April 13, 2019

"James struck licensing agreements for everything from 'Fifty Shades'-branded wine and lingerie to floggers, vibrators and handcuffs..."

"... and oversaw the development of many of these items herself. Perhaps most incongruously, she even licensed a 'Fifty Shades' teddy bear, who comes with mini handcuffs and a blindfold. 'We set about trademarking things just to stop people from making them,' she tells me in her office, which is festooned with 'Fifty Shades' paraphernalia... James wants to show me some nipple clamps she helped design in collaboration with the sex-toy maker Lovehoney, a British company that produced a line of Fifty Shades-themed erotic accessories. Lovehoney had first proposed some heavy, industrial-looking clamps, which James rejected. 'They looked like they could jump start Frankenstein,' James says."

From "The Evolution of E L James/James changed the literary landscape with her blockbuster erotica trilogy, 'Fifty Shades of Grey.' Now she is trying something (sort of) new" (NYT).

Jump start Frankenstein. That's good. Almost good enough to make me read EL James — not quite — who's got a new book. It's about "a wealthy British aristocrat who falls for his house cleaner, a beautiful, mysterious young woman who fled Albania." Ah, yes, Albania. The country you pick when you need a country nobody knows about.*

James worked hard to get Albania:
James traveled to Albania twice to research the novel, and collected a small library of books about the country, including an Albanian dictionary, a guide to Albanian social codes and laws, and a book about Albanian organized crime. Her husband, who’s the household cook, learned to make traditional Albanian stews.
I await Lucky James, the cultural-appropriation restaurant.
It was quite a change from the research she did for “Fifty Shades,” which involved lurking in some of the darker corners of the internet, scrolling through websites devoted to sexual bondage techniques and accessories....

Beneath the frothy fantasy, “The Mister” deals with unexpectedly weighty topics like economic inequality, the plight of undocumented workers, the oppression of women in conservative societies and the way social institutions and governments elevate the wealthy and powerful and exploit the vulnerable.
Get woke and titillated.
______________________

* Or so I learned from the movie "Wag that Dog."

54 comments:

Birches said...

James has a good publicist to get this kind of free advertising from the NYT.

Michael K said...

Discovery ID (Which we call the "Murder Channel") had a program on a guy who called himself "Mister handcuffs" on BDSM internet sites and got women volunteering to be subjected to this stuff. The trouble was he killed them.

Big Mike said...

Albanian blood feuds are infamous, and have been the subject of special reports by news organizations like the BBC and articles in the print media, e.g., USA Today. Albanian laws codified blood feuds, identifying who gets to kill whom next. During the Cold War it suffered under the most extreme and repressive communist regime anywhere in Europe, and today it is arguably the poorest country in Europe. Not hard to see why someone would want to emigrate.

Fernandistein said...

What, no nipple-vise-grips?!? What about corrective phrenology?

Darrell said...

During the Cold War it suffered under the most extreme and repressive communist regime anywhere in Europe

That's why a British numpty can call it a conservative society.

Curious George said...

Anyone else instantly think of this when you hear Albania?

Annie C. said...

Albania. Albania.
It borders on the Adriatic.
It's land is mostly mountainous.
And it's chief export is .....

I can't remember. Dang it.

Darrell said...

And it's chief export is .....

Albanians.

Anonymous said...

Disgusting. Get out of the sewer.

David Begley said...

Stop slandering Frankenstein!

Read “Frankenstein, Part II.” Soon to be a major motion picture.

Curious George said...

And it's chief export is .....

chrome.

Fernandistein said...

And it's chief export is .....

Gosh darn your post which showed up while google was falsely and repeatedly claiming to apologize to me for the inconvenience!

Chrome!

David Begley said...

Vise-Grip™️ Is a registered trademark. Invented in Nebraska. Used to be made in DeWitt, Nebraska.

robother said...

Nipple clips befitting a "Frahnkensteen," thank you.

Nobody said...

I thought her research for the movie involved watching “Secretary (2002).”

Steven Shainberg’s film tells the tale of Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a clumsy and emotionally fragile gal who, after attempting to take her own life, tries to work her way back into society. She gets a job as a secretary for an attorney, E. Edward Grey (James Spader), who revels in how submissive she is. He doesn’t just share the same last name as Christian; also his taste for BDSM. What starts off as spanking to punish her typos blossoms into a full-blown dom-sub relationship. And James Spader is the ultimate dom.

mccullough said...

Are these 50 Shades cock rings and dildoes available through the Althouse Portal?

Maybe pair them with some Trump Steaks and Trump Vodka?

Ken B said...

She still flogging this stuff?

Sebastian said...

"who falls for his house cleaner, a beautiful, mysterious young woman who fled Albania"

Ah, an affair with a Muslim? Kinky!

Murph said...

I can't think of Albania without recalling the marvelous chapter on Bad Capitalism in Patrick O'Rourke's book, Eat the Rich.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eat_the_Rich_(book)

Gilbert Pinfold said...

My son was sent tp Albania as an Army ROTC cadet during the summer of 2015 on a military cultural exchange program. They love Americans as only those who have lived under doctrinaire communism can. When he got back, he was debriefed and learned that the cadets were under watch by US Special Forces to make sure no terrorist event or kidnapping could occur.

buwaya said...

I still don’t understand the popularity of “Shades of Grey”.
But assuming that, on so much evidence, that women are ready to fall by the million for misbehaving billionaires, the actual performance, so to speak, of actual billionaires, does not match the presumed potential.

Annie C. said...

Chrome! Of course. Now to find that old Cheers episode.

mccullough said...

Most billionaires are ugly.

Bezos sent dick pics to his girlfriend and the Enquirer mocked him. That’s realism. 50 shades is fantasy.

chickelit said...

Althouse wrote: * Or so I learned from the movie "Wag that Dog."

Whose dog?
Wich dog?
That dog?

Albania's "Cult of Ugly"

Curious George said...

"Annie C. said...
Chrome! Of course. Now to find that old Cheers episode."

I posted the scene at 9:53

Howard said...

Blogger buwaya said...I still don’t understand the popularity of “Shades of Grey”.
Many women are deprived of deprivation because mmany men can't figure out how to work the equipment.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks for the "Cheers" thing.

I didn't watch that series, but recently I streamed the first few episodes of Season 1. I might continue, but I'm still working my way through the 200+ episodes of "Friends."

I like the idea of going back to a great old series that I didn't watch at the time and just watching through the whole thing.

Which shows deserve that? I'm beginning with the category of things that were great TV but that I did not watch. Also, I'm only interested in doing this with sitcoms. My attention span is good in one way and not in another (as my involvement with blogging demonstrates).

William said...

What with all the accessories and Corinthian leather and intricate rope knots, bondage must be one of the most time consuming and expensive perversions known to man. America needs cheaper, more accessible perversions. Chubby chasing is the way to go.

Big Mike said...

Which shows deserve that?

Wife is mildly addicted to old episodes of “Columbo” and “Murder She Wrote.” She tried “Hart to Hart,” but the acting of Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers cannot overcome crappy writing and hokey plots.

If you get the History Channel you might consider skipping the “Ancient Aliens” series.

Gospace said...

Having not read any of 50 Shades nor seen the movies, I know way too much about it from reading blog posts and memes.

The biggest takeaway is this: if the main character lived in a trailer park, it would be creepy.

Curious George said...

"Which shows deserve that?"

In no particular order:
Curb
Larry Sanders
Northern Exposure
Parks and Rec
The Office US
Malcolm in the Middle
Both Bob Newharts
Taxi
Fawlty Towers


EDH said...

Lovehoney had first proposed some heavy, industrial-looking clamps, which James rejected. 'They looked like they could jump start Frankenstein,' James says."

My first thought...

Edgar Winter should have worn those nipple clamps on that weird album cover of They Only Come Out at Night, which of course included the song... Frankenstein.

Fen said...

50 Shades. She would have let him grab her by the pussy for a chance to marry his bank account.

And these same women that clutched their pearls over Trump's locker room talk all had copy of 50 Shades on display in the house to look sophisticated for the occasional neighbor dropping by.

But my favorite part was on Facebook, all these losers trying to pretend they were into the "scene", making oblique references to their "darker" side. It was like watching virgins attempt to flirt with the devil.

Michael K said...

Which shows deserve that? I'm beginning with the category of things that were great TV but that I did not watch.

"Northern Exposure." The only TV series I ever watched as my office staff told me about it.

John henry said...

Probably two of the hardest of harcore bondage and domination books are the story of o trilogy by Pauline Reage and the Beauty trilogy by Ann Rice.

Lots of whips, buttplugs, tying up, branding, forcible sex and so on. Lots of the rough behavior is of women by women.

Classics in the genre.

The Gray books I've not read but I get the impression it is O/Beauty lite.

All are written by women and have large women audiences. Why do women find porn about women being sexually abused so interesting?

I once saw a woman on tv mention how "hot" Story of O was. Back in the 80s or 90s. No big deal. Any man who had said something similar would have been branded a pervert.

All books mentioned available on Amazon via the portal.

Amazon bans a series for guys on hooking up in various countries. Got to keep up the tone, right?

John Henry

Dad29 said...

titillated

I see what you did there.

John henry said...

Question for Ann,

If someone buys story of o through your portal, will you accept the commission payment?

Are you OK with being a purveyor of hardcore, woman abusive pornography?

I a ask hypothetically. I understand you have no control over purchases via the portal and probably can't refuse the payment.

Just wondering how you feel about it.

John Henry

Earnest Prole said...

Almost good enough to make me read EL James — not quite — who's got a new book.

According to Bret Easton Ellis, who at one point was considered to write the screenplay for the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James is terrible with words but psychologically quite insightful. Personally, I don't have the patience to endure awful writing hoping for hidden reward.

Earnest Prole said...

I like the idea of going back to a great old series that I didn't watch at the time and just watching through the whole thing. Which shows deserve that?

Frasier. As with other great shows, it takes a couple of seasons to hit its full stride. Trust me.

Earnest Prole said...

I thought her research for the movie involved watching “Secretary (2002).”

Highly recommended. Couldn't be made today.

John henry said...

Was it mccullouch who asked?

I just checked. Amazon has a large selection of nipple clamps, buttplugs and cockrings. Don't forget to use the portal!

Iykwim (lewd leerl

I wonder if there are special cockrings for women with penises? Might be an un tapped market.

John Henry

John henry said...

Since we are talking about old tv shows.

A week or two back someone mentioned the British show The detectorist. The premise sounded incredibly boring.

Still, I've enough experience with recommendations here that I've learned to give them a shot.

So I watched the first episode and was hooked. Almost through the second season now.

Incredible show. Thanks to whoever recommended it.

John Henry

John henry said...

Detectorists is free with Amazon Prime

John Henry

mockturtle said...

I neither read the aforementioned book nor saw the film but have a theory that it is the 'progressive' women who did.

mikee said...

Was there ever a successful counterargument to the thought that the 50 Shades phenomenon proved the complete and utter failure of modern feminism as a belief system in the US?

Bilwick said...

mockturtle writes: "I neither read the aforementioned book nor saw the film but have a theory that it is the 'progressive' women who did/:

A reasonsble theory, given the historical "progressive" penchant for whips, chains and dungeons.

Bill Peschel said...

Another vote for Detectorists. I don't know if I mentioned it here, but I've been spreading the word ever since.

I've been through all three seasons (they're brief), and they're wonderful. I wish there was a fourth season, but I'm happy the auteur (who you might know as the scarecrow pirate from the Pirates of the Caribbean series) decided he won't unless he has a good reason.

FWIW, I also liked the Phryne Fisher series, set in Melbourne in the 1920s, based on the mystery novels by Kerry Greenwood. The relationship between Phryne and staid detective Jack is very amusing, and hot in a restrained way (imagine Steed and Emma Peel).

What I didn't realize until I looked at the extras was the extent of the special effects they could use. In one scene, they put back a bridge Melbourne had in the '20s that had been since torn down. Seamless.

If I was going to watch an old series, I probably would try "Seinfeld." Never saw a complete episode (nor anything else, including Friends, since 1995, when we cut the cord).

I tried to watch X-Files, and stopped after the first show. Knowing that nothing gets resolved and that the series moved in weird directions didn't encourage me to go on.

I do want to rewatch Firefly. That was a fun show.

Nobody said...

I like the idea of going back to a great old series that I didn't watch at the time and just watching through the whole thing.

Everybody is going to groan, but I listened to all of the Dylan albums consecutively and in order through Blonde on Blonde on a recent road trip using Spotify. I can’t exactly say what I learned, but I didn’t regret it when it was done. I also watched Friends back to back all 200+ episodes. It’s like the War and Peace of nonsense and breakups.

mockturtle said...

The only TV show I binge on is Forged in Fire on Wednesdays, where they rerun past episodes back to back all afternoon. Probably the only actual TV show that interests me.

Big Mike said...

I do want to rewatch Firefly. That was a fun show.

I'll second that!

narciso said...

yes, firefly, was good, killed by the fox entertainment brass, whedon clearly doesn't understand whose side he's on, I caught a few episodes of the Fisher series, based on Kerry greenwood's books,

Seeing Red said...

Didn’t NE catapult a piano in one episode? That was a fun show.

Yes, Minister from Britain. Things haven’t changed. I LMAO when they talk about health care.

I watched all of Phryne. I love 20s clothing.

Shetland is good. We like detective series and I think it had the biggest twist I’ve ever seen.

We’ve completed all 20 seasons of Midsomer Murders. Slept thru some, but...

DanDotDan said...

Anyone else instantly think of this when you hear Albania?

That's the first thing that popped into my head. Decades later, and I still know what sea Albania borders on because of Coach's song.

Skippy Tisdale said...

I finally saw 50 Shades of Grey. I had no idea it was a comedy. It reminded me of The Crying Game in that no one who has seen the movie gives the plot twist away. Damn impressive.