I already know a lot about the film 50 Shades... even though I am not planning to see it, have not read the book and have not seeked out anything at all about it. We absorb what's going on whether we will or not.
Somehow I seem to know quite a bit about soap operas although I don't watch them - I know the names of several of the actors and characters on Eastenders and Corrie (see, I even know what it's called). I often know about a major story-line or event going on, although I actively avoid it, not really being interested in joining in to all that.
I know celeb stuff without being a fan, and all sorts of nonsense about the royals and so on. We trawl in knowledge peripheral to our own interests if we engage in the world at all.
Sexuality and sexual imagination is a wonderful thing, comprised of all sorts of references and influences. Growing up, we notice particular scenes on TV or films which appeal to us or that we respond to. We collect this great collage of ideas which make up our sexual inner life. Archetypes about ourselves or our partners, scenes that have meaning to us, borrowed from novels, media and real life.
That is why I particularly don't want to infect my own sexual imagination with the major wank fest of 50 Shades. I can't imagine anything worse than sharing some mediocre vision with millions of people, like some shared wet dream. Not everything we collect in our imagination is welcome or fruitful, and often the dynamics that spark something have nothing to do with sex. Certain generations mostly share some film Zeitgeist for good or ill. We look back at film genres as though they were indicative of the attitudes and values of their time, often forgetting how derided or out of step they actually were.
Wasn't the fellow in the Secretary film also called Grey? 50 Shades... is a brilliant title, but by the accounts I have unwittingly absorbed, is inaccurate in the lifestyle choice it seeks to portray, being less a mutually consensual BDSM relationship than a glorified fantasy of domestic abuse with unfeasible wealth thrown in. Whatever.
There's plenty of other stuff - great stuff, I haven't got round to seeing yet. We are in our time and of our time, but we still have choice.
If this is shared visual culture, I just don't want to join in.
26th February 2015