Thursday, July 31, 2014

One Ugly Shade of Grey

(Warning, this post will talk about sexual topics in a very open manner.)

Ok, my friends, I usually try to avoid discussions like what I'm about to open up because they just usually become uncomfortable for everyone involved.  But as we watch the media sinking to lower and lower depths of depravity and trying to pander their filth as "mainstream" and "normal," I cannot remain silent any longer.

As you may or may not have heard, the 50 Shades of Grey book series has been turned into a movie and will be released on Valentine's Day 2015.  What is 50 Shades of Grey, you may ask.  My answer: it's pornography, plain and simple.  Others may try to hide behind cleaner sounding words like erotica or even romantic fiction.  But it's all the same thing, really.  And this series, both in book and movie form, is worse than most.

Definitions

It might help the layman, who is not versed in the world of sexual perversion, to have a few definitions before I begin. 

1) Pornography:  Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings. (from the Oxford Dictionary)

2) BDSM: a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, role-playing, restraint, and other interpersonal dynamics.  Specifically, the BD refers to bondage, discipline, and dominance.  And the SM refers to submission and sadomasochism.

Synopsis and Writing "Credit"

The 50 Shades Series was written by E.L. James, a British "soccer mom" who is trying to bring the dark world of BDSM into the mainstream.  It began as poorly written "fan fiction" based on the Twilight books.  Ridiculous stories like that don't usually make it offline in hard copy form.  No publishers usually take it seriously.  But for some reason, this one did.  Basic premise of the book: A young college student, Ana, meets an older business man, Christian.  He lures her into his BDSM fantasy and turns her into his own personal sex slave.  There is no romance.  Not even good writing.  The only thing that's making this book fly off the shelves is the old adage, which sadly remains true today: sex sells.  There is nothing loving in the way Christian talks to Ana.  Many have said the reason for his behavior is later shown to be that he was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.  While that may be the case, herein lies my problem: rarely before have writers or the media tried to romanticize abusive behavior (and what could be called pedophilia) as something to be desired by the victim.  There is nothing romantic or loving about abuse, sadism, and physical "discipline."

So What Exactly is This?

Some will argue pedantically that 50 Shades is not pornography.  However, I submit my answer to that in the form of a quote from the film's producer, Dana Brunetti.  In discussing the film's possible X-rated material, he said he would like to see two versions of the film released: one R-rated, and one NC-17.  "This is just my opinion, and this doesn't mean this is going to happen, but I always thought it would be really cool if we released the R version and then we had an NC-17 version that we released a few weeks later."  He further added, "What we're kind of hearing from the fans is they want it dirty, they want it as close as possible [to the book].  We want to keep it elevated, but also give the fans what they want."

Side note: may I address the fact that this sick person just called an R rating elevated?  In what fruit bat world would an R rating, which allows HUNDREDS of F bombs and full nudity on the screen, possibly be seen as elevated?  In what sense?  In the sense that you're just standing in the poo rather than shoving it down your throat?  Don't make me take my earrings off.

But moving on, based on the definition of pornography given earlier, and the fact that the producer wants the movie of 50 Shades to be as dirty as the book, I'd say that's exactly what this film and the books are.  So now, not only have we allowed this filth onto book shelves accessible to all ages, but we have allowed it to become "mainstream," grossing the author hundreds of millions of dollars.  And now we're about to let it into our movie theaters.

Gone are the days when those who wished to view pornography had to hide in dark corners and keep their addiction somewhat under wraps and under control.  We're now trotting it right out into the open.  Let's scream our perversions loud and proud, and ask for "more dirt" no less!

What's the Harm?

In college, I had a professor who had done his dissertation on Victorian prostitutes in England.  At that time, prostitution in England was legal.  I suppose voyeurism was as well because there were store windows where the "merchandise" could be perused before purchase.  Harsh?  Absolutely.  But true.

As a society, we are sailing perilously close to that line.  In Victorian England, a mother would most likely have known which streets to avoid traversing in order to protect the innocence of her children.  But in today's society, we are not even allowed that level of protection.  Because the sad truth is that the trailer for this horror premiered on the Today Show at 8 am to appeal to the mommy types, as this has jokingly been dubbed "mommy porn."  8 am, a time when many children could have been watching TV over breakfast with their moms and could very easily have been exposed.  The trailer itself is pornographic in nature.  How could it not be when that's all the movie is about?  And now it's being served up as proper breakfast fare.  This is beyond ridiculous.

Some may say, what's the harm?  You don't have to read the books or watch the movie.  Why get all up in arms over it?  First, let's address the pornographic nature of it.  What's the harm in pornography in general?  It objectifies women and men.  My friends, you and I are daughters and sons of the living God.  We have greatness running through our spirits and our very cells.  Pornography invites and entices people to forget their birthright to greatness and get down on the level of the animals, following only the basest desires, forgetting the spirits housed in these temples.  It shuts out any and all possibility of light and allows the darkness to come rushing into the void.  It kills good and virtuous feelings, making healthy relationships nearly impossible.  And I propose it is a form of adultery.  Christ tells us in the New Testament that to lust after a woman is the same as committing adultery with her.  What is pornography if it is not a lust generator?

It is addictive in nature and changes the very structure of the brain of one who is constantly exposed to it, making him/her want more and more, and becoming less and less satisfied, unable to stop the impulse to do it just one more time.  As such a powerful addiction, it destroys families, hurting all in the sphere of the one caught in the trap.  Here is a simple to read article about the effects of pornography.

I've heard some women say 50 Shades is not pornography because it's a book and not pictures or video.  Well, that's just not true based on the Oxford definition of pornography.  Besides the fact that women are much more affected by the power of suggestion and words than pictures.  And now it is a film, so now what?

The Nastiest Shade of Grey

Now, all of the above would be true of these books/film if they were just portraying graphic sex scenes.  But that is not all.  This is not consensual sex between two equal parties.  From the beginning of the story, the BDSM nature of the relationship has Christian grooming Ana to be his slave, accountable to him for everything from what she eats to what she says, even going so far as making her sign a contract giving him full control of her.  He is an older man, a powerful business owner.  She is a young 21 year old, with no experience in the world.  She is portrayed as even an extremely juvenile 21 year old, with no cell phone, no ability to do anything on her own, never been kissed.  She is the essence of naiveté.  Christian takes her innocence and throws it right in the dirt.  There are vivid scenes of the violence he perpetrates against her.  I will say here and now that whether or not she has a physical reaction, violence is still violence, and still severely damaging to the one who is the recipient of the violence.

The author of this book is sadly trying to say that Ana's "inner goddess" thrills and responds to this type of behavior from Christian.  I'll call bull on that.  Anyone who knows even the tiniest bit about the nature of the spirit and the exalted realms from which we came could never say that an inner goddess of any sort would want to be humiliated and forced into submission the way Ana is.  Those two ideas of goddess and submission to anyone other than the Lord God simply do not go together.

What to Do About It?

Well, the books and now the movie are out there (though the movie is not yet released).  So, now what?  What can we do about it?  It's not enough to stay away from the movie or the books.  It's past time when we can hide our heads in the sand and pretend that the sewers are not overflowing into the streets and our homes with all manner of filth.

It's time for us to make our voices heard as people of faith, as children of God, that we will not accept these products to be shoved in our faces.  I, for one, will be boycotting the production company Focus Features.  I also call on all who will to picket the theaters that show this film.  Please don't say to yourself that someone else will do it.  When society is pouring dirt into your home, will you wait for someone else to come clean it up?

To those who say that this type of "entertainment" harms no one, I ask you to think about your daughter entering into a relationship like the one portrayed in 50 Shades.  Imagine that she comes home beaten and bruised, her head bowed.  Or worse yet, imagine that she doesn't come home at all because the boy who tried to tie her up tied the knots too tight and she's now been strangled.  Do I overstate the case?  I don't think so.  Whether or not you read the books or see the movie, this type of "sexual revolution," as it's being called, will have a profound effect on all of us if we don't stand up for the right, and follow our true "inner gods and goddesses" as sons and daughters of God.

Thirteenth Article of Faith: "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul--We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.  If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

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