Today marks the release of the second two books in the epic Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. To mark the release, Fifty Shades author E.L. James opened up in an interview with Today, saying that writing Fifty Shades was due to her "mid-life crisis." The novels, which began their lives as Twilight fanfiction with sex and bondage thrown in, are "all my [James'] fantasies… and that's it." James' oeuvre has kind of become like Glee, Nickleback, or Holocaust denial: so derided, so easy to mock, that it's not even hip to make fun of them anymore.
But I don't care about being hip. Personally, I'm of the mind that a mid-life crisis is a time for self-examination. An attempt to understand how you got to where you are, and who you are. Like the rest of your life, it should be an exercise in mindfulness, a look into why you spend time doing the things you do. So to E.L. James and enough women to get her on the top of the bestseller list, this soul-searching resulted in… the desire to find a good-looking rich guy to tie you up? Frankly, a mid-life crisis should carry more weight than some not-that-unusual sexual desires.
I hate to sound Lena Dunhamesque (yup, I just did that), but existential crises aren't restricted to the middle-aged. I know what questioning your being is like, and, at the risk of sounding judgmental, my self-examinations and epiphanies have resulted in slightly more than a desire to be flogged by a poorly-characterized rich dude. The gap between the life-questioning dread of a mid-life crisis and "mommy porn," should be kept as wide as possible.
And yes, I mentioned a "wide gap" and "mommy porn," in the same sentence. That's really where I was going with all of this.