I’m not sure which part of this column is more stupid:
The part where L.G. from Phoenix asks if it is appropriate for her sister to be reading FIFTY SHADES OF GREY in front of their father (while clearly taking a passive-aggressive swipe at her sibling in the process)…
… or the part where The Boston Globe’s Robin Abraham asserts in her Miss Conduct column that reading this book in public equates to a public sex act.
Fifty shades of gross! Your poor father was probably only feigning unconsciousness out of embarrassment.
Reading in public is a fine, improving act. As a city dweller, I have always enjoyed the way public reading creates a barrier — yet a permeable one — between the individual and the people surrounding him or her. You have a sense of fellow feeling with readers, don’t you? Oh, look, that guy over there likes the New Yorker, too. Commuters catching up on the newspapers, students plowing through dense academic tomes, “escape” readers with their lurid science fiction or crime paperbacks . . . reading in public gives people a little window into your mind.
And therein lies the, er, rub. The purpose of Fifty Shades of Grey is to arouse the reader, which means that reading it in public is about as appropriate as feeling yourself up in the coffee shop. You are forcing other people to witness a sexual act.
There’s so much wrong with this response (and there’s more in the column if you’d like to see her complete answer), the stupidest being:
“Reading in public is a fine, improving act.”
What the hell does that mean? Improving? Is this a column written for nineteenth century girls attending finishing school? Has Abraham declared herself the arbitrator of all public activities? Is it her role to determine which activities are “fine and improving” and which are less so?
“A fine, improving act?”
Could she sound more pretentious?
And did you notice the way she matches readers to their choice of books?
She is a New Yorker fan, of course.
Students read “dense academic tomes” as if they’ve stepped right out of a Harry Potter film onto the bus. No Kindles or Nooks or iPads for these young people. Dusty, intellectual books for them.
“Escape” readers read “lurid science fiction and crime paperbacks,” because apparently everything written in these two genres is considered lurid in Abraham’s mind.
And did you notice her use of quotation marks around the word escape? What’s the point? It’s almost as if Abraham cannot deign to touch the concept of an escape reader without first bracketing the term inside the protective confines of the quotation mark.
God I hate this women.
But of all the stupidity contained within her response, this is the worst:
“The purpose of Fifty Shades of Grey is to arouse the reader, which means that reading it in public is about as appropriate as feeling yourself up in the coffee shop.”
Is she serious? I have yet to read FIFTY SHAES OF GREY, but I am having a difficult time envisioning the reading of this book as a sexual act.
My mother-in-law read the book on her Nook, which means she could’ve been reading it in my presence. I have no way of knowing for sure.
Am I to believe that my mother-in-law may have been engaging in a sexual act in my presence?
In fact, I have seen dozens of women reading this book in public over the last three months. Am I to believe that each of these women were engaging in an act akin to masturbating in a coffee shop? If so, I wish someone would have told me about this sooner. I would have paid closer attention to these deviants.
Hell, maybe I should’ve called the authorities.
A woman was reading the book on the treadmill beside me last week. I had no idea how shocked or embarrassed I was supposed to feel. No one warned me. Little did I know what this sexual deviant was doing beneath the veneer of a high impact cardio workout.
I feel dirty just thinking about it.
And slightly stupider for reading this ridiculous column.