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  1. Slappydappy
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    Slappydappy Member

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    Am I a jerk for making fun of the female lemmings who read 50 Shades of Grey?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Slappydappy, Jun 11, 2012.

    Maybe it's a good book. Maybe it's not. But the ladies did the same thing with The Hunger Games.

    It's popular. It must be read. I have to read it because it's popular. I have to because other people are reading it.

    There are thousands of books that are masterpieces. Clockwork Orange, 1984, Lord of the Rings, The Three Musketeers, Ivanhoe, etc, etc. I could go on and on.

    But they wouldn't dare touch one of those books. It's a waste of time. Their friends aren't reading them, so there's no point. What's the point of reading a book that isn't a popular topic? In 10 years no one will ever read those 50 Shades book. No one will ever care about them after their 15 minutes are up.

    I just can't stand watching humans act like lemmings with no sense of individuality. I don't know why it bothers me, it just does.

    I guess because deep down inside, I feel they are making the world worse. They are making it harder for real artists and storytellers to succeed. I compare it to junk food. Junk food makes you unhealthy. The more you consume, the unhealthier you get. The more people buy it, the more popular it becomes, the more the general populace becomes physically unhealthy.

    You might say that it doesn't affect me, but it does. It affects me because it causes rises in disease, and that could affect me (death in the family) or my medical costs to rise, etc. It also forces me to write trash to sell a lot of books if I ever become a writer. Things like that.

    Does anyone else feel this way? I don't care if anyone calls me a snob or a psuedo-intellectual or a jerk. It means nothing to me. But I can't help getting pissed off when I see girls reading that book.
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Aaah, Slappydappy -- such a complicated post. Are you wrong for making fun of people who read 50 Shades? Not necessarily. It depends on how you are making fun of them. It is a wonderful book to mock. There are many people who deserve to be mocked for reading it -- those who say it is the greatest book they ever read, for example. Or are allegedly in a book club, but haven't read a book in 9 years. Are all of those who read it "lemmings with no sense of individuality?" I would say no. I have to admit, I read it. I read all 3 books. I read them in 2 days. And I felt like I had gone on a crack binge afterward. I felt horrible and ashamed for having read them. Not because of the erotic scenes, but because I found the writing to be so horrible, so atrocious, so downright embarrassingly awful. The premise was ridiculous. Nothing about the plot was remotely believable or even possible. I had been in the middle of reading the Steve Jobs biography when I took time out to read this cringe-inducing story. I had to pull out my Salinger and buy some Chekov to try to counteract the the damage that reading these books had inflicted on my "serious writer/reader" psyche. But I enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoyed it the way people sometimes get sucked into a Lifetime Movie marathon -- you realize while you're watching that you're not viewing academy-award winning films. You recognize that the plots are ludicrous, the characters unrealistic, and the dialogue vacuous. And at the end of the afternoon you feel badly for having wasted a day watching such trash. But you were entertained, and hey, wasting an afternoon every now and again is something that just happens.

    I feel your pain in that it makes me sick that the woman who wrote the book just signed a 7 figure contract. Who knows how much money she'll get for the movie rights. He has 3 (3!!!!) books on the best seller list. She's famous! She's rich! And she's not a serious writer! (According to her own interviews.) Her books needed serious editing! They were repetitive, chock full of questionable dialogue, contained huge logical flaws and required a tremendous suspension of disbelief. I compare my writing to that in 50 Shades, with its extensive use of exclamation marks and endless repetitive phrases and I ponder the unfairness of the writing universe. But in the end, she did produce something that has somehow struck a chord with a tremendous number of people. Who's really to say what's worthy of being written or read?
    Your lament of this writing making harder for "real artists" has always been true. 'Twas always thus. *Sigh*

    I have to disagree that it causes a rise in disease. The subject matter it covers is far less harmful or potentially disease-inducing than are numerous other plots found in successful books and movies and stories that have been around forever.

    It doesn't cause you to write trash. Who's to say you could even write something that would be as successful as hers'?

    It's an escapist fantasy. I don't believe it will truly affect the market for genuine literary fiction. Some people who are readers will read it and go back to their regular reading. Some people who never read will read it and go back to never reading anything. But some people who didn't read much before may read it and start reading more. I've heard people say that anything that gets people to buy more books is always a good thing for all writers.

    So don't get pissed off. Ask those girls what they like about it. Ask them what else they read. And you might find some of them would enjoy discussing it with you ;-) A friend of a friend had posted on Facebook that he had bought a copy of the book to keep at his beach house. He read it and was puzzled by it. He wrote a hilarious critique of the book. Now *that* was something truly worthwhile.
     
  3. k0k
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    k0k New Member

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    Read what you want to read. It shouldn't matter if others want to or not. Just because its popular doesn't mean its necessarily good or bad. Try not to let a book's popularity get you to decide if you should read it or not.

    I know how you feel though, I never read or watched The Hunger Games. Tons of girls in my class were squealing and obsessing over it. I googled it and read a synopsis of it, and wasn't really interested, so I didn't bother. Let people be shallow minded if they wish, at least it gives us writers something to write about if we feel strongly about it. Also, you shouldn't need to write something because you'll think it be popular. Write what you want, about something you enjoy or have something to say about.
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I don't read Dickens, and I make fun of his characters a lot. His stories just don't appeal to me, and that's okay. You can have your own personal opinion on books! :D

    Like k0K said, read what you want to read, not what others want you to read.
     
  5. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I totally agree with you on that entirely, i consider 50 Shades of Grey to be total trash. But i disagree on Hunger Games, it's actually a good trilogy. It's not trash like other stories like 50 SoG.
     
  6. koal4e
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    koal4e Member

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    The question is.....how does a new writer get published as an author with a series that is a simple Twilight fan fiction and needs so much editing? ****looks around for Cogito to find out how***

    The Hunger Games I only question because it seems too much like Battle Royale to me and Im a huge Battle Royale fan :D
     
  7. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    But Suzanne Collins had so many things that were creative that it was basically her own. Theres so many things that are different from Battle Royale, i can make a whole list. It's not ripping it off.
     
  8. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    Meh, I think that men and women are equally guilty of reading crap, but my impression is that women read for pleasure more in general than men do,certainly in the teenage years, which would explain the huge sales of 'girly' books. That is just my impression from the people I know, but a quick google suggests there is research that says the same.

    Of my friends there is no discernible gender divide between those who read 'quality' literature and those who read the less cultured stuff - whether that's Twilight, a trashy detective novel, or the memoirs of a football hooligan. I like reading 'quality' and 'trashy', depending on what mood I'm in - on my commute home from work when I'm shattered trashy nearly always wins, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. As it happens though I've never read Twilight, Hunger Games, Harry Potter or 50 Shades.

    From a business point of view, writing an erotic vampire wizard fantasy when you have nothing but disdain for the genre is never going to make you rich- you won't write it well and anyway, who knows what the next zeitgeist will be or when it will emerge? Write what is important to you, and if you're good enough and lucky enough your agent & publisher can deal with making as much money as they can :)
     
  9. tiggertaebo
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    tiggertaebo Member

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    You might not be a jerk but I'd suggest that you might need to grow up just a bit. Honestly, there are far bigger things in the world to worry about then what other people are or aren't reading.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. Making fun of anyone for there reading choices is a membership pass to jerkdom.

    However, you get points for asking the question. With that much self-awareness, you can get past it. :)
     
  11. Cayo Costa
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    Cayo Costa New Member

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    Uhh... Don't hate the player, hate the game?

    I resent the fact that there is a canon. I don't like how the scholarly circles move. I think it should be OK to read what you want, or to not read at all. However, as a reader and a writer I enjoy literary fiction that's usually IN the canon I resent the existence of (some aren't due to youth but they probably will be?). It's hard not to be a jerk sometimes--that doesn't at all make it OK but it makes it understandable.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    They're reading books. I'm not going to criticize anyone that's reading a book, whatever the book is.
     
  13. aimeekath
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    aimeekath Senior Member

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    I still think that if people are reading books, its a good thing. Then again 50 Shades of Grey sucks from what I've heard of it, and so do many of those popular but crappy books. I guess people should become more interested in reading something decent, however it's unlikely to change unfortunately, because its often their choice. Suck it up.

    I disagree with you on The Hunger Games, it's a brilliant trilogy. I think that you're generalizing too much. I read popular books, but I also read classics. It's not fair to assume that because somebody is reading something popular, they have no other interests in literature, and they're just reading what they're told to be read.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you're surprised?!

    what about the male lemmings who lapped up 'the fight club' and its ilk?

    with few exceptions, humans are basically mindless idiots... so, what else is new?
     
  15. Lady Amalthea
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    Lady Amalthea Member

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    You know, I have felt like that for a long time. Until I finally decided not to care. It' just not worth it.

    I'm a classical musician, so I see your point. We spend years of our lives studying the music we love, practicing, training, striving to become the best performers we can be. And yet, at the end, we are fully aware that we will only reach a limited amount of people, and that the music industry will always be ruled by people who, regardless of musical talent or artistry, are putting on a show and selling an image. You feel like you want to make fun of some of the clowns that appear, ask yourself how can someone listen to this... this... argh... how can people even call it music? Until you realize it's not about the music anymore, it's about consuming a product.

    Same thing with books. It's not about reading anymore. It's about consuming. They're consuming a product (crappy book), they feel entretained by it, and they can discuss it with all the others who have spent their money, bought the same crappy book and felt equally entretained by it.

    If you really think about it, we have little reason to make fun of them. They have more reason to make fun of us. They are engaged in a powerful marketing system they fully support. And what are we on about? Art? Beauty? Truth? Bah. I gave up on doing art for art. Really, they won the fight a long time ago. This is why I stopped worrying about mediocrity ruling the artistic world -- if ever I am published, I might become a mediocre author in the furure, who knows?

    I want to create something fun, and hope that a few people can have fun with me. I believe people want to be entertained. There is crappy entertainment, and quality entertainment -- most people don't really know the difference. So you can still do something you're proud of, and at least mantain a certain level of dignity. That's it.
     
  16. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Hey, if we men get to have our stupid things to obsess about, then what are we to condemn the few women who like their things? They probably think we're lemmings for catering to the lowest common denominator of manly men stuff doing cool men things.

    I'm just saying that we have our lousy crap we cater to, so we should be hypocrites and condemn women for doing the same thing we do.
     
  17. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    First of all, I'm not fond of calling people who read popular books shallow or a 'lemming.' That's a pretty shallow assumption in my mind. Of course it's upsetting to see books with little depth and bad writing succeed but there's no need to degrade readers for a little self-indulgence. For most people books are just a pass-time.

    I don't think you're a jerk, unless you're basing your entire judgment of these people upon a book you see them reading. I haven't read 50 Shades but I have read some of the others mentioned (including Hunger Games which I thought was excellent by the way) and I know my reading tastes can sometimes be cringe-worthy. I would hope someone seeing me with a book wouldn't think I'm a lemming simply because it's popular.

    I think this kind of sums things up.
     
  18. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Er...that was a typo. I meant:

    We SHOULDN'T be hypocrites and condemn women for doing the same thing we do.

    Sorry for the confusion...
     
  19. Ch0ck0b3ar
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    Ch0ck0b3ar New Member

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    The mass consumers don't really want great, life-changing writing, do they? They want to be entertained. I don't know that Twilight and 50 shades will be around 100 years from now as monumental achievements, but getting rich off of giving people what they really want is business. I read the Hunger Games because the movie was coming out, and it was great. I read twilight before the craze (books one and two) and it was...just really awful. I'm intentionally avoiding that zombie romance book because science tells me true necrophilia is gross.

    In the end, making fun of them isn't really the most productive usage of time. They won't care, and it will just make you frustrated. For other sources of entertainment, I turn to watching TV, murdering things in Skyrim, and calling my brother adorable nicknames that he hates.
     
  20. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Look, if men get porn, women get 50 shades.

    Not that I read them. I'm just not into vampires right now, and more into historical fiction with or without the erotica. I've done the entire Outlander Series in a few months, but also just got caught up on the Ken Follet Sequeal "World Without End".

    Maybe if I get onto a cheesey vampire kick again in the near future (a.k.a. before school starts) I will read them. If not...no loss to me.
     
  21. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    Sorry, I meant that your argument about hypocrisy was a good one, not that I think men should be hypocritical. I thought you were being sarcastic by saying that they should since your previous paragraph indicated you were saying that they shouldn't. Sorry, it was late at night and I probably read way too much into the posts, lol.
     
  22. Siren
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    Siren New Member

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    Eh, I haven't read the series, nor do I have any plans to. I can understand your feelings as my Facebook feed was flooded with Fifty Shades posts for a few weeks. Some even took pictures of the chapter they were on in the book. So while part of me is like 'omg wth why?'...another part is just happy that they're reading. I think reading is very important, and hopefully this will encourage them to venture into other books.

    Btw, am I right in understanding that Fifty Shades is kind of an erotic story? If so I think, even if it is complete rubbish, its popularity says a lot about how far attitudes about and held by women have progressed. Could you imagine a group of women talking about a book like that among mixed company in a very public place back say 50 years ago? I wasn't alive back then, but in my Nick at Night version of reality, it totally wouldn't fly. ;)
     
  23. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    So you can appreciate it in the same way as The Sheik? (Another horrendous book, written in 1919. Basically a rape fantasy). I'm not a girl who reads romance novels, so I've never read either. As you can tell by my username, I'm a fantasy girl.
     
  24. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I haven't read any other romance novels, nor have I read The Sheik, so I can't really comment specifically on them. But, there are all kinds of people with all kinds of taste. There's a lot of pop fiction that I find to be trite, contrived, shallow, and vapid that are not in the category of romance and contain virtually no or absolutely no sex or romance. Irritating as it may be for authors of more substantial fiction that authors of these "lite" books and stories make millions of dollars, who's to say they're undeserving? Obviously, they're entertaining a bunch of people.

    If people are reading shallow books that don't really make them think differently or ponder the human condition or learn something, they're perhaps not deserving of praise for doing so. But what they're doing isn't necessarily any less valid than playing video games, watching television, surfing the internet, playing sudoku, sunbathing, or making paper dolls.

    We all do things that waste time or don't make the optimal use of our time. Sometimes we can't believe we did them afterward. But everyone does.

    Plus, sometimes they can be used for a good laugh, which is always nice.
     
  25. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    The Sheik is awful. As I said above, it's basically a rape fantasy. (There's a very famous 1921 silent movie of it with Rudolph Valentino in the title role that toned down the abuse.) And I agree with you- sometimes we need entertainment, and that's why I read Meg Cabot (only romance writer I've ever read)
     
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