Shipping it publicly

Before you hit me with your keyboards, give me a chance to explain. I’m over twilight as much as the next person BUT it is a really good case for the public sphere and how something can cause so much debate. Firstly, the public sphere is where people can openly discus issues and ideas. The Internet has become the most popular place for these discussions of increasing variety; Politics to technology, movies to health concerns.

Look at the debates on the Internet about twilight. As soon as those books were released Fandoms were screaming out for team Edward and team Jacob. Yeah great no one really cares about that but there still was a lot of debate caused over it. As any good shipper worth their keys, they began to write fan fictions (Shipper: the term “shipper” comes from supporting a ship. To ship something means a person wants two characters to get together and/or shows support for two characters already together – Urban Dictionary) One writer in particular gained massive popularity for her twilight inspired fan fics, so much so that they were made into our beloved 50 shades of grey.

50 Shades of Grey changed the landscape of the literary world, being placed at #1 for 50 weeks straight on some best-seller lists. What has been the impact on the public sphere due to the books popularity? Fans trying to recreate scenes from 50 shades of grey, have in many cases had very damaging effects on their relationships:

British woman is divorcing her husband after he refused to re-create scenes from E.J. James’ best-selling novel…”The woman had been reading the book and wanted to spice up her love life,” the wife’s attorney, Amanda McAlister, said. “She thought their sex life had hit a rut — he never remembered Valentine’s Day and he never complimented her on her appearance. So she bought sexy underwear in an attempt to get her husband more involved. She said, ‘Let’s make things more interesting.” [1]

If you were to Google 50 shades of grey how many results would you get? When I googled it 83,700,000 results were found! Articles like:

What does the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey Say about our Sexuality

Why women Really like “50 Shades of Grey”

Explaining ’50 Shades’ wild success – CNN.com

50 Shades of Grey is best-selling book of all time – Telegraph

50 things I hate about 50 Shades of grey

And its about to be reintroduced to the public sphere in even more formats: a movie, soundtrack, television show, even a musical have all been suggested if not already in production. And just think all of this was started because Twilight was introduced to the public sphere.

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Shelf it….should books have classifications?

film and literature

It’s a question I have been wondering for a long time, should books have classifications? Movies do, television shows do, even websites are starting to provide a rating, whether or not they stick to that rating is another issue…But why don’t books have to?

The former Office of Film and Literature Classification (the OFLC) ceased to exist when new administrative arrangements came into force on 1 July 2007. The policy and operational functions of the OFLC were transferred to the Attorney-General’s Department. Decisions are still made by the Classification Board, and reviews of decisions are still made by the Classification Review Board.[1]

Case One: The Hunger GamesThe hunger games

Before I go any further, for the record I love the hunger games, they are amazing books that have managed to recreate the end of the world/ rebellion genre. That being said the books are considered quite graphically violent in relation to children killing children. for its 17+ audience reading this book, this level of violence is easily handled. But for the younger violence, particularly readers that are a little bit more sensitive, this book could be concerning for the parents. For a parent buying books for their children, reading the title of the book you wouldn’t be aware of the details of the book. While I was growing up my parents had said that their were certain books I wasn’t allowed to read. They always said to me that there were so many books in the world I can read, I don’t have to read those ones. but how did they know what was in those books, largely it was due to my siblings and what their friends told them about the books. what if a parent doesn’t have that, would classifications help?

Case two: 50 shades of grey

50 shades of greyThe book series 50 shades of grey spent at least 50 weeks on the bestseller list. Walking into my local dymocks at the start of its reign i saw it there and wanted to read it to find out what it was about.Personally I will read a book because of its title and cover, I very rarely read the blurb on the back, in-fact i don’t know a lot of people in my age group that do read the backs of books. A greater number of book audiences will read a book because a friend recommended it or by it’s reputation. I was already buying two other books so I decided to leave it for a week. When I went back to school I joined a conversation about the book simply saying I wanted to read it, everyone looked at me weirdly before they explained what the book was about. I had no idea what the book was about, only that it was a best seller.

Now…what was the point of that rant… luckily I hadn’t bought the book before I actually heard everything about it, but what if I had been younger than what i was and had bought that book? Granted I should have read the back, but even then, the blurbs are meant to entice the audience not tell them everything that is going to be in the novel. Especially for parents who are concerned with what their kids are exposing themselves to, knowing what their kids are actually reading as well as what knowing what you are buying is important for today’s consumers. to be honest having classifieds wont stop kids from reading these kinds of books if they dont want to but it is still important to have the option there if they want it, even if the classifieds were just listed online for books.

Australian Classification