The entire world, well, aside from Saudi Arabia, is reading Fifty Shades of Grey as though it is the first… the very first book of erotica ever written.
Here is an interesting article about Roy Melisander Johnson, a man you’ve never heard of – he commissioned works of ‘pornography’ for a decade – 1930-1940 – from well-known authors, most of whom wrote under various pseudonyms.
As long as we’ve been human, we’ve had a passion for all things pornographic, i.e., sexual imagery whether painted via the written word or graphic art.
Those button-down, corset-wearing, uptight men and women living in the Victorian Age loved their porn. See Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism, by Deborah Lutz and Street Carnage– 12 Neat Pics: Victorian Porn.
So why bring this up? Because yesterday my pedicurist asked me if I’d read Fifty Shades of Grey. I shook my head, saying, “If I want to read a book in that genre I can think of at least fifty writers I’d much prefer to read than E.L. James.”
She shot me a funny look. She said, “But nobody’s ever written a book like this before. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of such a thing.”
I think my eyes rolled back. I must have passed out for a few seconds because when I came to, she was saying, “Cuz you know, he spanks her and he, like, makes her, like, do stuff, and, well, he’s such a screwed up hero you just want to know why he gets off on hitting women and you want her to save him because, you know, she’s virginal and well, who can come up with such creative ideas, you know?”
Sputtering… stuttering… Forgive me, but as my feisty 80 pound gramma Jennie used to say… “Christ on a crutch!”
“It’s not original. It started off as free Twilight fanfic, the characters based upon Bella and Edward. About a thousand other authors are writing this stuff, have been writing it, some for years, some very very well. Gaaa geee gooo guuuu….” I think I must have entered a kind of fugue state.
“Bibbity bobbity boo…”
My pedicurist wasn’t born yesterday, she’s a reasonably intelligent 40 year old woman, but her level of ignorance about the existence of erotica astounded me. I couldn’t put together a coherent sentence to save my life. I decided, why bother?
Go on then with your bad self, read your Fifty Shades in blissful ignorance. If it gets more readers interested in the genre maybe they’ll actually stumble upon some decent writers.