Twilight: Coldly calculated to pander to *your* shrieking demographic


It was brought to my attention today in Classics II, during a discussion about why Teri Hatcher should be cast as Sin in any adaptation of Paradise Lost, that I should make a blog and rant about the ubiquitous "Twilight" series.

Ten steps ahead of you.

"Twilight" came to my attention in 2006, when the "Harry Potter" series was close to ending and I was looking for something to read that would satisfy my inner twelve-year old. Some friends of mine told me that they were reading this great book series about vampires and I should really check it out. So, forgetting that some of these people thought "X-Men 3" was cinematic gold, I went out and bought the first book. Because I am an idiot.

I got to page 60 before throwing it across the room. And promptly bringing it back to Barnes and Noble. Where the clerk on duty and I subsequently burned it behind the store. True story.

This series proves that publishing houses will do ANYTHING for a dollar, up to and including putting out a series that not only gives teenage girls the impression that guys are really like that, but also takes the English language and SETS IT ON FIRE.

Have all the other writers died? Is that what this is? There's no one left, so we have to publish the drivel that's still lying around?

"Twilight" is about an annoying girl named Bella (of course) and the teenage vampire with whom she falls in love. During the span of four books, we have a virgin vampire (which is an oxymoron, because all vamps are giant sluts) that can walk around IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, crazy vampire enemies, werewolves (because why the hell not?), love triangles, a hellspawn, and a white wedding.

Also during the four books, we have a main character who sets the Women's Movement back about 75 years, a vapid love interest I would stake in a heartbeat, another love interest whose presence I frankly can't understand, a plot so convoluted that I stopped reading and had to put my head between my knees and wait for the braincells to regenerate, and an author in need of an afternoon of electroshock.

For those of you playing the home game, Twilight is brought to you by Stephanie Meyer, crazy Mormon extraordinaire. Hell, that she's a Mormon is purely incidental in this case! But the fact that she's crazy remains a FACT. She's 27, still lives with her parents, and is the biggest child I've ever seen. Everything she says and does makes me seriously wonder if she's ever left the comfort of her mall-goth bedroom and gone outside.

** On one memorable occasion, a fan asked Ms. Meyer if Edward (the vapid virgin vamp) goes a bit stir-crazy whenever Bella gets her period. Because blood is the ONLY source of sustenance for a vampire, and Bella is his twu wuv. I, personally, think it's a very valid question. And Ms. Meyer's response?

"Eww! That is so gross! I can't believe you'd ask me that! You should probably leave."

What kind of CHILD shuts down a fan like that?**

And the fans of these books are INSANE. It pains me to admit that my sister is one of them, proving that I have not only failed in my duties as an older sister, but also as a future English teacher. Has anyone ever tried talking to a "Twilight" fan? My best friend's sister is a HUGE fan and every time she talks to me about Edward Cullen, all I can think is, "Fuck. I don't have enough breadcrumbs to get home."

And desecrating the written word wasn't enough, but they had to go and make a movie adaptation. My best friend saw it and said that if they'd muted the whole thing, it would've been good. And they got the most unpleasant, blank-eyed potheads to play the leading roles. Way to go, Goldcrest Pictures.

Unfortunately, as it has been made clear to me, I am in the minority when it comes to hating these books. Maybe 1 out of 10 people are rational individuals who understand where I'm coming from. The other 9 watch "Lord of the Rings" as if it were a documentary.

I'm not entirely sure how to end this rant, because trying to wrap my mind around the success of this series normally causes blood to shoot out my nose. But understand that I've been writing all of my life. I was a creative writing major for two years, studying under some of the best writing professors the country has to offer. I'm a semester away from doing my student-teaching in England, and I have a 3.8 GPA. I'd like to think I know what bad literature looks like.

And from here? It looks like "Twilight".



leah claire said...

Ugh, I also read to about page 60 before I put the book down and walked away (I would have thrown it, but it wasn't mine).

Not only was it predictable, but I already really, really despised Bella. I could tell she was going to be one of the Too-Stupid-To-Live heroines, and since I'd already endured a couple of chapters of whining about how she wasn't pretty (completely at odds with the author's long boring descriptions of Bella's beauty), I threw in the towel before I wanted to jump into the book and strangle her.

Ana said...

What killed me was how the author felt the need to remind us how gorgeous Edward was on every. Fucking. Chapter.

Ana said...

Paragraph. I meant paragraph.

R.C. said...

Ana, I want to know how he sparkled all the time. I mean, did he have gnomes following him around with buckets of glitter?

Meeearc said...

(Applause) (Deja Vu)

I have not read the books but I'm curious to know if this Ms. Meyers girl explained how vampires are out during the day? Did she take a page from Blade and give this vampire SPF 100?

TJE said...

Keep it alive C.S.! Our future depends on souls like yours.


K. said...


Trufax: I was sitting on the train, wedged between Twilight on one side, Harry Potter's last on the other. As an English prof type, all I could think was, "I'm in hell."

But OTOH, I'm doing research on 19th c. sentimental crap and let me tell ya, it ain't much better.

Didn't you know that all you needed was a viril yet completely non-threatening man to sparkle and rescue you from... er, what did we need to be rescued from again?

Anonymous said...

Ah, Twilight.

You know? I used to think that Numair and Dane sort of had an unhealthy relationship in Tamora Pierce's Immortals Quartet, but I recently reread that and was pleased to find that they're a hell of a lot more functional than Edward and Bella.

Hence, whenever the popularity of Twilight gets to me, I just envision Numair and Gilbert Blythe beating up Edward Cullen. And it makes everything better.

Anonymous said...

Page 60? I didn't even get to page 10! I'm Italian. My cousin gave me the Italian translation of Twilight for my birthday two years ago, because obviously, since I love Buffy I must love ALL vampire stories. I read the first couple of pages and threw it away, thinking "this is translated horribly!". I then downloaded the English version (no way was I going to spend money on it), and I found out it was WRITTEN HORRIBLY TO BEGIN WITH! So, apologies to the Italian translator. It wasn't her fault. Stopped at page 10.

All this to say, I'm frigging Italian and I CAN TELL it's very badly written. WTF, English people? It reads like a bad fanfic. And that's without even getting into the plot. *shakes head*

W.A.S.T.E. said...

Courtney! Please help me! Why do I like Twilight? I agree with everything you say... completely... but I actually got sucked in and fell in love with Edward. What exactly is my character defect, please tell me! I have a PhD in literature and I know good writing... what has happened? How can this be explained? Love, Monica

Caroline said...

Found your blog and absolutely LOVED this rant. I swear, Meyer should be arrested for promoting this idea that all young women should do is lie around and wait for life to happen to them and to have a piss-poor, self-centered, arrogant attitude about it whilst they wait around. Additionally, I'd like to add, I've discovered this to be quite the generational problem in women between the ages of 14 (where it's permissable and, dare I say it, a little "normal" whatever that means) all the way up to 30. When/where/how has this happened? Meyer should be embarrased for so so many reasons. Anyways, thanks for the rant and the good laugh I had reading it!