Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Twilight is junk, but thank the Dark Lord it's temporary.
No, I'm not a snob. As a crazed fanboy who enjoys comic books, sci-fi, and Stephen King, I think there's riches to be found in pulp culture. Not all of it is junk. Judging a novel's validity is easy: If we're still talking about them twenty years from now, then it's time to have a different conversation, because whether it's a book, novel, music, sculpture or whatever, if its a genuine work of art then you can always go back to it, because it never gets old. You can always experience A Raisin In The Sun, Nosterafu, Great Expectations, or A Love Supreme repeatedly and find new aspects of it that you didn't see the last time. Art is deep, it has nuance, it leaves fingerprints in our memories, and it nourishes us. On the other hand, as popular as they once were, is anybody still talking about Valley of The Dolls, Love Story or Jonathan Livingston Seagull?
Meyer, however, is staggering in the shallowness of her vision. A few critic have praised Meyer as a contemporary Anne Rice for young adults. Really? Meyer's junk isn't a mediocre Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode. Honestly, Bella would be Spike's lunch before the opening credits. Bella's passivity is irritating, pathetic, and anachronistic. Being in an abusive relationship with a dead thing isn't romantic. In the real world, Bella is a Bristol Palin waiting to happen.
Twilight's thin-blooded vampire mythology is literary street corner cocaine for young women confused about their sexuality, and this is what I find disturbing and irresponsible about her fiction. Young girls already have enough to deal with in a culture that objectifies them, and giving them misinformation about sexuality and how you interact with horny young guys is dangerous.
A scheming boyfriend telling lies to a naive young woman is more dangerous than a make-believe vampire will ever be. In the movie Fatherhood, a pregnant girl betrayed by her boyfriend says to her mother, "But he said that he loved me!" and her mother replies, "Yeah, and then they come." Welcome to reality. Is it a surprise that Meyer is radically pro-life? Sure, let's take a giant step backwards and remove the sex eduction courses out of the schools and teach women to cross their legs and say a prayer. We already know how well that works.