could do it....

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