Boy wizard Harry Potter might've solved the mystery of the Deathly Hallows, and ultimately defeated the Dark Lord, but could author J.K. Rowling's fictional protagonist possibly endure Christian Grey's Red Room of Pain? It appears that author E.L. James' erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Gray, shattered recent sales records at Amazon.co.uk, the online retailer's British hub, by outpacing all seven books of the Harry Potter saga. In a matter of four months, James dethroned Rowling, the reigning queen of British literature, to be the biggest-selling author in the site's 14-year history. Since March of this year, more than 4 million, digital and print, copies of James' so-called "mummy porn" have flown off the shelves - and into the boudoirs - of readers everywhere. Before you retreat into your Chamber of Secrets, here's what you need to know:
- Director Bob McCroskie of Family First, a socially-conservative advocacy group, hit a sour note recently after the New Zealander started promoting the organization's Protect Marriage campaign to the sound of Train's "Marry Me." Outraged soul sisters (and brothers) blowing up the pop group's Twitter page caught lead singer Pat Monahan's attention, prompting the band to release this statement: "We [Train] take the idea of marriage very seriously, and believe it is the right of all consenting adults, regardless of sexual orientation. 'Marry Me' is about just that, finding that special love and making it last forever. Everyone should be allowed to have that." Shortly thereafter, McCroskie changed his tune, with an assist from the band's lawyers.
- Same-sex snogging received the royal treatment from Guernsey-based artist Sian Jones, 25, last June as Disney couples traded partners, and smooches, at the Guernsey Annual Art Festival. Located off France's Normandy coast, the Bailiwick of Guernsey is a teensy, little island that boasts about 65,000 souls, and Europe's largest number of lovelorn frogs. Presently, the paintings from Jones' A Whole New World series, pairing off Prince Eric/Aladdin and Ariel/Jasmine, are still up for sale.
- One Mississippi congressional candidate isn't about to let the lessons of Aurora, Colo. be lost upon the elected leaders of several major U.S. cities who've voiced their opposition to Chick-fil-A. In fact, the Libertarian Party's Ron Williams believes they "should be introduced to the Second Amendment ASAP." When asked about that, and other heated statements, in a letter to the editor the Libertarian candidate submitted to Biloxi's Herald Sun, Williams responded that he didn't wish for anyone to shoot these mayors, but they should at least still be "reminded" about the Second Amendment. "I needed a thesaurus beside me," Williams added for a Herald Sun reporter; or a brain.
- Described as "insider research done by bisexuals, for bisexuals," by Dr. Margaret Robinson to a reporter for Canadian newsmagazine Xtra!, the "Risk and Resilience" study she's project managing, with the help of the Canadian Centre for Addicition and Mental Health, hopes to highlight the side-effects caused by "B's" exclusion from the "LGBT" equation. The Re:searching for LGBTQ Health team seeks to identify 900 bisexual - or otherwise sexually-fluid - participants from the Toronto-metro to area to measure the impact of biphobia - from both straight and gay peers - upon their mental health, and the quality of their medical treatment.
- Speaking to Scotland Tonight, a current affairs TV program, Director Peter Kearney of the Scottish Catholic Media Office heaped blame upon a behavior that "is hazardous, is harmful and is dangerous," enough to have resulted in the recent death of Labour Party MP David Cairns, 44, of Inverclyde. Cairns died prematurely - not from complications due to acute pancreatitis - but from "an overwhelming body of medical evidence" that Cairns' homosexuality shortened his lifespan by up to 20 years. Never mind the hazardous, harmful and dangerous behavior of one of the Scottish Catholic Church's own officials alleging the "gay lobby" pals around with Holocaust survivors; preserving an "image of a group of people under persecution."
- Fast-food franchise Chick-fil-A had its feathers ruffled yet again - by a straight, pregnant woman? Former employee Brenda Honeycutt of their Duluth, Ga. restaurant filed a wrongful termination suit last month alleging the biblically-principled company fired her, despite performing at a "satisfactory-to- above-satisfactory" level, because her unborn child needed a stay-at-home mother. Owner/operator Jeff Howard of the Duluth Chick-fil-A allegedly propagated systemic discrimination "against female employees" who would be terminated, and then replaced by men. In his defense, Howard simply loves moms. His Twitter feed can attest to that.
(Harry Potter graphic via Colin Zhu)