Are you ready to cack yourself?

I generally have a rough plan of what I’ll be blogging about and when, but every so often I stumble across something that’s so good it bumps itself up to the top of the must-feature list.

That happened to me this morning when The American Bookstore posted—are you ready to cack yourself?—the 10 Most Bizarre Pieces of Literary Merch. I should preface the rest of this blog with the warning that not all of this is family friendly. In fact, most of it isn’t. It’s that wrongness, though, that’s what makes all of this so disturbing and (what does this say about me?) funny.

The incisive text that smacks down the merch undoubtedly makes this page (although I will admit I guffawed slightly at the image that banners the page: Edward Cullen-themed screenprinted undies). I mean, you tell me you’re not amused by this:

If you’re looking for officially licensed Twilight merch, there’s no shortage of jewelry, life-size cardboard vampire cutouts, and action figures. But let me tell you what’s wrong with all that: None of it goes anywhere near your crotch.

Or impressed by this:

Remember Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir about escaping her materialistic NYC lifestyle to go on a spiritual journey around the world? […] What really complements a book like that? A shitload of pricey merchandise and a marketing plan designed to convince unfulfilled middle-aged women that they can buy their way out of unhappiness.

I’d actually consider buying the shower curtain printed with Dave Eggers text—I love Eggers, I love his writing and would happily read and re-read it while I was in the shower. I’m also currently in need of a shower curtain after buying an apartment with a modern, open, wet-room shower that looks brilliant in magazine spreads but that’s a nightmare in actual use.

The page’s writer likes—and even owns—it too:

I’m not even going to sit here and try to be cool with you. Here’s the truth: I own this item. […] Go ahead and judge me. I’ll wait … Okay, so while you were being all judge-y, my shower curtain told me, ‘I shield you. And I like you.’ So I’m fine with your disparaging glances.

The vibrating Harry Potter broomstick falls into the categories of How Did This Make It Past The Brainstorming Phase?, Did Someone Mix Up The Sex Toy Packaging?, and Let’s See If We Can Get This Practical Joke Idea Past The All-Controlling Marketing Team.

The Game of Thrones (GoT) sword seat replica is as likely to be snapped up by GoT-loving collectors not in an ironic sense—they’ll think spending $30,000 + $1800 postage is an investment well made. And who couldn’t find the Dorothy Parker martini glass, with its ‘I like to have a martini. Two at the very most. Three, I’m under the table. Four, I’m under my host.’ rhyme downright clever?

It’s funny too (and I mean funny as in strange rather than the previous usages of funny as in teehee) that there’s a line between ‘wrong and gold’ and ‘wrong and wronger’. Bella’s womb, pre- or post-chomping (I can’t actually tell which it’s supposed to be—feel free to enlighten me), is a prime example of that. It’s perhaps only surpassed by the Sylvia Plath oven mits and oven-themed ouija board. As the page’s author writes: ‘Hold a séance using this, and I hope Plath haunts the shit out of your apartment forever.’

Me? I’m keen to see how this page is updated once all the Fifty Shades of Grey merchandise bursts onto the scene … figuratively and, judging by the realm of bad taste collated on this page, literally.

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Fiona Crawford

Fiona Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, proofreader, and voracious reader. She regularly appears as a book reviewer in Australian BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER magazine. Fiona is also (unfairly) known as the Book Burglar due to her penchant for buying family members—then permanently borrowing—books she wants to read herself.