Friday, March 6, 2015

None of us are free?

Here is a belief you might want to hold.
None of us are free, none of us are free
None of us are free, one of us are chained
None of us are free - Solomon Burke
I used to. It's a noble enough idea and the song it comes from is a soul-stirring experience. As a simple factual matter, however, it's nonsense. I could be kidnapped and kept in chains in a basement or cave somewhere for the rest of my life without affecting your freedom in the least. The reverse is also the case; you could be kidnapped and kept in chains for the rest of your life without affecting my freedom.

Much as I appreciate every reader to come here, I still feel my freedom more intensely than I feel yours. I hope that you'd defend mine and you hope that I would defend yours. It makes sense to fight for your own freedom. It makes sense to fight for someone else's freedom because that is the right thing to do. 

What do we make, however, of the argument that I make myself more free by fighting for the freedom of a particular group?

Suppose, hypothetically speaking, a whole bunch of white people got really excited about reggae artists from Jamaica, not just because they liked the music, but because they felt that the struggle for freedom they saw in these artists somehow felt like their own. I'm just making all this up, but suppose these reggae artists had all embraced a cult that connected a messianic figure based on Christianity and dope-smoking. And suppose that the white North American fans liked smoking dope and they could cross their own desire to be able to smoke dope legally with these reggae artists and their struggles.

I know, low comedy that couldn't really happen. But it did. 

The music was pretty good and it just kept coming. Until it didn't. Like all popular cultural phenomena of the modern era, it ran out of gas after a while. But the phenomenon was about more than that. White people dug Cliff and Marley and Tosh and Bunny and Toots and many many others because doing so made them feel like they were part of a more elemental struggle for capital-F freedom. Plus they wanted to smoke dope.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why do moral facts scare us so?

One of the top-rated comments over there begins "I find this entire argument specious from the start. The phrase 'moral facts' is deliberately provocative...." I agree. 
The second "I" in that is Ann Althouse. There may be some irony in her position. That is to say, she may agree that the phrase "moral facts" is deliberately provocative but think that's a good thing. (Why would someone putting an argument in a deliberately provocative way make it specious?)

It's a respectable position in philosophy to argue for moral realism and moral facts. There are people who teach ethics at universities who would disagree with you for arguing it but no would say you were being deliberately provocative just by bringing it up. That the person making the comment cited above does is telling. It's an attempt to delegitimize an argument so you don't have to actually argue against it. (Note also that the person who uses the word "specious" clearly doesn't have a clue what it means. To them "specious" is another way of saying this is obviously wrong and so are you if you believe it. That is bullying not argument.)

The piece that inspired the comment is (NYT link) here. Short version, the Common Core curriculum teaches children to treat all value claims as opinions. The writer pretty much demolishes this by showing that the distinction between truth and opinion behind this claim doesn't hold up.

The argument is advanced by Justin P. McBrayer who teaches ethics and philosophy of religion at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. You could say a lot about that. It's a liberal arts college away from Progressive Coastland. The people who teach and attend such colleges aren't conservatives but neither are they attuned to the Jesuitical style of argument that is so valued by the sort of people who read the New York Times. (I'm being deliberately provocative.)  Outside of that rather narrow cultural viewpoint, McBrayer's approach to ethics is something that would evoke no surprise or shock.

There is a philosophical position and, it's a respectable one, that argues that all moral views are just opinion. It's called emotivism. It claims that all moral views amount to, "I do/don't do this and think you should do/not do too". Or, as it is sometimes put, all moral arguments amount expressions of approval or disapproval: "Yay for compassion and boo for murder."

It's rather surprising that this one moral viewpoint is implicit in Common Core curriculum. I hadn't realized that one of the objectives of Common Core was to impose a particular kind of morality on every child. (I'm being deliberately provocative again.)

Emotivism is a respectable view, meaning no one in a philosophy department will call you crazy for trying to argue it, but it is also true that, for reasons that McBrayer exploits well in his NYT piece; it is impossible to argue emotivism without linguistic incoherence. I say "linguistic" rather than "logical" because the result of trying to argue emotivism is to render the key terms we use in moral argument meaningless. (There is a huge difference between arguing that it is very difficult to determine whether any or all moral claims are true or false and simply saying that there can be no moral facts.)

It's interesting then that emotivism has become the dominant moral view argument of the sort of people who read the New York Times. I changed "view" to "argument" because I'm pretty certain they are hypocrites on this. If an NYT reader was arguing with a rapist she would not accept even for a second his or her contention that her claim that "rape is wrong" was being just a matter of opinion and that claiming otherwise was deliberately provocative. She would treat it as an incontestable moral fact. Confronted with the example of countries where rape is not treated as a serious crime, no NYT reader would accept the claim that people in these other countries simply see things differently.

Why do intelligent people instinctively embrace a position that can't be argued for in any plausible way? I think we can get an answer to that by taking a little challenge. Open a file and type out a list of your moral facts. This isn't a test and no one is going to hold you to it. If you prefer, type out a list of things that you might consider as possible candidates to be moral facts but you are reserving your judgment about whether they actually are for now. I think you'll find that every single one of your moral facts is a rule combined with an explicit or implicit claim that anyone who happened to find your list and read it has a duty to obey that rule.

That's why the notion that there might be moral facts scares us.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Manly Thor's Day special: Why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else's conscience?

Here are some lines from 1 Corinthians 10.
25Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience, 26for "the earth and its fullness are the Lord's. 27If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience—29I mean the other's conscience and not your own.  For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else's conscience?
The problem is that there is an apparent contradiction. First Paul tells us that if there is a danger of upsetting someone else by offending the dictates of their conscience—"then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience—I mean the other's conscience and not your own". He then immediately tells us what seems to be the opposite message—"For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else's conscience?"

That's from the NRSV. Here are the same lines from the RSV.
Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience For "the earth is the Lord's and everything in it." If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. (But if someone says to, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then out of consideration for the man who informed you, and for conscience's sake—I mean his conscience not yours—do not eat it.) For why should my liberty be determined by another man's scruples?
I don't know what grounds the editors of the RSV have for putting the one line in parentheses. Their doing so does not necessarily disagree with the choice of the NRSV editors not to. A comment doesn't have to be in parentheses to be parenthetical. By parenthetical, I mean that it is an aside. Paul is making his main point and then some qualification, exception or specification occurs to him so he breaks his stride long enough to slip it in.

I mention this because the apparent contradiction I noted above disappears if we take the first part as parenthetical.

One way to test whether something could be parenthetical is whether it can be dropped out and the text still make sense.

First a bit of context. Paul is speaking about meat that has been offered in sacrifice and then sold on the market in Corinth. We think of a burnt offering as taking meat and reducing it to ash but the actual sacrifices of antiquity were more like a giant community barbecue—smoke went up to heaven but most of the meat was quite edible and even yummy thank you. When, as was often the case, there was more meat than the people at this sacrifice/barbecue could eat, the excess was sold off at markets. And it was sold off cheap. Some Christians in Corinth thought it wrong to eat this meat. Others argued that since the idols this meat had been "sacrificed" to didn't even exist there was no reason we should curtail our choices because other people entertained bizarre illusions.

Okay, now let's go back and read it without the possibly parenthetical comment.
Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience, for "the earth and its fullness are the Lord's. If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else's conscience?
That's pretty clear? Is it what Paul really meant?

Here, I think the answer is, "Yes ... but ...".

For Paul prefaces this paragraph with the following:
23"All things are lawful," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. 24Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.
In other words, don't insist on your rights if doing so will damage someone else's faith so as to alienate them from the church. If someone else seeing you eating this perfectly harmless meat is deeply upset because of their silly scruples, you may damage their faith.

Why am I so sure that their scruples are silly? Because Paul has told us so back in 1 Corinthians 8:
7It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
Paul is telling us that we need to restrict our own rights for the sake of the Christian community. Ultimately, he tells us, these weak people's salvation depends on their being part of the church because the church is the Body of Christ. If you drive them out, you are committing a serious sin.

So, might we read this as the Letter of Saint Paul to the Libertarians? We might but we have to make a judgment in order to do so. We have to read the people who condemn liberty for the sake of conscience as having a weak understanding. That would be an interesting perspective. We would have to believe, for example, that Pope Francis doesn't understand economics and so he imagines that policies that will actually hurt the poor will help them. On the other hand, there are lots of people who buy into this nonsense so opposing Francis too directly might cause scandal by making it appear like Catholic Christians don't care about the poor so it might be best to not mock his economic delusions because, even though they are really based on a fear of idols that do not exist, to challenge him too directly might upset the weak.

A related question is what is the abuse of power and the moral status of what we do in private. Take Paul's example from above. You are a Corinthian Christian invited to a dinner by a nonbeliever and you don't raise any questions about the meat you are served and no one else does either. Can you just go ahead and chow down. Paul very clearly says yes.

Okay, but suppose there is a scandal later. In the short run, you can deflect any danger by saying that you didn't realize there was an issue. But, in Paul's context, you don't believe there is an issue. You only avoid scandal for the sake of others' weak consciences and not because there is anything wrong with eating this meat.

Now, let's suppose something else. Let's suppose that the rich and powerful members of the Corinthian Christian community could eat all the meat they wanted. They didn't need to buy meat that was cheap and therefore, might have been "sacrificed" to (nonexistent) idols. So we have poor people whose weak consciences might cause them to stumble and fall on one end of the spectrum and rich people who might just be willing to exploit this fact to cause the rest of us to go without meat because this "sacrificed" meat was all we could afford while they could buy the more expensive meat that had no such tainted associations. Would powerful people do that?

Of course they would. I've done it myself. Have you ever wanted other people to stop doing something for reasons of your own convenience but framed your objection in moral terms that made it sound like something larger was at stake? Imagine, for example, the mother who tells her children to play quietly for the sake of others when what she really wants is to have a conversation with the other adults present without having to attend to the kids. It's a form of hypocrisy we're all prone to. Take that hypocrisy and mix it up with the political ambitions of the powerful and you have the potential for serious abuse.

Final question, is Paul quietly telling us to go ahead and do whatever we have a right to do but do it quietly so as to not raise scandal? I believe he is.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fifty Shades finale: Throwback?

I listened to a Slate podcast on Fifty Shades this morning because someone told me that one of the participants made the same connection between the movie and Pamela. He does, but he misses the larger context.

First, the entire panel of Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens and Julia Turner agree that the movie is unrealistic and that it represents some kind of throwback to an utterly conventional love story. They object, although not very strenuously, to the film treating BDSM as a pathology. They all also enjoyed it. Even Stevens, who claims otherwise, obviously had a great time.

Anyway, Metcalf brings up Pamela "an old novel that no one would read" except that they had it assigned to then in a class on the English novel. He makes an interesting point about that the eponymous heoine of that novel very much not a social equal of Mr. B. the man she ends up being linked to romatically, and that Fifty Shades is similar in that it's very much a one-percenter fantasy that has brought the idealization of marriage back full circle to Pamela.

He makes the additional, interesting point that the actual power relationships between the characters don't necessarily "map onto" the social power relationships. What he means by that is that a really hot young woman can, by virtue of withholding sex, gain considerable power that her social or economic status would not give her. Not surprisingly, neither he nor his co-panelists expand on that point.

I'll come back to that in a future post. For now what interests me is what I see as the rather bizarre shared certainty of the three panellists that this situation wherein a young woman with sexual power uses that to pursue a man of much more powerful, on paper anyway, man.

Well, we don't have to go all the way back to the 18th century. Let's go back to 1998 and the first episode of Sex and the City, a series that can't be any worse written or acted than Fifty Shades. It starts with a parable that opens like this:
Once upon a time an English journalist came to New York. Elizabeth was attractive and bright and, right away, she hooked up with one of the city's typically eligible bachelors. Tim was 42, a well-liked and respected investment banker who made about 2 million a year.
Okay, he's not a billionaire at 27 like Christian Grey is supposed to be but he's hardly the boy at fifty-one-thirty-three Kensington Avenue. An English journalist, not a famous English journalist, just a journalist, hits town and her idea of an eligible bachelor is a guy who makes $2 million a year, which puts him well into the one percent. According to a couple of online sources I just checked, journalists in New York make less than $60k on average. Those sources may not be solid but even if the real salary was 200 or 300 percent of that, she's way, way, way down the socio-economic ladder from the man we're told is an eligible bachelor.

And the rest of the SATC plot bears a shocking resemblance to Pamela right down to the appallingly wooden acting of Chris Noth as "Mr. Big" playing the role for Carrie that "Mr. B" plays for Pamela.

And women loved it.

And why not? If it's all a fantasy anyway, why not make the guy very rich and very good-looking?

What needs explaining is why is it that rich and good looking but also emotionally unavailable, cold men who demand a lot from women are so unfailing attractive when they appear in stories like SATC, Fifty Shades and the champion of them all, Pride and Prejudice.

Except that it doesn't need explaining. What needs to be said is that there is a frightening sense of female entitlement hiding here.

We haven't gone full-circle anywhere because we're still at the same point we always were. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey: lessons for men

Having read Wuthering Heights more than once I can tell you that the scene where Heathcliff grabs Cathy and rips open her dress and feasts his eyes and hands on her breasts before throwing her on the fainting couch and giving her the best sex of her life isn't actually in the book.

It's not that Emily Bronte didn't think it. She and the vast majority of the women who've since read the novel all had the thought.

And it's a very important scene to the book even though, as I say, it's not actually in the book. If that scene weren't in the back of the minds of 99 percent of its readers, well, 99 percent of its readers wouldn't be its readers and Emily Bronte would be mostly forgotten today.

Emily probably didn't put the scene in for a number of reasons. 1. Because she knew that life doesn't work that way. 2. Because she had enough faith in her readers' to know that they'd think it through for themselves. 3. Because the mores of the time wouldn't have allowed her to even vaguely hint that Cathy had imagined having sex with Heathcliff. And more besides.

If you're a man, there are two equally important lessons to take from Wuthering Heights (and yes, I am implying that Fifty Shades of Grey is built on the same mythological foundations as Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice; all of which trace their heritage back to Pamela). The first is that Catherine didn't give Mr. Edgar Linton the best sex of his life—she probably gave him utterly mediocre sex and didn't give him any more of even that than she felt was absolutely required of her—so you don't want to be Mr. Edgar Linton. The second is that Heathcliff is a vile creep and you don't want to be a vile creep either.

Do those two lessons contradict one another? A lot of men would say yes and start whining about nice guys always finishing last.  There is another way of thinking about it however. Ask yourself, rather, who is to blame. Is it your fault for not being more like Heathcliff or for not "manning up" and accepting that you're stuck being Mr. Linton? Or is it a woman's fault if she can only see men in binary terms?

Heathcliff and Christian Grey don't have a lot in common but they do have two things they share and that is that they're both vile creeps and they're both highly attractive to most women at some time in their lives and highly attractive to some women all their lives. You might object that Christian is different in that what's-her-name-oh-never-matter-who-cares succeeds in reforming him in the end. Well, except that he doesn't get reformed until the very end and the millions of women who read the series of novels read it for the 100s of pages in which he is a vile creep and not for the denouement in which he promises to be different or the various short passages along the way in which he promises to be different.

Don't hate women for being this way. Have you ever entertained the notion of having a woman who is less than a fully developed human being because you thought it would be easy and fun or because you were still too immature yourself to see that there is a problem with that? If you can honestly say "no" to that question you're delusional about yourself.

But the lesson remains. If you're at a party and a woman-over-the-age-of-19 tells you that Wuthering Heights is her all time favourite novel she is telling you she never matured emotionally such that she divides men into two classes: vile creeps and easily manipulated wimps. You want to keep your distance from such a woman. There are lots of them in the world and they all end up unhappy and they all want to blame you for their unhappiness.

If you like the way she has matured sexually enough that you could ignore the fact that she is an emotional disaster, you could simply treat her as a prospect for short-term sex whom you avoid after you've had her. And, trust me, you wouldn't be the first or the last man to simply use her and move on. I'd recommend against it but, if you go ahead with it, I'd suggest you first tell her in an earnest voice that you've never read Wuthering Heights (and tell her this even if you already have read it), that it's something you've always thought of reading but, there are so many classic novels, could she please tell you why you really ought to read this one. Her answer will tell you everything you need to know about her. What you want to figure out is just how damaged she is because you don't want to get involved with someone who is really, really crazy for reasons that I hope are obvious. A little crazy can translate into some pretty wild sex in the short term, a lot crazy will unfailingly translate into a lot of crazy and pretty much nothing else, and most likely little or no sex. I'd also suggest you take advantage of her long answer to your question to glance over her shoulder just in case there are some better prospects in the room because there almost certainly will be some.

I'd recommend not doing any of that. What I'd recommend is telling her that you don't read many novels but love action movies and that you treat the hero of your favourite action movie as your personal role model. Then sit back and watch her try to think of a way to politely break off the conversation without hurting your feelings.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey: lessons for women

I can see two lessons, although there are almost certainly more.

The first lesson: "I am Heathcliff."

For those who haven't read Wuthering Heights, Cathy says that. If you take it literally, you have  mature understanding of what the novel is about.

Emily Bronte is a much better writer than E.L. James. I suspect you already knew that. But you shouldn't imagine that her being a much better writer makes Wuthering Heights any less of a fantasy tale. There is far more wish fulfillment in the book than psychological insight.

Wish fulfillment? Well, yes, because Cathy gets a thrill out of imagining all the sexual passion (which sexual passion is "sublimated" as hate and destruction in the novel) she is capable of. I know, she's dead for a lot of it, but that's the way fantasy works. Think of the five-year-old who, angry at their mother, imagines their own death and "how sorry mommy would be then". Cathy is that five-year-old writ large, which is why it's great to devour the book when you're 17 and not so great to still be passionately reading it at as an adult. (And it should tell just how unfeminist this novel is, despite claims to the contrary, that Emily Bronte and her readers have to project all this passion onto a man before they can believe in it.)

But, here's the thing, in order to have a fantasy, you have to play both parts. Heathcliff isn't the perfect soul mate for Cathy because he doesn't exist. She projects him onto the world. That's what makes Emily Bronte such a great writer. She wasn't such a great human being but she really knew how to write. The same goes for Charlotte. Heathcliff isn't a man and neither is Mr. Rochester. They are both placeholders onto which women's emotions can be projected.

It's okay to do that, provided you know that is what you are doing.

To be really good at relating to men, especially at relating to men sexually, you have to be able to imagine what it's like to be him having sex with you. Okay, you fantasize about a man doing things to you. Now try to put yourself into the head of that man. What's his motivation? What attracts him to you and why does he want to relate to you sexually in this way and how does that fit into the rest of his life? If the only answer you can come up with is "because he's a psycho-creep like Heathcliff or Christian Grey", we have a problem.

The second lesson: is like unto the first

I overheard a man flirting with my wife a couple of years ago. We were at a book reading and she was standing in line to have her copy of the book signed. The man in front of her in line, started a conversation. They talked about the book they were holding for a while (it was about FDR) and then he introduced Fifty Shades into the conversation. He did that because he'd liked the way the conversation had gone so far and was looking for a little risqué fun. Here is how he did it with some comments from me in square brackets.

"I'm rather ashamed of what I'm reading now."

[No, he isn't ashamed at all. When men are really ashamed of something, they try to hide it. He brought it up this way because he's hoping she will be intrigued and her willingness to be intrigued is something he wants to know about. She didn't slam the door shut so he kept going.]

"It has something to do with the colour grey."

[The point of this silly, parabolic way of approaching the subject was to find out how much my wife knew and what she thought of what she knew. If she knows enough about the book to figure out what he is talking about from this vague hint and if she is intrigued enough to encourage a man she doesn't know continue talk about a book that features kinky sex, they both can have some fun with this. She giggled approvingly so he continued but not in the way you'd guess.]

"My wife has me reading it. She says I could learn a lot from it."

[He has just dissed his wife. He is discussing something about her that he should have kept private with another woman and he is doing so in a way that will make this other woman think less of his wife.]

He wasn't actually proposing to my wife that, should he decide to take up the kinky suggestions that his wife meant him to take up, he would rather do it with her than with his wife but that is what he was thinking and he didn't mind the thought that she might figure that out but he did it in a mild enough way that he still had plausible deniability vis-a-vis both my wife and his.

But let's leave that aside. What's the lesson? It's this: if you want to have a more fulfilling and adventurous sex life, you should focus your efforts on being the sort of woman whom an actual man would want to have a wild sexual affair with. But you won't be able to do that if you hate yourself and the problem with Fifty Shades of Grey is that it's aimed at women who don't like themselves very much.

And you can see this in the character of our heroine old what's-her-name-oh-never-matter-who-cares. She's this mousy, boring little thing whom no one but a damaged creep who can't hold himself back from would ever have anything to do with. This isn't an imagined type. I've known several women (and men) who ranged from pretty good looking to quite beautiful who never managed to connect with anyone. In the movie she's actually played by a confident woman who merely acts at being those things and then later acts at being a woman transformed by the experience.

The problem with Cathy saying "I am Heathcliff" is not that she projects her fantasies onto a man but that she impoverishes herself by taking all her passion and drive away from herself and giving it to someone else. She'd be much better off if she developed and nurtured this side of herself but she isn't going to do that because she hates herself. If you pin her down on the subject, she'll say that no one would take her seriously if she did but there are men who would love nothing more than to take her seriously in that role and she may even already be married to one of them but it will never happen because she hates herself and expresses this self-hatred by deciding that no one would ever take her seriously as an exciting lover. (Except maybe some psych creep like Heathcliff or Christian Grey.)

There are, of course, women more interesting and sexier than her. Lots of them and if she goes about looking for such women she'll fund them. Even Dakota Johnson could do that if that is what she set about doing it. But why do that? Wouldn't it be better to have to have enough self compassion to forgive yourself for not being everything you can be and enough discipline to become the woman you are capable of being?

On the other hand, it would be a lot easier to just read the book and go to the movie.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fifty shades: Because it gets them off. That's why!

There is a basic fact about the book and movie that you have to start with. If you don't start here, everything you say about it will be nonsense. What's that? That the roughly 100 million women who bought this book did so in order to get fantasy material to use when they stimulate themselves sexually, or when someone stimulates them.

And there is, if you'll pardon the expression, the rub. Because roughly 100 million women are turned on enough by the idea of being submissive that they went out and bought this book. Submissive!

100 Million! I'm repeating this over and over again for a reason. Think about that for a while. That's a big, big, big number.

That isn't every woman. It's not even close to it. But it's a lot of women.

If we're going to write about this phenomenon at all, and we don't have to, we need to start with that fact. That's what is important. It's also the fact that most people who write about the movie are doing everything they can to avoid acknowledging. For example, I love Mollie Hemingway, I read her stuff all the time and generally agree with her about seventy percent of the time. But she is spouting pure, undiluted nonsense when she says,"Fifty Shades of Grey is for women frustrated by the consequences of feminism and a sexual revolution that didn't turn out like we expected." Not it's not. It's for women who want to get aroused and have orgasms and it worked for millions upon millions of them.

This isn't a backlash against feminism. This isn't a reaction against all the weak and unsatisfactory young men out there. It's a masturbation thing! It tells us that one heck of a lot of women get their rocks off while imagining that they are being dominated.

And it's not about women not wanting to make the decisions about sex, or men being too proud and having easily bruised egos so that they won't take suggestions about sex.  The hero of this book is a nightmare (albeit a very wealthy nightmare). When looking for helpful material to assist them in fantasizing while masturbating, approximately 100 million women chose this.

Maybe you're thinking that's just because no one has given them any other options. Maybe you're thinking that if someone cranked out a book, it obviously doesn't have to literature, about a sexually dominant woman, that might also sell 100 million copies. Hey, go right ahead. It's your chance to get rich. Go right ahead. We'll see how you do.

So don't waste our time telling us it's badly written, or that it's a poorly made movie, or that it's not realistic. Deep Throat wasn't well-written, well-directed, or realistic either. No porn book or film—either softcore or hardcore—in the history of the world has been good art. You don't read or study porn. You use porn. Just as good soap is the stuff that actually removes dirt, good porn is the stuff that gets the user sexually aroused. No matter what you or I or anybody else wishes were actually the case, Fifty Shades of Grey worked and is working for a lot of women. Deal with it.