The 50 Flare Up

I could start this post with “Many of you have asked about my feelings on the latest E L James Twitter conversation and the backlash surrounding it” But, in all honesty, no one has asked me about it.  However, as a reader, writer and fan of 50, I feel the need to comment on it.

Those of you not familiar with the latest – let me give you a little background.  The author of 50 Shades of Grey, E L James hosted a Twitter chat where readers could ask any question they’d like and she would do her best to answer.  The only “requirement” was tweeters use the hashtag #AskELJames so their question could be tracked.  The good news – the hashtag was trending…for quite some time.  The bad news – many of the questions were rude, hateful, and downright mean.

Here’s a sample:

  • I’m interested in who you’re planning to plagiarize next #AskELJames
  • My next door neighbor was stalking me. Did I miss an opportunity for love by blocking his number? #AskELJames
  • If my partner wants to visit her mom, should I hit her before she leaves or after I follow her? #AskELJames

The list goes ON and ON and ON and ON…just type Ask EL James Twitter into Google and you’ll find hundreds.  While some of you may have no clue what the hell those questions relate to, many of you do.  (BTW – if you think 50 was plagiarized, have you read Crossfire…or any other “erotic romance” on the market today?!)

Yes, it’s true.  Christian Grey is a dominant and, for some, is seen as a little bit of a psycho where Anastasia Steele is concerned.  BUT.  BUT, BUT, BUT…hasn’t every single romance novel known to man had some sort of a chase involved?  Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy and girl date, boy and girl fight, boy tries everything he can to get girl back…and many women swoon with wonder and ask “Why can’t I find a man who would do those things for me?”

Is 50 extreme? Sure…that’s the point.

Is 50 Shades of Grey for everyone?  No, absolutely not.

Is it a book about abuse?  In my opinion – NO, absolutely not. For some people, the answer to that question may be “YES!!”  But that’s the great thing about the book.  Everyone see’s it differently…and as we’ve all been taught – it’s not to say I’m bad and you’re good – JUST DIFFERENT.  We have a different perspective on what we’ve read.  And that’s OK!  Personally, I didn’t much care for the sex scenes, more for the underlying love story and watching two people battle their own demons for love.

What’s not OK is to attack someone and their work.  To hide behind your computer or smart phone and tell someone their writing sucks, that they should choose a new profession.  What if someone said that to you about your work?  What if someone emailed you and said “You’re horrible at your job.  Quit.  Find something new.”

What’s more –  many authors think of their books are as children.  They nurture them, care for them, build them…what if someone said to you “I don’t like your child.  Don’t have anymore.”  Extreme?  Yes.  But I know FOR A FACT that’s how some authors feel when their work is criticized.

Did EL James open herself up to criticism when she agreed to do a Twitter chat?  YES, absolutely.  Does that give people the right to say whatever they want to another human being?  NO.  If you didn’t like the next movie George Clooney appeared in, would you walk up to him on the street and say “You suck at being an actor.  You should quit.”??

Is 50 Shades the best written book on the market?  Heavens no.  It’s a work of FICTION, something for people to enjoy however they see fit.  For some, it made their marriage more interesting.  For others, it gave them something to whisper about over coffee.  Others saw their business boom.  Some absolutely hated every word and would never dream of reading anything similar.  Again, however YOU see the book is just fine…but don’t bully someone who sees it differently…or the person who created it simply because you didn’t like it.  Would you tell a waitress to quit their job if you didn’t like the food at a restaurant?  A book, just like food, is a matter of personal preference.

The bottom line regarding the #AskELJames issue is this – those who belittle, bash, bully and target others using social media (or any other kind of media) ARE abusers, and should be dealt with as such.  I think it’s high time people remember “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”