I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, so please understand that I’m not promoting it or hating on it in this post. The series by E.L. James is simply a trilogy that lots of people like and lots of people dislike. I belong to a third group of people who just aren’t interested.
Well, okay. I’m a little interested. Any time something gathers that much attention, my pop-culture sensors buzz, and my curiosity creeps up. I’ll admit that I’ve read reviews of the books (some of which are pretty creative and hilarious themselves), and I’ve even picked up one of the paperbacks in a bookstore just to leaf through to see what all the fuss was about. To be honest, what I saw kind of gave me the creeps, but I was reading the middle of the book out of context. And, anyway, to each his own.
Yesterday the Huffington Post posted an article about an anti-domestic violence group in the UK that is planning to hold a good, old-fashioned book burning for the super-sexual saga of Christian and Anastasia. If you want to participate, bring your copies to the Wearside Women in Need office on November 5. There will be a bonfire.
I hope you don’t go.
Let me be clear. I do not support the following things:
- The concept that women are less than human
- Bad writing
- Book burning
While E. L. James’ books may have propelled the author into stardom thanks in part to her use of violence as a turn-on, she has contributed, for better or for worse, to English literature and our current popular culture. She has a right to create these stories, you have a right to read them or not read them, and, yes, you have a right to burn them if you want to.
But, just as Fifty Shades of Grey threatens boundaries that many men and women find uncomfortable, burning books definitely crosses a disturbing line. The Wearside Women in Need staff members aren’t writing fiction about burning books; they’re actually going to do it. What comes next? I rather like the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and there’s absolutely some questionable material with regard to bedroom activities in there. When do we get to the point where, say, Othello has to be taken off the shelves and set ablaze because of what he does to Desdemona? After all, he loved her “not wisely, but too well.” So well, in fact, that he had to kill her.
What do you think? Does burning books set the right example?