Nov 20, 2011

Twilight: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Did you see Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 over the weekend? Odds are, if you're a regular reader of my blog, you didn't. That's not to say folks who read my blog don't like Twilight, but I know my audience and I know the majority don't. But I pose to you another question - did you publicly hate on Twilight over the weekend? Or ever? I'm betting the answer is yes and I'm hear to tell you, it's time to move on.

First thing's first - I enjoy Twilight. I've read the entire book series by Stephenie Meyer and seen all of Summit Entertainment's film adaptations. This isn't something I hide but over the course of last year it's something I haven't volunteered when people started talking about it. Why? Because most of the people I know despise Twilight and look down upon those that enjoy it. And frankly, I'm kind of tired of it.

I'm an adult and I like Twilight. I'm not going to apologize for that to anyone. The teenage vampire romance got me through a tough period in my life a few years ago and I'll always have a special place for it in my heart. Do I think it's a brilliant work of fiction? Absolutely not. In fact, I know how much those books lack. A lot of other people out there are in the same category as me though. The books/movies are fun, surface entertainment for them and nothing more. Are we the majority of Twilight fans? No, and therein lies part of the problem.

Twilight is marketed to young adults but turned into a phenomena that no one could have imagined, gaining fans in just about every demographic. The most serious of the anti-Twilight camp are those who feel the books are a terrible example for the young girls it was originally targeted at as far as relationships go. In the books, the actions the vampire Edward takes to "protect" the human Bella are seen as a metaphor for stalkers and abusive relationships. I can absolutely understand this.

While reading one of the books I thought to myself, "Wow, I remember when my ex-boyfriend tried to tell me I couldn't see my friends." You know what I did with that boyfriend? I broke up with him. But this is a now 28-year-old woman speaking who had seen enough bad situations with others when she was younger and just started dating that she never fell into the trap of staying with a significant other who was physically, emotionally or mentally abusive - no matter how many times he said he loved me or that it was "for my own good." But you know what else? My boyfriend wasn't a vampire and vampires aren't real.

Could these books potentially send the wrong message to young girls who perhaps are too naive to separate truth from fiction? Absolutely, and I'm sure that they have.
What should really be the concern are the young girls who can't discern the difference. I don't think demeaning them for liking a book is the smartest way to go about letting them know the themes are inherently negative, especially if this series was the first to get them really reading. If you're worried about them taking the wrong message away from the text, teach them the difference between real life and fiction. Vampire boyfriends are not real men. The danger Bella faces in the books is real and Edward is trying to protect her. This is not the same as a boyfriend alienating you from your friends because he wants to control you, it is a fantasy tale about creatures that do not exist. If a real person did these things to you, you should leave them immediately.

The most serious issues aside though, that's not the biggest anti-Twilight camp I've run into. I've seen a lot over the last few years so I already knew how people felt about the series but last week I broached the subject on Twitter. What amazes me is how divisive Twilight is. Everyone has a right to their opinion, if you don't like something, you don't like something, but the outpouring of vitriol that happens whenever the series is brought up is what amazes me. I can't remember any other piece of pop-culture causing this much vocal hatred.

And that's really what I have a problem with. The folks who dislike Twilight because of its metaphors to abusive and violent relationships I can totally understand. It's the people who talk about how much they hate it simply because they think the story/writing is bad I've had enough of. I mean seriously, the argument, "vampires shouldn't sparkle," is the single most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I'll say it once again for those of you who don't get it, VAMPIRES AREN'T REAL. They are a work of literary fiction (based on a few historical figures) who have been depicted a certain way in media for a long time. That's the way most people like them but they aren't real and they don't belong to anyone. Much like in comics, creators can do what they will with them and if that means they sparkle and feed only on animals in one incarnation, so be it. You don't like it, and you're already not reading it as a result, so why are you telling everyone else they're stupid for liking it? How do you feel when someone does that to you with one of your favorite things? After all, a lot of people in this world feel that comics are childish.

I wrote a piece recently about how Meyer isn't a fan of the pet-name for her fandom, "Twi-Hards." And do you know what I heard from commenters? Other names they'd use instead: Twi-tard, Twi-t, Twi-diots, Tweebs, Asshats, Morons with Wallets, Stupid Morons. Coming from what I believe is mostly "nerds" who themselves were likely called any number of names growing up, this makes me incredibly sad. I've spoken before about geek tolerance and that applies here. Why do you feel the need to talk down about these people who are simply getting enjoyment out of a work of fiction? It's atrocious behavior and I wish people would stop.

What is the root of the Twilight hatred (besides the aforementioned metaphor issues)? Is it that someone other than the intended target audience enjoys the books? Is it that you find it gross that grown women are swooning over "teenage" vampires? I can understand that, but they too aren't the only group of people who like Twilight. Like me, there are many who enjoy Twilight on the sly, probably a few people you know. For me and many others, it's a guilty pleasure type of thing. I'm never going to defend it or try to convince others they should read/see it but I will continue to question those who feel the need to hate on it just to hate on it.

Because that really does seem to be where we are now, doesn't it? With just one more film in the series to go, it's becoming cool to hate Twilight because so many other people do. You're tired of hearing about it? I get that. As someone who actually likes it, the frenzy is too much for even me to handle but you know what? These people are passionate about something and we can all relate to that. You may never have camped out for several days for anything (or have you, Star Wars fans?) but you can surely understand loving a work of fiction, can't you? The funny thing is, I'm pretty sure the "Twi-hards" could care less about anyone hating on Twilight, it's more the casual fans like myself who see the behavior and can't believe their eyes.

Strangers (especially strangers on the internet) will always make me shake my head and role my eyes but if my friends think less of me because I get enjoyment out of Twilight, well, that's on them. I like it. Get over it. I'm sure all the "good" things I like will outweigh it. So yeah, when it comes to hating on Twilight, I wish people would give it a rest and abide by the old saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Aaaaaaand cue all the anti-Twilight comments...

(If you need a breather, check out my list of 5 OTHER Twilights You Should Know (And Love))

46 comments:

Arturo said...

Could've been worse; at least it wasn't Frank Miller writing those love scenes.

Michael M. said...

Very nice post. I am not a fan of Twilight, but that's where it ends. I don't hate it, you have to know something in order to hate it.

It's not to my tastes, but that's all I can say. But there are tons of things I don't like, everyone is like that. We all have our likes and dislikes.

The only times I ever get annoyed with it are when some one goes on and on about it like it's the great thing ever. Having said that, that kind of behavior bothers me, no matter the subject. I'm guilty of that behavior myself, though I try to stop myself when I recognize what I am doing.

But you are right in saying that people shouldn't be targeted for liking Twilight, in a way, how is that different from how society treats geeks and nerds (of which I am definitely one of both)? We get upset when we are mocked, how is it different when we mock others for their likes?

Thanks for sharing another well thought out post. I look forward to the next.

Cee Frizzle said...

I can't stand Twilight because of the level of soap opera dramatic desperate needy type of live that's displayed. Not to mention, the story doesn't grab me. And as for the movies? I find them too dry for my liking. So I simply ignore Twilight. Books, movies, actors in the movies, and fans alike. I don't get the appeal, but hey. It's their thing, not mine. So I steer clear of anything Twilight related, for my sake.

Court_Jeffster said...

But it's fun to needle my girlfriend over her Twilight obsession!
I've even read the entire series and seen all the movies just so I could do it right!

Heather said...

Yeah, I'm opposed to things like the obsessive nature of the relationships and the quasi-pedophiliac ending to the whole thing, and if asked my opinion, I'll tell it. If asked what I think of the writing, I'll say I think it's atrocious and shallow. I may even roll my eyes when I open Facebook and see 40 posts going SQUEESQUEETWILIGHTSQUEESQUEE!!!!11!1!

HOWEVER, I also roll my eyes when I see people who have nothing better to do than make the rounds to be mean to all of their friends, calling them idiots, Twi-tards, etc. It's like you said: you don't have to join the squee-fest, but you can say nothing. You can keep your mouth shut and your fingers off the keyboard 1. because it's mean and 2. because you won't like it when it's your turn and you'll have lost the right to complain at whatever insulting catch-phrase is invented to describe the group of fans you belong to.

Erin Kelly said...

I'm in the same boat as you. Twilight got me through some tough times and I appreciate the way I can turn off my adult brain and be a ridiculous sixteen-year-old for a while.

Everyone deserves their brain candy, whether it comes with Sparklpires or bristling with an improbable number of guns, right?

Chuck said...

"I don't think demeaning them for liking a book is the smartest way to go about letting them know the themes are inherently negative, especially if this series was the first to get them really reading."

Well said, another thoughtful intelligent piece.

Tyrell Tinnin said...

I am not a fan of Twilight in any of its forms, but I do appreciate where you are coming from. My only real issue with the series is the fans that it is all they read. I personally know a 34 year old woman that the only thing she has read in the last ten years are the Twilight books. I would gladly accept Twilight if it bolstered reading on the whole, but for many of its followers it is an inclusive series.

There are so many wonderful pieces of literature out there, it would be a great thing it Twilight lead young women to read Jane Eyre, Little Women, Dracula, Shakespeare or any of a number of beautiful classic literature, but sadly this does not seem to be the case. While you seem to be a very intelligent informed reader, there seems to be a larger number that seems to be festering in the doldrums of repeated readings of a single series.

The world is a huge wonderful place with many options for everyone. I truly hope that Twilight inspires a love of books and helps people of all ages discover the joy of reading. Thank you for stating you opinion so eloquently, I hope I returned the favor.

G said...

Thank you for an excellent post. I'm always saddened when I see instances of random snark instead of geek tolerance, as you put it. Of all the things that should make sense to people who are fans of anything, really, is seeing other people excited about something that resonates with them for whatever reason.

I'm actually looking forward to the latest movie. I hope they do the wolves justice, as the description of how they communicate in the books was an interesting idea that I can see being difficult to convey on film.

MOCK! said...

I had a few points to make but most of the others hit on it. It is also hard for me to cut and paste and comment on the iPad. The only thing not touched upon (so far) is your comment about something else in pop culture being torn apart so consistently and viciously.

The thing that pops to mind for me is Bieber. I teach 5th grade and some of the comments the boys would make last year were horrible. I know for that age a lot of it is jealousy, but the adult hatred baffles me.

My 8 year old son likes his songs (Bieber is his SECOND favorite singer....after Lady Gaga) and my 14 year old daughter hates his music.

(And my Word Verification is "hators"!)

Roger Jollie said...

I don't see too much difference in making fun of Twilight fans and making fun of Star Wars/Star Trek fans. I've endured this type of ridicule going on 35 years for liking the latter.

Anonymous said...

I think the writing is worse than a 12 year old fanfiction.net writer, but that is the least of its problems and not the one that I focus on. My issue will always be about the abusive relationship. He stalks her, he separates her from her family and he hurts her physically. When you come from an abusive relationship like I have and you had fight to be your own person after years of that abuse, it is horrifying to see books treat the subject like it is true romantic love. That isn't love. The young minds that read these books are not learning that the Bella/Edward relationship is unhealthy. They think they are learning about the most amazing love story ever. It's not. I have no problem with people liking Twilight if that is their thing, but I am scared for the young girls who will learn the wrong lessons from these books. Not everyone has a parent that will pull their daughter aside and talk to them about how unhealthy the whole situation is. It just sends the wrong message.

Vinnie Bartilucci said...

The simplest answer is Twilight is The New Thing To Come Along. Star Trek fans had to endure the slings and arrows of lit-fen, Doctor Who fans were looked askance by Star Trek fans, and so on.

They weill eternally viewed as Not As Good As (insert personal favorite here), compounded by the sheer level of success it has achieved. The argument is that if something is THAT popular, heaven only knows what sort of surrenders must have been made to quality to make it appeal to a larger audence. Or any other excuse they can come up with.

Fans will point at endless "better" examples of vampires and bemoan their fate, grousing that if they only read something GOOD, they'd drop that stuff like a hot rock.

The surging hordes of twi-fen that blocked the halls of San Diego like cheese in a colon did not help. Again, they didn't care about the "real" reasons for the con, they just teemed their way through the halls, took up space in the meeting rooms, and generally "got in the way" of the "real" fen.

'Twas ever thus, and so shall it ever be.

J Larson, the DVD Fairy said...

I think it's a mixture of all those things and more. Not just the bad writing, though it's not the worst. Grading the first book as a creative writing piece, for grammar and content, on a college level critique, the thing would run maybe a C; what Meyer writes well once the antagonists show up is tension. It's just a shame it took almost 300 pages for that to happen.

I do think that it sends some negative messages about feminism and romanticizes controlling personalities. There are enough essays on that to back that up, so I won't linger, but for one point: You're right; the dangers she experiences are real dangers, and they're also dangers that wouldn't exist if her controlling boyfriend (who explains to her what an effort it is for him not to KILL HER on a day to day basis) hadn't brought her into that life to start with. It also romanticizes stringing guys along; being the cause of violence is okay so long as it's for LOVE.

There is also the issue of Bella just being a bad role model for young girls. This is mostly the fault of the story being written in first person from her perspective (for most of the series), but she's kind of a spoiled brat. She's also selfish, EXTREMELY egotistical despite her claims of being "oh so plain" (doesn't work when you spend pages going on about how you're too smart for English lit). She talks about both of her parents like they're mentally challenged and couldn't get through the day if she wasn't there to feed them regularly. She spends her first day at school agonizing about how she won't fit in and what an outcast she is going to be and then proceeds to think less of the first nerd that dares to talk to her. The fact that Meyer throws in the chick flick 'clumsy' flaw, which is given to spiteful, rude female main characters to make them seem more sympathetic, only made things worse.

It would be different if this were written in the voice of an 'older, wiser' Bella Swan who looked back on her life with understanding and a wider perspective. However, the books weren't. The attitude problem she has never sees any real consequences; in fact, she's rewarded by having every person she meets fawn over her/try to get into her pants.

This latter point is why I encourage my siblings not to let their daughters read the books.

Part of it isn't Meyer's fault. American girl culture pretty much dictates that the worth of a girl is based on the stuff that she likes, SOMETIMES her intelligence, or how hot her man-candy is -- rather than personality and moral values. For stuff, there's this strong distinction between her, who demonstrates her depth with a love of light literature versus the other girls who seem to gravitate toward more shallow stereotypical 'clothes and boys and dances lol' stuff. Considering she leans on things like Austen (and for some reason her senior class is reading Romeo & Juliet, which is Shakespeare Lite and stops being taught Freshmen year at the latest), the difference in depth is a wading pool and a puddle, honestly. She gets the hottest guy, whom the other girls regard with what SHE perceives to be complete covetousness. Like I said, technically it's not Meyer; this is a mindset that American Teenage girls and American women at large, have made for ourselves. It's a culture that thrives on its own ego.

That said, I agree that people who harp on endlessly about the quality of the writing -- I don't see much point to it if that's the only flaw they can come up with? If we're talking a true literary critique then that argument doesn't hold water. If they want to compare it to the precepts of actual vampire literature, that'd be something, but most don't. There has to be more to it than "this is badly written". As most good lit professors will tell you, if your base reaction to a book was "I didn't like it" then read it again.

Ian said...

Wait, I'm confused, you said yourself that it's poorly written and sends a bad message to young girls. Having read it, I found it creepy as all hell and found it alienating in its glorification of much-older-guy-watches-teenage-girl-sleep-she-thinks-that's-touching.

It's charmless and basically dangerous. A handbook on how to get yourself buried in a basement.

John C. Welch said...

There's also the adult fans of YA going on 20+ years now who are having to do far more work to find stuff that isn't "Hey, JUST LIKE TWILIGHT". There's an awesome world of YA out there, but it's being ignored if it's not about creepy stalkeriffic sparkleboys.

Maureen Johnson, Diane Duane, Rick Riordan, and gobs of others who a) can write a decent sentence, and b) don't assume their readers are vacuous. But if it's not "Twilight", then it sucks. I had no problem with JK Rowling owning YA lit for a while, she writes well. She could write a story on catching a bus, it'd probably be worth reading.

It's not just YA mind you. paranormal fiction has some great authors, but hey, no sparkleboys, so they get ignored.

When "Harry Potter" started, because it was well-written, because it didn't treat the reader like they were "math sucks barbie", it really did lead kids and teens into other kinds of books. I don't see that happening with Myer. I don't see her younger fans, who only started reading regularly because of twilight ever breaking out of the sparkleboy genre.

That's also why a lot of folks dislike her.

Mikey Sparks said...

I wonder how much of the fury comes from dedicated fans of fantasy because Twilight doesn't appear to act as a gateway to "better" fiction.

I have to imagine that, "You liked Twilight? Try some Mercedes Lackey!" is ever so slightly more likely to bring young readers into the fold than "The books you like suck, like something better."

Miko Santos said...

i like twilight! btw nice blog you have there ill bookmark it

Anonymous said...

I don't think you have any business telling us we can't hate on twilight. We aren't telling you that you have no business liking twilight.

Dex1138 said...

"I can't remember any other piece of pop-culture causing this much vocal hatred."

I'll take Anything George Lucas Has Done Since 1997 for $500, Amy! =)

I know nothing about Twilight other than what's in the general consciousness. Maybe some day I'll check out the first movie just so I can have an informed opinion. But really, I'm an old school horror fan so I'm guessing it's not going to appeal to me.

Having been a Star Was fan most of my life (the only time I wasn't was before it existed) I know there are some fans of all franchises that can make the group look bad as a whole. On the other hand, I think it's human nature that once you get to a certain age that you automatically reject "what the kids like these days." :)

wake the cow said...

I'm a guy and I started reading the Twilight books before I found out about the whole crazy fandom thing. I identified with Bella's depressive nature I guess. And the vampire stuff (glitter notwithstanding) was kinda interesting.

I watch the movies twice: once in a theater (usually 3 weeks or so after it opens, because its hard to hear over the screaming) and then at home, with Rifftrax. Because if there was ever a movie that couldn't be poked at for sheer hilarity, its the Twilight movies.

I'd like to write a strongly worded letter to the individual that decided calling it a saga was a good idea.

Megan Harmeyer said...

You've said exactly what I've been trying to explain to people. I've never claimed to think that Twilight was the best series ever written. But, like all forms of media, there is a time and place for everything. Twilight has theirs. Catcher in the Rye has theirs. Very well said. And thank you.

Rob said...

The "VAMPIRES AREN'T REAL" argument is invalid.

Look. If you are going to use an existing mythical creature, there are certain pieces of that mythology that are irrevocable.

It would be like if I made a movie about a unicorn, but I decided that unicorns don't have horns. If they don't have horns, they're not UNICORNS.

I could write a version of Romeo and Juliet wherein they survive and get married (I'm looking at you, Taylor Swift), but it isn't actually Romeo and Juliet, and it would be wrong of me to use those names.

A werewolf that isn't injured by silver isn't a werewolf. A faerie with no magic is not a faerie.

A vampire that can stand in sunlight is not a vampire. It is an intrinsic part of the myth.

Meyer created creatures, and she could have called them anything. Had she called them ANYTHING but vampire all this would have been avoided. However, she had to call them vampires.

If you are going to borrow myth to write your stories, you CANNOT simply ignore the biggest and most important characteristics of the creature you are borrowing.

Kelson said...

So the Dracula in Bram Stoker's original novel isn't really a vampire?

Yeah, he could walk around during the day. He was more active at night, but sunlight didn't kill him.

And really, I'd hardly call a vulnerability to silver the defining characteristic of a werewolf. I'd consider that to be a human who turns into a wolf.

The Nerdy Bird said...

@Rob, if anything, I'd say drinking blood to survive would be the most important characteristic of vampires but I digress because Kelson said it all for me.

A Hero said...

I agree that the Twilight hate gets way out of hand. My wife is a big fan of the Twilight books and movies. I am not a fan, but I never understood the level of venom that these books/movies engender. Its true that I consider the Twilight movies to be "stupid vampire flicks", but there are other movies I consider "stupid vampire flicks" that don't get nearly the level of hate (Underworld springs to mind).

I think part of the hate comes from guys who don't like it that their girlfriends are swooning over Robert Patterson. I remember how much hate Leonardo DiCaprio got in the wake of Titanic, and tone seems very similar.

Unknown said...

Maybe you can try selling Twilight to us non-believers. Because I desperately WANT to like this series, but many factors keep me from doing so.

Yan Basque said...

This post seems to confuse two very different things: hating Twilight and hating Twilight fans. I agree that hating (or insulting) someone for something they like is not cool. But I also don't think that many people hate Twilight fans. Sure, some people out there are jerks about it, but what else is new. I believe they are in the majority.

As for hating Twilight, I'm sorry, but that's perfectly legitimate. And you don't get to tell people to stop hating or to stop expressing that hate. Those of us who believe that Twilight is awful have every right to say so. And if you can't deal with the criticism of something you love, then as you say, "that's on you."

Yan Basque said...

Oops. Typo in my previous post. End of first paragraph should say: "I *DON'T* believe they are in the majority."

i.e., most people can hate the books without hating or insulting the people who read them.

strugglingwriter said...

I saw a bit of the first movie on TV the other day. It had an interesting visual style. As for the quality, it's at least better than the dreadful Transformers movies.

Anonymous said...

You're an adult woman who reads comic books. That makes everything you said here fairly irrelevant. And your boobs have nothing to do with it.

Mndrew said...

I think you've pretty much got Steven King to blame for the latest round of Meyers-hate. He went and gave people (most likely people who have only seen one movie and read no books) a cute arguement to use.

scottmacs said...

I'm not a fan of Twilight, but I have indulged in the guilty pleasure of watching the first two movies.

The only thing that drew me to the movies was sheer curiosity. For now, the only thing keeping me from taking the time to read the books is the expectation of cognitive dissonance arising from reading them critically while recognizing such an effort would be in vain.

Prof Solitaire said...

I don't want to come close to anything related to Twilight, but it's simply because I'm just not interested.

I don't hate it, or people who read it. Why would I? How does their hobby constitute an attack against anybody?

Sometimes, I look at the worse Twilight haters and think there's probably some misogyny involved. I don't think the level of hatred would be as high or cruel or abusive if the fans were males...

bmosley45 said...

Well written post. I've given up hating on Twilight because its hypocritical of me to do so; I have tons of nerdy stuff that I'm into (D&D, MMOs, etc) that get shit on a lot. My only concern is that such a popular and unhealthy relationship, Edward and Bella, could become part of our social fabric here in the West.

Also, there is something larger going on, socially and culturally - - the image of a desirable man is beginning to shift from what it was in 1940's-1980's. Movies back then had a very distinct image of what men are supposed to be, and the past twenty years have been a gradual change from that. I think that is why there are so many men who are against movies like Twilight.

That being said, no one should denigrate another's passions. Enjoy the books, have fun, be inspired.

Mal said...

I'm slightly amazed at the hate your comments generated - mostly from anonymous creatures, please note. For the people who say they hate Twilight because of the bad role models the characters are - geez, consider almost any mainstream TV series and a lot of recent "young reader" books. We see regular drug use, promiscuity, violence and just general bad behavior. Not that this is any excuse - but why take aim at Twilight and leave "Dawson's Creek", "A Slice of Cherry" and "Desperate Housewives" unscathed.

Twilight's a piece of fluff written for enjoyment - read it or not and move on. I read all of the books in a row a couple years ago and then went back to Robert Jordan, Charlotte Bronte and Anne Bishop.

So far as technical constraints, it's all fine and dandy to pout and say "Vampires don't sparkle!" but as someone else pointed out, THEY DON'T EXIST. It may be accepted lore that vampires can't go out in sunlight, but until we have an actual vampire we can run tests on, I think we have to accept that maybe some branch of the vampire clan DOES sparkle. In fact, when Twilight is accepted into "vampire lore" 30 years from now - people will be perfectly comfortable with the concept that "some vampires sparkle, some can come out in daytime with no effect and some burn up into a pile of soot on being struck by a shaft of sunlight."

Meanwhile, I'll continue to haul out my guilty secret in conversation - "I actually liked the Twilight series" - partly for the reaction. If the kneejerk comment from the person I'm talking to is "I hate that stupid crap" - I'll run, not walk, to the nearest exit. Why should I be wasting my time on someone who is so willing to pass judgement on ME for something I like but they don't.

Yan Basque said...

The last part of that last comment by Mal is really quite unbelievable to me. You really consider that when someone says "I hate that stupid crap" about something you happen to like, they are passing judgement on YOU?

I don't understand. How come you're allowed to say you love something but we're not allowed to say we hate it? Is there any way at all that we can offer an opinion without you taking it as a personal offense against you?

Please don't take this comment as an affront. I'm just trying to understand the reasoning. Because as I said in my first comment in this thread, it seems to me that there's a difference between hating Twilight and hating Twilight fans. I think I can do one without being guilty of the other.

Anika said...

I absolutely agree with you. You put my thoughts into words better than I ever could. I read the books before things got so completely insane and I've enjoyed the movies, but I know it's just fluffy entertainment. I really don't think people should be judged by what parts of pop culture they enjoy! Thanks for the post.

- Anika
anikaguldstrand.com

Anonymous said...

Funny you'd defend Vampires and Twilight, but at the same time make a big issue about the pose a female character has on a comic cover. . .
Depictions of women in comics for men is a cause, but abusive sparkling boyfriends in Twilight are just entertainment. . .

Steve said...

I liked the books. Each got better than the last as Meyer's skill grew. Sparkling was never a problem for me. I just didn't picture them sparkling. What bugged me start to finish was that they never slept. I can't wrap my mind around that at all. I can believe in sparkly vampires before i could believe in that!

Joe said...

I really enjoyed your post, as I always do. I'm not a fan of the books, and while not the most vocal, I can't say I didn't feel a strong urge to toss the first book out of a moving car window when I saw my sister pull her copy out on a trip. Many of my objections are in line with your article, but I would say that my main source of vitriol towards the series, not the fans mind you, is rooted somewhere else entirely.

You make the point that there are faults, the books aren't great lit and are for easy entertainment. I spent years studying in a writing program, really working on something that aspires to more than that as did many of the people I went to school with. So we toil away, only to graduate and get treated as well by the publishing industry as Kevin Smith treated Felicia Hardy. So now, not only is publishing fleeing from the most artistic and risky work but one of the biggest literary franchises around is a poorly written romance novel with sparkly vampires and Mormon sensibilities.

The problem isn't that people read them, people read bad fiction, I read bad fiction at times. Everyone needs a "plane and train" book every once in a while. The problem arises when you realize the work that isn't being put out "because it can't compete" or "literary fiction won't sell well" or "people don't want to read complicated." So, in short, as a writer, the success of these books makes me shockingly frustrated. Sure, there's some jealousy there, but I don't need to be a literary franchise, I'd be ok with 1/1000 of those people trying something more artistic or challenging. Otherwise, the fluff becomes the standard and when that finally happens, there won't be much of a chance for serious lit to come back in a meaningful way.

Anonymous said...

Grown women swooning over Edward are no worse than dirty old men watching iCarly, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Victorious.

Anonymous said...

AFAIK, the idea that vampires disintegrate in sunlight was invented by the movies; the earliest depiction of it that I know of was in the 1922 version of Nosferatu. It was later used in Universal and Hammer Dracula movies, Dark Shadows, and Buffy. But it does not seem to appear in folklore or mythology and is not an intrinsic part of the legend.

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dyna said...

Twilight is awesome