Sunday, March 17, 2013

50 Shades of Crap: Elaborated

         These are the details to some of the points from my 50 Shades of Crap post, read that first, please, than come back here.

         Again before I start: SPOILERS alert.

         2. The relationship between Christian and Ana is abusive.
             - There is no trust between them. Christian just says "trust me" and Ana doesn't really have a choice. Oh, I am getting so hot, someone has to crack a window.
             - Christian always inflicts himself upon her - outside of the bedroom, that is.
             - He scares her. Like, fo' real. (End of book 1 quote: “I knew he was playing, but I still took a step back.” Read: "I knew he was playing, but I was still scared of him." Source
             - He isolates her from her family and friends
             - He makes her want to run away (she wants to ‘run away’ to Georgia)
             - He stalks her. Like, traces her phone and finds two addresses of hers on his own. And when they are not together he sends her a ton of emails to ‘check-up’ on (read: stalk) her.
              - He makes her overwhelmed and not in the good sense.
              - She wants to love him to wellness.
              - He sees her as his property/sex object
              - He acts excessively possessive and jealous
              - He wants to control where she goes, what she does and who she sees.
              - He has a bad, unpredictable temper. She winces every time he stops smiling.
              - She avoids certain topics so she won’t anger him. Yeah, that’s healthy.
              - She feels like she is trapped and helpless at times.
              - She feels like he has immense power and there would be no point at running away. (He actually threatens her that "running to Alaska won't help.")
              - He hits her and she’s afraid. It's supposed to be part of the BDSM play, but she never truly says ‘yes' and she's afraid.
              - He spanks her, because she rolls her eyes at him. 
              - When Kate thinks there's something wrong, Ana feels protective over Christian and her relationship and it reads like something right out of PAC for abuse

              3. Confusing BDSM with abuse:
                 Ok, here’s the thing. BDSM motto is “Safe, Sane and Consensual”, so let’s check out if this applies to 50 Shades:
                - Safe: Hardly! Christian never provides Ana with a safe environment (see #2), as she is constantly afraid of him. Not to mention, he never cares to provide her with an info source, that is not biased (himself).
                - Sane: Is it? Most of the time she is drunk (he gets her drunk on purpose, to which he admits at one point). 
                - Consensual: He manipulates her emotionally (‘I won’t be with you, if you don’t. I’ll try harder, if you do.’); and sexually – and I mean this literally.

              5. What is Christian paying Dr. Flynn for? I could've done a better job, and I am not even out of high school, yet.
                 - Dr. Flynn is trying cure Christian’s sexual preferences (BDSM.) Why?! There's nothing wrong with wanting a little kink in your life, as long as it's "Safe, Sane & Consensual. (See #3)"
                 - Dr. Flynn has never once told Christian that his birth-mother loved him, but they were both victims of a bad/abusive situation; that his mom couldn't protect him, because she was physically weak and scared and that he shouldn't blame her. Here, I just healed Christian’s desire to look for skinny brunettes to beat, in oh – look at that – 30 seconds.

                 6. The writing is incredibly bad:
                    - Here’s a fun exercise: right now, try to think of 3 reasons why Christian finds Ana so 'beguiling'. Pretty damn hard, isn’t it? That's because we know fucking nothing about her. Really try to think of description of Ana that doesn't include a color or the words "skinny", "literature" and "Christian." I dare you.
                    - EL James uses every single bad cliché in the genre. Naïve virgin falls for the young, enigmatic, alpha male, who has a ‘dark’ secret... Why can’t it be: A street-smart woman with healthy sexual history falls for the older, confident man  who isn’t ashamed to admit that he's into kink, huh?
                   - The very creation of the two characters in Ana’s head: her subconscious and her inner goddess. Both redundant and ridiculous.
                   - A lot of research on meaningless details. I don't care which highway Ana takes. Yet, if EL's doing that research, why not also open any random BDSM blog and find out what it's really about? I mean I spent a few only a few hours reading up on it, and I can represent the dynamic better than she did.
                    NOTE: I know EL claims she did research BDSM, but honestly it doesn't show. Christian is an awful Dom (because he's abusive) and he's ashamed of his kink. Also (I read a pro claiming this somewhere) if he was a real person, he won't be into BDSM, and if he was, he'd be a sub.

                  7. Ana is a Mary Sue:
                     - She is super, awesome, mega pretty, even though she complains that she is ‘plain’. Fuck you, you fair-skinned, big-blue eyed, skinny bitch! 
                     - Every single male in the book between 18 and 40/50 who has a line or two is attracted to her: Paul, José, Jack Hyde, Ethan - just to name a few.
                     - She is annoying and unpleasant, yet everyone, who isn’t portrayed as just mean, shallow or a villain seems to like her (Bella Swan, anyone?)
                     - She has the ‘best’ man of all.
                     - All (the important) girls want to be friends with her - Kate and Mia.
                     - People don’t mind her bad behavior, but judge others for behaving the same way she does.

                     10. The relationship between Ana and Kate is one-sided:
                           - Ana uses Kate to make herself feel better with little to nothing in return.
                           - Ana keeps judging Kate and slut-shaming her.
                           - Ana doesn't like talking to Kate (every time Kate asks her any random/concerned question Ana is like “Oh, no the Katherine Kavanagh Inquisition!”)
                           - Ana doesn't seem to particularly like Kate, despite constantly telling the reader that she’s her best friend.
                           - I am convinced that Ana is a lesbian in denial for Kate. Every argument she has for her can be boiled down to how hot Kate is.

                      14. These two characters don’t love each other and quite frankly, I am not sure they even like each other:
                          - Every scene between the two of them (that isn’t a sex scene), they seem to be uncomfortable, just being together.
                          - For the most part of first book all they seem to do is make small talk/discuss their sex life, never talking about anything that matters.
                          - They can’t resolve any conflict between them with just talking and always end up having sex to "fix" it. And it’s portrayed to be healthy and cool.
                          - They always make fun of or tease each other, and it’s not always in a cute way.
                          - In chapter 9 of book 3, Ana says: “In spite of all his baggage, his nature, his Fiftyness, I have met and married the man of my dreams.” (Read: In spite of all that he is, he is the man of my dreams). No. Just... no. Source

                      15. You can feel the author pulling the strings:
                            - Why are Christian and Ana together? I mean, yeah they have great sex, but you don’t get married for having great sex (well, no smart and sane person will, anyway). The only reason they are together is because James says so.
                            - José is obviously much better fit for Ana, and there is every condition for her to like him. Except she doesn't, because E.L. James says so. etc.

                      19. Misogyny:
                           - Women can’t really be friends, they are always jealous of one another, patronize each other etc.
                           - Women's goal must always be to "get" (read: marry) the best man, and they must always compete for him. Career, self-respect and all that other new-agey stuff - puff, please!
                           - When two or more men talk to each other it’s “networking” or “socializing”, but when two or more women do is “gossiping”.
                           - When a man (Christian in particular) works it's always “concentrating” and “serious” but when a woman does it is always “busying oneself” or “bustling”. Source

                     25. Fan fiction fan base - stupid fan fiction defenses:
                           - “It’s just fiction.” I particularly hate that one – being made up, doesn't excuse anything to be bad. It’s just doesn't. That’s like saying:
                          “This painting is bad.”
                          “Well, yeah, that’s because someone drew it. In what world does that make any sense?!
                           - “It’s a fantasy.” Well, of course it is, most romances are, but that doesn't excuse it of any and all realism.

                       26. Annoying. These books contain the biggest collection of annoying phrases and expressions I have ever read:
                            - If I read one more time Christian saying “Fair point, well made, Miss Steele.”, I’ll drown a kitten. A cute, little cuddly kitten. And it will die because of you, EL. Shame on you! Shame on you!
                            - If I read Ana “Wow”-ing at one more thing, I’ll punch a wall.
                            - If I read one more thing (that isn’t food) described as being “delicious”, my head will explode.
                            - "His pants hang from his hips in that way." In what way, Ana? Tell me, I dare you. I double dare you, motherfucker. Say "that way" one more time, bitch. Say it one more time!
                            - NOTE: So I know a lot of people hate “Laters, baby”, but honestly I actually think it’s funny and adorable (in a silly way, which is precisely the point). It's kind of like in Once Upon a Time, when Snow white started calling Prince James, 'Prince Charming'. It was ironic at first, but it became real.  Judge me all you want. :D Too bad, it came from this pile of bull crap, or I totally would've used it in one of my stuff.

                       32. Choosing non-conflict over conflict. Here are 3 subplots we are supposed to care about deeply:
                            - The panties issue (book 1)
                            - What present Ana gets Christian for his birthday (book 2)
                            - What method of contraception Christian prefers (book 2)

                      44. The premise is bullshit. Kate must be the world’s worst newspaper editor-in-charge. I mean honestly:                            
                            - Ok, here’s a little Quiz for you: You are the editor-in-charge of a newspaper/magazine and you have organized a very important interview, but you just got sick and can’t go. What do you do?
                                a) Send another editor/journalist from your paper, who is also familiar with your work around the interview, as well as the interviewee xirself.
                                b) Send literally anyone who has a basic understanding of how journalism works and how to google things on their phone.

                                 c) Send your roommate, who knows nothing about either journalism, the interviewee or even how the internet works... Or how the world works, for that matter. Oh, and who apparently has some sort of limb condition that will cause her to fall head-first through  the doorstep an then spend 10 minutes setting up a tape recorder. Yeah, a fucking tape recorder!
                                  If you answered a) or b) – congratulations, you are not a complete moron. If you answered c)… well, hello, EL James.

                      46. Ana is the emotional age of 11:
                          - She has never in her 21-year-old life had any sexual feelings or thoughts of any kind. Now, you can make the argument that she's asexual, or that Christian 'awakens' her (even though a little late), but that's just a bunch of bull, because:
                           - She approaches sex like 11-year-olds do – with curiosity, but a sense of shame, embarrassment and immaturity (every time her reactions to normal, healthy sexual feelings are described as being ‘child-like’; she can’t use words like ‘vagina’ or ‘penis’, constantly blushes over her own sexual thoughts.)
                           - She continues to slut-shame Kate, but all Kate really does is enjoy a healthy adult-like attitude towards sex.
                           - She is naive, like a child, she uses words a child would use (‘yummy’ and ‘yucky’)
                           NOTE: I read an article that claimed that 50 Shades was pedophilia hidden in plain sight (Ana’s age of 21 is only a fake age). According to me however, this ISN'T true. First of all no sane, non messed-up woman would be pro-pedophilia; Secondly, EL simply isn’t skilled enough to pull that off. Source

Overall, review:

                                                                                                                               xXxXx, Thea K

50 Shades of Crap

My Rating: Well, because I hated 50 Shades so damn much, I am not going to give it a rating from My Rating System, instead, I'll just refer you to this awesome link with Simon Cowell's insults (just change all singing words with writing words and... well, you get the point.)
All points marked with a * will be elaborated on, in a later post.

Now, before the article I just want to say a few things:

       I. This will be full with SPOILERS, so you know – if you want to read it and you actually care to find out what happens on your own, maybe you shouldn't read on.

      II. Yes, 50 Shades of Grey is just a work of fiction, but art these days tends to shape our culture.

      III. It’s not a love-story masterpiece, it's porn on paper. Just accept this and move on.

     IV. People shouldn't tell me that I don't like it, because " I don’t get it”. That implies that I am stupid. While, there truly is art that I don’t “get”, 50 Shades isn’t it. I don't like it, because:

            1.It’s a work of fiction and yet it's viewed and advertised it as a manual.
            2. The relationship between Christian and Ana is abusive.  p. 218, 50 Shades Freed – proof.*
            3. The book, the author and the readers confuse BDSM with abuse.*
            4. It promotes the idea that “love cures” and I mean that literally.  According to this book, if Ana loves Christian hard enough, she will cure his emotional and psychological trauma (see 2) and as many abusive relationships in the history of the world have proven – this doesn’t work. Speaking of which:
             5. What is Christian paying Dr. Flynn for? I could’ve done a better job, and I am not even out of high school, yet.*
             6. The writing is incredibly bad. It’s filled with purple prose, needless descriptions, little to no fundamental descriptions, clichés, little to no research on what matters.*
             7. Ana is a Mary Sue.*
             8. Ana is both a horrible character and human being. She is whiny, spineless, mysogenic, selfish (almost as much as Christian) and at times – downright stupid. She has a ton of self-esteem issues, a possible eating disorder and on top of all that - slightly more personality than a doormat.
             9. Christian is a huge douche bag. Book 3, p.218+ Just an example
            10. The relationship between Ana and Kate is one-sided.*
            11. There is NO plot and when there is, the characters actively refuse to take any part in it. Everything revolves around the sex-scenes which don’t bring anything to the story. There’s little to no real conflict – it’s mostly just angst and melodrama. When there’s conflict, it is downplayed and can be resolved with one 911 call, which no one makes because fuck logic!
            12. The dialogue. Oh, dear God the dialogue! It’s cheesy, unrealistic and uses too many words to communicate too little things.

            13. Stupid, foggy euphemisms. The words “vagina” and “penis” are used a total times of 0 in the first book, and instead replaced with “down there” and “his considerable length”. WTF?
             14.  These two characters don’t love each other and quite frankly, I am not sure they even like each other.*
              15. You can feel the author pulling the strings.* Yes, it’s a book. A lot of luck and a lot of coincidences are bound to happen, but what I mean that the interaction between the characters doesn't seem natural at all. They all seem like a bunch of puppets controlled by a puppeteer.
              16. It’s started as a fan fiction of Twilight. And all she did was
 change the names and remove the vampires. Yes, for real. Here’s proof.
              17. Because of 15 and 16, some things just don’t make sense in the books: Why don’t they just call the police on Leila? Everything would be resolved right away, but you see, if she was a vampire, they can’t call the police for obvious reasons. Except she isn't, so that whole plot makes no sense. Jesus, fucking Christ on a velociraptor.              
              18. No realism. Look, there is fiction and there is fantasy. Yes, fiction is about escapism, but there’s a line and 50 Shades crosses that line, goes all the way to the edge of the eternal abyss, jumps over it, and sprints for about 200 more meters.
               19. Misogyny.*
               20. It's too damn long. So much from these books can be edited out and make one giant book, but at least it would be one. That's because EL has this awful habit to say thing that can be said into a line or two, into paragraphs after paragraphs. And money. Everything has to do with money.

               21. Rich is good, poor is shameful massage. Especially in books 2 and 3.
               22. It promotes the idea that a guy has to be an Alpha male to, best case: get the best girl; worst case: women to like him аt all.
               23. It's not as erotic as people claim. For a book, that is supposedly super-mega-innovative and it will revive/save/better your sex life, the sex reads a lot like a manual. It's also repetitive, pretty vanilla 80% of the time, and quite frankly after a few sex scenes, it gets tedious.

               24. Ignoring the bad. E.L. James refuses to take responsibility for her books and admit her mistakes just like another author that became popular with a series that is practically poop on paper. Her names starts with "S" and ends with "tephanie Meyer".
                25. Fan-fiction fan-base - fan-fiction defenses.* Because it started out as a fan-fiction (See #16), it gets the fan-fiction defenses. The fan fiction defenses are stupid, people. They are damn stupid.*
                 26. Annoying. These books contain the biggest collection of annoying phrases and expressions I have ever read. I know, that's subjective but still.*
                  27. Clumsy attempts at creating a sense of intense and memorable romance. Reminding us of things that happened days, or better yet – mere hours ago as means to tell us "look they are so connected!", doesn’t work. Stop freaking doing it!
                   28. 50 Shades Freed. God, that was unnecessary!
                   29. No obstacles. There are no antagonists,  that create even some kind of real suspense. 

                             - Jack Hyde – too clichéd, not to mention silly, annoying and over the top.
                             - Leila – god, that was a disappointing payoff!
                             - Elena – could be, but the conflict isn’t explored nearly well enough.
                   30. Inconsistently written secondary characters. Case in point: Kate; Ana’s subconscious (yes, this is a character. I shit you, not.)
                    31. Ana’s inner goddess. I hate that fucking bitch. I want to beat her to death with a better book than this one.
                    32. Choosing non-conflict over conflict. There are little to no interesting issues or subplots and when there is a spark of some, the author chooses to drop them in a favor if something mundane and boring, that we are supposed to care about.*
                     33. No character development. None. Whatsoever. It’s even worse than Twilight.

                     34.  Rape. 50 Shades of Grey, chapter 20 in the boathouse. 50 Shades Darker - after the Leila "conflict" (see 32) is resolved.
                     35. Hairism. That's a made-up word, that means: 'racism based on hair-color'. All blondes (in these books) are evil or bitchy 
                     36. WTF moment #1. Ana is a 2011 college graduate who’s never had a laptop, a tablet or a smart phone. Riiiiiiiiight!

                     37. Unrealistically fast pacing. He proposes to her after a month of relationship (five days of which they had been broken up) and they get married after two. Two months! I can’t even...
                     38. Sharing a toothbrush and thinking it’s sexy. Ok, I know I have a mild case of OCD, but I mean a freakin’ toothbrush? I don’t care how many bodily fluids and other things you exchange, your toothbrush should not be for sharing.
                     39. Ana's immature obsession. Ana is way too obsessed with her own sex life and just assumes that other people are too.
                     40. Characterization 101: One character telling the readers what they need to know about another character isn’t the same as characterization, E.L.
                     41. WTF moment #2: Ana goes from personal assistant to an editor in a goddamn week, and that is meant to be taken seriously and
 positively. I mean, come on, she wasn't even a very good assistant! I honestly didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. 
                     42. Clumsy attempts at Damsel in Distress trope. Using this trope as a whole, is fine and all, I do it too, even though it's anti-feminist – except in Christian’s case this looks pretty damn creepy. Case in point: chapter 3, book 1. Just... just that.
                     43. Christian is trying to buy Ana. I don’t think that she’s selling her virginity for gifts, because she was bound on boning him way before that, plus she doesn’t want most of them anyway, but he is definitely trying to buy her.
                     44. The premise is bullshit. Kate must be the world’s worst newspaper editor-in-charge. I mean, honestly.*
                     45. This is not how business works! Christian is shown to be this unbelievably rich & successful CEO of a huge company (that he build on his own in less than 10 years), but what we have been shown is that he never works, makes business decisions based on who he’s doing right now or who he wants to do in the future. Well, that’s a great business strategy! I am sure this cannot backfire in any way!
                     46. Ana is the emotional age of 11.*
                     47. These two communicate like teenagers. Stop playing songs to each other, you are not in goddamn Glee. Instead, try to start talking about your issues like the adults you are supposed to be.
                     48. Child-rape. Elena Robinson – around 27 at the time, starts a sexual BDSM relationship with then – 15-year-old Christian and it’s downplayed in an awful manner. 
                     49. WTF moment 3: They are shaving each other. I can't even...

                     50. It’s boring. The books tell us everything that happens and I literally mean everything. We get to hear about Ana brushing her teeth, changing her clothes, showering... For god’s sake, just stick to the important ideas! These books would be at least 200 pages shorter. To quote from a favorite blogger of mine Chris Murray “While Stephanie Meyer writes about interesting shit in a boring way, EL James writes about boring shit in a boring way".

                     Credit to: Jen Reads 50 Shades of Grey – read her blog, its awesome; Chris Murray and other sources I can’t think of right now.  :D

Elaborating on this post: 50 Shades of Crap + Details.