Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Let's Read Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter 17!

I'm not dead!  I'm in the last month of nursing school.  I haven't had much time or energy to write.  I'm utterly exhausted, a bit demoralized, and so, so close to a new chapter in my life.

I think I'm at the point I was at when I left Seattle--of looking at my life and thinking there's nothing at all wrong with it, except that I can't see this being my only life.  I want to reincarnate.  There's so much stuff out there to experience, and I have the freedom and opportunity to go out and experience some more, and I intend to.

I've been going through my grandfather's slides lately.  My grandmother died a few months ago, and I took the slides from her house.  My grandfather loved to travel, and I'm not sure I fully understood that until I started going through these slides.  There's wild leopards in them, and thousand-year-old synagogues, and million-year-old glaciers, and a stunning variety of things that look like penises.  Just pages and pages of rock penises and wood penises and gourd penises, interspersed with all the glories of the Earth.  I love my grandfather now more than ever.  I want to travel as widely as him, to live as fully as he did, and to see as many penises.

And so I'm going to leave Boston. I don't yet know when or for where.  I still love Rowdy dearly and the idea of leaving him breaks my heart--but I also know he doesn't want me to stay here just for him, and deep down neither do I.  I'll visit often and I'll email and I'll always love him.  But I may move away from him.


Anyway.  Wherever I go, Fifty Shades of Grey will still be with me.  Unfortunately.


Content warnings for this chapter: Stalking, mostly.  Physical and emotional abuse, although the physical is not quite so intense as in some other chapters.  And one sketchy-ass gynecologist.

I open my eyes, and I’m draped in Christian Grey. He’s wrapped around me like a victory flag. He’s fast asleep with his head on my chest, his arm over me, holding me close, one of his legs thrown over and hooked around both of mine. He’s suffocating me with his body heat, and he’s heavy.
He managed to be overbearing and inconsiderate in his sleep.  I feel like he should get some sort of award for that.


[Ana emails Crash CrumpleZone:] You wanted to know why I felt confused after you – which euphemism should we apply - spanked, punished, beat, assaulted me. Well during the whole alarming process I felt demeaned, debased and abused. 
[He emails back:] So you felt demeaned, debased, abused and assaulted – how very Tess Durbeyfield of you. I believe it was you who decided on the debasement if I remember correctly. Do you really feel like this or do you think you ought to feel like this? Two very different things. If that is how you feel, do you think you could just try and embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me? That’s what a submissive would do.
So she should shut up about her feelings because probably that's just society making her guilty, but if they are real feelings, she should also shut up about them.

And like hell she "decided on the debasement."  This is a book, E.L. James; we can just flip back a couple pages and see that you're lying.  It's not a good medium for gaslighting.
[Ana:] If I listened to my body, I’d be in Alaska by now. 
[Jerk MeatStain:] Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you. I can track your cell phone – remember?
Ha ha, it's funny, except for he actually did track her cellphone and kidnap her before, so wait, now it's less funny.

(Also, Alaska is huge, so "no place to run"?  I realize facts hardly matter at this point, but still.)

They bicker over email for like five pages and it feels like five hundred.  I'm not even picking through those except to note for the umpteenth time that there's nothing cute or affectionate or even friendly between them.  It's not like "You're adorable, sweetie, but a little bit controlling!"  It's like "Seriously, I am frightened and I cannot stand you."
My heart sinks. What has Christian sent me now? I sign for the small package and open it straight away. It’s a BlackBerry. My heart sinks further. I switch it on. [And the message on the Blackberry is:] I need to be able to contact you at all times, and since this is your most honest form of communication, I figured you needed a BlackBerry.
This guy has the "weaponized gift" down to a science.  I guess he's a wonderful fantasy man because he gives her expensive gifts all the time... except that he does it to control her and she realizes that and hates it.
Emailing Christian is addictive, but I am supposed to be working. It buzzes once against my behind… how apt, I think ironically, but summoning all my willpower, I ignore it.
...Wha?  But every time they email, all that happens is they fight and complain!  These lines must come from some alternate version of the story where they were exchanging sweet sexy little nothings.  I didn't see any of those.

E. L. James does this now and then.  Ana will be miserable and irritable every time she sees or talks about Butt AssCrack, then throw in a "it was so sexy" or a "I was so smitten with him" that seems to come out of fucking nowhere.   It's not "telling without showing", it's telling and showing two completely different things.
I grab my phone. Five missed calls and one voice message. Tentatively, I listen to the message. It’s Christian. [he yells at her and threatens her] Double crap. Will he ever give me a break? I scowl at the phone. He is suffocating me. With a deep dread uncurling in my stomach, I scroll down to his number and press dial. My heart is in my mouth as I wait for him to answer. He’d probably like to beat seven shades of shit out of me. The thought is depressing.
As always, his behavior is unacceptable, but it's her reaction that really makes this awful.  She's very honest about how miserable and afraid she is around him, and how much she doesn't want to do BDSM.  That's really disturbing.  It's sending the message that this is how you're going to feel when you're in a wonderful relationship with Mr. Right.

Also, when you're writing an erotic novel for erotic enjoyment, unless you're targeting a very particular demographic, you probably should not bring up the fact that shit can be a variety of colors.
Kate’s dad has done us proud. The apartment is not large, but it’s big enough, three bedrooms and a large living space that looks out on to Pike Place Market itself. It’s all solid wood floors and red brick, and the kitchen tops are smooth concrete, very utilitarian, very now. We both love that we will be in the heart of the city.
Not large, just three bedrooms for two people and a giant living room and Pinterest-worthy fittings three blocks from the waterfront.  Your typical new-grad apartment.

Then Crash BandiCoot sends an uninvited housewarming present, which is a bottle of champagne and a helicopter-shaped balloon.  Because he has a helicopter, you see, and because he has absolutely no concept of giving people gifts that match their interests.
“Did you give him our address? “No, but stalking is one of his specialties.” I muse, matter-of-fact. Kate’s brow knits further.
Wow, she's certainly gotten comfortable with that little personality quirk of his.  I guess compared to the beatings and rape, it's downright innocuous.
I’m wearing the underwear that Taylor bought for me. I flush at the thought of his buzz-cut roaming the aisles of Agent Provocateur or wherever he bought it.
Really?  The thought that her underwear probably comes from an underwear store is that exciting?  Well, at least she's enjoying herself for once.

I'm flushing at the thought that Large HardonCollider sends his assistant to buy underwear for his girlfriend.  He's being a terrible boss and a terrible boyfriend at the same time! Ruthlessly efficient.
He hands me the Seattle Times. On page eight, there’s a photograph of the two of us together at the graduation ceremony. Holy crap. I’m in the paper.
Okay, I searched the book, and there are:

  • 30 "holy crap"s
  • 39 "holy shit"s
  • 16 "holy cow"s
  • 7 "holy Moses"s
Also:
  • 100 "flush"es
  • 7 "double crap"s
  • 6 times CG is "tousled", 6 times he is "sculptured," and 11 times his eyes "blaze"
WRITING!
“So, Anastasia, you have a much better idea of what I’m about since you were last here.” “Yes.” Where’s he going with this? “And yet you’ve returned.”
"Well, you've repeatedly and credibly threatened to hunt me down if I didn't," Ana does not reply, although she truthfully could.
“She’s the best Ob/Gyn in Seattle. What more can I say?” [...] Holy Moses, if she’s the best Ob/Gyn, he’s scheduled her to see me on a Sunday – at lunchtime! I cannot begin to imagine how much that costs.
I have no idea why he'd go to this trouble for a simple birth control prescription.  Why not just send Ana to a regular doctor's appointment or Planned Parenthood?  Hiring the best OB/GYN in the city for private duty to write a basic prescription seems like a particularly pointless rich-guy gesture, like salting the driveway with French sea salt.

I guess it's about the "our relationship must be a shameful secret" thing.  Except that no one's going to see a woman going to a gynecologist and immediately jump to "oh, clearly she's in a BDSM relationship with a billionaire."

...Oh shit.  I just realized what it is.  It's a bruises thing.  Dirk HardPec doesn't trust Ana to come up with a sufficiently convincing excuse for her bruises and for the "is anyone hurting you at home?" question.  So he hired this doctor not because she's actually the best, but because for whatever reason he knows she'll keep her mouth shut.

...Physician, go fuck thyself.

94 comments:

  1. How to enjoy 50 Shades of Grey, a handy manual:
    1. Obtain some alcohol. Actually, a lot of it.
    2. Open Pervocracy.
    3. Laugh at the spot-on comments, since your only other possibility is to weep for humanity when you ralize that this piece of dangerous crap actually for some reason turns on milions of women...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, what's up with that? how is that even possible??

      Delete
    2. I think it's mostly a matter of the fact that it's kinky erotica that's more or less socially acceptable, whereas seeking out other erotica requires you to admit to yourself that you're doing a slightly transgressive thing.

      Plus, I think a lot of readers are just skimming for the juicy bits.

      Regardless, I think it's a big mistake to assume that because a lot of women read this book, that they all endorse or want everything depicted in it.

      Delete
    3. I think it's mostly a matter of the fact that it's kinky erotica that's more or less socially acceptable...

      But what I can't figure out is *how* it got socially acceptable. Why this book of kinky erotica and not another, better-written one? Is it just because a critical mass of people happened to pick it up because they heard it had something to do with Twilight, and that gave it the publicity bump it needed to really go viral? ...and then once it had hit the mainstream media, people felt like they could read it without embarrassment?

      Or is our society so sexually conservative that we can only approve of a book of kinky erotica where the heroine explicitly *dislikes* the kinky stuff?

      Delete
    4. I remember checking in on amazon and other e-publishers a while back for a book that contained some explicitly sexual materials mixed with feminist academic views about said materials etc. etc. - anyway, EVERY terms of use statement was clear that they didn't accept erotic or even 'questionable' material. I wonder if 50 shades was literally the first past the post of this genre once they decided to make it accessible. Thus, it has kept being popular since it became popular early (among a field of maybe 10 books or something that were floated out as a trial).

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    5. Personally, I'm wondering if it's perhaps that it's a "sexy" book that doesn't actually go against any societal norms. (I guess it could if you squinted, but the relationship portrayed in the book doesn't go against any norms that I can think of.)

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    6. Horrifying thought; what if the reason it's acceptable is because A. it doesn't try to challenge society's idea that BDSM and sex in general are dirty, awful things that broken people do and nice women are not interested in, and B. it was written by a housewife. If it had been written by someone who either admitted they were writing erotica, or someone who tried to present something remotely sex positive, it would have been shunted to the same restricted corner as every other variety of porn.

      Delete
    7. Even more horrifying thought, what if the reason it's acceptable is because it doesn't challenge society's idea that abusive relationships aren't that big of a deal, and that controlling other people is ok* (and can even be "romantic"). D:

      *especially if they're the "right" kind of people to be controlled.

      (I mean, how much of the "BDSM" stuff that gets to be acceptable is really the typical heterosexual, controlling guy, "romance" with leather and a few feathers and handcuffs thrown on.)

      *Nopes away from all the things as fast as possible*

      Delete
    8. @Cereus
      Yes, exactly. Like, I wonder if the reason that it's a big thing is BECAUSE she doesn't consent to any of it. I mean, shit. We can barely have ladies shown consenting to sex in general, so anything that's seen as "non-standard" (or in this case, the window dressing) is clearly way too far on the whore end of the dichotomy for it to be acceptable.
      And yes, of course, the heterosexual pairing man in charge re-creation of societal norms thing. (This is basically what I was trying to get across in my earlier comment, but you said it better.)

      Delete
    9. Out of curiosity are there actually any juicy bits in the book. I didn't see many of them.

      Delete
  2. Literally every time you post a new review, I think to myself how the fuck do they think they are going to film this?? How on earth are they going to film this without completely changing the entire story. It sounds so relentlessly dreary, I'd rather watch cable news pundits argue over meaningless polling data.

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    1. Honestly, I think it's going to work out for them because as long as the internal dialogue isn't included, people who don't want to see reality will see the gifts and the fact that she keeps going back to him as "romantic." I'm sure the actress will play up the big sighs and dreamy eyes, 'Blurred Lines' will be on the soundtrack, and the blatant scary stalking will be twisted to be 'she's playing hard to get.'

      Delete
    2. Actually it will work better as a film, because they can cut out all the internal dialogue that shows how miserable and terrified she is, and just turn into sexy BDSM.

      Delete
    3. I hope the movie is dark. I hope the director/screenwriters leave in the creepy cell phone message, for instance, and it's accompanied by ominous music. That she worries out loud about being beaten then gets lured into really weird sex with him again. Basically, I hope they keep everything just as it is but the director treats it as more 9 1/2 Weeks than Pretty Woman.

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    4. That is to say, with someone other than James telling this story as it is, people would walk away with a very different impression. And it could be a really interesting film. More Girl with a Dragon Tattoo than How to Lose A Guy in Five Dates. More American Beauty than Gigi.

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  3. That's so awesome that you're moving and traveling again!

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  4. I've been reading your blog for a while now, and I just wanted to say I'm sorry you've been going through a bit of a rough time. You've got an amazing voice. I always smile when reading your posts, and they are also very helpful when it comes to kink. :) I hope that you find peace, and I will keep you in my thoughts!

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  5. I'd much much rather read your annotated version than the book itself! Also, I am wearing a pair of your earrings AS I TYPE THIS and I LOVE the natural gray colors of the stones.

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  6. The debasement was a reference to chapter six, in the helicopter just before the NDA thing, they were discussing the Tess books.

    Lugnuts: "It seemed appropriate. I could hold you to some impossibly high ideal like Angel Clare or debase you completely like Alec D’Urberville,” he murmurs, and his gray eyes yada yada
    Ana: “If there are only two choices, I’ll take the debasement.”

    Of course it was a trick question, he's going to debase her while holding her to an impossibly high ideal.

    P.S. applying the xkcd rule to sketchy-ass gynecologist gives you a sketchy ass-gynecologist, which is totally going to be my next Halloween costume.

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    1. Oh okay, that's where the line comes from, but still, fuck. "If there are only two choices" makes it very clear she's not a fan of either.

      P.S. I was going to say "isn't that a sketchy proctologist?" but no, no, I can clearly visualize the difference.

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    2. he has a practice in the Omegaverse.

      Delete
    3. Now I'm imagining how that conversation could have gone with a more assertive Ana:

      Chuck: It seemed appropriate. I could hold you to some impossibly high ideal like Angel Clare or debase you completely like Alec D’Urberville.

      Ana: Those are not the only options.

      Chuck: They are with me.

      Ana: Isn't that a bit... limited?

      Chuck: I am a one-note musical.

      Ana: That sounds awfully boring.

      Chuck: I am not boring. I have here testimonials from fourteen previous submissives who were satisfied with their relationship with me.

      Ana: Testimonials? Didn't they sign an NDA?

      Chuck: They did. I didn't.

      Ana: Those testimonials look a bit... identical.

      Chuck: So were my submissives. I never distinguished between them. Until... you.

      Ana: Hmm. Did they sign these after the relationship, or before?

      Chuck: I hardly see how that is relevant.

      Delete
  7. Well, if you are producing seven different shades of shit, then flushing that often is probably a reasonable idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Drop that mic and walk away so we can all stand and applaud.

      Delete
    2. Are you a standup comedian? I know you are!

      Delete
  8. Glad to see another FSoG recap. This blog is one of my favorite places on the feminist internets.

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  9. Something that's occurred to me as I've read these recaps is that, among her many knowledge gaps, E.L. James has no clue how cell phones work. CG suggests that he can track Anna via cell phone no matter where she goes, but in reality, you can't track a phone that's off or not getting a signal. Considering that Alaska contains large swaths of wilderness, cell service would be spotty, making it hard to track her.

    Also, how did he get the GPS tracking enabled in the first place? It's a service that exists, but you usually have to set it up with your carrier and change settings on the phone that's being tracked. It is possible for a carrier to track a phone without that user's knowledge, but that's not just something they do for any random schmo who calls in. There's a specific department whose job is working with law enforcement agencies that does it. No regular carrier agent would have the ability.

    Of course, ELJ would probably say that of course he could get it done - he's such a rich and powerful guy that he just called up her carrier's CEO, who promptly dropped everything to flip on the GPS tracking for one random user, which is totally not suspicious at all.

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    1. Not to mention, even in our degenerate NSA times, you are still allowed to travel without your phone, or any phone. They aren't chemically bonded to our hands (yet).

      Delete
    2. If he's paying for it outside of a corporate structure, he may be able to do that with parental controls.

      I don't think that makes anything better.

      Also, hello, Name Pal!

      Delete
    3. He runs a communications company, so theoretically if they had a mobile service and she was on one of their tariffs... (and if that was the case, I bet that Blackberry's on a Grey contract).

      Delete
    4. you are not supposed to question the omnipotence of the abuser in this tale. it would smash the horizon of fifty shades.

      Delete
    5. Andrew M. FarrellApril 10, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      I know iPhones have a feature where you can view it's location. This is usually for recovering lost/stolen goods, but if you had someone's icloud password, I imagine it could be for tracking them to a reasonable degree.

      Delete
    6. Not to mention most people never think to turn off their iPhone

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    7. Yeah, if some dude said that to me about tracking me to Alaska through my cell phone whether I wanted him to or not, I would move even further away *and* chuck the damn thing into the ocean while I was at it. With someone this scary, I might even go off the grid entirely for a couple of years. I hear they have some nice solar-powered houses in New Zealand.

      Delete
    8. Actually, a modern cell phone will automatically track location based on the cell towers that are around it. Apple caught hell because it wasn't encrypted on the phone, so all your software could see where you had been. Some police departments have systems in place to track the movements of everyone's cell phone. Only recently has it been necessary to get a warrant for police to get that data from the phone company. If you use hotspots, the IP address tells the website where you are. Of course, the best wasy is to install the software on the phone and give it to someone as a present.

      Delete
    9. Tech support anon:
      If your company uses software such as MobileIron or similar configuration apps that install on an iPhone... they can track you as long as it's on and not in airplane mode.

      Sucks batteries down too.

      But yeah, pawn it and buy a damn Tracphone.

      Delete
    10. For that matter, um, why not just toss it and get another frigging phone? Or go analog. Except he'll probably hire trained bears to stalk her footprints across the snowy tundra, or something.

      Delete
    11. You can find the locations if it is a smart phone and they are posting things to the Internet, I believe.

      Delete
  10. I love your intro. That SMBC on reincarnation is really good. Congrats on moving to another chapter of your life!

    But I really hope that FSoG doesn't stay with you forever! I mean, I love reading your recaps, but the book does end, doesn't it? It's not some undending tome that you'll have to read for all eternity, right? Here's hoping!

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    1. Hey, it is a trilogy! There's like sequels and shit when this us done if she hasn't spent all her masochism tokens for life. >_<

      Delete
    2. Hopefully at least a buffer wave of Cosmocking before the next book (if at all the next one?)

      Delete
  11. When I read this I was staying in a theater frat house with 5-6 guys. The book actually belonged to one of them and they wanted to hear me read it. Why? Because I was sick and they were taking care of me while my husband was out of town, and I'm their safer-sex fairy.

    Half way though chapter one I made one of my boys go buy me a bottle of wine and cold meds.

    By this point in the book both were gone, I was drunk and high on Benadryl. I couldn't read the book to them anymore, but I'm pretty sure there's video somewhere of me reading it and every so often screaming 'Bad Dom bad dom! I oughta wack you with a rolled up paper!' and 'Stalker! Stalking isn't sexy!'

    The next day my boys got an impromptu '50 Shades of fucked up - why this book is a shitty ass role model for healthy BDSM' seminar.

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    1. This is the best anecdote ever.

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    2. *thunderous applause*

      -Fishgoat

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    3. This is so beautiful. Do they realize what an awesome friend they have in you?

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  12. You're an inspiration and I wish you all the best.
    A.

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  13. Good luck with finishing nursing school and with wherever you move to. I know you'll be a great nurse and a credit to the profession.

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  14. 1) Good luck with finishing nursing school and all your plans! Commiserations about having to leave Rowdy though.
    2) Oh you did NOT just sully the good name of Crash Bandicoot. I used to love that game.
    (On a somewhat related note I found this link and thought of your FSoG recaps, so you know, if you were ever out of name ideas... http://redscharlach.tumblr.com/post/79986226696/10-romantic-novel-heroes-with-sillier-names-than)
    3) ''I flush at the thought of his buzz-cut roaming the aisles of Agent Provocateur or wherever he bought it.''

    Is this just bad writing or is there some alternative meaning I haven't heard of? Either way right now I'm just picturing some hair wandering around a shop by itself.

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    1. Yes, it's a bad attempt at imagery (or possibly symbolism), I think. She seems to think it's poetic to refer to characters by their most distinctive physical features.

      Delete
    2. With respect to 3), I think it's a failed attempt at synecdoche (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synecdoche for a more complete definition). That's the word that people who study poetry use to refer to the habit that some authors have of using a part to represent the whole--it's a real literary device, which I've seen done very well in some contexts, but... a bit clumsily used here.

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    3. Yeah I didn't know the term "synecdoche", we always use the term "pars pro toto" for it here. I was about to comment that it's probably the worst attempt at one I've ever seen. EVER.

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    4. Huge 2nd on the Crash Bandicoot front.

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  15. "I love my grandfather now more than ever. I want to travel as widely as him, to live as fully as he did, and to see as many penises."

    This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.

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    1. Speaking of travel and penises...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_Phallological_Museum

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    2. Ah, yes, the Phalluses of my People.

      -Fishgoat

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    3. Af few more travel destinations...

      http://waterfallsandcaribous.com/2012/08/27/haesindang-aka-the-penis-park/
      http://www.bangkok.com/shrines/chao-mae-tubtim-shrine.htm

      Delete
  16. Congratulations on deciding to start a new chapter of your life!

    It's really hard to say "I need to do this thing even though it will bring me some pain and be at odds with other things I want". I'm really glad you have been able to do that and wish you all the luck!

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  17. Dunno if maybe the "seven shades of shit" is a British-ism that slipped through Li'l Miss I-Can-Write-Americanese-Oh-Wait's filter, or if your mockery just went over my head (likely!), but for the record it's a common saying here, essentially "beat really fucking hard", as in so hard that it penetrates right down into your bowels and your very poo is bruised.

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    1. Ah. I actually didn't know that!

      ...It's still gross.

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    2. I don't know, I've never heard "seven shades of shit" used. "beat the shit out of [X]" is common though?

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    3. I've never heard anyone over here refer to "shades of shit", but "kinds of shit" is definitely a thing. Although now I've got this half-right version stuck in my head I can't remember whether we say "beat seven kinds of shit out of you" or if it's five kinds, or what!

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    4. The only place I've heard the phrase, other than this book, is in a My Chemical Romance song (yes, it's probably bad I know that off the top of my head). They say "seven different shades of shit" though.

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    5. There is a Dutch saying which would translate to somewhat like: 'being so scared one shits seven colors of poo' (example: 'when I watched that horror movie I shitted seven colors'), so maybe there is indeed a Brittish version of that expression that includes seven colors (or shades because of the book title, how witty) of shit. But I've never seen the expression mixed with 'beating the shit out of someone'.

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    6. It's a very common expression in my part of the world (Manchester, England.)
      ie: "She beat seven shades of shit out of her..."
      The scallies 'round my way use it quite often.
      Yes, it is a gross expression though.

      Cliff, good luck in whatever you decide to do in the future!

      Another long time lurker, first time poster

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  18. Congrats on starting a new chapter in your life! I hope things work out well for you wherever you roam. And that eventually, you'll be free of 50 Shades - though your mocking of it always makes me snort out loud so my boy asks me 'what's so funny?'

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  19. Cliff, I LOVE your recaps. I LOVE, LOVE LOVE!

    PLEASE make them more frequent!

    You're amazing.

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  20. I noticed one day when I was browsing some of your oldest posts, and you described some sex acts, which you had not planned or consented to, but you, at the time, perceived these sex acts as completely okay, even hot. The few commenters that you had seemed to have this "I wish my boyfriend was like that/did things like that to me" response. So this positive and even fantasizing attitude towards sex acts that are questionable in their mutual consent status isn't a new thing.. I think it all has a lot to do with how you present things to people, and if presented positively, people are going to go out of their way to receive it positively. Though, I think most of the positive representing of FSoG comes from its advertising.

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    1. There's a difference between 'consent theater' as the book shows, and partners who understand each other and don't have to sign contracts to comprehend each other's consent or lack thereof.

      I can only remember Cliff describing one sex act to which he had not consented. It was never described as hot. No one wanted it to happen to them.

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    2. The closest thing I can remember was the story of 15-year-old Cliff's first sexual encounter, which involved a friend feeling her up without asking and taking silence for permission to continue. And luckily she actually was enjoying it. But the whole point of the story was that the friend had no way of knowing this so it could easily have turned out very badly.

      And the comments were more like "Same thing happened to me except I didn't like it at all and only bare don't consider it rape." than "Oh boy, I wish my partner did that!".

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  21. OMG 'Large HardonCollider'. Laughing so hard I can barely breathe.

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  22. I see two possible explanations for why this book is so mcfuckedup.

    1) Maybe James is an abuse survivor still in denial, romanticizing her abuser and writing 50 shades as a way of seeking closure, hence Christian being 'converted' at the end ["if I could have just been 'submissive' enough, maybe he would have learned to really love me and stopped hurting me" sort of thing].

    2) James herself is abusive, and that's why Christian is abusive. I noticed her reactions to criticism are what you would expect from an abuser - "how dare you criticize me! you don't know what you're talking about! you're just jealous/ignorant/stupid!" etc.

    I'm guessing it's some mix of both. As one commenter put it - "By the end there is a very strong attempt by the author to normalize what has just taken place. The victim is seen as getting the prize of a super wealthy man. It is implied she has fixed him and life will be happily ever after. The reality of abuse of course is that the abused becomes an abuser."

    Oh, and a bonus James quote that made me think of the possible pedophilia thing again - "I mean, the poor boy, he's an adolescent, and he has his adolescence through these books. He is incredibly f***ed up." Um, wut? So she writes Ana like a child, and then in interviews actually describes Christian as a child going through adolescence during the story... wtf is going on here?

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    1. I'd not thought of *James* being the abuser before, but sweet Jesus does it makes sense when you put it that way.

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  23. Anyway. Wherever I go, Fifty Shades of Grey will still be with me. Unfortunately.

    You make it sound like Fifty Shades is some creepy child that follows you everywhere, and when you open the curtains, their face is pressed against the window, smiling creepily, and they say, "I'll always be here..."

    I flush at the thought of his buzz-cut roaming the aisles of Agent Provocateur or wherever he bought it.

    I'm just imagining a wig walking around a shop. "Yes, please, I'd like these lacey bras. They're for my wife."

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    1. His wife is a beehive 'do. :P

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  24. Best of luck to you with the newest chapter in your life!

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  25. Delurking for the first time ever to say yay traveling! I am in the same travel/reincarnate boat: I like my life but I also look at it and feel like, "This=FOREVER? :/"

    Nursing is good for traveling because it's a profession that's on a lot of countries' work shortage lists,--or at least the ones I've looked at--so if you go somewhere and really, really like it, you have a leg up on work visas, etc.

    I'm going to NZ on a work visa in August of this year and am looking for people to backpack around with there and in Australia, Cambodia, Mongolia, and/or the rest of Southeast and East Asia, and possibly South America. If you, person reading this, are traveling that way in the next 6-12 months and you are looking for people to travel with for a while, hit me up.

    I don't have anything to say about 50 Shades other than reading all the quotes from it in the posts on here makes me a bit depressed, and that I hope a lot of the people who like it are just in it for the sex and not the relationship between the two leads.

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  26. Yay for travelling! In the past two years I have divided my life between South Asia and two different cities in Europe, and though at times it is scary or exhausting or boring, it's also beautiful and reviving and full of growth.
    I wish you the same, where ever you go!

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  27. The thing that struck me about this chapter when I was reading it myself was the fact that they have an apartment in Pike Place Market. I enjoyed visiting, but I think living there would be terrible. Also, isn't it mostly Section 8 housing? Seems like Freemont would have been a better choice.

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  28. I kind of hate it when that whole "people are funnier when they're depressed thing" gains more evidence on its side, but...damn, this one cracked me up! (Why are all our humor metaphors violent, anyway? I backspaced over "nearly killed me" and "a gut-splitter" before settling for something marginally better.)

    Thanks for the link back to the SMBC, btw--I'd forgotten about that, and I needed it right now. :-)

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  29. Bhutan - penises galore (on temple walls mostly), beautiful wildlife, mountains, interesting stages of developing their healthcare.

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  30. You're doing an amazing job on these Cliff. Thanks so much for letting me quote your work. I hope I'm doing okay by you!

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  31. Two things:
    * Congratulations on being finished!
    * In case you didn't know, apparently there's such a thing as itinterant nursing (http://articles.latimes.com/2002/oct/27/local/me-nurses27).

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  32. I know this is relatively minor in the grand scheme of Christian Grey's 1001 Ways To Be A Terrible Person, but I was livid when he told Ana that contraception was basically all her responsibility because he wasn't going to go on wearing condoms. It's like fuuuuuck you buddy, you've got every material pleasure and possession you could possibly want, you can endure wearing a goddamn rubber.

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  33. This is exactly how I feel, right now, also in Boston. Nothing is wrong with my life, at least nothing of a dealbreaker level of bad, but. But but but. I feel stagnant. My relationship with my mate is the only thing that feels like life, like growth, like movement, and it's fabulous, but I do not want my romantic life to be the only part of my world that I find interesting. Moving away, relocating, will necessarily change the format of that relationship, but staying stagnant with that relationship as the sole source of fire in my life will kill it for sure.

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  34. I really dislike the 'true Dominant' idea just as much as I dislike the 'real submissive' or 'twue slave' idea.

    In my opinion, there's 'no sech person' as various Dicken's characters have said. I think, as Tori says, that people have detailed and sometimes rigid expectations of what a Dom/sub/whatever is and how they behave. The truth, I think, is much more fluid because people are complex and varied, have different degrees of dominance and submission in their character, are comfortable with different degrees of dominance and submission, and express their dominance and submission in different ways

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  35. Cheering thing: feminist Gaston! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWwk3vi-kw4

    I'd suggest a femist FSoG, but it'd be "Wow, I'm a student journalist and you're chatting me up? Skeeze!" His reputation takes a severe hit after many women agree with/endorse her blog post "CEO hits on me instead of talking about great graduate job opportunities at Grey Communications". Her career as a journalist takes off; her friend is pissed. The end.

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  36. Hi. I've been reading your "Lets Read 50 Shades Of Grey" chapters (and sharing them as much as I can)...I have read the Grey and I know what happens in the other two. I didn't even buy the book - read a free pdf - and I put it off for quite a while because the summary was just so unappealing (this coming from someone who reads and writes porn on a daily basis). When I did get around to reading it, it was because I already knew it was a piece of shit but I wanted to know how bad it was. Everything about it bothered me. The lack of description, the unnecessary dick jokes, how Ana is a magical sex goddess even though she's never even thought about sex before, Christian's total disregard for her feelings, ect. As you know, I can go on.

    And I knew things were bad about this relationship and way fucked up. But honestly, until you wrote it all out I didn't realize just HOW terrible this really is.

    I think the reason people don't see how bad the content is, is partially because how badly it was written. I found myself skimming a lot, rolling my eyes, petting my cat, stopping to watch gay porn, ranting to my husband, reading other books in between. It was a tough read to get through. Normally when I pick up a book I get it done by the end of the day and if you interrupt me the house had better be on fire.
    Its also because unfortunately we do have a rape culture. People are used to it. People see this as a normal relationship and think this is how its supposed to be. Especially younger kids (admittedly mostly girls) who are reading all of these YA novels that depict one type of abuse right after another.
    And its been categorized wrong. This straight-up belongs in the "I can't believe there are monsters like this in real life" section at the bookstores. Instead, its been treated as a romance and erotic - giving the wrong idea about both of those things! It doesn't help that the author (I hate calling her that) is blatantly denying or ignoring all comments about how fucked up this book is.

    Honestly, if a guy - or fuck, even a girl - did this to me and I COULD NOT get away from them (like Ana because you know if she went to a battered women's shelter Christian would buy it and bribe everyone to keep their mouths shut about her abuse before carting her off to his mansion where she would never see the light of day again), I would kill them. Without hesitation.

    To those of you saying "killing is wrong", I would have to disagree in this case. This is a man who can BUY ANY SAFE PLACE SHE CAN FIND AND ANY PEOPLE SHE MANAGES TO TALK TO. If she tried to run away, he would hunt her down, keep her a captive, and torture her for the rest of her (or his) life. There is no out in a situation like this (or maybe there is but I'm more fight than flight and just not seeing it).
    And to those of you who say "she's too weak". Well. Christian has to sleep sometime. She can tie him up and choke the life right out of him.. And she's got a mouth with teeth. You know he's going to want a blowjob. Bite his dick off. Bite his throat out. Scratch out his eyes (not likely to kill him but it would incapacitate him). Use the weapons you were born with.

    Sorry if this is a little too intense for those of you who are thinking "omg I'd rather put up with the social isolation, rape, abuse, and total dominance over my life knowing that I have no other options and this is how its going to be until I die (hopefully he doesn't kill me first), than kill my tormentor." I don't normally condone killing.

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  37. This 50 shades of grey book is genuinely horrifying. I'm actually mad as hell now because how can a book be sold as "kinky" erotica when it's basically about domestic abuse? This is not sexy. it makes me a bit sick and also worried about my (non kinky) friends who have all read this crap and apparently think this is how a happy realtionship should look like? Like what the actual fuck.

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  38. And then, Cliff graduated with honors, and interviewed (in Oregon) for a hotly-contested nursing position (in Texas), causing a series of long and involved moves during which internet access was spotty at best. Cliff also met a talking walrus named Eustace, and befriended the concept of music theory. What adventures will Cliff get into next?

    In all seriousness, though. I hope you're doing well, and I send my congratulations on your (likely) graduation.

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  39. "Okay, I searched the book, and there are:

    30 "holy crap"s
    39 "holy shit"s
    16 "holy cow"s
    7 "holy Moses"s
    Also:
    100 "flush"es
    7 "double crap"s
    6 times CG is "tousled", 6 times he is "sculptured," and 11 times his eyes "blaze""

    And yet it feels like so much more.

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  40. CN: Talk About Rape (in fiction and in porn, mildly graphic); mentions of *cough*bodily fluids*cough*; incoherent yelling and all caps (you have my sincerest apologies)
    The squickiest non-con fanfic I've EVER READ has nothing on this goddamn book. I regularly read rape porn in which the bottom isn't enjoying themselves at-fucking-all and just reading the EXCERPTS you've posted make me deeply uncomfortable. I was going to say something snarky, but no. Emotional abuse just isn't a turn on for me. IS IT ANYONE'S? I'm not kink shaming, god no, I'm genuinely asking. Are the people who are reading this getting turned on by his gaslighting, and manipulation, and DICKISHNESS?
    And she can't even get away from him. Also, FUCK YOU E.L James for being all "no one sane would do watersports, scat, blood-play, etc.." but KIDNAPPING is treated like oh you scamp! Whatta kinkster, amiright?
    Maybe I wouldn't be this upset if it was actually hot. I mean, in the last thing I fapped to a guy was woken up and raped in front of his roommates. But I just can't get into E.L James' writing. The typos and bad grammar and vagueness. Or maybe it's the fact that I have to read the part where she later bursts into tears. If you're going to do horrible things to characters in the name of p0rn, don't make me empathize and feel sorry for them. Nothing gets me dryer than thinking "oh god that poor woman, somebody help her!"

    Sorry for the rant, just needed to get it all out. BTW, Cliff, as someone who is also going through a depressive episode, I've just discovered your blog and its the first thing to make me laugh in three and a half weeks. May deity of your choice bless you.
    ~mimijones~

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  41. If that is how you feel, do you think you could just try and embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me? That’s what a submissive would do.

    NEWSFLASH. SHE ISN'T A SUBMISSIVE.
    She used the word 'ABUSED'. A sub wouldn't feel abused. fuck.

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