E.L. James, author of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy just released a novel from Christian’s point of view, called Grey. To commemorate the occasion, someone on James’ PR team (who is probably now fired) thought of having a Twitter Q and A where James could engage with fans.
It did not go well. Unless you’re a fan of comedy and/or retribution, in which case it went spectacularly.
I did not finish the trilogy for several reasons. First, my toddler was entering the terrible twos when the book hit the shelves. I didn’t have time to read 1664 pages of anything (that’s how long the complete trilogy is). Second, I barely had time to throw on a matching bra and underwear set to impress my husband, let alone figure out how to use Ben Wa balls and consider buying handcuffs. The book made me feel like a prude. Third, the passages I did get through were laughably terrible. The Stranger gathered some terrible lines, in case you’re wondering why people are making fun of James’ writing so relentlessly:
“And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain—probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata near where my subconscious dwells—comes the thought: He’s here to see you.”
“I am all gushing and breathy—like a child, not a grown woman who can vote and drink legally in the state of Washington.”
“I sit up and reach for the orange juice, drinking it down too quickly. It’s delicious, ice cold, and it makes my mouth a much better place.”
“I flush. My inner goddess is down on bended knee with her hands clasped in supplication begging me.”
Jokes about the writing aside, there are some very unfunny things about the book — most notably that it glorifies a terribly abusive and manipulative relationship. Ana is manipulated and abused under the guise that she’s engaging in a consensual BDSM relationship (acronym for a relationship that can include bondage, discipline, domination, submission, and roleplaying). But James’ storyline follows none of the tenets of a true BDSM relationship — the most important being consent is key. When you make zillions of dollars glorifying and romanticizing abuse and writing a book based on fetishes that you have no idea about – maybe don’t be surprised when the internet turns on you.
Note to self: if I ever become wildly successful writing something that is incessantly torn apart and made fun of, remember not to have a Twitter live chat.
#AskELJames what do you hate more? a) good literature b) consent c) women d) healthy relationships e) all of the above
— emma (@PRESERUMPINING) June 29, 2015
What do you dislike more, Independent strong woman or the English language? #AskELJames
— Trevor Donovan (@TrevDon) June 29, 2015
Apparently EL James didn't consent to all these abusive Tweets and decided to leave. HEY TWITTER, IRONY! #AskELJames
— Kristy Sammis (@kristysf) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Is it only ok for Christian to stalk, coerce, threaten & manipulate Ana because he's hot, or is it also ok because he's rich?
— 50 Shades is abuse (@50shadesabuse) June 29, 2015
Sweet mecy, there's so much I want to #AskELJames Most start with "why" and end with the implacable howling of the damned.
— Dan Olson (@FoldableHuman) June 29, 2015
If I tracked your cell phone and followed you to a bar, but I said it was because I was worried about you, would that be okay? #AskELJames
— Snark Squad (@Snark_Squad) June 29, 2015
I've just been sick and some alphabetti spaghetti landed on a blank piece of paper, could I have your publisher's email address? #AskELJames
— Jake Lambert (@LittleLostLad) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames if E.L.James asks for these tweets to stop, does that mean she really wants them to continue?
— Johnny Quid. (@Steelnicks) June 30, 2015