The Many Shades Of Envy?

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Another installment of that book series is upon us. A Newsweek reviewer (interestingly, by name a man, although the books do appear aimed primarily at women, and are written by a woman; but I don’t want to disgress down that path here), disparages it this way:

Cinemax softcore masquerading as fiction

Really? So then it’s perfect to adapt into a possibly “award-winning” cable TV series? Just shift the tale and main characters to, say, Rhode Island?

Evidently this effort is told from “Mr. Grey’s” perspective. You must know him by now. He’s the fictional character some appear to confuse with an actual person.

A couple of weeks ago in the Telegraph, Michael Deacon (again, a man; and again I’ll leave the issue there) had fun with it. He “imagined” its opening chapter. Here’s an excerpt:

Screen capture of the Telegraph web site.
Screen capture of the Telegraph web site. Click on the text above to read the whole article.

I’ve never read the actual books. So knowing them based only on reviews and bits I’ve seen and heard here and there, I don’t know how honestly funny a parody that is of the actual writing. But most of that article’s comments below it applaud the piece, with at least one I recall requesting he parody the whole book.

So those commenters must well know the story and “style” in which it’s told, for parody only works if readers catch the references and the humor. The original has to be by now almost too familiar. After all, you can’t parody something if almost no one gets it.

Free Stock Photo: Female hands typing on a laptop keyboard.
Free Stock Photo: Female hands typing on a laptop keyboard.

That said, does there also by now seem an undercurrent swirling in media and even emanating from some less successful writers than Ms. James? (And unless you’re the likes of Harlan Coben, just about everyone is.) In the overheated scorn for the books, is there perhaps some jealousy about how well that tale has sold and how rich she has become because of them? There appears almost an air of disgust: “What right does she have to have sold so many of those c-ap books? She can’t write nearly as well as I can? I can write so much better?”

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

So they heckle. After all, it’s far easier to rip apart and ridicule someone else’s work than it is to produce your own. Yet the quality of the writing is now beside the point, for taking potshots at Fifty Shades seems increasingly a lot like laughing at Star Trek or Star Wars.

Meaning why waste the effort? Nothing will put off or, uh, restrain its fans.

Fifty Shades is now well-beyond literary critique. It’s not about its “worst lines” any more than Star Trek is about quibbling over how the guy in the lizard suit somehow wasn’t flattened by the obviously paper mache “boulder” William Shatner “heaved” at him with all “Captain Kirk’s” might. The books have taken on a life all their own.

Have a good weekend, wherever you are. πŸ™‚

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