Oh, my. It’s been a hot minute, hasn’t it? I’ll spare you the details because, if you’re bothering to read this, you’re exactly like me and couldn’t care less. So. Down to business, yes? I’m forming a league and I’m recruiting. The Arbiters. Nice ring, eh? Wish I could take credit. Thanks, Mike. You are my official Sergeant At Arms. I use the term “arms” loosely. Do with it as you see fit. New Recruits: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is this:
Every person you see engrossed in The Fifty Shades of Grey series, or its half-assed rip-off of a rip-off of a satire, The Crossfire series by Silvia Day, you shall snatch said “novel” from their hands and promptly slap them across the face with it. Okay, time out. I’m going to make a second assumption. If you’re reading this, and you’re not a complete idiot, you’ll know that I’m not being serious. Don’t slap people. That’s rude. Instead, tell them they’re a moron and the book they’re reading is shit. That’s helpful. Some of you are still hovering over the fact that there’s another housewife panty-wetter novel haunting the shelves that wasn’t published by Harlequin. I know, I couldn’t believe it, either. And yet, on my weekly pilgrimage to Books A Million to search for that gem novel that’ll transport me to another plane of existence, there it was on the shelf labeled “Books Everyone is Talking About.” Pardon me, BAM, but NO ONE is talking about that fucking book. They’re talking about the fact that stay at home moms and their childless counterparts now have their own poorly written, disguised as a novel, porn. The fact that they’ve found an “acceptable” way to get their rocks off isn’t an issue. I’ve always said the solution to Mrs. Jones’s uptight nature is a good, hard fuck. The problem is that these books, this Fifty Shades of bullshit, are gizzing all over the New York Times Bestseller List. “OMG [yes, she literally said the letters, individually], you have to get this book,” the woman next to me says to her friend. “It was so… good!” “No,” I say to her, “It’s really not.” They both look at me with puzzled expressions – the first woman’s mouth a thin line of contempt. I’m stealing her thunder. I turn to the shelf behind me (Our Favorite Paperbacks) and pick up two novels: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I hand one to each woman and say, “These are good. Great, in fact. That – “ I point to the stack of Greys, “ – is shit.” Pay it forward, recruits. I’ll be waiting for your progress reports.