Saturday, January 25, 2014

50 Shades of Smartass: Chapter 12

Right away, Ana decides to go for a run to clear her head, and we have to endure a lot of unnecessary details about exactly how she dresses and how she looks and her iPod headphones and her hair and a lot of weird shit like how she never uses her sneakers but they smell funny, which is... what? I mean, how do they smell funny if you don't use them? They should smell like new shoes.

Well, at least Ana gets that the contract is legally unenforceable, because duh. She really shouldn't be focusing on that as much as the fact that she just gets sick at the thought of what's in it. Of course, that would require the capacity for critical thinking and we've seen what she's capable of (and no, constantly reminding us what a burden your friends are and how you can't do anything with your hair is not the same thing as critical thinking).

Then she has to "endure" Kate trying on clothes for her upcoming trip to Barbados, because being an awesome friend is such an exhausting chore, you guys, I mean, what the fuck is this, being friends means sitting through a fashion show now, cheeeee. I hate this bitch. If you don't want the obligations of being a friend, don't have friends.

Then Ana decides to send Christian an email saying "Okay, I've seen enough. It was nice knowing you." Which she thinks is just this hilarious joke, because, you know, what oversensitive person would see that and not immediately think, my, how witty? Let's save the whole conversation about how hard it is to get across tone in an email for later and just agree that was a deeply stupid idea. And she worries as the day goes on and he doesn't reply. Like, will he not get my hilarious, flirty banter? What a couple of dopes.

Of course, this is Christian Grey, monstrously abusive asshole, so he does what any child not getting his way would do, and goes to her apartment to confront her, because he doesn't care about boundaries. Actually, she's too busy listening to Snow Patrol ("That's what kids are listening to now, right?" I imagine her asking a co-worker's son) to notice that he's basically materialized right in her bedroom.

Again, this is Manipulation 101: she says she doesn't want to see you, so make sure she knows she can't get away from you no matter what.

And, of course, she plays right into it. "Christian Grey is sitting on my bed." She's so hungry for more orgasms that she can't concentrate.

[Brief aside: right in the middle of this, she tries to describe her bedroom, ending with the characteristically Jamesian descriptive "It's all pale blue and cream." Listen, if you don't care what anything looks like, maybe just stop embarrassing yourself and ignore it.]

So, of course, he's offended, and he keeps using the word nice sarcastically because of what she said, and they have that thing that's supposed to be flirty banter but is really just a bunch of words falling out in random order, and then he starts basically kissing her into submission.

This is really creepy behavior. I mean, EL James clearly thinks this is sexy, but it's just more manipulative abuse. She doesn't want me? Too damn bad. She's getting me, anyway. I can do whatever the fuck I want and if she complains or tells me no I'm going to still do whatever the fuck I want, because she's not a person, she's a toy I want to play with.

And, as usual, there's the extra-manipulative edge of him constantly telling her that she's just so damn special that he can't help himself, like it's her fault for chewing on her lip all the damn time. "He wants me, and this does strange, delicious things to my insides. Not Kate in her little bikinis, not one of the fifteen, not evil Mrs. Robinson. Me. This beautiful man wants me. My inner goddess glows so bright she could light up Portland." Abuse accomplished!

So then he ties her up, he orders her around, he threatens her with punishment, he quiets her with the threat of humiliation and embarrassment, he makes her beg for it so it's her idea, all of that shit. They fuck, and she comes over and over again, and Christian hilariously continues to say "Oh, baby" and Ana tells us "I am just one ball of sexual tense need" because it's hard to write sentences that make sense with one hand down your pants. (Seriously, the sex scene here reads like one of those embarrassing things that someone writes because they're literally just too caught up in the fantasizing to write anything that makes sense. I know, because I wrote stuff like that once, and it didn't make sense, either, but then I turned 16.)

And then there's more of what EL James thinks flirting is and Ana says "I was going to e-mail them to you, but you kind of interrupted me" and Christian responds "Coitus interruptus" and then probably smiles like a little kid at this half-joke because HA HA HA HE IS SO CUTE AND FUNNY SO EVERYTHING HE SAYS MUST BE CHARMING RIGHT ORGASMS GUYS OMG HA FUCKING SHIT HA.

Christian seems relieved that her "nice knowing you" email was a joke, because he clearly--almost threateningly--doesn't think it's funny joking about this. The thing is, if any of this were for her benefit as the contract attempts to claim, he would've let it go. Alright, she's not going to sign it, I'll find someone else. Instead he comes to her house and tries to fuck her into changing her mind. So he's not planning on ever taking no for an answer. Think about it, Ana.

Eh. You won't.

What sours their post-balling convo is that he sort of casually mentions that he's still friends with that woman who seduced and trained him when he was a teenager. Ana's totally horrified by this, but mostly she's really, really, insanely, driving-cross-country-with-a-shotgun-in-the-trunk jealous about it. She's also--rightly--pissed off that he has someone to talk to about all of this, and she has no one. He offers to let her talk to one of his former subs about it, and she turns him down flat, mainly because she's even more jealous that he still talks to former subs. Duh, Ana. He probably gives some of them jobs. I'll bet some of them are actually those women you felt so smugly superior to back at his office. And quit calling them "ex-girlfriends," because they were never girlfriends, and you never will be, either.

Christian offering to let her talk to a former sub is pretty skeezy, too, right? I mean, he's going to pick out the one she should talk to, he's going to arrange it, he's basically still in control of the conversation. It's more control. He sets the stage, he controls her access to information... Ladies, did you love this book? Congratulations, your dream man is Kim Jong-Il.

Her stupid reaction to this is to get jealous and petulant, and his reaction is a thousand times worse: "God, I’d like to give you a good hiding. You’d feel a lot better, and so would I." He is literally telling her that he wants to be able to punish her just for not doing what he wants her to do.

And this gigantic red flag of abusive fuckery is met with her thinking--even as she's telling him to get out and he's basically laughing about it--"I don't want him to go" and "I wish he was normal" and he keeps touching her face like he does which is super-manipulative and she tells us "But now I feel like a receptacle--an empty vessel to be filled at his whim." Well, shit, if that's how he makes you feel, don't be with him. You can find fantastic sex with someone else, you know. And then she again feels like Icarus flying too close to the sun, which is not at all the fucking point, you shit-eating clod. You are so wrong they can see how wrong you are from the International Space Station.

"'Anastasia,' he whispers. 'What are you doing to me?'"

PLEASE SOMEONE JUST MURDER HIM AND LEAVE HIS BODY BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD FOR THE BEARS TO DEVOUR. Or, better yet, cripple him and leave him alive for the bears to devour. Preferably after he's been in one of those motorcycle accidents where he falls and hits his head on the pavement and then he's just pulled along by the momentum of the crash and he breaks one leg under his bike and as he's skidding his face is literally just being peeled off and a trail of blood is left behind him but it's Sunday and no one's around so he just bakes in the sun and finally the bears show up and they eat him slowly because this is the only fate for Christian Grey.

Okay.

Sorry.

Got a little dark there. What's happening?

Okay, Ana is "enduring" more of Kate's genuine concern for her friend's well-being, but this is why I fucking hate Kate so much. Ana's trying to tell her what she can about her concerns, and Kate writes off Christian's creepy fuckery with "He has commitment issues" (these twats and their pop psychology) and then asserts "I'd say he's completely smitten with you," which is enough to make Ana fall in love all over again, because like most people who are antisocial and claim not to care what people think, Ana eats attention like candy and can't distinguish between good attention and bad attention.

I was trying to see the good in you, Kate, but you are awful. You don't hear a woman talk about how abusive a man is and tell her, Well, he clearly is head over heels for you. You're as bad as those parents that tell their 5 year-old girls that a boy only shoved her on the playground because he likes her. Yeah, that's it: get her to equate inappropriate physical hurt with love right away, so it'll be that much easier for some man to convince her after college that beating the shit out of her is the same thing as romance. Stop insisting Christian loves Ana, Kate, when it's obvious to the rest of us that she's just the new toy.

Anyway, you should know not to take Kate seriously right away when her first question is the very stupid "What did that creepy good-looking bastard do?" Oh, go fuck yourself with a rusty saw, Kate.

We end with more email. Christian's all "Sleep well, baby" (ugh) and Ana actually emails him a list of problems she has with the contract. A lot of them are pretty assertive, so good for her. She wants a one month trial instead of three, she asks him to define what he means when he says he can use her body sexually "or otherwise," she's putting her foot down on the mysterious food list, she's bothered by not being allowed to masturbate (even though she says again she never does it), she questions why she can't touch him or look in his eyes, and "no fisting of any kind." There's other stuff in there, too, which... look, she's still stupid to go through with it, but at least she has some concerns about this bullshit. At least she's trying to assert herself and demand some measure of control over what happens to her.

Christian, surprised that she has such a long list (it's not long enough) and that she's still awake, intimidates her into going to bed.

Fuck you.

Fuuuuuuuuuuck you.

Special Bonus 50 Shades Bullshit

This came out yesterday:

It's official. Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day? Is that some kind of sick joke?

I read in a batch of movie news that they're toning down the sex in order to get a better rating? Toning down the sex? What else is the point? What are they going to focus on? The romance? There is no romance. I have such a problem with people who think this shit is romantic. This chapter is a good place to stop and talk about it, because here we have Ana literally crying because she just wants Christian to want to have a normal relationship, and Christian does not want that. The reason he doesn't stay over at Ana's place isn't because she's upset about the other women in his life--that actually comes after he reminds her that he doesn't sleep with anyone.

So you have two people who want completely different things. What do you do in that situation? Well, you don't sit around and cry and hope it suddenly changes--you move on with your life. One day, you'll find someone else who makes you feel like the center of the universe. You don't just fixate on the one person you want who will never treat you the way you want to be treated. Don't you deserve love and respect? You do. And you know who you deserve it from the most? Yourself.

Of course, there are two more books, so it's not like Ana's going to wake up anytime soon.

Remember our friend the abuse cycle? Christian's clearly in the Honeymoon Phase again. He's trying to be a perfect partner so she won't leave. But he's also on the cusp of the Planning Phase, because he also feels like he's losing control of the situation (ugh, things would be so perfect if I could only beat you right now for talking back to me, lamby-pie), and now he's got to plan how to take control again. I wonder if he'll be able to make it until after she signs the contract to get to the Set-Up Phase (waiting for a time when the abuse is justified) or if he'll just go right into Abuse again.

The worst thing about this book is that the relationship is an abusive one, and EL James either won't acknowledge it or just has no idea herself that it is. She's writing this book about a dark, tragic man who's really just a broken little child who needs the love and guidance of good, sweet, virginal, ordinary-but-amazing Ana to heal him. That's not how it works. I guaran-fucking-tee you that at some point Ana wonders if she can just heal him with love and understanding, and then everything will be the perfect relationship that she really wants. It's all going to be "Well, I'm being beaten and abused and can't touch him or look him in the eye, but... I think I can change him."

Ugh! Ugh! A thousand times, ugh!

This is some crazy bullshit.

This is not life.

This is not how it works.

This is not my beautiful stapler.

I'll have some coffee with a carcinogenic sweetener.

Hold on a minute: just one more jelly donut.

Where's my liquid paper? WHERE'S MY LIQUID PAPER?!

My head.

Oh, and if you seriously think that you need to be broken or mentally ill or have severe emotional issues in order to be kinky, please shove your Dr. Laura book down your throat until you choke. Thanks.

How about an extra tag of bullshit?

I am now currently... exactly 50 pages away from being halfway through this book.

I need to shorten these posts.

2 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

Not even half way? OMG. Yeah, I guess you'd better shorten them, lest my head explodes, not literally.

Not kidding: 1st word in captcha is captor.

Carl said...

1. LOVE how you ended on Yankovic.
2. I still can't believe you're not even halfway done yet
3. Here's my theory on fan reaction to the movie--they'll hate it. I think most women MOST women skimmed it to get to the sexy bits, so they didn't even get a chance to delve too much into the rest of the "plot" to see the abuse cycle clearly at work. Or they've been in the types of relationships where those aren't obvious red flags, so the rest of the book can be seen as "dangerous". Taking into account that they've toned down the sex, and when sitting in a theater, it is impossible to fast-forward, the fans will not get to see what they wanted to see, and be shown in 24 fps how much of an abusive asshole this guy is.

I think I am being extraordinarily optimistic when I say that the movie will flop, the fans will hate it, and realize only now that the book is terrible for so many reasons.

4. EL James apparently has a husband and son. Can you imagine the turmoil of being the kid whose mom wrote that twaddle? Or being married to her and wondering what drove her to think this is hot?