Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Overheard in the Office...

All I knew about Fifty Shades of Grey was what I'd heard over lunch with friends one day, and my ignorance was blissful, but the sight of that magazine in the store and Bobbi's subsequent post made me go look up the Wikipedia article on the alleged books, which led to the following outburst:
Me: "Oh, lawd, there's a whole wing of Wikipedia dedicated to BDSM!"

RX: "Oh, of course..."

Me: "I had a roommate who was way into that once. Her bedroom had all this playground equipment crap in it... I remember it was, like, nerdy sex for LARPers? Her little friends'd call normal sex 'vanilla' in the same tone of voice that Comic Book Guy at DragonCon refers to the normal people outside the convention as 'mundanes'."
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

In retrospect, I was happier when I didn't know anything about Fifty Shades of Grey. I had no idea that America had such a pent-up longing for nerd sex.

54 comments:

Sean D Sorrentino said...

My problem isn't with the "nerd sex" part. It's with the fact that women are willing to suffer through horrible writing because they can't get what they want some other way.

Did you know there's an audiobook version?

http://youtu.be/5K1RcKJVbHA

Gilbert Gottfried reads it in his own special way.

Tam said...

Sean,

" It's with the fact that women are willing to suffer through horrible writing because they can't get what they want some other way."

Bad writing sells if the subject is cool, even to dudes.

Stranger said...

If nerd equals pain and humiliation, it would appear there is a substantial market.

On the whole, I think America was a happier place when depictions of sex acts were not sold over the counter. Or placed just out of reach of short-legs over the children's books.

The guy at the cigar store did a pretty good job of censorship - until you had a reason for shaving. After that all you needed was money.

Stranger

Brian J. said...

But will Fifty Shades of Gray ever be specifically prohibited in Internet license agreements?

That's the mark of leaving your mark.

ASM826 said...

I think the Twilight series definitively proved the pent-up longing for bad writing and nerd sex.

50 Shades of Grey just moved it to the next level.

Ian Argent said...

No mention of Oh John Ringo No?

Kristopher said...

Wikipedia is such a source of entertainment ...

I caught a reference from http://minimumwagehistorian.com/ about St. Olga of Kiev, so I hauled out wikipedia.

And then discovered a new interpretation of sainthoods "trial by fire".

Russians are just wacky ...

Tam said...

Ian Argent,

"No mention of Oh John Ringo No?"

I just skipped to the good parts in the Ghost books.

(I got that line from Florence King, who was describing a stockbroker reading a steamy novel with a Wall Street setting.)

Scott J said...

I think maybe I need a t-shirt emblazoned with the word "mundane".

og said...

Anything you do enough of becomes mundane, save maybe test piloting, mountain climbing, and bullfighting. And some things are best left unseen, if you want to spend your golden years not flinching every time someone says "hippopotamus" or one of the other forty three safe words you remember.

Brad K. said...

It might be that America was just confused by mainstream, and of course "adult", media.

There have always been the "kink"ed kind; Marquis De Sade made a name for himself, after all. But recall mother's admonitions to daughters on the eve of their wedding, back in the 1800s "Just put up with the sex. You can endure it as I did and my mother before me."

The 1960s sexual revolution, and popularization of pornography by Playboy, Playgirl, the internet, cell phones -- remember those NSFW Macintosh gizmos in the 1990s? These, the speakeasy's that exploited Prohibition, lounge singers, and hordes of GI's returning from WWII all reinforced that the point of social intercourse was sexual intercourse. I have two vintage Rusty Warren ("Bounce your Boobies", first heard by me on Dr. Demento's radio show of funny songs for fun people) sitting in my living room. Porky's perhaps illustrated that elevation of sexual fixation to match popular culture as well as any.

Too many couples since the 1960s got together on the basis of sexual excitation, and too little regard for how their pairing up preserved and built their community and culture. Thus, the BDSM fixation, as various folk pursue what popular culture has come to expect -- that more intense sexual excitation (as in BDSM) means better sex, a better partner, and a better life.

Look around. Your community is filled with people that don't regularly indulge in the whips, clamps, and herds of partners to build a satisfying life. They don't make lurid, money-making pictures of working steadily, of nurturing their children and community, is all.

Ian Argent said...

In regards the Paladin of Shadows series (official title of the Ghost novels, most of the stories have a plot beyond "tab a, slot b, oh my!" that consumes more page count, and the one story that doesn't spends rather a large amount of time discussing practicality and safety. (That would be the second story in the first book, if you're there for the shooty goodness, that is all at the end in about 5 pages, and the whole story can be skipped, even if you care about the continuity and want to miss the sex, the relevant events are recapped adequately when referenced later in the series. Of all the stories and novels on the series, that one is most deserving of the Oh John Ringo No! appellation. It's also got a couple of the funniest scenes in the whole series, IMHO, but YMMV. The sex is certainly somewhat gratuitous.)

mikee said...

James Branch Cabell's wonderful fantasy allegory Jurgen was not only banned when the author tried to sell it in the US, it was the subject of a Supreme Court case strongly impacting all future publishing, leading indirectly (via Tropic of Cancer and Larry Flynt) to the current legality of Shades of Oh My.

I strongly recommend Cabell's writing over any of the more recent edgy, naughty, titillating crap.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Just another sign that I'm living in a Declining Civilization....

Sean D Sorrentino said...

"Thus, the BDSM fixation, as various folk pursue what popular culture has come to expect -- that more intense sexual excitation (as in BDSM) means better sex, a better partner, and a better life."

I find that the only thing sillier than anti-gunners trying to psychoanalyze gun owners is non-kinky people trying to analyze the rest.

Maybe that should be "people who THINK they are non-kinky," because that's actually closer to the truth.

Kink vs. non-kink is an exercise in line drawing. Lots of what regular people do in the privacy of their own home is VERY kink, but they like to pretend that it isn't because they don't own funny clothes or a jungle gym.

Does the "Tactical Tommy" segment of the market define the entirety of gun culture? I hasten to add that I'm not suggesting that toy whores and cosplay fans are anything near as silly as "Tactical Tommy."

Al T. said...

You don't have your old roomie's phone number do you?

Tam said...

Ian Argent,

"Of all the stories and novels on the series, that one is most deserving of the Oh John Ringo No! appellation."

"MOM!" :D

I dunno, it's kind of a tossup between that and "Whoreverine"... ;)

Tam said...

Sean,

While I cannot speak for my other commenters, for my own part, I hope folks know gentle teasing when they see it.

(Also, how would I know what Comic Book Guy refers to the outsiders at DragonCon as? ;) )

Sean D Sorrentino said...

Not you, Tam. It was the other person I was speaking to.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

Not you, Tam. It was the other person I was speaking to.

KM said...

I think the Twilight series definitively proved the pent-up longing for bad writing and nerd sex.

It should have a disclaimer:
"Boys that have skin that glitters in the sun generally don't like girls."

NotClauswitz said...

I want to see a pic of Fifty Shades of Gecko45, because if you can't laugh at kink when can you laugh? Uh-oh - Is laughing itself kink?

og said...

"Uh-oh - Is laughing itself kink?"

usually only if you have your mouth pressed up against... but I've already said too much.

TomcatTCH said...

I've never called it nerd sex before.

HA!

Ian Argent said...

"Whoreverine" is an entirely different type of gratuitous, though. Right now it's gratuitous violence, not gratuitous sex.

And, yes, the "MOM!" scene is the one I was referring to about the single funniest scene in the entire series. Parental kink TMI FTW.

Dean in Az said...

Since you have now referred to it by name in the blog, Tam, I expect it will show up on the Amazon.com adbar there to the right any second now....

ravenshrike said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_1ki6D6GRc&feature=relmfu

Multiple voice reading of 50 shades of grey. Includes various DBZ characters, Batman, Walken, Nicolas Cage, and Mickey Mouse.

Anonymous said...

Nerd sex Blah!

This was my favorite headline yesterday:

"High Speed Naked Sex Games In A Ferrari Allegedly Killed The Son Of A Chinese Official".

Gerry

LabRat said...

I... wow.

That is the first time I have seen enjoying sex with your spouse pathologized.

Tam said...

As I said to my then-roomie: "I just want to have one hobby in my life that doesn't require a bunch of expensive paraphernalia..." ;)

Sean D Sorrentino said...

Tam,
Ropes are cheap and spankings are free.

One of the problems with porn is that it is almost entirely visual, so anything that does not translate well into a visual format doesn't do well as porn. It is easy to show costumes and toys visually, so any depictions of BDSM in porn are heavily focused on those items. 95% of it is mental, and is not easily shown on film.

This leads people to believe that because toys and costumes are shown, then toys and costumes are what it's all about.

Like shooting, it's mostly mental. That doesn't stop people from spending thousands on special gear, though.

Scott J said...

Get married. Have kids.

Did you ever see Bruce Willis on "The Tonight Show" (way back in the "Moonlighting" days IIRC) talking about the "baby racket".

Wouldn't trade my two (now 6 and 4) for all the simplicity in the world though.

Jericho941 said...

The problem with 50 Shades of Grey isn't that just that it's badly written. The fact that it's hastily rearranged Twilight fanficion by some Brit speaks well enough to that.

The real problem is that the protagonist, Anastasia Steele, is an adult in name only. She's a ridiculously virginal college senior (never even held hands before, never had alcohol, never masturbated, is intimidated by commonplace things like computers in 2011) quickly pulled into a manipulative relationship by a rich, powerful, highly abusive control freak.

It's not nerd sex; people actually in the BDSM community HATE it because it's an awful portrayal of their lifestyle.

I don't think anyone but sheltered soccer moms think there's anything good about the books; feminists hate it because it romanticizes domestic abuse, BDSM types hate it because it romanticizes abuse and makes their kink look bad, anyone with an IQ over 69 is nauseated by the prose and "inner goddess" business, and... yeah. It's baaaad.

http://anyankaleigh.tumblr.com/post/26044950711/fifty-things-wrong-with-fifty-shades-of-grey

Tam said...

Sean,

There's the additional complication that I get claustrophobic when my car is in the shop, so any tying-up is Right Out. ;)

Sean D Sorrentino said...

Tam,
No one said it was YOU that needed tying up.

I'll bet that if you borrowed a copy of the Boy Scout Manual and practiced for a few days, you'd be a popular gal with the right crowd. You're pretty tall, so I'd bet you could loom imposingly if you tried.

There are one or two other "manuals" that you could use for self-study purposes ;)

Heath J said...

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/340987215


Brings the lolz, if you have a bit of free time.

Ian Argent said...

Oh, so that's why Tom Lehrer recommends study of the Boy Scout Handbook in that one song.

Anonymous said...

Sean,

I just spewed Earl Gray over my keyboard.

That is image I won't be able to get out of my head ....

Earl Harding

kishnevi said...

EMI is releasing a compilation of music--apparently all classical--which the author claimed to have inspired her while writing SoG, or which is mentioned.

The most mind boggling cut on the album is the Tallis Scholars recording of Spem in alium, because the motet is mentioned as background music in one of the sex scenes. I have seen it suggested that the author thought the work't title was "Sperm in alium".

Fortunately, you can find it on Youtube, or buy it porno free through Tam's Amazon link ("Tallis Scholars Spem in Alium" should do it as a search term). It does happen to be one of the most awesome (in the literate sense of the word) pieces of music ever composed.

Mikael said...

You're not always forewarned of the kink either... I had a girl complain I was too gentle!

We ended up friends for a while, and she got herself a stable boyfriend(like 7 years now), she has a big toybox, and he likes tying her to the bed and whipping her.

And yes they're very open about it.

Anonymous said...

Always remember this simple rule:

Romantic is using a feather.
Kinky is using the whole chicken...

LabRat said...

Given the massive overlap between the geek community and the kink community, which is how come I can talk knowledgeably about Fetlife even though I'm very monogamous and BDSM is Not My Thing?

I'm sorry, but the characterization of BDSM as nerd sex is... not at all unfair.

Kristopher said...

Ian Argent: I always wondered why the Boy Scouts were so fascinated by ropes and knots.

TerriLiGunn said...

Face it we are all nerds of something.

Ancient Woodsman said...

"...a ridiculously virginal college senior (never even held hands before, never had alcohol, never masturbated, is intimidated by commonplace things like computers in 2011) quickly pulled into a manipulative relationship by a rich, powerful, highly abusive control freak."

Not too sure about the sex angle, but the above paragraph certainly does explain a lot about how the current Chief Executive got in to his office.

staghounds said...

Or "conventional folks", as boat guys say.

Anonymous said...

In reference to Sean's suggestion, "you'd be a popular gal with the right crowd. You're pretty tall, so I'd bet you could loom imposingly if you tried." Is this really this first time someone has had this idea?

I guess it's called "Erotic Humiliation"? Maybe there is a market for erotic snarkiness...

Mistress Tamara, are you regretting bringing this up yet?

Geodkyt said...

Mistress Tamara will stand there in 5.11 pants and an UnderArmor top, eruditely humiliating you while she flashes a 100 lumen strobe in your eyes.

"Snark me more, Mistress, snark me more!"

"QUIT TOUCHING IT, CLETUS!"

"Thank you, Mistress."

{chuckle}

Sean D Sorrentino said...

@Geodkyt: I score your effort a 9 out of 10. If you had managed to work in "Coon Finger" somewhere, you'd have gotten full marks.

Windy Wilson said...

Kristopher, in my case, it is because it is costly and embarassing to lose table tops or filing cabinets or camping gear from the top of my car because I did not use a "Boy Scout Knot".
I wonder if this interest in Fifty Shades of Grey is an indication of a sort of pica, or rabbit starvation on the part of the readers. Where traditional male-female roles are denigrated, the need for dominance and submission is diverted from its usual and historic ways and expressed in more . . . pathological ways. "tie me up and make me lick your shoes, because I was never taught that it is pleasurable to cook you something you enjoy, and to serve it to you when you return from your work. It is similar to the idea that if children are taught that they cannot, by dint of effort, improve themselves, they will become fascinated by computer games where the proof of improvement is shown by the score at the end of each game.

Brigid said...

You must be THIS tall to ride the ride. . .

Geodkyt said...

Sean:

"It coonfingers the Hi-Point, or it gets the hose again."

Geodkyt said...

(After all, we are talking about directed humiliation. . . {snicker})

Sean D Sorrentino said...

@Geodkyt: You wins TWO internets!