Fifty Shades Is Replacing the Bible? The Photographic Evidence

Slate's Culture Blog
July 30 2012 5:23 PM

Further Photographic Evidence that Fifty Shades Is Replacing the Bible

A hotel in Northwest England substituted one inspiring tale of bondage and suffering for another this month when it replaced the Gideon Bibles on its nightstands with E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.

In a blog entry, hotel owner Jonathan Denby seemed unrepentant about the swap. He said simply that his guests should be able to curl up in bed with something they actually want to read. (“We thought it would be a hospitable thing to do,” he later told NBC news.) Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, was his runner-up choice. Denby also claims he personally hasn’t read James’ pornography-lite fantasy, though as with everyone who says that, we don’t believe him.  


Though Denby says he was inundated with emails from angry Americans, he also suggests that an NBC poll (curiously, one Brow Beat was unable to unearth) indicated that 42 percent of a pool of respondents would like to find Fifty Shades of Grey on their night stands, compared to 37 percent who would opt for the Bible and 21 percent who would want another book entirely

After conducting rigorous research into this issue, we will take NBC’s conclusion one step farther. It seems that E.L. James’ novel has been supplanting the Holy Book, in the United States and abroad, for some time now (and even before the book’s official publication!). We present the photographic evidence:

President Obama’s inauguration.

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

The swearing-in of Chief Justice Elena Kagan.

Pool/Getty Images

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 2010 address to the general assembly at the United Nations.

Spencer Platt/Staff/Getty Images

The installation ceremony of Eric Holder as the 82nd attorney general of the United States.


The swearing-in of Shimon Peres, ninthpresident of the state of Israel.

David Silverman/Getty Images

In addition, as businesses continue to capitalize on the world’s E.L. James addiction, Fifty Shades of Grey has started to turn up in all kinds of unexpected places. Australian Airlines announced last month that, in lieu of flotation devices, it would be providing passengers with copies of the S&M-themed novel, easily accessible under their seats.


Sergio Dionisio/Stringer/Getty Images

McDonalds in select locations will also include it in their Happy Meals, in place of a toy.


Justin Sullivan/Staff/Getty Images

Have you observed a 50 Shades of Grey takeover firsthand? Submit your photographic documentation to

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer. 

Holly Allen is a Slate Web designer.


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