BC Bookstore Finally Gets Around to Banning Fifty Shades of Grey
After three years on bookshelves, after two sequels, after more than 100 million copies sold, and after a huge Hollywood film release, the Boston College bookstore has finally gotten around to banishing Fifty Shades of Grey, just months after it began selling the popular erotic romance novels.
Why such timely self-censorship, you ask?
“We don’t want to offend anybody,” the bookstore director Tina Plotegher tells The Heights in words you just love to hear from sellers of books. Though the store had received plenty of grumblings about the book before, The Heights reports, it seems it did not receive an explicit request that the book be taken off the shelves until this week.
“The final customer complained the other day,” [Plotegher] said. “It was just this main one that was the force that took [the books] off the shelf. The other ones weren’t like, ‘They should come off the shelves.’ It was more of just rumblings of having the book.”
The complaint was forwarded to the store by the college, according to The Heights, though the school did not actually demand that it be heeded, so if everyone is to be believed, this appears to be nothing more than the decision of a private, religiously affiliated bookseller to tailor their offerings to suit their clients.
There is, of course, a difference between a private bookstore pulling material, and, say, a public library doing the same. Fifty Shades has, by the way, actually faced censorship from public libraries, and while we’d like to think the librarians are pulling it as much for its lack of literary merit as for its smuttiness, you never see anyone banning Dan Brown books because they contain mixed metaphors like: “Her compensation for a sixteen-hour workday was learning the ropes in the trenches with a seasoned politician.” No, they pull Dan Brown books because of all the weird Jesus sex stuff, just as BC is pulling Fifty Shades for all its weird sex stuff.
We’d be more concerned if this were to actually limit a Boston College student’s access to the bestseller. So far, it looks like there’s a digital edition available on the BC library website, to say nothing of the hundreds of millions of physical copies floating around. Still, one never quite delights in seeing popular books made less available because of their objectionable content.