Smitten by God (or Something)

Here’s Sally Quinn in the Washington Post:

The mystics say you can find God anywhere. I believe many women have found him in “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

The trilogy has sold more than 10 million copies, mostly to women over 30 who can’t put the books down. Publishing rights have been sold in 37 countries and movie rights have been secured by Universal.

The books chronicle the relationship between a dominating male entrepreneur, Christian Grey, and a young female college graduate, the submissive Anastasia Steele. The series has been mulled by many writers who have debated whether or not this is a setback for women, to be attracted to a submissive relationship, or a breakthrough, to be able to openly read and discuss a book so sexually explicit that it is often referred to in the media as “mommy porn.”

…I think the “Fifty Shades” phenomenon is about religion.

Not religion in the conventional sense of the word, but in how we are redefining faith practices today as more and more people–especially women–shun man-made traditions yet continue to yearn for religious experiences….

… Grey starts out in the books intending to dominate (beat and cause pain to) Anastasia in his famous playroom dubbed “The Red Room of Pain,” and ends up loving and not wanting (or rather willing) to hurt her. One could compare him to the God of some peoples’ imagination.

Christian is at times punishing, sadistic, angry, demanding, intolerant, fickle, bewildering, withholding, omnipotent, omniscient, awesome, abusive, kind, generous, wise and — above all — loving and cherishing.

Just when Anastasia has had it and is about to give up on Christian for doing something absolutely appalling, just when she no longer believes in him, he redeems himself by doing something so outrageously wonderful that she cannot abandon him and is pulled back into the fold. Just when he is withholding his love from her and she is weeping and can no longer bear it, he embraces her with an overwhelming totality. Just when she is doubting herself for her submission, he turns the tables and offers himself to her.

Sound familiar? These are some of the same emotional conflicts that I believe could be attributed to Mother Teresa and her lifetime struggle in her relationship with God.

Okey Dokey.

But read the whole thing: it’s interesting as an example of a certain type of vaguely “spiritual” mush passed off as thinking….

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3 Responses to Smitten by God (or Something)

  1. John says:

    So it’s a book about a woman with Stockholm Syndrome?

  2. Polichinello says:

    You gotta cut Quinn a break, as she doesn’t have much to do with her time now that her evening dinner party circuit has withered away.

  3. RandyB says:

    I’ve been reading and commenting at On Faith since it started five years ago (occasionally mentioning this site when their typically liberal secularists equate the two outlooks). Sally Quinn, who’s the site’s overall editor (and wife of former Post Editor-in-Chief Ben Bradlee), is pretty much universally regarded by the commenters as writing mushy personal musings of little journalistic value.

    Comment once posted under one of her articles: “Sally, does Ben tape your attempts at journalism to the front of the refrigerator, next to kids’ fingerpaintings?”

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