In a bizarre turn of events, some killers in the UK are getting reduced sentences by using what lawyers are calling “the Fifty Shades of Grey defence.” A few lawmakers are trying to change that.
The film adaptation of E. L. James best-selling Fifty Shades series caught some serious flack when it came out for its less-than-stellar portrayal of the BDSM subculture. In particular, critics of the series pointed to its shallow, one-dimensional understanding of consent and safety in BDSM contexts. Now, these concerns about James’ erotic series are having real-word, legal consequences.
Harriet Harman, a member of parliament and former Labour party leader, called for a change in order to stop abusers who kill their partners from dodging murder charges by claiming their partners perished during consensual rough sex.
During a debate in the House of Commons, Harman dubbed this strategy “the Fifty Shades of Grey defence” and said:
It used to be the case that men used to routinely get away with murder and only be charged with manslaughter because they could say that, although they had killed her, it was not his fault, it was her fault because she provoked him. And that was the provocation defence which led to a charge being reduced down from murder to manslaughter.
Harman argued that defendants using the Fifty Shades defense are essentially doing the same thing in a different way. The precedent in the law is especially chilling because it allows the killer to control the victim’s narrative:
[The victim], of course, is not there to say otherwise. So, in the witness box, [the accused] gives lurid, unchallengeable accounts of her addiction to violent sex, and explains that the bruises that cover her body were what she wanted. The grieving relatives have to listen to his version of her sexual proclivities and see them splashed all over social media and in the newspapers. He has killed her, and then he defines her.
Ms. Harman brought up the example of Natalie Conolly, whose killer was sentenced for manslaughter rather than murder after he testified Conolly had died during “rough sex.” In order to get justice for women like Conolly, Harman argued the law needs to be changed.
Ms. Connolly’s constituency MP Tory Mark Garnier also spoke in support of the Domestic Abuse Bill, back Ms. Harman:
What we can do is we can make sure that somebody who really understands this can make the decision, so in the event of this type of injury and homicide under a domestic abuse setting that the Director of Public Prosecutions is the one that is consulted if a change is going to be made and that way those families get the support…If there’s any way that we can remember her, we have to do something to make sure this can never happen to anybody ever again.
Featured Image via The Telegraph
Sometimes I get so engrossed in a book that I forget how long I’ve been sitting in one spot. I’m sure you are familiar with the feeling. Whatever you’re reading is so much more interesting than wherever you actually are that you wish you could dive into your book and live in its world instead. While that is, regrettably, impossible, here are five real-life houses that will make you feel like you’re in the pages of your favorite novel.
1. The “Harry Potter” or “Hogwarts” House
Image Via Spacecrafting
This house in downtown Minneapolis is the result of seven years of renovation by the owner. The interior of the three bedroom and bath home looks like a Hogwarts dormitory or the inside of The Three Broomsticks. Guess it gives new meaning to the phrase “a man’s home is his castle.”
2. The Gatsby Mansion
Image Via InsideHook
This mansion served as inspiration for the 2013 film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel and exists in the real-life location of the fictional story: Long Island, New York. The 14,551-square-foot house has eighteen bedrooms, a wine cellar, and even a hair salon.
3. Chatsworth House, better known as Jane Austen’s Pemberley
Image Via Chatsworth House
Although there is some dispute as to whether Chatsworth House or the nearby Wentworth Woodhouse (or both) served as the original inspiration for Pemberley in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, it is mentioned in the novel as one of the places that Elizabeth Bennet visits before she arrives at Mr. Darcy’s residence. Additionally, Chatsworth was used as Pemberley in the 2005 film adaptation of the novel.
4. Baan Suan Noi, also known as Hobbit House Thailand
Image Via Nookmag
There are actually numerous “hobbit homes” that have cropped up across the world, but you might not expect one to be located just two hours outside of Bangkok, Thailand. It may be smaller than the other locales included on this list, but it is cozy and has all the amenities a modern-day hobbit needs, and it is only thirty minutes away from a national park.
Image Via Escala Penthouses
Okay, so this last one is a bit of a departure from the other places on this list, but it is the setting for many of the escapades that take place in E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey series, and it is a real place even if James did get some of the details wrong. The penthouse of the Escala Building is a 6,320-square-foot residence that has three bedrooms, a large open-plan kitchen, a library, and many floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of Seattle’s skyline. Sorry, there’s no helicopter landing pad on the roof. And no, there’s no playroom either.
Feature Image Via Spacecrafting
If there’s one thing you can say about writers, it is that they certainly aren’t afraid to let loose. They are naturally creative and when that creativity meets paper, bizarre lines can spew out of writers’ minds.
Here are eight lines that made readers say, “WTF?”
Warning: NSFW Language
“I kissed her, a long hard kiss. Because baby didn’t know it, but baby was dead, and in a way I couldn’t have loved her more.”
— Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me
“All women love semi-rape. They love to be taken. It was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that made his act of love so piercingly wonderful.”
— Ian Fleming, The Spy Who Loved Me
“And suddenly his cock was out, jutting upward from his breeches like a fat pink mast.”
— George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows
“The dragon grinned at her before bringing his nose down and sniffing her cloth-covered pussy. ‘And you are turned on, my pretty.'”
— Alice Brown, Sapphamire
“Sunset found her squatting in the grass, groaning. Every stool was looser than the one before, and smelled fouler. By the time the moon came up she was shitting brown water. The more she drank, the more she shat, but the more she shat, the thirstier she grew.”
— George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire: A Dance With Dragons
“I just beheaded and dismembered a sentient creature not twenty yards from you. That doesn’t bother you?”
— Stephanie Meyer, Twilight
“An image of her shackled to my bench, peeled gingerroot inserted in her ass so she can’t clench her buttocks,
comes to mind.”
— E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey
“There I am, drunk on a spring night, yanking my tampon out and hurling it into a bush outside the church.”
— Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl
Did these lines make you say WTF? Let us know, and tell us which lines you’ve recently read that made you say “WTF.”
Me reading all of these lines | via GIPHY
Featured Image Via Warner Bros.
While researching last week’s 14 Shocking Facts About Agatha Christie, I was shocked to learn that the esteemed writer once held a Guinness World Record.
When I think of Guinness World Records, my mind automatically goes to the bizarre titles such as the the world’s longest fingernails, the most hotdogs eaten at a county fair, and so on. Thinking of Christie fitting into one these categories was surprising, but it got me thinking of which other authors held Guinness World Records. I was not disappointed. Here are eight authors whose success helped them earn a Guinness World Record.
The Queen of Mystery, Agatha Christie, is certainly one of the most fascinating authors in history. On top of holding the record as the first British woman to surf while standing up, the prolific writer also holds the title for penning the world’s thickest book. In 2009 HarperCollins published a collection of Christie’s Miss Marple stories—comprised of twelve novels and twenty short stories. The collection featured a staggering sixty-eight crimes committed, sixty-eight secrets, twenty-two false accusations, twenty-one romances, and 143 cups of tea consumed. One lifetime’s worth of entertainment added up to a whopping 4,032 pages, weighing more than fifteen pounds, and priced at $1,500 dollars.
British author Bertha Wood managed to fulfill her dream of writing a book in the later half of her life. Published on her 100th birthday in 2005, Wood published her first book (a memoir of her life), Fresh Air and Fun: The Story of a Blackpool Holiday Camp. Wood’s impressive feat acts as inspiration for people who haven’t quite gotten around to fulfilling their dreams. As she proves, you have plenty of time.
American author Dorothy Straight became a published author at the ripe age of four. Let that sink in. While most four year olds were daydreaming, watching TV, or playing outside, Straight wrote How the World Began, which was published two years later by Pantheon Books.
If your first guess was Agatha Christie, Stephen King, or one of the other popular authors whose names are well-known around literary circles, you’d be wrong. American author and founder of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard published 1,084 books between 1934 and 2006. In addition to writing books on scientology, Hubbard covered a range of genres including sci-fi, fantasy, travel, mystery, western, and romance.
J. K. Rowling’s hugely popular Harry Potter series took the world by wand, forging one of the most fervent fandoms in history. The series became more popular as it went on, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, managed to become the fastest-selling fiction title when it sold 8.3 million copies in the first 24-hours of its release.
Considering the enormous popularity of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (and the preceding books in the Harry Potter series), it probably won’t come as a surprise to find out that J. K. Rowling earned this title. Rowling has reportedly earned over $1 billion dollars for her novels and related earnings.
Miraculously, E. L. James shielded herself from the innumerable criticisms leveled at the Fifty Shades books with her massive paycheck. Between June 2012 and June 2013, James earned $95 million, surpassing James Patterson who earned $91 million for his work during those twelve months.
Indian author Vickrant Mahajan earned this record when, at a book signing for his book, Yes Thank You Universe, the author signed a record-breaking 6,904 books. Can you imagine how bad his hand must have cramped? Ouch.
Which award-winning title surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature Images Via Getty Images