Skepticism

Twilight, Lolita, and "HE LOVES HER!"

Rebecca told me to write a post about Twilight from the perspective of a hip, young, rational teen about… two, three weeks ago.

And yes, please write up something for TS! Include your favorite passage with “face cancer” taking the place of “eyes.”

Stephanie Meyer spends a lot of time mentioning Edward’s “golden-colored eyes” and whatnot. There is a Twilight fan-site called “HisGoldenEyes.com“. I have checked and nobody has purchased “HisGoldenFaceCancer.com” but somebody really should. Hint hint, nudge nudge, wink wink…

In this post I will first go off on a bit of an unimportant rant about why I, personally, found the book to be tedious. These are, of course, my personal feelings about taste in writing style and doesn’t have to be geared towards proving a point. The rest is about the actual plot of the book and my concerns about the image it gives to, and of teenage girls, as well as parallels I found with the novel Lolita.

Be warned, this post will have spoilers in it but not for anything beyond the first movie.

When my school’s science department secretary started talking about Edward Cullen who she thought to be “the hottest vampire ever” I decided I might as well read the paperback copy of Twilight.

I found it to be tedious. So tedious that even after I had replaced the names of all the Cullens with characters from House, Bella’s school friends with characters from the original Star Trek, the nouns eyes and cars with face cancer and wombats respectively, the book still failed to catch my interest.

The author’s use of adjectives is painful, the characters are flat, and I’m simply annoyed by seeing the words that mean perfect attached to Edward all the time. It doesn’t help me bring any image to mind of how hot Edward Cullen must look if all I see when I think about him is the word “perfect” emblazoned like a neon sign in my mind.

I still tried to push through the book, but chapter 13 was simply too, well, silly. Anyway, after being unable to get through it my friend decided to see it instead of The Tale of Despereaux so I decided that I might as well see the movie before finishing the book.

It was refreshingly less tedious. Twilight is simply a poorly written novel, but take away sentences like “Edward looked like he had just finished shooting a commercial for hair gel, and he was perfect and glorious and heavenly and adjective and perfect and perfect and perfect” and the plot can be mildly entertaining. It may be just because the novel was so terrible, but I think I might have actually liked the film.

A good thing about the book, however, that doesn’t come across at all in the movie: Bella is rather intelligent. She can use the word misogynistic while her schoolmates furrow their brows in confusion. She can identify the stages of mitosis in onion root tip cells while the rest of the class thinks all the cells look the same. Let it be noted, however, that intelligent girls can still be naïve (myself included at times).

I thought that the plot was simply unimaginative for a while, but then I realized that it wasn’t just girl meets boy and falls in love. It was 17 year old girl meets 100 year old man who’s a vampire and falls in love. I’d absolutely love to have somebody explain to me how this doesn’t make Edward a paedophile. Add to that the fact that he likes watching her sleep, that he follows her from Forks to Port Angeles by reading people’s thoughts and searching for mentions of her, and that he’s generally over-protective in both the book and the movie. How, I ask, does this not make him a stalker?

You might say, of course, that Edward is concerned for her safety as she is quite a klutz (which is one of the few things I’ve managed to relate myself to her with) and people seem to think that “HE LOVES HER” is an okay refutation, but Monsieur Humbert liked to follow his Lolita around on the premise that he was concerned for her safety and he loved her too. I have yet to see anybody try to defend Humbert Humbert by saying “HE LOVES HER so it’s okay that he’s abusive towards her!”

Come to think of it, the reason why we have stalkers is usually because they are madly in love with somebody. Screaming “HE LOVES HER” doesn’t help make him less of a stalker.

I guess that that alone doesn’t make Twilight bad, cause, after all, we’re not all about to go ban Lolita. But, the difference is give a teenage girl a copy of Lolita and she’ll probably recognize the fact that Humbert Humbert is an abusive, stalkerish paedophile. Give them Twilight and they’ll talk your ear off about how hot Edward Cullen is (even though he is an abusive, stalkerish paedophile). I even saw a girl say that she wouldn’t mind being raped by him (Oh, come on! Jeremy Irons made a pretty hot Humbert Humbert but I’d still like there to be some form of consent, thank you very much).

I don’t know about you, but I’d kind of hope that girls would be able to recognize that they had a stalker if they had one, and I’d hope that they wouldn’t fantasize about having a stalker like Edward Cullen just because they think that he’s hot. Wouldn’t you be worried if legions of teenage girls failed to see what was wrong with the way Hum treated Lo?

I hasten to add, though, that some level of unthinkingness is to be expected when reading fiction. I don’t think that we should have to act all serious and intellectual every hour of every day. People do need some amount of unthinking escapism in their lives.

The way a girl reacts to a fictional novel is most likely not the same way she would react in real life. To be perfectly honest, I don’t actually think there’s much to worry about, but I do think that it can only be healthy to point out more often that the level of stalkerishness in Twilight might be on par with the level of stalkerishness in Lolita.

But there is one thing I’d like to address that I’m rather sure of.

At the end of the movie Bella asks Edward to bite her. She wants to be with him forever and ever. Aw… how touching…

But I’m afraid I’m going to have to be a realistic twat and point out that the vast, vast, vast majority of high school relationships don’t last forever and ever. There are, of course, exceptions, but everybody believes that their high school relationship is an exception. Obviously not everybody can be an exception, but still I know many teenagers who behave in their relationships as if they will never fall out of love, but luckily they don’t have the capability to do irrevocable damage. Becoming a vampire is sort of permanent.

(Edit: As has just been pointed out to me in an e-mail, teens can cause irrevocable damage to themselves by behaving stupidly in relationships (pregnancy, STDs, etc.). Thanks to Leigh, and sorry I missed that.)

As Dr. House puts it…

Young people fall in and out of love more often than they change their oil filters… which they should do more often.

Bella comes across just as naïve in that sense as anybody else. I think that though it may be an accurate representation of teenage girls, and although naïvety is understandable, it’s probably not something to aspire to. Girls should and can prevent themselves from acting in ways that will bring irreversible consequences based on silly premises like that.

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elles the vampire slayer

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72 Comments

  1. December 26, 2008 at 12:51 pm —

    The comparisons to Lolita are a fantastic angle.

    I even saw a girl say that she wouldn’t mind being raped by [Edward]

    Actually, something like this reportedly happened at a Buffy The Vampire Slayer convention. James Marsters, who played Spike (a vampire who ended up not being able to attack people other than Buffy and who at one of the lowest points in the series’ history, attempted to rape Buffy…who responded by crumbling to the ground and bawling), was answering questions at a panel when a fan cried out “JAMES! I’D LET YOU RAPE ME ANY TIME!”

    Reportedly, Marsters ripped into the woman, telling her he was disgusted by that and telling her rape was never romantic and never okay. The fans’ reaction? OMG, how could James be such an asshole to them when they were his fans?

    Sorry, found it pertinent.

    Also? The fact that you quoted Dr. House? Amazing.

  2. phlebas
    December 26, 2008 at 1:02 pm —

    Hahahahah. nice work.

    Can we save the Twlighters’ time and just copy their comments on the Skepchick post here?

  3. December 26, 2008 at 1:19 pm —

    I hadn’t thought of that Lolita angle, but I think you have a point. Which also segues nicely into a quote from Slacktivist that was originally about Left Behind but works equally well in this situation:

    It’s like reading Nabokov, but with the added twist of the authors sharing in the narrator’s solipsism and self-delusion.

  4. December 26, 2008 at 1:26 pm —

    I’ve got to admit that I did find myself wondering a few times whether or not the Meyer thought Edward was acting OK based on some warped Mormon idea of idealized male-female relationships.

    But readers can like books in spite of their faults. I mean the Narnia books are full of prejudice and painfully obvious and dull Christian overtones and they are still loved by many readers of all ages.

    Of course they are much shorter than the Twilight books (and the last few Harry Potter books). I have to wonder if editors are just letting these books get published without the necessary editorial changes because it’s easier and they think they’ll make a ton of money anyway. I think the last few HP books and all of the Twilight books should have been half the length and they would have been better books for the cuts.

  5. kayla_unkempt
    December 26, 2008 at 1:37 pm —

    I personally think people like the Twilight books so much because they’re easy to read. They have a lot of dialogue and when I read them, I find myself ONLY reading pages with dialogue, because the rest is not very interesting or descriptive, and still knowing exactly what’s going on.
    Sometimes the plot doesn’t make much sense at all. Like *spoiler alert* in the fourth book when NOBODY DIES AND EVERYTHING IS OKAY after half the book builds suspense leading up to this big huge fight… and the last chapter is called “The Happily Ever After”. (cough, cough lame).
    But I still like the books, and I only realize how lame some things are AFTER I read them.
    PS – you got it right on the “perfect, perfect, perfect” thing. TEAM JACOB!! *hehe*

  6. scottelittle
    December 26, 2008 at 1:54 pm —

    Very good. Now I definitely have no desire to see the movie or read the silly books. *not that I really ever did!*

  7. Cassie
    December 26, 2008 at 2:11 pm —

    Elles- awesome post!

    Kayla- I couldn’t finish the fourth book. I got board. But I do know that… *spoiler*
    Bella gets pregnant. I don’t get it! Sperm needs the perfect temperature to survive. Edward is dead and cold. It makes no sense!

    PS- you all have it wrong. Team Newton! Because vampires and werewolves do not exist.

  8. December 26, 2008 at 6:18 pm —

    Two of my friends are Twilight fangirls. They aren’t madly in love with Edward, mind you; they just REALLY love the Twilight series. So, despite my general hatred of young adult novels (Yes, they’re generally great for preteens and younger teenagers who are otherwise unlikely to read, but I tend to despise them), I picked up a copy and attempted to read it. Note: “attempted.” By the end of the first chapter, I simply couldn’t go on. I found it THAT boring. Plus, I went through a Gothic novel phase back in middle school. Twilight does not follow classic vampire lore, so I am therefore destined to loathe it with every fiber of my being.

    But, the movie happened to be released right around my friend’s birthday, so I happily agreed to go along. I loathe young adult novels, but I LOVE me some good ol’ cheesy movies. And, guess what? I LOVED IT. I didn’t love it because it was a cinematic masterpiece. I didn’t love the plot. I didn’t love the cinematography. Truth be told, I thought that the entire production was terrible. But, it was one of those movies that was so awful that I couldn’t stop laughing. My friend and I nearly got thrown out of the theatre for laughing through critical scenes (shimmering man, “better hold on tight, spider monkey,” “You’re my personal brand of heroin,” “I’ve been stalking you for the past month,” vampire baseball, Bella being hurt at the end, etc).

    So, in short, I mildly agree regarding the book. The movie, however, I found utterly terrible, as well. But, hey! If it’s age-appropriate and gets the youngsters reading, I’m all for it.

    After all, they could be reading much worse things, like those heathen Harry Potter books. 😉

  9. December 26, 2008 at 6:28 pm —

    I absolutely loved this post!

  10. December 26, 2008 at 7:14 pm —

    Lol…she used the word “twat”. Lol Lol Lollllllll

  11. December 27, 2008 at 8:44 am —

    Very well done, Elles!

    Also: I never think anyone that uses more hair products than me is sexy. Just my little bias.

  12. FFFearlesss
    December 27, 2008 at 10:38 am —

    “HE LOVES HER so it’s okay that he’s abusive towards her!”

    Of course you realize that that’s only half of the reason. He loves her AND… HE’S STINKIN HOT! It’s one thing when Brad Pitt is doing creepy things just to be with you… quite another when Steve Buscemi is doing the same things. Generally speaking though hot dudes (or chicks) are less likely to go that far out of their way to get with somebody cuz, frankly, they don’t need to. Tragic but true. 🙂

  13. December 27, 2008 at 3:24 pm —

    I never got beyond the third chapter, though I intend to finish it (I hate not finishing a book). It is just Bo-Ring. In the first three chapters, there are already like a gazillion mention of Edward’s “pretty face.”

    Anyways, now you have my eternal admiration after that House quote, and your use of House names with the Cullens. ^_^ (Did that sound a little creepy?)

  14. December 27, 2008 at 3:56 pm —

    You know what’s really crazy?

    I just put a set of those rings in that picture on hold at the nearest Hot Topic store. Only three left, and one of them is MINE!

  15. December 27, 2008 at 5:39 pm —

    Let me be the first to explain how that doesn’t make Edward a pedophile. 😉

    Pedophile is a much abused word, but I call for a much more restrictive usage than that displayed in this article.

    In some jurisdictions, sex with someone below the age of consent is dubbed pedophilia. By this definition Edward would be a “pedophile” in several countries in the world, but not in for instance Norway.

    In a stricter, psychological diagnosis, sense, pedophilia is sexual attraction to _prepubescent_ children. By that definition Edward is no a pedophile. He’s at most an ephebophile, but only if he has a special preference for adolescent girls.

  16. December 27, 2008 at 5:42 pm —

    @Elles
    Unless it is stolen away from you, mwa ha ha!

  17. December 27, 2008 at 6:39 pm —

    @Bjornar

    Well, if we’re going to get technical about it then no, Edward’s not a paedophile. Well, Lolita was pubescent too so I guess that means that Humbert Humbert wasn’t a paedophile either…

    Anyway, that doesn’t take away the moral implications of a far older man pursuing a young girl. We tend to find that to be morally unacceptable because it’s taking advantage of a girl who is not as wise and thus more naïve, thus incapable of (unwlling to?) making good decisions about getting into a relationship with him.

  18. December 29, 2008 at 10:17 am —

    Elles, you have restored my faith in the next generation of girls. Now, can you sit down and have a talk with my 17-year-old sister, who, while not a Twilight fan, still needs to hear and understand what you said about high school relationships?

  19. December 29, 2008 at 1:05 pm —

    Obviously not everybody can be an exception, but still I know many teenagers who behave in their relationships as if they will never fall out of love, but luckily they don’t have the capability to do irrevocable damage.

    I make it a practice to be thankful, at least once a month, that I am no longer in love with the girl who stole my heart in twelfth grade. Impermanence can be a good thing.

    (And in that department, I think it should be a rule that one is not held responsible for liking the music one did when one was thirteen. Please.)

    I even saw a girl say that she wouldn’t mind being raped by him (Oh, come on! Jeremy Irons made a pretty hot Humbert Humbert but I’d still like there to be some form of consent, thank you very much).

    I haven’t seen the movie of Lolita with Jeremy Irons, only the Stanley Kubrick one starring James Mason as Humbert. I did, however, buy the audiobook version read by Irons for my drives up and down the East Coast a few summers ago. Damn, that was one sexy voice.

    Also:

    Spelling words with ae? AEPIC WIN! The only way to improve would be to employ the æ ligature, as in dæmon and encyclopædia, spelled “æ” in HTML.

  20. Dread Polack
    December 30, 2008 at 10:18 am —

    I was going to make Bjornar’s comment. Being attracted to a 17 year-old doesn’t make you a sexual deviant. If you want to date/marry/bite a 17-year old when you’re 100+, there’s an entirely different problem going on.

    Katherine: it sounds like you loved the movie the way I loved “Paparazzi”- that gawd-awful Mel Gibson production. It had no real redeemable qualities, I just loves me a revenge story 🙂

  21. December 30, 2008 at 3:02 pm —

    Meh. I only have problems with sexual deviants when it would involve, say, manipulating a teenager into a relationship. One of the more naive teenagers I’ve recently encountered in fiction, no less.

  22. Protesilaus
    December 30, 2008 at 5:59 pm —

    @Jen:

    Elles, after you talk to her sister, can you talk to mine, she actually liked the book and ended up reading all 4 books eagerly.

    Okay, I hope this works, Rebecca, Teen.Skepchick needs your love. The preview button isn’t working and there is no Reply button.

  23. December 31, 2008 at 12:13 am —

    Wow… The other thread is already going around 500 comments… I am losing my faith towards humanity every second. After all, “the kids are the future.” Considering some of the weird teenagers there, we are all screwed. ^_^

  24. jennabear
    January 2, 2009 at 8:46 pm —

    god why do u have to argue about these stupid things. some people like the books and some people dont. that is clear. dont say things like the kids of the future are screwed up because thats what ur parents said about u and look how u’ve changed the world. just wait were going to make it even better.

  25. MaggieMoo
    January 2, 2009 at 8:47 pm —

    Ok. I have to agree with this post. We proud few who say that Twilight sucked (hehe) have to say it very loudly to be heard over HE LOVES HER. Considering that, i sent this lovely post to the Twilight fan club that has roosted at my school. and might i add…..

    BWAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

  26. January 2, 2009 at 8:52 pm —

    I meant to post this to the other thread, but comments were shut down.

    As someone who has neither seen the movie nor read the books, I cannot provide an opinion of my own on Twilight. However, I do see that those skeptical of the story’s merits have by far the more substantial arguments, in terms of presenting explanation with examples. In the last thread, I saw no such attempts with the “pro”-Twilight folk. That is something you may wish to challenge them on if they migrate over here.

    While it seems concern over the book’s message is justified, I do wonder if lamenting the books is a bit pointless. The reaction of so many readers to the books begs the question of why this “women: submit to those you love” has proven so popular.

    Ideas do not exist in a vacuum: they catch on because they appeal to certain desires, fears, and goals that people hold. It seems to me that Twilight may be financially successful precisely because of its shallowness and sexism, because though it may be shallow and sexist, it panders to archetypes inculcated within us since youth. These are the ideas that we (or at least women) ought to sacrifice everything for ‘love’, the notions of the virgin and the whore, the obvious human desire to have someone ‘perfect’ as a mate. I posit to you that Twilight is not destroying America: America is destroying itself, and Twilight is but the horn-call of the hordes on the mount. Hordes that are our own creation.

    I’m not generally interested in YA women’s fiction. I am, after all, ten years too old and of the wrong sex. The phenomenon around it, however, is interesting, and I might skim part of the book to try and understand it.

  27. exarch
    January 3, 2009 at 8:08 am —

    As other people already mentioned on the other thread, I’m now seriously wondering if the merits of these books really exist.
    Most of the posts from the fans didn’t even make it past the legibility-filter. Those that did sometimes still seemed to lack something.

    Mostly, I just want to point out that on several occasions, a girl made a statement, we objected to the message of that statement, pointed out how it was misguided, wrong or juvenile, only to have that person responding to us by simply rewording our own point as theirs and claiming we don’t understand, etc…

    I’m not sure if this is the straw man fallacy or the red herring, or perhaps a completely new fallacy of taking over your opponents point of view and seeing if they can be tricked into debating their own argument ???

    (A kind of “Yes it is!” – “No, it isn’t!” game as it were).

  28. January 3, 2009 at 11:10 am —

    god why do u have to argue about these stupid things. some people like the books and some people dont. that is clear. dont say things like the kids of the future are screwed up because thats what ur parents said about u and look how u’ve changed the world. just wait were going to make it even better.

    Well, we’ve gotten ourselves into a massive financial crisis, entered into an unwinnable war costing billions of imaginary dollars, have watched homophobic legislation pass despite our best efforts to fight against it, watched women’s health be treated as a joke by both state and federal government and made The Hills a popular television show. So, yeah, we’ve changed the world, isn’t it AMAZING? Too bad we didn’t have the Bella view of life. Because odds are all that stuff still would have happened, but we’d be too busy being concerned over whether we’d burned our husband’s dinner or not to care.

  29. January 3, 2009 at 11:41 am —

    dont say things like the kids of the future are screwed up because thats what ur parents said about u

    It is?

  30. January 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm —

    @jennabear
    Firstly, I said the future was screwed, not the kids. Secondly, gosh, don’t take every statement so seriously, goodness, I was just being sarcastic.

  31. January 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm —

    Wait, correction for the first statement above, you are right, if the kids are screwed, by extension, the future is screwed. ^_^

  32. jennabear
    January 3, 2009 at 6:02 pm —

    you are all so negative? like this is a book that’s a good read to some people and not to others. please get a life.

  33. January 3, 2009 at 8:47 pm —

    you are all so negative?

    I said Bella was intelligent, did I not? I said the movie was okay, did I not?

    like this is a book that’s a good read to some people and not to others.

    Yes, which is completely not the point of my post.

    please get a life.

    I have one. It involves lulz and use of the Shift Key.

  34. January 3, 2009 at 8:48 pm —

    Wait, I just noticed something. “like this is a book”? Not “this is a book”? So it’s not really a book that some people enjoy and not others, it’s only like a book that some people enjoy and not others?

  35. exarch
    January 3, 2009 at 9:13 pm —

    I can’t believe it’s not literature!

  36. Alex_Awesome
    January 4, 2009 at 3:45 pm —

    bahahaha. Oh goodness gracious. This was wonderful. I’ve read Twilight, yes. It was okay, yes. But I never became obsessed with it like pretty much ALL of my friends. That’s why I’ve never gotten past the first 100 pages of New Moon. Plus, it’s pretty much been spoiled by me. Also I LOVE how you compared it to high school relationships. THANK YOU. I say the same thing to pretty much all of my friends. And of course, they agree with me when it’s somebody else. But no, not them. They are the exception. haha. They always get mad at me for be such a “pessimist” but I don’t think I’m a pessimist, just a realist. But anyways. Very good post. I should let some of my friends read it and then get mad. ha. That would be fun. 🙂

  37. January 5, 2009 at 11:04 am —

    Hiya Elles!

    My husband John and I have been discussing this hot topic (pardon the pun). He is a bit more versed than I in the plot and stuff of these books-he loves vampire stuff. He is most definately not a fan of these books and I really don’t have much interest in reading them either- instead, I am very very interested in reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

    John’s recommendations on making the books more readable:
    1) Take it outta high school. Most 17 year old kids have part time jobs- Set it there. It eliminates the creep factor of 100-year old Ed hanging out at a high school.
    2) On that note, if the plot is so weak it cannot be taken outta high school, then John says Ed should act like Wooderson from Dazed and Confused. If so, those books would be high and proud on our shelves!

    Have a good day guys!

  38. jennabear
    January 5, 2009 at 11:32 am —

    u r all soo gay please tell me u have something else to other than trash a book…

  39. jennabear
    January 5, 2009 at 11:35 am —

    “Rebecca told me to write a post about Twilight from the perspective of a hip, young, rational teen about… two, three weeks ago.”

    ur not a hip teen please do not try and dissuade yourself into thinking that.

  40. January 5, 2009 at 11:59 am —

    jennabear, we’ve all moved on from Twilight. There have been many other posts since this and the previous one were made about things that AREN’T Twilight.

    So now, I have to ask: do you have a life outside of rushing out to defend a mediocre series of books? Because if you’ll notice, people were more than happy to walk away from the discussion weeks ago. The comments to BOTH posts only started to pick up when people like yourselves showed up and, rather than offering polite, intelligent debate, started flinging personal insults at the people who read the books or watched the film and came away with a different POV.

    And if being a “hip teen” means using “gay” as an insult? I think Elles is better off not being one.

  41. exarch
    January 5, 2009 at 12:48 pm —

    @JennY.:
    John’s recommendations on making the books more readable

    Sadly, the more you try to fix up the story, the more it’s probably going to become obvious that it’s just other, better stories moved to a different setting.

  42. January 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm —

    u r all soo gay

    I think I may be bisexual, actually.

  43. exarch
    January 5, 2009 at 2:08 pm —

    Does anyone know what “soo gay” means in Korean? Or Thai?

    Hey, neither do I, but maybe it’s something funny …

  44. phlebas
    January 5, 2009 at 2:26 pm —

    jennabear:

    “ur not a hip teen please do not try and dissuade yourself into thinking that.”

    And don’t let us dissuade you from looking up the definition of the word “dissuade.”

    It’s always fun when someone comments on a literary topic with illiteracy.

  45. Amanda
    January 5, 2009 at 3:16 pm —

    Elles, I think you win for best comeback ever. I laughed so hard I think I pulled something.

  46. January 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm —

    Even better I got the 42nd comment. WIN!

  47. January 5, 2009 at 3:37 pm —

    @Jennabear: Elles is too cool, hip and nice to say this so I will. Please refrain from personal attacks, or you will get booted from this site.
    Your best bet to get your point across is to try to compose your thoughts into a civil discussion. Please reference the Skepchick comment guidelines here: http://skepchick.org/blog/?page_id=2809

    @Elles – great post and I hope this thread doesn’t get to 500 as well 🙂

  48. January 5, 2009 at 8:30 pm —

    exarch sez:
    “Sadly, the more you try to fix up the story, the more it’s probably going to become obvious that it’s just other, better stories moved to a different setting.”

    Yeah, but I still giggle at the idea of all this angst taking place in a typical 17 year old’s place of employment: “he gazed at Bella over the fry cooker, his golden eyes glistening, framed by the paper hat as he breathly asked the old woman opposite the cash register, ‘Would you like fries with that?’ “

  49. Kupfer
    January 5, 2009 at 10:10 pm —

    Don’t worry, some of us (teenagers) have common sense already, and a largish percentage gain it within 10 years.

  50. phlebas
    January 6, 2009 at 10:25 am —

    JennY

    Oh, that is awesome. If the Cullen bunch weren’t wealthy, and they had to get jobs appropriate to their apparent ages.

    Bella needed some blank CDs, but getting them would take her too close to the car audio department where Edward had the 5-9pm shift. Why did she have to pick a town with only one Best Buy? There he was! His perfect face the color of aged whipped butter. He was answering questions about speakers when he saw her. His perfect eyes became a perfect black. Only then, Bella realized she had a werewolf hair on her shirt…

    She scooped up the first pile of CDs she could, not realizing they were drinks coasters, and fled towards the register, pausing only to face-plant into a Guitar Hero display.

  51. January 6, 2009 at 10:32 am —

    phlebas:

    Perfect! 🙂

  52. MaggieMoo
    January 6, 2009 at 7:05 pm —

    @ phlebas and JennY

    impeccable!

    (thanks for the synonym thesaurus.com!)

  53. January 6, 2009 at 8:01 pm —

    I bow before you, phlebas! 😀

  54. WhiskeyWar
    January 6, 2009 at 11:19 pm —

    As promised:

    “All right, all right, all right. That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”

  55. WhiskeyWar
    January 6, 2009 at 11:25 pm —

    Hmmm…. Not sure if the link got posted in the last post. Here it is again: http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k85/atprva/For%20Fun/Edwardwooderson.jpg

    “All right, all right, all right. That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”

  56. January 7, 2009 at 10:32 am —

    Best Teen Blog EVER!!!

    Going to vote on Bloggies right now…

  57. debralcloud
    January 16, 2009 at 9:22 am —

    After having seen ‘Twilight’ and having read excerpts from the first book in the series, I can say that several of the comments about Isabella Swan’s looks and personality are not correct.
    In the book and in the movie, the character describes herself in a negative way:
    “I was ivory-skinned, without even the excuse of blue eyes or red hair, despite the constant sunshine.” It is not clear whether she is supposed to be attractive or not. Clearly, she is self-deprecating. Edward Cullen In the film, Edward Cullen does not appear to notice that he is attractive; in fact, when he and Isabella Swan escape to the forest together, he admits that he feels that his glittery skin is unattractive. Under the indoor lighting, Isabella finds Edward to appear “chalky pale”.

    While Isabelle simply feels that she does not fit in with any of the cliques on campus, it is clear to everyone that Edward is an outcast because the kids at school believe there may be incest in the family: “They’re all together though,” says Isabella’s new friend.
    So Isabella and Edward have a little in common: they are both pallid outsiders. Neither finds himself attractive, but each finds the other interesting. For that reason, I don’t feel it’s valid to say that the sole justification of Isabella’s acceptance of Edward is that he is ‘dreamy’.
    Edward appears to watch Isabella in her bedroom while she’s sleeping, but all he does (at first) is just watch, because he cannot sleep. She believes this to be a dream, until their relationship develops. In the film, Isabella does not question this behavior, even after she discovers it. Instead, she allows him to see her in just her underwear, and she provokes him, only to sharply kick him away from her when he succumbs to her charms.
    Edward does, however, seem to follow her around too much, and Isabella’s gratitude is tinged with confrontational outrage when Edward saves her from being gang raped because he had been following her.
    Although Edward is over 100 years old, he is emotionally stunted: he only deals with high-school-age kids, and he can’t make friends with them. He doesn’t appear to ever have had serious relationships with a woman or girl.
    Therefore, he may not realize that his ‘abnormal’ behavior is, indeed, abnormal.
    Still, he never threatens Isabella in any way, although he is a threatening character due to his pseudo-natural bloodlust. Hence, the term ‘stalker’ could not be rationally applied.

  58. mythicamagic
    January 25, 2009 at 5:56 am —

    U guys have no idea what ur talking about. And for Gods sakes its just a film and set of books! Is none allowed to read and watch twilight because u idiots say so! God! You have no right to say that and u ought to keep ur opinions to yourself! im not one of those crazy fan girls that loveee twilight but i think ur being totally stupid in complaining about such a small topic. Why not talk about how kids are dying in afica and bitch about all the governments not doing anything about it hmmmm? and if ur wondering why i went on this topic to being with well its because i think its a lovely film that doesnt need ur peety coments about it.
    Thankyou for listning.

  59. January 25, 2009 at 11:46 am —

    U guys have no idea what ur talking about. And for Gods sakes its just a film and set of books!

    Fiction has power to influence people, especially young people. It often has messages of morality. It idealizes things and encourages people to aspire to that ideal.

    Is none allowed to read and watch twilight because u idiots say so! God!

    Ha! I totally said that we should ban books!

    How about “U” stop being an idiot and read the damn post.

    God!

    Does not exist. 🙂

    You have no right to say that and u ought to keep ur opinions to yourself!

    Um… yes. I do have the right to say that. And no, I oughtn’t keep my opinions to myself.

    Controversy is an agent of change. If you were in a room full of racists and you thought that racism was bad should you keep your opinion to yourself and let them continue? This isn’t quite like that, but you have no right to tell me not to express my opinion just because you disagree.

    im not one of those crazy fan girls that loveee twilight but i think ur being totally stupid in complaining about such a small topic.

    I think the fact that MasalaSkeptic’s post got 500 comments, mostly with people complaining about her complaining about Twilight shows that it wasn’t quite a small topic. Besides, I think now it’s time I quote myself again…

    The way a girl reacts to a fictional novel is most likely not the same way she would react in real life. To be perfectly honest, I don’t actually think there’s much to worry about, but I do think that it can only be healthy to point out more often that the level of stalkerishness in Twilight might be on par with the level of stalkerishness in Lolita.

    Here’s a piece of advice, read the post before critiquing it.

    Why not talk about how kids are dying in afica and bitch about all the governments not doing anything about it hmmmm?

    I have given, on multiple occasions, money to an organization called Quarters for Kids which educates, feeds, and clothes children in Ethiopia.

    But, can you honestly tell me that you spend all your time talking about feeding kids in Africa? There are other problems. Perhaps I ought to prioritize, yes, but you can’t grant me indulging into other problems facing our society?

    Slightly unrelated, but about governments doing nothing, I recently read this article talking about Bush’s work in Africa.

    Really, now, I do pay attention to this sort of thing.

    and if ur wondering why i went on this topic to being with well its because i think its a lovely film that doesnt need ur peety coments about it.

    Meh. I’m just wondering why you think the Bill of Rights doesn’t exist all of a sudden.

    Thankyou for listning.

    I’m seriously beginning to question whether or not that was worth my time. I had fun, though. Thank “u” for that.

    It’s doubtful that you’ll want to read anything else by me, but this might help you seem like an intelligent person and not a commenter on YouTube…

    How To Be Taken Seriously: A Guide to Expressing Your Opinion

  60. exarch
    January 25, 2009 at 5:00 pm —

    U guys have no idea what ur talking about.

    How could you possibly know this?

    Is none allowed to read and watch twilight because u idiots say so! God! You have no right to say that and u ought to keep ur opinions to yourself!

    We “idiots” aren’t telling anyone what to do. However, you are telling us what we can and cannot say. Who exactly is promoting censorship here? When did it become offensive to speak your mind on the internet?
    For that matter, which internet have you been using? Because the one I surf on has people spewing all kinds of crap. Even flat out lying about all kinds of stuff (alt-med, psychics, etc…).

    Frankly, I find it hard to believe that anyone who goes out of their way to create an account and respond to a blog entry about a book is not actually a fan with a vested interest. Your mere presence here says otherwise.

  61. babybott330
    March 18, 2009 at 6:55 pm —

    Oh. It’s seriously difficult to be a Twilight fan these days. Mostly because I’m surrounded by rude, uncensored, youngsters with blinders on.

    While I love the series, I can clearly see how it is aimed at a very small group of people rather than a vast majority, and that it is unlikely to be enjoyed by any other. However, I did not factor in how crazy teenage girls get when something they love has been attacked. Of course no one has cited any actual examples of why they don’t agree with you, because the majority of fangirls don’t have time for things like that. They have to shorten every word until it is no longer recognizable because they can only control their drool for short periods of time and don’t want it to drip into the keyboard, chancing shock, or even worse, somehow frying the computer and thus, their connection to all other fangirls.

    Yes, the books are very wordy. S. Meyer uses big words and, in general, far more dialogue than needed. (I.E. nothing is ever a normal color. It’s always hyacinth , pale yellow, vibrant blue, ect.) I like her writing style myself, but I can certainly agree that she could convey the same points with much less, if she were so inclined.

    I enjoy the story on a purely fictional basis. I would assume that should be obvious, but as we’re debating the lines being blurred between fiction and reality, I should not take anything for granted.

    The way I have always seen Edward is as a seventeen year old. Regardless of the years that pass, he “died” in 1918 as a 17 year old virgin. He’d never made much in the way of relations at that point, and, in some ways, will always be stuck at seventeen. Even his “mother”, Esme, has worried about why he had never found love in all these years. She was afraid that he was changed too young, that something in his make-up hadn’t been developed yet. Still, you cannot deny that he’s been around for many years, and on other levels, has the knowledge of a hundred year old man. All the feelings- the love, the pangs of jealousy… that is all new to him.

    Bella’s mother has always said that Bella was born 35 and gets more middle-aged every year. She’s always looked at Bella as wise beyond her years, but limited by her experiences.

    I feel that sometimes what someone else says about a particular character is more revealing that what the character actually says of themselves. Judging by these two exterior character analysis, I come to find Bella and Edward to be more balanced to each other. She finds herself ordinary, he sees her extraordinary, he finds himself to be a monster, she sees him a beautiful angel.

    All said, no one can deny the creep factor involved in Edward sneaking into her bedroom to watch her sleep. When I first read this, I had that stalkeratzi vibe as well. This is really not something that can be explained away, examples cited. It is clearly odd behavior, and when Bella first learns of it, she’s alarmed, although for stupid teenage reasons. Over the series, it’s just something I’ve kinda shoved under the rug and chosen not to try to make sense of.

    I do believe the reason that he is so wildly over-protective is because he knows this whole world outside the world Bella lives in. He realizes that now that she is with him, she’s in a great deal more danger than she used to be, whereas Bella chooses not to worry because Edward will protect her. Silly girl. Never rely on a man.

    Also, realize that the books are written from Bella’s perspective. Until he chooses to interact with her, we don’t know any of what Edward is thinking, and even after he does, we only know what he wants us to know. There is no getting in Edward’s head whilst stuck in Bella’s view. S. Meyer has been working on another project which will present all the same events as Twilight, only from Edward’s perspective. Due to an internet leak, she has postponed this work, and placed a link to the leaked copies on her website. When you read the story from Edward’s point of view, you see an entirely different internal struggle than what Bella presents. Edward is racked with guilt over his attractions to her. He makes repeated attempts to stay away from her. Much in the way of fairy tale love, the pull is just too strong to keep them apart.

    I completely respect your point of view and found this to be an excellent post. I’m not trying to persuade anyone to join in the Twilight fandom. I’m just presenting another side that is hopefully a little more pleasant than most. Sorry I’m so long-winded.

  62. March 18, 2009 at 9:35 pm —

    Sorry I’m so long-winded.

    Perfectly acceptable. I’m glad to see some Twilight fans of the more… calm inclination.

    Of course I know that most people just read it for enjoyment but as we’ve both remarked people take that far too seriously.

    And as for taste in writing style, that’s a truly subjective matter…

  63. exarch
    March 19, 2009 at 9:25 am —

    Well, if this thread is to be revived, at least it’s a silver lining to see it’s as a result of an eloquent, well thought-out post, not the illegible IM-style rantings of a fangirl.

    As for the movie, it’s going into my “refuse to watch it” section along with Titanic.

  64. March 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm —

    You know, I was wondering one thing that I forgot to ask you about, Elles.

    If you’re not a fan, why did you buy a set of the lion and lamb rings? They really only seem to make sense from a Twilight perspective to me.

    Myself, I would like Bella’s wolf and heart charm bracelet.

  65. exarch
    March 20, 2009 at 7:28 am —

    While I’m not really into jewelry myself, as I understand it, women tend to have lots of it, and sometimes expect you to buy them some more for special occasions.

  66. June 13, 2011 at 1:49 am —

    Kind of continuing off the earlier discussion (and I realize this has kind of died) – I don’t know if I think that “it’s turning kids on to reading.” You know why? Because something simply being in book form does not mean it is educational or worthwhile. Is reading Twilight really going to be a better experience for a kid than watching a good, thought-provoking film or TV show? Just because Twilight is in the form of words and another is in the form of images?

    I guess you could argue that reading improves kids’ vocabulary and writing skills, but I don’t know if that’s true for something as shoddily-written as Twilight.

    Anyway, while I do worry about the damage done to girls’ ideas about romance, I don’t think Twilight is unique in the YA romance genre for being sexist bullshit. It’s just kind of creepy how blatant it is and the religious, abstinence-only undertones. But it isn’t hard to find those messages in the media, that controlling boyfriends are good, you should put your whole self into a relationship, and that female sexuality is dangerous. I think most girls snap out of it after being in a few relationships or watching friends struggle with those relationships. I think the point is rather than try to warn girls of specific books or other media like Twilight, to just teach them to be skeptical of what they read and make them aware of sexism in the media.

    And maybe point them toward more empowering kinds of media that give better models of relationships – or show the actual damaging effects of the bad kinds of relationships. (Skins UK, for older teens, is a good example of the latter. I think they’ve explored every kind of cheating and manipulation that can happen in a relationship and how damaging it is to both parties. As an added bonus, they have non-heterosexual characters and the lesbian couple in Seasons 3 and 4 is one of the strongest and most prominent in the series.)

  67. July 6, 2011 at 2:35 am —

    Sorry for such a late post – I just happened upon this thread.

    I find it interesting that people bring up abstinence in regards to the Twilight series for a number of reasons. For one thing, Bella is NOT abstinent. While I recognize that the theme is there, it is not really a moral to be taken away from the story, IMO. Edward’s biggest fear of sex before marriage is mostly about Bella’s safety, he states quite vocally throughout the series that he doesn’t want to harm her and wants to wait until she’s a vampire. He’s more concerned about her soul being taken when becoming a vampire (which is not actually part of the vampire canon in this series) than he is about any kind of religious aversion towards pre-marital sex.

    As for the age difference, it is explained that Bella is mature beyond her years and fiercely independent while Edward was turned at a young age before he had really lived at all and spent all of his vampire life engaged in intellectual pursuits with no interest in romance. He is as ignorant of sex and romance as Bella is and while this doesn’t necessarily erase the Lolita factor, Meyer tried to close the gap at least somewhat. I think it would’ve fared worse if Edward was the sexual aggressor (Bella is actually, in this series) and if he was some kind of vampire ladies man (which he very much is not).

    I can’t really explain the stalking bit but part of it is explained as the fact that vampires think and process information much differently than humans. I think a lot of his perspective is better explained in the unpublished manuscript Midnight Sun. Meyer released it after it was leaked and it contains the first half of Twilight from Edward’s perspective. I developed a greater appreciation for Edward as a character after reading that and you get a much better sense of his attraction and aversion to Bella.

    While the books aren’t amazing I think there’s more depth to the story, themes, and characters than it’s being credited. I also don’t understand why some think Bella is this weak and dependent flat character when there’s a decent amount of information provided to the contrary throughout the series.

  68. July 31, 2011 at 12:37 pm —

    You might like the post I made arguing that Stephenie Meyer wrote Twilight as a satire and is annoyed that nobody got the joke:
    http://chainbear.blogspot.com/2011/07/stephenie-meyer-desperate-satirist.html

    🙂

  69. August 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm —

    “I don’t think that we should have to act all serious and intellectual every hour of every day.”

    It’s an interesting balance to think about. On the one hand, escapism is awesome, on the other hand, how much do these things affect people’s real life expectations? Indeed, how much is a culture that produces media like the responsible for the fact that our escapism takes this particular form?

    It makes me think of a conversation my mom and my younger sister had when we were really little (background: my dad is a runner, he runs all the time; my mom is a pianist, she plays piano all the time):

    Sister: What are you doing?
    Mom: Getting ready to go running.
    Sister: But you don’t run.
    Mom: I do sometimes.
    Sister: Nope. Mommies don’t run, and daddies don’t play piano.

    Anecdotal, but ominously suggestive of how people normalize what they see.

  70. August 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm —

    Oy. I read. A lot. Out of the one hundred books on the list published by NPR, I counted 45 titles that I have read. That will include the series of books, by those authors; Dune, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Amber. I read for personal enjoyment, but I am also a critical reader. There are a lot of books on the New York Times bestseller’s list that once I’ve gotten past the first three chapters, I found weren’t really worth the effort. Some of the things that lead me to put a book down never to be looked at again are really unbelievable dialogue or plot devices, truly awkward sentence structure – or just a plain, bad, book. Twilight and the other books following it, for me, had none of those problems. I watched Twilight the movie on opening day – waaaay before the hype. I sat in a movie theater with about a dozen people,four of them were young girls sitting behind me who sighed every time Rob Patterson’s characer showed on screen. I thought it sweet and a little amusing. I thought the movie overall was sweet. I am not a hundred years old, (yet) I can still remember my very very first huge crush; for me – for the most part Twilight evoked that sense of “aw… cute boy…” This isn’t to say that as I’m reading through the later books of the series that I didn’t find myself thinking “C’mon Bella – get a grip” but she was portrayed as a teen… I had similar problems with Harry in the later Potter books, I began to find his relentless doom and gloom and fussing about his destiny a bit wearing.. but he also was a teen. They do that. I did that (I can imagine that I still can be a bit wearing at this point and I am no where near teendom at this point) The thing is, folk complained about the Harry Potter books while they were being published: there are witches and bad things in there… oh no, and now they are being held up as some of the definitive books young people should read…. Hermione is a young woman – smart, intelligent, quick on her feet… but there were times her overeager over achieving left me a tad miffed with her… (but that’s a sign of being invested in the character, that the author can call forth that response from the reader) An over eager Twilighter can be a little annoying, but so can a lot of things I could think of to list here, and so could you. I will bet that in the next few years, someone will find another set of books, perhaps the Hunger Games or something similar, and the whole process of vilifying the books and the author will start anew.

  71. September 11, 2011 at 11:58 pm —

    I think this quote says it all:

    “Harry Potter is all about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”
    — Andrew Futral

  72. December 31, 2011 at 12:44 am —

    I have recently realised that I only have so many seconds of life left. Every bad book I force myself to read (or am beguiled to read) is a good book I’m -not- reading.

    What this means is learning to skim past fluff, deciding whether to read the book at all (based on reviews or quality analysis (don’t waste time w/pseudoscience)), etc.

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