Monday, March 12, 2012

Fifty Shades of the Lord's Resistance Army

If you have noticed ubiquitous heavy breathing, it’s because of a sado-masochistic novel called "Fifty Shades of Grey." The only other media event of this magnitude has been Jason Russell’s video, Kony 2012, about Joseph Kony the Ugandan warlord who controls the Lord’s Resistance Army—which infamously abducts children, turning them into Kalyshnikov carrying murderers. Such is the nature of the world of Facebook and social media that these two events were reported prominently in the Times on two consecutive days (“Discreetly Digital, an Erotic Novel Sets American Women Abuzz,” 3/9/12, “On Line a Distant Conflict Soars to Topic No.1,” 3/8/12) long after they were media events on the internet. In other words the Times and indeed a number of other major news sources had been scooped by the internet, since these are what in our quantum age (where some items are reported on esoteric sites before they’ve even reached the stage of conscious thought) must be called old stories. Here’s how the Times described the book, which was published by a small Australian company is now being released by the venerable and literary Vintage Books,  “ 'Fifty Shades of Grey' and the two other titles in the series were written by a British author named E.L. James a former television executive who began the trilogy by posting fan fiction on line. The books, which were released last year, center on the lives (and affection for whips, chains and handcuffs) of Christian Grey, a rich, handsome tycoon and Anastasia Steele, an innocent college student, who enter into a dominant-submissive relationship.” So what is to be concluded? Social media can be given partial credit for Arab spring and a movement to unseat an intractable tyrant, but it’s also appears to have produced a new version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, which is a mixture of romance fiction and the 120 Days of Sodom. Let’s just hope that Joseph Kony, who also knows something about sexual slavery, isn’t blurbing the cover.

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