Fifty Shades Of Whatever You Like

Man has three lives: one shared with the world, another known to the inner ring, and a third between himself and his maker. The first is the politically correct being, one that turns away censure, judgment and all things vile; the second is reserved for those we trust, whose lives intersect with ours by virtue of mutual interest and trust; while the third isn’t very agreeable. It’s our secrets hidden in the darkest part of our hearts. It’s our fantasies, our love, our shame, basal desires attracting retribution.

When a friend asked what I thought of the Fifty Shades Trilogy my mind raced back to every review I had read on the web. Distasteful reviews of bad sex, terrible plot and the media’s desire to turn something sick into romance. I read the Puritan’s angst about glorifying Sadomasochism, the book lovers’ review of an unrewarding story and the romantics’ sigh over the triumph of the feminine touch in healing the broken wolf. It’s all so funny. At one time I shared similar sentiments, but now I think that perhaps while E.L James’ purpose might have been to write something appealing to the senses—and sell herself a hundred million copies while at it—there may be something more sinister we are overlooking: the human emotion and our relationship with Art. WriteOnImage635657566703003640[1] In what is often known as the Paradox of Fiction, one is forced to wonder why we pursue and are so affected by characters whose lives we know to be false and created, when in fact we would naturally stay away from such affective situations in the real world. It is quite clear then to say that our response to works of fiction in a significant way may be directed towards some object or another. For instance one’s sadness at seeing a major character die is at the very least directed at the character himself or a real-life analogue of this character. As Gregory Currie summarizes what is sometimes called the ‘counterpart theory’,

 …we experience genuine emotions when we encounter fiction, but their relation to the story is casual rather than intentional; the story provokes thoughts about real people and situations, and these are the intentional objects of our emotions.

In essence even though our emotions are caused by fictional entities, they are not directed at them.

But let’s think about extremities, the fine line between good and evil, love and hate, socially acceptable and everything frowned upon. Let’s cast a glance on our third lives, our fantasies. We all have our dark sides, a shadow of our very nature we cage. It plays out in works of fiction, music, fine arts, and a part of us resonate with these stories too because we feel a connection with what’s been portrayed. The very nature of man is one of duplicity and so while I feel that no one was born inherently good, but that goodness is a decision we make every day, there also comes the awareness of the darkness that lies in man and a reverse nature. WriteOnImage635657561545832840[1] When I think about the 50 Shades Trilogy, I do not see the story of a man twisted from a dark past, nor a woman who through love conquered this darkness. I see one character with an unacceptable sexual preference and another portraying an image of virginal purity and awkwardness who thought this perverse nature appealing enough to give it a shot. I see women and fans all over the world living out their fantasies and their idea of a relationship through literature.

I wonder though if we shed our current skin for a moment; if for a day the line between our conflicting natures were erased, or say, we are allowed to cross over, judgment withheld, just what would we be, what will we see: Less understanding, an embraced sensuality, kind, more vulnerable, bold, gun-wielding psychopaths (ha-ha I know)? When next we pick up a book, watch a movie, listen to the strums of the beats, or acknowledge art so beautiful it pierces our souls, let’s ask what exactly it is that leaves us tingling: entertainment or the excitement of crossing the line through art.



Further Reading Art and Emotion

Quotes by Anais Nin

27 thoughts on “Fifty Shades Of Whatever You Like

  1. Xceptional43 August 5, 2016 / 12:26 am

    We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

    I haven’t read Fifty shades Trilogy, not sure I ever will. I have the power, it’s been overgrown with weed on my laptop. Maybe one day I will pick it up and do justice to it. Or maybe I will just let it lie there and rot away.


    • uju August 5, 2016 / 10:48 am

      Maybe indeed. I left my paperbacks to rot away on my bookshelf– don’t even have the heart to give them away for fear of corrupting minds.
      But it’s good cover art for the shelf anyway ;D

      Aside: Sometimes I wonder at the validity of the above statement: We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.


  2. Jessica May 17, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    I read some sample pages of Grey. I think Ms James wrote for readership. Good discussion on the reader’s perspective being manipulated by the writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju May 21, 2015 / 8:16 am

      If that was her aim then she’s met her target.
      Thank you 🙂


  3. backtowhatever May 14, 2015 / 10:25 am

    I loved that second quote on the pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sreejit Poole May 12, 2015 / 12:19 pm

    Well said. Fiction allows us to live out our fantasies without messing up the lives we’ve mapped out for ourselves. Because in the end the fantasy is usually more than we bargained for and wouldn’t want it if it came true anyways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju May 12, 2015 / 5:02 pm

      I praise God everyday for art more than the common man. It keeps us sane and more balanced than we would ever be without it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nooryak May 10, 2015 / 10:09 am

    Its true that w try to find our own connection with fiction whether we are reading or writing. That is why different people have different reactions , likes/ dislikes towards same things.
    You have communicated this very easily through this post, Nice job!


    • uju May 12, 2015 / 4:59 pm

      Yes like Anais Nin said, we don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.
      I admit part of the fun in writing is seeing where people take your work to 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. olisakwerah May 9, 2015 / 7:07 am

    Fifty Shades 🙂 comments reserved. Babe, u just bailed me out with the 1st insert. I’ll explain.
    You know there are two sides to everything in life, people inclusive. Nobody is entirely good or bad- like Jekyll and Hyde but most human minds do not perceive it that way. Some see the good in you and try to rationalise the bad, while others dwell on the bad and pick holes in the good things you do.
    Wrt the events of the past few days, iv been looking for a subtle way to encourage people to focus on the good & that quote is just perfect.
    Thanks Writer 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju May 12, 2015 / 4:57 pm

      Duality is the very nature of man, and I’ll say that love is complete when we don’t shut our eyes to the aspect of man we consider ‘unnatural’.

      Thanks reader 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. udoka_ May 7, 2015 / 8:08 pm

    Very interesting and insightful post.

    I think I’ve figured out this trend long ago. It happened when I started wondering why people Can comfortably listen and dance to music with compromised lyrics without any iota of guilt. It appeared acceptable to sing in songs what we could not utter in our daily conversation, as long as the song is a hit.

    My first observation was when D’banj released the famous single ‘why me’. I enjoyed the song like every other Person except that I didn’t Pay attention to the lyrics. I hardly do.

    I noticed some supposedly good girls in my hostel(in school) played the song too often and sang along with the track as It played. They knew the lyrics unlike me. Then, one day one of the girls sang the lyrics clear to my hearing and I couldn’t hide my shock. I asked her to repeat It and she did. I asked if she know what that meant, she said she did. This is a girl that Can never be caught in a discussion as such, So I wondered how she felt comfortable singing It as song.

    I figured out that the reason music with compromised lyrics sell is because peoples minds have a compromised dark side that they try to mask.The music only resonates with it and provides an avenue to express it without being judged.

    Hope I didn’t write off-point, Uju.

    I didn’t read nor Watch 50 shades of grey. They online reviews didn’t look good. I Can’t relate this post to it.

    Have a nice day😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • uju May 8, 2015 / 7:27 am

      You may not have read the book, but your understanding of the article is quite apt. our emotional response to art transcends beyond literature but it also feeds our choice of music at a given time and how we respond to abstract painting s too.

      As for your friend lol what can I say? That song is a good one, but i also have had to ask myself why i sing some things too, when normally they are activities i wouldn’t carry out in the real world. That’s what we call the paradox of fiction as pointed out. We live through art, cross our ethical and moral lines through it too. It may not be as good as dealing with the real thing, but it is a close second.

      Thanks for sharing, Udoka.


  8. livelytwist May 6, 2015 / 3:25 pm

    As I read, I remembered this quote:
    “All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.” — Steve Almond

    I think that we all buy in on some level that’s why we agree or disagree.

    Thanks for giving me something to chew on.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Holistic Wayfarer May 5, 2015 / 5:54 pm

    let’s ask what exactly it is that leaves us tingling: entertainment or the excitement of crossing the line through art.

    Wonderful closing, Uju. I love the reminder that art can help us be honest with ourselves (although from what I gather of 50 shades, I wouldn’t quite call it art). =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju May 6, 2015 / 7:46 am

      Thanks for hopping by…


  10. George May 4, 2015 / 5:30 pm

    Ahhhh…now that’s an interesting suggestion you make, uju. “If for one day the line between our conflicting natures were erased.” With Judgement withheld by whom? Society, God or whatever higher being you choose to believe in?
    I think what you’re saying is would we make the same choices we’d make if judgement weren’t an issue and our lives and minds had no filter of what is right or acceptable. I’m smiling because I wouldn’t know how to answer that question and quite honestly, I don’t know if anyone can with a high degree of certainty. I think this is one of those questions where no one really knows for sure unless they’re actually in that situation. We’d like to think we know and that our choices would be in line with our core values but as you say, the darkest part of ourselves is aways there, always ready when an opening presents itself.
    Essentially you’re asking if people would choose to engage in any act or action that ever crossed the dark corners of their minds. My guess is most would because curiosity and exploration of the unknown is as exciting as it is fearful. And that’s an impossible drug to resist for some.
    We could talk for hours about this without coming to a conclusion. Once again, you present a great question for discussion….:)
    So what would you do?..:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • uju May 6, 2015 / 7:45 am

      Spot on, George. I am asking if we’ll choose to engage in activities that ever crossed the dark corners of our mind.
      Personally, I don’t know. I think about what it will feel like to stalk someone and watch them jump like scared Rabbits 😀 Possibly for the fun of it I guess… Will I take it a step further and become a psychopathic killer? lol nope… I don’t know; power can be intoxicating.
      Talk about crazies….

      what would you do?

      Liked by 1 person

      • George May 6, 2015 / 11:36 am

        Like you, I don’t think I’d do anything to physically hurt anyone but the dark side of me might not mind visiting someone who has not be very kind in their life and enjoy torturing them mentally from a distance. However, if someone hurt my immediate family? Who knows. But I think that’s true of anyone placed in that situation.

        Liked by 1 person

        • uju May 7, 2015 / 11:33 am

          You are a better man than I am lol. I think I would spook any random individual irrespective of their ethical status.


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