jumbo peanuts

50 Shades of Grey: Some Thoughts

I feel some pressure for this to be meaningful, but I also have to leave in an hour to make my THIGHS FUCKING BURN AT A BALLET BARRE.  This is going to be nonsense. Here I go.

50 Shades of Grey is so easy to understand. Anyone who tries to parse through it is an idiot, and you should tell them so. It’s a fairy tale. It’s not even a fairy tale for adults. It’s a fairy tale for like the little 4-year-old girl who lives inside of you. The one you didn’t even realize got turned on, back in the day, when your daddy spanked you. You can take it seriously, or you can approach it like my friend Stephanie.

“I’m gonna wait til my dad comes back in town and see with him,” she told me this morning.

Anyway, so I never read the books. My sister one time read me passages from them when we were stuck in traffic in the Bronx. It made me sort of grossed out not because they were that dirty, but rather because my sister was reading them to me while smoking a cigarette. At 32, I’ve at least acted on most of the sexual scenes from the book, if not thought about them. Only instead of a rich 27-year-old billionaire, my fantasies involve a gigantic black man….or Caleb. Definitely Caleb. Definitely not Jamie Dornan.

Here’s what the story is. A sweet and innocent English lit major named Anastasia going to school in Portland meets Christian Grey. She interviews him for the college newspaper. He’s like, “Yeah, I’ll give you an interview, I’m a billionaire but I literally never work, I just am constantly changing outfits.” Then he becomes obsessed with her because…wait for it…SHE’S A FUCKING VIRGIN! They have sex, he introduces her into his “secret world,” he is literally around ALL of the time, he buys her shit, he takes her on magic adventures, he stalks her and then they fall in love, happily ever after! She never gives him fellatio — cooties! — but he goes down on her every single time they get naked. HE EVEN BRAIDS HER HAIR. 

Ok, now replace Anastasia with a plump middle-aged white woman eating a jumbo bag of Peanut M&Ms, and you have the real subject of the story, E.L. James, the author.

Christian Grey is some sick combination of the prom king at her high school, her step-father, her Uncle Jim and Robert Kincaid in “Bridges of Madison County.” Only rather than being themselves, they are just richer, better versions of themselves that love her and want to treat her like a princess.

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Don’t ever let yourself get involved with a game of Truth or Dare with the Pretty Little Liars cast and crew, because somebody will challenge you to eat a whole jumbo sized bag of peanut butter M&Ms…and you will attempt to wipe their smug smirk off their face by doing just that. If I see peanut butter anything in the next year, I’m going to vomit. Damn my competitive nature.

Record Group 88 Collection Spotlight: 
It’s Throwback Thursday with Mr. Peanut!

Today’s post was written by Stephen Charla, Archivist at the National Archives at Philadelphia.

If you look in Box 112 of the Correspondence and Reports of the Food and Drug Administration’s Philadelphia station, you might spot a familiar face. In June 1921, FDA inspector Sidney Brown paid a visit to the Planters Nut & Chocolate Company factory in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. As part of that inspection, he collected advertising material and quite a few product packages, most of which depict the company’s famous mascot, Mr. Peanut!

Mr. Peanut was created in 1916, so he was only five years old in 1921. He looked a bit different from his modern appearance in those early days, but not much. He was already sporting the trademark top hat, monocle, and spats that he still wears today, but he seems to have traded his cuffs for gloves since then.

In his report, Brown describes the Wilkes-Barre factory as a “three story and basement brick building near the business section of the city.” The factory had about 50 employees, “about 25 males and as many females.” The men were responsible for “roasting, heavy hauling, crating, packing, and manuel (sic) labor around the plant.” The women were “engaged mainly in sorting, cleaning and sifting of peanuts, and in filling, labeling, packing etc of the finished product.”

The ads and packages in the file give an idea of the kinds of products Planters was selling in the early 1920s. In addition to salted peanuts, they were producing various chocolate and nut confections, such as the Pnut Candy Bar, the Peanut Jumbo Block, the Ko-Ko Kream Bar, Chocolate Twins, and the Vineyard Maid Milk Chocolate Fruit Nut Bar.

Curious to see what other familiar (or unfamiliar) advertising icons might be hiding in the records of the FDA? You can make an appointment to view them in our research room by calling us at 215-305-2044 or e-mailing us at philadelphia.archives@nara.gov.

Planter[s] Nuts & Choc. Co.; Correspondence and Reports of the Food and Drug Administration, Box 112; Product Inspection Files 1906-1946; Philadelphia Station; Records of the Food and Drug Administration, Record Group 88; National Archives at Philadelphia; (Record Entry ID: PH-3623) (NAID: 631047)