Its Not All About The Vampires

The fantastic Lizzie Stark has come up with how Twilight vould have been better if it had been written in the styles of other, infinitely better authors. I would like to share this excerpt, it being modelled on one of my favourite novels of all time:

Herman Melville

“Call me Bella.” A tome about the length of the original series investigates Bella’s monomanical search for the vampire who stole her virginity. There’s an entire chapter devoted to describing the devastating whiteness of Edward’s skin, and several on the physiognomy of vampires, starting with their skeletal structure outward.

You must read it in its entirety here. The comments thread has also yielded some gems.

I know its become dreadfully blase and expected to use Twilight as a target for abuse and ridicule, and now that the second-last movie has been inflicted upon the world, maybe we can all start ignoring it and it will go away. But sometimes we all forget that Meyer isn’t the entirety of the Twilight nightmare, though of course she should be held responsible for her part in indulging the worst side-effects of what I like to call the Cosmo problem. It is made evident by the three topics that Cosmo (and magazines like it) obsess over: men, sex and body image, the latter two catering to the former. Dull, hetronormative and misleading.







Twilight is not the first badly-written book with a plot with the depth of an egg-cup and characters that make cardboard look thrilling. As I’ve discussed before here, the richest authors aren’t necessarily the best. But what makes them famous is a reading public that is easily pleased and amused by simple plots and archetype characters. The more blood the better, and if a few handsome torsos can be thrown in, then that’s nice too. The majority of the reading public is not interested in the epic scope of high fantasy (which often requires appendixes to the novels) or the intricacies of feminist theory and reality as dealt with by Virginia Woolf. Most people would get frustrated with Rushdie, since magical realism is a genre that takes a special kind of mind to adore. (I offer up my mind as an example.)

I know that it is unfair to expect people to want to read better books than the latest copy-paste replica by Patterson and whichever flunky he has working for him at the moment. Not everyone reads to learn and challenge existing thought processes. Most people read to escape, to dream and to swoon. I would never take that away from anyone, since I read crime novels as a guilty pleasure myself. Some people won’t touch Toni Morrison because she deals with hard questions about race, or Germaine Greer because she upends many preconceived ideas about how society functions. I guess it is in my nature to side with the authors rather than the readers because I know how much work goes into a researched and well-written novel and its just sad that that work is going by unnoticed and unappreciated. Of course there are people reading these fine works, but they’re not getting the bestseller status they deserve. Some hipster readers don’t want their favourite authors to become successful, because (in their strange minds) an author’s gift is tarnished by the number of readers. That’s an incredibly selfish and puerile point of view. But I want great authors to get the credit and the fame they deserve, and sometimes they write something incredible and accessible and it makes it to the New York Times bestseller list. Q&A, more famously known as Slumdog Millionaire, is a wonderful example of that.

And a massively successful movie too.

And then Twilight sells a few million copies a year, and in that I see the failure of feminism and the education system. I try my hardest to counteract that by recommending better books and hoping that the teens who read Twilight don’t grow up thinking that they should marry the kind of guy that will eventually require one of those ankle bracelets that notifies his parole officer as soon as he steps outside the provincial boundary. But again, Twilight is really just symptomatic of an undemanding market that loves its stereotypes far too much. The worldwide fame and admiration of the character Hermione Granger gives me hope that the many of young reading public prefers their female characters strong, resourceful and brave. Its not over yet, and I know that it would be remiss of me as a feminist to think the worst of young women. So perhaps the best way to counteract all this bullshit is really just to support the intelligent authors, especially the ones that have brave lead females. That tradition goes as far back as Scarlet Letter; there’s no reason we should let it die out in favour of the endlessly pretentious, selfish and pathetic Bella “Mary-Sue” Swan.


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  1. Pingback: The Book Armada

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