Today's letter from the Editor
Today's Matrices
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

i Editor's Letter: Fifty Shades of ("Holy") Crap

 

On Kindles, iPads, and plain old-fashioned books; in posh papers, the tabloids and on radio phone-ins, sun loungers and public transport, there is one cultural phenomenon that it's no exaggeration to say has gripped the nation (or at least its female half): the Fifty Shades trilogy by the previously unknown British author E L James.

The first book is the biggest-selling British novel aimed at adults, with UK sales of 2.3 million since April, and 20 million for the trilogy already in the US. Ahead of James in the UK are books aimed at children like Harry Potter and overseas authors: Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer and Stieg Larsson. Fifty Shades of Grey is now the UK's fastest-selling book ever (beating Potter), so it is a safe bet that many more records will fall. The movies, first details of which emerged yesterday, will be huge.

How depressing! Not because of any snobbish disregard for James's writing, so scorned by jealous critics. Not because of all the "better" books that eke out a tiny fraction of Fifty Shades' sales. No, the real problem lies in its message.

The casual normality of BDSM at the heart of this story would worry me even if I were not the father of two teenage daughters. Thousands of girls, many of them pre-sexualised, have read this book, most (thanks to digital devices) without their parents' knowledge.

It's different to Twilight. They all know vampires aren't real. But Christian Grey plays into modern pop culture's ideal of the desirable man: drop-dead handsome, rich as Croesus, if not Bob Diamond, and totally in control. Why, he even flies his own helicopter. So far so mainstream (however objectionable). It's the idea that submission to violence and domination is part of the attraction that is so worrying.

In James's defence, she did not know it would be read by an entire generation, and I would be the last person to advocate any attempts at censorship, or even squirting HP sauce at women reading it (see yesterday's i), doomed as they would be. And, I know, I know we get the culture we deserve, and no one forces us to buy it. BUT... the message of the book really is Fifty Shades of ("Holy") Crap.

And, yes, I have read it.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower