Is 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Dangerous? British Charity Holds Mass Book Burning
Wearside Women In Need, a British charity for domestic abuse has announced plans to hold a mass burning of "Fifty Shades." Clare Phillipson, director of the charity, described the book as "dangerous" and insisted that it could potentially encourage domestic abuse.
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Ms. Phillipson, who said she had read two-thirds of the first book before she gave up "in disgust", said she was furious that libraries throughout the North East were ordering extra copies of the trilogy to cope with demand.
Newcastle city libraries have 20 copies of the trilogy in stock; Sunderland City Council has nine copies with four more on order; libraries in Durham have 13 with 320 people on the waiting list and Northumberland County Council has eight copies with six more on order.
"I do not think I can put into words how vile I think this book is, and how dangerous I think the idea is that you get a sophisticated but naive young woman and a much richer, abusive older man who beats her up and does some dreadful things to her sexually," Phillipson said.
"My main objection is that at a time when local authorities are making cuts to outreach and refuge services for women experiencing domestic violence, we have libraries wasting and grossly misusing public money to buy a book which says: 'domestic violence is sexy.'
"The money would be better spent supporting victims," she added.
Phillipson's solution is to have women burn their copies of "Fifty Shades of Grey." She's invited anyone who's interested to come to the bonfire, which will be held outside the Wearside Women in Need's offices in Washington, Tyne, and Wear on November 5.
I can empathize with Phillipson's outrage -- I'm sure anyone with a fifth grader's control of grammar can relate. Plus, England's pretty cold. And book-burning is such a dependable fuel source. There's no arguing there. But will this really solve anything? Does she even have a point here?
Christian Grey does hit Anastasia Steele, but he only does so with her consent. The minute she tells him to stop, he does. And, indeed, a spokesperson for the book's publisher, Random House, has denied Phillipson's claim on that very basis, saying that "'Fifty Shades of Grey' explores a consensual relationship between two willing adult participants."
In any case, it seems like the public's fascination with the "Fifty Shades" trilogy might be dwindling a bit. The first installment was knocked off the top spot on the Amazon Best Sellers list, falling to third place after "No Easy Day" and the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association."
So, what do you think readers? Is the burning of any book just plain wrong? Or do you support "Fifty Shades" being burned for other reasons?
No word yet if Strunk and White will schedule a book burning as well.