Tuesday, June 12, 2012

50 Shades of Pornography

Alright, so it was around Mother's Day when I heard about this stupid book. Looked it up, read a few reviews, muttered "aw, hell no" and walked away.

Unfortunately, it is still EVERYWHERE. I can't get away from it! So many people are talking about it - and reading it! The thing is, it combines everything bad in the world: bad writing (actually maybe even worse than Twilight), no creativity (seriously, this book started as Fan Fiction?? give me a flippin' BREAK), portraying a very unhealthy relationship as normal, and oh yeah, it's pornography.

I have actually had to have real conversations with people, Catholic people!, about why that book is wrong. That...is just wrong. This should be obvious. But in case you're sitting out there wondering, "why Santa Claus, why?" let me clue you in: first of all, what goes into our heads is kind of important. You cannot unread a book. The words and scenes stick in your head - so you want to make sure that what you're putting in there are things that you want to have around for a while. "Blessed are the pure in heart," Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:8. How pure do you think your heart is when you're reading about a couple using (pardon my bluntness) anal beads? Seriously - why do you need to have that in your brain? The Word of God has a lot to say about purity, but maybe the best is when Jesus says "But the things that come out of a man come from the heart, and defile him." The fact is that what we read affects how we think, how we speak, how we interact with the world. The best writers are readers - because reading is learning to communicate, and we are learning not only the concepts but the language. There is language in this book, and concepts in this book, that no one needs to communicate.

Secondly, I want to ask you: do you have the time? Do you really have the time to read this book? You have read your Bible, read all the great works of fiction in the world, you've been feeding the poor and volunteering your time, your prayer life is strong, you feel you are fulfilling your duties to God and man perfectly? No? Oh well, then, this book is not worth your time. Simple as that! WE HAVE ONE LIFE, people! No use in wasting it on bad literature that pollutes our hearts and minds. Is God going to say to you, "well done, my good and faithful servant" for spending however many hours of your life reading this book? No. He's going to say, "what the what, people!" Unless you are a sex researcher, you have little reason to read this book. Hell, even I haven't read the book! I have read excerpts, but even me, who loves to talk about sex and be knowledgable about what the young folk are up to, has left this one alone - because I don't want that in my head. I have enough crap rattling around in there that Satan uses to tempt me to think of sex as my own way to gratification; I don't need anything more.

Thirdly, it's porn. Yes that's right -it's pornography. If this were a movie, it would be porn - you get that, right? I mean, if you walked into a theater to see on the big screen a man becoming aroused by whipping a woman with a belt while she's pregnant, you would say "Holy crap, this is some messed up porn" and walk out. Please tell me you would. You wouldn't say "this is such an interesting study about a young woman becoming liberated and discovering who she really is" - no you would say, "they need help, this is sick and should not be available for public consumption." THEN WHY IS READING IT ANY DIFFERENT? Hint hint...it isn't! Women are much more susceptible to written erotica, but it is still erotica and therefore, still pornography and should be avoided. If we have to talk about why pornography is bad, well, that's a whole different conversation.

Pornography enslaves thousands of men and women to their lust, frequently because of its ease of access through the internet.

The fact is that a book that glorifies deviant sexual behavior is harmful. It shouldn't be part of mainstream discourse, because it further distorts what sex really is - because what sex really is would blow your mind way more than this stupid book. It takes no talent or creativity to be a dirty book writer; it takes self-mastery, great love, and strength to be a truly authentic lover. The Catholic Church doesn't talk sex down or sell it short - it's books like this that do that! What sex truly is - what sex truly, truly is, is far wider, more vast and beautiful, than many of us ever have the courage to contemplate. Sex is what is given to us as the ultimate gift - the ability to join in God's creative power, the ability to love another person to the point of physical union, it is a foretaste of Heaven. That is how great and amazing sex is! To read material like this, base and small as it is, that wants to say "here, sex is so much more exciting when it's kinky and weird" is the glamour of sin that we all renounce at our Baptism, and renew our renunciation of at Easter time. The priest asks, "do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?" And THIS is what our Holy Mother Church is talking about - this is the glamour of evil! Because it is evil to be in a co-dependent relationship where you let a person beat you for their sexual pleasure; it is evil to be so consumed by a person that you have no outside life; it is evil for a person to speak of sex in terms of power and dominance instead of love and self-giving; it is evil for a 30-something woman to sleep with a 16-year old boy and introduce him to sadomasochism; it is evil for your husband to become so angry with you for becoming pregnant that he yells "this was your one responsibility!" Yes, these things are evil, and they are in these books.

Repentance and prayer...these tools protect us against evil. Inviting it in doesn't help, in case you were wondering.

So if you're looking for some summer reading, ditch this one. The purity of your heart and soul is worth more than being up on current trends in pornography.


  1. Excellent post on these books. The fact that they are so popular is very disturbing.

    Oh, and best of luck on the bar exam!!! I'll be taking it next year.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Yeah, their popularity is probably the weirdest thing about them...I just wasn't aware that there were that many women who felt the need to consume this kind of garbage.
      I guess I should have known - romance novels, or "bodice rippers," have been hugely popular for years, because they are so cheap and provide women the fantasy escape they crave. But they usually aren't deviant, besides a hint of rape/forced sex fantasy. I guess this general audience decided they needed something "stronger." How sad.

      Thanks for the luck!! Real property is kicking my butt. Good luck with your last year of law school, if that's what you're in. Will you take the FL bar or are you going to practice someplace else?


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