NBC Today Show in Shades of Tacky Grey
NBC’s Today Show is giving the star treatment everyday all week long to the soon to be released movie, 50 Shades of Grey. The film is based on the fiction book of the same name written by British author E.L. James.
Originally self-published, the demographic that bought the book in thousands to boost it to a number one best seller is young women between the ages of twenty and thirty. The writing itself has been critiqued by many to be unskilled violating all the principles of good writing. Jessica Reeves writing for the Chicago Tribune warns a would-be buyer and reader that the “dialogue is stilted, the descriptions of place overwrought, and the characters and plot so predictable that a reader could theoretically skip over several dozen pages of text and still be utterly unsurprised by new developments. (Hey, what do you know? They’re having violent sex again. And both appear to feel vaguely conflicted about the violence aspect, but apparently not conflicted enough to actually stop doing it).”
And that was one of the better reviews I found.
I bought the book and read to page 50 before giving it to a favorite college-aged waitress. I told her I hoped she would find it more appealing than I did as I found it trite, boring and swimming in sexual stereotypes and female abuse. I asked her to tell me what she thinks of the book. She is still trying to find the time to read it.
This week I turned on the Today Show and found that it was doing a host of activities to help launch the film including previewing short segments from the film and interviewing the author. Having made millions of dollars for its author, it no longer matters what the quality of writing is or that the message to women is one that hopefully Today Show’s starring host Savannah Guthrie along with most US women clearly reject.
To be clear, I do not advocate censoring this book or any other. What I cannot fathom is why the Today Show is investing prime time air waves for five consecutive days promoting a movie that centers on the sexual exploitation, domination and abuse of a young woman. How does 50 Shades of Grey fit into the Today Show’s corporate “brand”?
So I wrote the show and asked them. Twice. So far, no response. But the social media campaign with the hashtag #50dollarsnot50shades has responded. It asks people to donate $50 to a domestic violence shelter rather than spending it on the movie.
“People are really upset about this movie and its potential for glamorizing stalking and abusive behavior, so they’re happy to have the chance to do something positive to help offset the damage,” the organizers of the movement told the Washington Times. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation warns that “real women don’t end up like Anastasia; they often end up in a women’s shelter, on the run for years or dead.”
Savannah Guthrie, if you are listening to any of this blow-back, tell your viewers to skip the show on Valentine’s Day and write out a check to their local women’s shelter. Buy a box of chocolate and drop one piece at your local theater instead of buying a ticket for 50 Shades of Grey. Eat the rest yourself or even better with a friend who has done the same thing.