Rich liar Mitch Albom, once described by H.P. Lovecraft as "a grotesque scaly body with rudimentary wings," has written a column about 50 Shades of Grey. Reading it is like coming across a big shotgun next to a tiny barrel with an enormous, beautiful fish inside, only the fish has already hung itself from a tiny noose.
"It's official," Albom kicks off. "I've become a prude." A prude? Mitch? You? Really? Yes: after finding out that this book 50 Shades of Grey has "taken over the literary world," Albom decided to read it. And guess what?
And it is all about sex.
Not your typical sex. Kinky sex. Sex with ropes. Masks. A few devices you previously only read about in "Popular Mechanics."
What happened to good old typical sex, the sex our parents had? Do people even have sex without ropes anymore? Not in new America, with its masks and its mechanical sex devices and its "art" films:
It's not just those novels. It's everything. Last week, several new "art" films opened in town. One was called "Hysteria." It followed the invention of the vibrator. Really?
The other was called "Turn Me On, Dammit!" which a Boston reviewer described as "a short, dry, nicely observed comedy about a girl and her hormones." In the film, the teenage star fantasizes about sex with just about everybody. Does this leave the reviewer shocked or embarrassed? No. Instead he writes, "What's refreshing ... is how direct the girls are. They use the coarse names for penis that everybody else does."
Well, then. There's your Oscar.
There's two Oscars, at least, one for Best Atypical Sex and one for Best Coarse Names for a Penis. Do they even give out the Best Picture Oscar these days? Yes, but only for movies where people in masks invent vibrators. Coarse Penis Vibrator Ropes: The Movie — there's your Oscar. "The fact that a reviewer even uses the p-word in a newspaper leaves me feeling awkward," Mitch writes. It must be fun to be Mitch's urologist.
But don't think that you can avoid this plague of atypical sex by ignoring "art" films like Hysteria or Magic Mike. There's even sex on HBO:
Even flipping through TV channels isn't safe. You can innocently hit upon "Cathouse," or "Real Sex," or "Girls" — and that's just on HBO, the cool channel you are supposed to watch if you're a mature American adult. Except that "Cathouse" and "Real Sex" speak for themselves, and "Girls" — which critics again hail as brilliant — was so depressing in how bland and blasé the casual sex is that it left me feeling as if I were raised on another planet.
You can innocently hit upon Cathouse or Real Sex, if you are just flipping casually and innocently through HBO channels at three in the morning.
When it comes to sex, what once was hidden is broadly in the open. What once you didn't talk about, now you can read in a movie review. Modesty is a lost word. If there isn't some shock involved, it isn't worth doing anymore.
I never thought, as a child of the '60s, that I'd reach an era where I wanted to say, "Whoa, slow down," but it has happened. I want a little less p-word, a little less v-word, a little more mystery and a lot less detail.
Back in the 1960s, you'd get strung up in the middle of town for saying the phrase "coarse names for penis." Now? It's literally the front-page headline of the New York Times. Less p-word, please! Less v-word! Mitch, writing in Michigan, where Republican lawmakers recently freaked out when a state representative used the word vagina during a debate about abortion, knows how dangerous it is to constantly be saying p- and v-words, and having sex with ropes. The less we know about sex, or our sex organs, or ways to have sex, the better sex will be for everyone. "Mystery" — this is the foundation for good sex. What even is a v-word? I don't know — and that's how I know my sex will be great.