I just published a short story called “The Girl Next Door” on Amazon. It’s actually a rewritten, longer version of a story called “Mr. Snow” that I wrote a while back. You might have read the older version before if you’ve wandered through my site in the past. Anyway, to be honest, one of the reasons why I published “The Girl Next Door” is in protest (tiny protest, yes; I’m only a one-man agitation band) of the whole Fifty Shades of Grey train wreck. Yeah, I’m calling it a train wreck because that’s what it is. So sue me, but I see nothing good in our society valuing and celebrating a story about some BDSM romance. That’s not love, folks. That’s a diseased mockery of what love actually is. At any rate, if that’s the sort of thing that people are buying and reading in droves, then something legitimately is wrong with our collective head.
What makes me an expert in love, you might ask? Well, for starters, my parents honestly have loved each other all their life, and they modeled that for me and my brothers. That doesn’t mean they didn’t get into arguments and disagree and become out of sorts. On the contrary. That happened frequently. But they knew how to apologize and say they were sorry and forgive and get on with life. They knew how to be humble and serve each other and prefer the other. They understood that love and marriage is about sacrifice and commitment. They understood that love isn’t always about feelings and stardust.
Over the years, I’ve finally begun to understand. And if you change the equation, love turns into something else. It becomes weak, withered, something twisted that feeds upon itself until there’s only an empty husk. Frankly, I’m horrified at the reception that Fifty Shades of Grey is receiving, because it points to something gravely gone wrong in our culture. Life, painted grey, is a very dreary thing. It becomes something other than life.
So sue me.
6 thoughts on “The Girl Next Door and Fifty Shades of Grey”
Sue you? No way. Buy your story, most certainly. I loved “Mr. Snow”, so this’ll be a treat.
Incidentally, the Shades of Grey stuff, that ain’t love. It’s lust. And that’s always led to ickyness, all through history.
And as you’re already doing, the best way to counteract it is to tell, loudly and clearly, of what real love is. I found it quite amusing when “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” came out, and the “experts” and “critics” were so astonished at it becoming such a huge hit. Who’d have thought that so many people would so much enjoy a story of love between a woman, a man, and a great big extended family? But they did, and still do.
People crave real love, the kind you’re talking about. And for the most part, I think they know it when they see it.
I love that film. My wife and I were talking over the weekend about the fact that very few straightforward romances appear out of Hollywood these days. It’s a real shame, and I suspect, as you infer, there’s probably a huge, untapped market for that kind of film.
I sure hope you’re right about people knowing it when they see it. One of several things that really disturbs me about the Fifty Shades thing is that so many people are going for it. I interpret that to mean that a great many people might not be able to recognize real love anymore. I hope I’m wrong.
By the way, I still can’t find my Kindle powercord. I must’ve lost it. Which means I have to buy another one. Oh well. Jeff Bezos can buy himself another ice cream cone with the money.
I think also, the main hit about Greek Wedding was the storyline about family. Because there is plenty of “romances” out there, but not many stories that involve family love – well, not many family stories that don’t have Tinkerbell twinkling over the fairly castle at the beginning screen, and that adults would want to see without being forced to.
The marital love you describe (which I’ve also seen in my own parents), that has so much to do with the kind of family love Greek Wedding shows. You love these people, and they love you, quirks and all, because you belong together. And people want it.
Hope Jeff enjoys the ice cream. My Kobo, I can charge it with the cable that came with my camera – another reason I like that thing…
That’s a good point about family love. There’s quite a lot of films out, here and there, which revolve around families, but they tend to families that ultimately prove dysfunctional and dark. The typical setup is, aha, here’s a nice, clean, shiny family, but…if we watch long enough (90 minutes, or whatever the average movie length), we will see that they are actually horrible people and that the father is a molester, the mother is a drunk, and the kids are overcome with depression and angst, which can only be righteously thrown off if they turn their backs on the old system of patriarchy.
Something like that. I’m feeling pretty cynical this morning.
You hit it on the head, Christopher. I’m sickened by 50 Shades. It shows just how far our culture has fallen that we lift up that kind of thing as praiseworthy entertainment.
Yeah, it’s pretty disturbing. I’m not so bothered by the fact that someone wrote that book. It’s specifically the fact of the monumental cultural response. Like you said…we’ve fallen.