EL JamesThere's no denying that Fifty Shades of Grey has become an international phenomenon. Women (and I'm sure men in secret) have been reading the books, talking about the books, checking the news every day for movie updates, fantasizing about having Ana Steele's sex life and multimillionaire Christian Grey for a husband -- it's been overwhelming, unprecedented, and inexplicable, in a sense. It's kind of no wonder, then, that Barbara Walters designated E.L. James as one of her Most Fascinating People of 2012.

Barbara recently revealed part of her list, which included James, One Direction, Ben Affleck, Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie, Gabby Douglas, and Seth MacFarlane, but didn't tell anyone who the most fascinating person of 2012 is. Disappointed finger snap. It's one thing to give two shits about this list (we're up to the 20th season of Barbara picking out people more fascinating than the rest of us, after all). But it's another to think about what James' inclusion really means too.

For lack of a better word, I suppose calling James "fascinating" isn't that far off-base. The way Fifty Shades of Grey even came to fruition was "fascinating" in and of itself.

We all know that James is a fan fiction writer, and that she based Fifty Shades of Grey off of the characters from Twilight. On top of that, the books are so, so, so terribly written. I mean, this is the woman who wrote lines like, "My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves" and "He’s said such loving things today ... But how long will he want to do this without wanting to beat the crap out of me" -- and somehow this becomes one of the most popular series ever written?

It's nice to know that James herself is surprised that her novels ever got famous, and that she realizes she isn't the next Shakespeare (to say the least). And for those of us criticizing her, well, she's laughing all the way to the bank. I get that her novels are an escape, a fantasy that many women have that has now been conveniently written out for them. She clearly tapped into an audience (probably much larger than anyone would have guessed?) that secretly dreamed of being dominated sexually, and it never hurts when the man doing the dominating is as gorgeous as Edward Cullen Christian Grey.

But man, how I wish it were written just a teeny, tiny bit better to feel more at peace with this whole thing. Still, you bet your ass I'll be watching the movie whenever it comes out.

In case you want to know more about James or actually hear her/see what she looks like, here's an interview with her from 20/20:

Just glad to see that no Real Housewives made the most fascinating people list. But seriously, though, One Direction?

What do you think about E.L. James being included on Barbara Walters' list?

 

Image via ABCNews/YouTube