Fifty Shades of Nay

“No, Joanna. That right there. That is specifically the reason why I don’t want to see that movie. Because everyone (including you) keeps telling me how great it is and how I HAVE to see it and I MUST see it and the world will end if I DON’T see it. Well, the fact that everyone is pushing so hard for my watching this movie is reason enough for me NOT to see it.”

That was a paraphrased quote from a friend who, for their privacy and protection, shall remain nameless for the remainder of this post. But who, nonetheless, used to annoy me with what I perceived to be outlandish curmudgeon-ness over anything deemed popular by society.

This person used to call the behavior “pushing back.” Pushing back against the “vast majority,” pushing back against the “mainstream,” pushing back for the sake of being “different” or in my opinion, “difficult” was this individual’s M.O. And it bugged the crap out of me. That is, until very recently.

It all began with Twilight and was later solidified by The Hunger Games. Not the books or movies per se… but the whole damn kit and caboodle. The books, the movies, the magazine covers, the posters, the commercials, the Late Night / TMZ television fodder about the minutia of the everyday lives of the actors, writers and directors, the fact that it was “newsworthy” that LeBron James was reading The Hunger Games in between championship games… It was all too much.

Thus, I began, ever so subtly to “push back” myself. I would not—under any circumstance—read those books, watch those movies or be drawn in by the over-hyped drama and frenzy that seemed to have raptured so many — including the genius that is one Lebron James.

As the title suggests, there are a few other things (not nearly fifty — though given time I’m sure there could be) over which I have begun to dig in my heels — just because I am either A. tired of hearing about them, B. I personally don’t “get” or C. simply because I can.

  1. Instagram – I just have to ask: Why is it suddenly so cool to have an app make your stunningly-clear, brilliantly-colored, high-quality digital photos look like crappy Polaroids from the 70s? The reason our photos looked like THAT in the 70s was because, aside from going to Sears and sitting for “professional portraits” taken by some over-zealous, obnoxious, balding photographer sweating profusely inside his polyester, powder-blue suit — we didn’t HAVE any other option.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey – If one more person tells me that I simply MUST read this totally A – MA – ZING and all-consuming series of horribly-written, thinly-veiled-porn-wrapped-in-a-ridiculously-disturbing-storyline, utterly-misogynistic novels which I will apparently NOT be able to put down even for one second after I have picked them up… I am going to punch them.
  3. Kindle (or any e-reader) – OK. I can understand the appeal on this one. Totally convenient, easy, practical, portable, yada, yada, yada. I just prefer to hold a real book in my hands. Call me a hopeless romantic or an old fart, but after staring at screens all day long from the phone to the computer to the television… it truly feels like an escape to retreat into an actual book made of paper, fabric and glue and get lost between the pages.
  4. Skinny jeans (for EVERY body) – First of all, there is no such thing. I don’t care what Old Navy says about how there is a pair out there for every type of body under the sun. I am here to tell you that there is not. The view from the bleachers last Friday night at a high-school football game proved that theory. Some people should not be wearing skinny jeans no matter what Old Navy says. Just watch the commercial next time it’s on. Notice there aren’t any short, round, pudgy, muffiny-toppy-types walking the runway in that ad? I wonder why?
  5. Gluten-free anything – Whether standing in line at Starbucks, at the department store or the movie theater, someone can be overheard talking about it. “So I’ve decided to go gluten free…” or “My chiropractor thinks my back pain is because of too much gluten…” or I think the reason I can’t shake these last 10 pounds is because I eat too much gluten…” (Or it could have something to do with the triple-shot, Venti, double-caramel latte with extra whipped cream in your hand — but what do I know? I’m just an outsider who can’t help but hear you gripe about gluten.) Let me ask this… Where was gluten 10 years ago? I have no idea but I suspect it was just as present then as it is now and yet all of the sudden it is The Great Satan. Have a sinusitis? It’s probably gluten. Car won’t start? Must be gluten. Polar icecaps melting? Gotta be gluten.

Call me a curmudgeon if you wish, but I think I finally understand where my crusty cohort was coming from. The fact that EVERYONE loves it SOOOO much, and is pushing for it SOOOO hard, is sometimes reason enough to say: “Nay.”


17 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Nay

  1. I love what you wrote about gluten! What is gluten, anyway? The first I ever heard about it was from my boss at work that has Celiac disease and supposedly can’t consume any gluten, otherwise she’ll get very sick. Personally, I suspect she’s just on some weird diet and doesn’t want anyone to know.

    • I really don’t know Katie. I am just tired of hearing about it. Now, Celiac disease is a real thing that I know nothing about and gluten really is a problem for some and I’m sure always has been. But it had just gotten ridiculous in turning into a fad diet and a “cure all” so to speak. 😛

  2. I hear ya’ screaming about the Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m just not gonna read them. Not gonna do it. There are about 200 books on my reading list ahead of those. However, having pre-ordered the new Kindle Paperwhite and anxiously awaiting its delivery on October 24 (I’m exercising an immense amount of prolonged gratification with this), I have to say I’m excited about it. My purses are excited about it too. They are tired of being loaded down with those 600-page hardbacks or those thick-as-a-brick paperbacks crammed in between the sunglasses case and the wallet day after day. I am looking forward to having basically a library inside my purse that weighs like maybe a pound. I like to think of my purse now like the bag Hermoine used to carry around everything she, Ron and Harry Potter needed while fighting You Know Who. Everything else you mentioned — the skinny jeans (no longer taking anti-depressant = about 10 extra pounds), Instagram (even though I do have a gently-used Instagram page) and gluten (I always picture a ball of slimy, smelly dough), I’m right there with you!!!

    • Ha! Thanks Paige. It’s nice to know I’m not alone on the Fifty Shades thing. I’m not a prude. It’s just really bad writing and I hate the message that it sends (I did a little research when I was getting annoyed by so many people telling me I had to read it). I know murder mysetries do not a murderer make, but tens of thousands of young women and girls reading about being demeaned and dominated and humiliated and controlled by some idiotic rich hot guy on a messed-up power trip scares the crap out of me. See… I already know too much just from the research! I understand about the Kindle. I wouldn’t toss it out from under my Christmas tree 😉

  3. That was definitely one of your best…hilariously laugh-out-loud funny. I loved blaming everything on gluten, skinny jeans for the not-so-skinny, etc. etc etc. Thanks for my LOL for the day. I will probably read it every day just to laugh.

  4. Rachel Conway says:

    Love it, Joanna! I’m so with you on reading an ACTUAL book (though, like you, I will NOT be consuming “Fifty Shades” any time in this life or the next), and the gluten thing is just ridiculous unless you do, in fact, happen to be so unfortunate as to acquire celiac disease…If I were compiling such a list, TEXTING would be at the top for me (I can hear the gasps already). I truly abhor texting–don’t have it on my phone, don’t ever plan to. All it seems to do is to further contribute to people being unable to unplug from the matrix–at this rate, we might as well start melding smart phones to infants’ hands as they exit the birth canal! Texting certainly does not decrease the overwhelming rudeness of our society–on the landline with a texter, you find yourself hanging in awkward silence, wondering if you’ve lost connection; in person, it can be difficult to maintain a face-to-face conversation as your friend is enticed by the incoming pings of someone else’s life details that are oh-so-vital-that-we-must-know-them-NOW. Ah, what can I say–I’m of the mentality “be here when you’re here,” and if it’s THAT important, CALL me! Side note to all this: Joe had to add texting to his phone b/c “all” the professors at Malone text their students now, so he might miss something important without it–never mind that the students all have school e-mail accounts. How did we ever survive? Guess I’m just too old-school–but then I did grow up without a TV.

    • Thanks for your comment Rachel! You made an excellent follow-up with the whole texting thing. I do text… but I am not attached to my phone like it is an extra appendage like so many people are. I really appreciate your take on things 🙂

  5. Woot, Woot!!! I have been told recently that I am behavorial, have no patience and am plain grumpy – well here is where some of that stems from – Keeping Up with the Kardashians (no longer the Joneses)! Happy Tuesday and Here’s to Sticking to What We Believe is Important and not Society:)

    • Haha! Glad you enjoyed that Renee! It is always nice to know when you’re in good company. You named another thing I cannot stand… the Kardashians. See… I KNOW I could get to fifty with little effort. Have a good one!

  6. Interesting that you’ve turned around on this like this. I did the opposite. As a teenager, I’d deliberately avoid anything too popular. Didn’t want to consume anything so universally adored, since obviously it was common and therefore beneath me. (HIpster before there were hipsters? Hell yeah.)

    I started turning around on it in my twenties though. Honestly, I think things that become massively popular – whether on merit or something else entirely – say a lot about the zeitgeist around us and I find that fascinating. It started with Harry Potter (worthy), carried on with The Da Vinci Code (rubbish), and continued into Twilight (appalling) and the Hunger Games (excellent).

    I probably will read Fifty Shades of Grey, not because everyone I know says it’s great (I think I might run in a different circle than you), but because I am really interested in what is popular out there and why. When something good is popular, that just makes sense. But when it’s something awful, it makes for really great social analysis. What is going on in the world that makes this so popular right now?

    I’m with you on the skinny jeans though. They are for skinny people. Done. I’m sticking with the boot cuts I’ve worn since I was 15.

  7. Don says:

    That was quite the rant. I’m impressed you could sustain it for so long. Heh-heh.

    Yeah, what the heck is gluten anyway? (Actually, I couldn’t care less.)

    For a number of years, there was this dollar theater only one block down the road. I could walk there in five minutes. I’d microwave up a bag of Orville Redenbacher and put a container of cola in my backpack, and I was in business – and only one buck.

    Well, one day I went to see “The English Patient.” “Seinfeld” had an episode similar to your post about how it was all the rage. People HAD to see it. Well, Elaine went to see it with her boss, and she thought it sucked. (Naturally, that observation cost her her job. Fired on-the-spot. Haha. So, I’m watching this movie and twenty minutes into it, I’m thinking: Elaine is right – this movie is awful! A half hour into it, I’m thinking maybe I’ll theater hop. At forty minutes, I’m thinking: Well, maybe it isn’t so bad. One hour into it, I’m enthused. At the end of it, I’m thinking: One of the greatest movies of all time! I never had such a turnaround in my opinion of a movie.

    • Haha! That is funny you should mention the “English Patient” episode because that episode combined with all the people saying I HAD to see it… made me never want to see it and still to this day I have not. Probably never will. It’s a thing between Elaine and I now. 😉

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