Thursday, October 15, 2009

Carping Crepuscular

The latest popular literary trend is this thing called Twilight. With four successful books and a series of films in progress, it cannot be avoided as a substantial part of the culture these days. That is too bad, because as far as trends go, this one is insubstantial and unsatisfying.

Perhaps part of the problem is semantics. In much the same way that some Christians saw the Harry potter universe as satanic because it involved “witches,” vampire enthusiasts see Twilight as lame because the Vampires are so wrong. The truth is, both cases are unfortunate choices of words. J.K. Rowling’s’ witches are not what people typically think of when they see that term, and probably could have been called something else. Meyer’s vampires are similar in that they are not really vampires. She admits that she had no clue about vampire lore and didn’t even look into it until her first book was accepted for publication.

The real problem with Meyer’s vampires is that they do not fulfill the traditional role of vampire as a symbol for evil. Or even better, they water down evil to the point that it no longer is recognizable. Meyer herself wants the Vampires of her world to symbolize evil. She has compared Bella’s choice to love Edward with that of Eve choosing to eat the forbidden fruit. In that regard, evil in Meyer’s understanding is something more like crossing the street without looking—bad idea, maybe dangerous, but statistically something you might do a lot and survive.

Honestly though, the real problems with the first book in the series are: a) Meyer does a far too good of a job getting the reader into the head of a teen-age girl, and that is a place no one in their right mind would want to live. And b) you can’t get away from the thought that the whole story is about a guy falling in love with particularly savory hamburger.

What about the movie? Even compared to the light-weightiness of the book, it is silly, forgettable, and cheesy. Would have played better as a half hour program on the Disney channel.


  1. I have a sneaking suspicion that you didn't really like them that much...

  2. Wish you could have been with me last Fri. at our inservice. the workshop that kept it from being the boring waste of time they so ofter are, was given by the soph. Bible teacher from our school. His topic: Plato's Theory of Forms and It's Influence on the Fantasy of Tolkein, Lewis, and Rowling. Nothing new there, but just fun to be in a room of like-minded people.


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