From the reaction among a certain subset of Dallasites -- the moralizing, socially conservative-right -- you'd think the new Fifty Shades of Grey flick was like something from the Marquis de Sade's secret home movies. As though somehow, a movie with an MPAA "R" rating will bring down civilization.
It's almost enough to make you go see it.
First, we got a DMN op-ed from radio yakker Mark Davis.
"Movies filled with tawdry sex will come and go, their worst sins amounting to mere mindless devotion to graphic visuals. This is far worse. This is an attack on virtuous manhood and a celebration of bad choices by women.
And the pathetic thing is, the liberated throngs knocking back a few pinots in their pre-film tailgate parties neither know nor care.
So enjoy, ladies. Thrill to the imagery of Christian Grey as he beats a college-age girl for his jollies. Imagine yourselves in the pumps of Anastasia Steele as she endures his abuse.
Plenty of movies contain portrayals of perversity, but usually it is in a negative light. It is the particularly noxious works that hold it up as something cool, enjoyable to witness and perhaps even to be emulated.
Maybe this is just an extension of the catnip value of all those vampire movies, ravenously consumed by women drawn to the take-charge romanticism of the undead. In 2015, having Edward and Jacob fight over you in the woods no longer suffices.
Now, the taste is for a harder fix. This weekend's Fifty Shades target audience and any self-respecting (or woman-respecting) men unwise enough to accompany them are rewarding a low cultural exploit that will appeal to our basest appetites."
Not willing to let Davis have all the fun, First Baptist Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress got in on the act Tuesday during a radio appearance. Not only is Fifty Shades a sign of America's vast moral decay, Jeffress says, it's also a sign that the end times are upon us. (Note: There's some of the usual stuff about The Gays at the beginning of this clip, but he gets to the EL James opus eventually.)
Finally, to close the loop, here's Davis' video blog on the subject, which includes a guide for how to "sit your woman down" and tell her not to see the movie.
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What's going on with all this red-faced blustering about Fifty Shades of Grey, you ask? In an age when simply typing the word "fisting" alongside any other noun on a computer screen will bring up videos that would make Caligula yak, why this?
Could it be that Davis and Jeffress understand that mentioning Fifty Shades of Grey right now is a perfect new media way of drawing attention? That merely having the words Fifty Shades of Grey in proximity to your name or, say, blog, might exploit unwary Googlers?
We certainly hope no one in Dallas would be so cynical as to exploit Fifty Shades of Grey that way. Unfair Park believes Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele* deserve better than that, even if we'll never, ever see Fifty Shades of Grey.
*Seriously, Anstasia Steele?