Friday, September 10, 2010

Open Letter to the TwiHaters

The haters, the jokers, the mockers and the teasers... this post is for you!

As we are in between the major waves of Twi-mania at the moment, it seemed like a good, safe time to address you. We've met before. Either on the obscure web blog, or a very popular one (good example - has a whole category devoted to Twilight products). We might have corresponded via email and on the forum boards. Hey, you even stopped by my house and made a whole production of discussing the collection of certain black-covered books on my shelf which apparently represents total lack of literary taste. And while the latter I can easily ban from coming over anymore, the whole army of virtual twi-haters is always lurking around, waiting for the right moment to attack...

What I want to tell you... I understand some of your frustration. Not sure why you need to unleash it on the ones actually enjoying these quite harmless books... But let us dissect the issue more thoroughly, shall we?

• OPINION: The books suck! (no pun intended).
• MY ANSWER: Books are no literary masterpieces, Mrs. Meyer is no Shakespeare, nobody ever said they were. That said, there's definitely a case to be made for a book that touches you on some emotional level. It clearly struck a cord with so many people, there must be some magic in it, don't you think? If it didn't "do it" for you, maybe something else will. And not necessarily a Pulitzer-prize winner ;)

• OPINION: Everybody knows it's no good.
• MY ANSWER: It reminds me of a good old joke. One guy meets another and says: "Have you heard the latest opera sang by Pavarotti?" The other one answers: "Yes, I did, it's horrible". The first dude is surprised, he says:"Really? When did you go see it?" Second guy's answer is the kicker: "Oh, I didn't, but a friend of mine sang a piece of it to me." So, really, TRY reading it first, and then we'll talk.

• OPINION: If it's THAT popular, it can't be serious, important, or simply good literature.
• MY ANSWER: I am sincerely hoping that you're not just assessing the Twilight Saga because a. teens like it, b. women like it, c. somebody said they were bad. True, an average "pop" rarely brings us long-lasting cultural phenomena... But again, perhaps sometimes a "feel good" story is more helpful than some "real life" drama with a tragic end. I personally have a very high threshold for peer pressure, yet I am willing to give popular things a try, in hopes that what gives pleasure to so many people, might just do the same for me :)

• OPINION: There's something really creepy about this Edward guy.
• MY ANSWER: Yeah... "I like watching you sleep" usually does it for the non-believers, I suspect. All the googly-eyed twihards find it endearing though... The guy can't sleep, so he spends his nights observing his drooling girlfriend, in hopes to catch her mumbling his name. The fact that he follows her around and attempts to protect her from anything and everything only adds to his disturbing image for some and appeal for others. In the day of presumed equality between the sexes, the deep dark female romantic fantasy still somehow falls into the strong male lead will defend and protect me territory. Perfectly natural, if you ask me. It IS a fantasy, after all.

• OPINION: The book is anti-feminist
• MY ANSWER: Really? Have you read it? I'm sure this opinion is directly attached to the hip of the last one. If the guy is overprotective, the girl must be a weak "damsel-in-distress" type, right? Wrong! Bella ends up standing up for her self-doubting self, as well as everybody else who's near and dear to her heart in nearly every situation. She is described as strong-headed, and for a good reason. She ends up doing a lot of stupid dangerous things, but a weakling she's not. Her self-depreciating remarks are a bit tiring, but hey, she's a vulnerable teen girl, remember? And yeah, she's drooling over a beautiful boy. Didn't we all, at one point or another, when we were self-conscious kids, as opposed to strongly opinionated wise adults that we are right now? ;)

• OPINION: The author is a Mormon, so the book must be full of religious zeal.
• MY ANSWER: Trust me, my zealot-alarm is always on high alert (don't ask why), yet Twilight sailed right through, no bells went off. Yes, the whole "no sex before marriage" business (oh, the horrors!) is a red flag, but don't you think that for a guy who's been a 17yo virgin for a hundred years, that IS a way of life? That's all he knows, really... And Stephenie is certainly not pushing her presumed high moral standards on the readers, seeing that horny young Bella is quite anxious to bed her gorgeous boyfriend throughout all 4 books.

• OPINION: It's disturbing to see all these "older" women lusting after a young guy. Who do they think they are?
• MY ANSWER: *letting out a girlish giggle* They think they're still young :) As somebody recently quoted on Twitter "inside every old person, there's a young one wondering "what the heck happened?" Twilight brings back memories of first loves, innocent romance, secret longings... Aaa, the butterflies in the stomach, first touch, dreams... It's 100% escapist reality for somebody who's over 30 and has real life responsibilities, let me tell you. We are all clear that "he" is a fictional character, correct?

From here, we can make a smooth transition into the movie reality:

• OPINION: The movies and actors in the movies are B-A-D.
• MY ANSWER: Movies are what they are. They are the producers' and director's vision of the books. Factor in the budget/technical issues/media and fan pressure and you get what you get. Because the story is so endearing for so many people, we tend to overlook some loops and misses in the movie department. We start out loving the characters, so, unless actors vary drastically from how we envisioned them, we automatically fall in love (unconditionally and irrevocably, of course ;)) with them as well. They are young, they're talented (though not overly experienced, yet...). We are willing to give them benefit of our doubt and if you don't want to do same, keep playing you own movie in your own head :)

• OPINION: Everything Twilight touches turns into a mess.
• MY ANSWER: Well, well, well... All the paparazzi madness that usually surrounds the whole cast, and the places that became famous thanks to both books and movie, doesn't help, does it? But think about it... I am fairly sure none of the people involved invite the craziness... As a matter of fact, anybody can see that they've been handling it with grace and patience almost unheard of, considering their age and "social status". The fandom collectively supports multitude of charities, and is in general, very respectful and well behaved.

Ok, I think I'm all out of hateful arguments as well as witty rebuttals. Now, you, my little TwiFans, have you encountered any true Twi-haters in your real life and/or internet? What was your favorite "hate crime" against Twilight and what would be a perfect comeback (besides from the all-encompassing "Bite me" argument)? Please share.


Danny said...

Sweetie!! What an awesome post!! I was just nodding and nodding you are perfectly right!!!
Great post!!!

eimear said...

Love this post Rashell! So true!

moonduster said...

That was a very good post. :) Well written and concise.

I am actually one of those "Twi-haters," not because of the poor writing (and yes, though somewhat enjoyable, anyone who reads regularly has to admit that the writing was far from stellar), and not because of the movie, not even because of all of the "Twi-moms" and the hoop and hoopla about it. My reasons are from a far more personal perspective.

This movie came out right after my teenage daughter ran away from home so she could be with her boyfriend who she was certain was her "true love." She tried to escape having to take her final exams and wanted to leave school completely behind too because nothing else mattered except for her love for her boyfriend.

With so many teens looking up to the character Bella as someone they wish they could be, do you really think the character is a good role-model? While she loves her parents, she doesn't really care at all for her friends at school. She is willing to leave her family behind, even let them think she is dead, all so she can be with her "true love." She even poo-poos the idea of going to college.

I could go on, but as you see, my disgust for the Twilight series (and yes, I read them all) stems from the similarities between Bella's actions and attitude and my own daughter's.

And I would hate to think that any of my other daughters would find behavior such as Edward's romantic. If any real-life guy acted towards them the way he acts toward Bella, I would rather hope they would call the police and treat him like the stalker he is.

As for the Moms who like Twilight, I have no problem with that. While I don't think it is appropriate for teens still young enough to be impressionable, I have no problem with anyone old enough to know better, who know enough to not let it be an example to them of anything and who are just enjoying it as a bit of enjoyable mind fluff.

I actually think it is great that it has caused discussion and debate among people who have read the books, and I really do believe everyone has the right to their own opinion on the piece. Every opinion has equal value and there is no right or wrong here.

RaShell said...

Hi Becky,

Thank you for reading and giving me such long and thoughtful reply. You made quite a few very valid points that clearly you had to take in account while dealing with teenage daughters... I agree, that since I was reading it as an adult and my daughters are not yet old enough for anything drastic, I might have missed a few "warning signs", or, perhaps didn't pay them too much attention. That said, maybe it would be a good idea to read such books together with our young and impressionable girls? To point out exactly what you mentioned about Bella's seeming lack of concern for everything besides her "true love"... My feeling is, that in the books, Bella's determination and stubbornness when it comes to what's truly important is not embraced, bur rather almost ridiculed... But again, I read it from my own point of view, not a teen's. In my mind, the reason Edward is so reluctant to "turn" Bella is exactly because he understands all the sacrifices involved, and she, with her age-appropriate single-mindedness and maximalism, doesn't.
Once again, thank you very much for pointing out all these dangerous points and sharing your personal experience with us. I read the books at the time when I desperately needed an escapist reality to stick my tired head into, and Twilight rose to the challenge :)

Anonymous said...

I agree but there will always be haters but that's what makes this world go round. Everything has opposition. Everyone is not going to agree on anything. My problem with Twilight haters is that they think their right and are constantly putting down the fans that love it. I'm not saying all Twilight haters do this but MOST OF THEM DO. I don't have any respect for that and I will defend Bella and the series when it seems fit. Which is all the time lately lol ...
Thank you for sharing and Twilight fans we know what we've read and felt DON'T APOLOGIZE FOR IT and were intelligent enough to just ignore them. We've been doing this a long time so let's just have fun and let them go on with their misery. I find it sad that Twilight haters go looking for a way to hurt the series and it's fans but it still continues to grow and there will always be a new fan to the series because the books are that good maybe not to the literary snobs but there good reads nonetheless.

DrJennieCullen said...

I loved the Twilight books and movies. I cautiously agreed to watch the first movie with my teen cousin (I'm 37) and got into it immediately. But here's the kicker. While Meyer may not be Shakespeare, this is the ONLY series of books (or practically books at all) that I've read for pleasure since I was in grade school. Higher education turned me off of reading permanently for all I knew. Stephenie got me to start reading books again in my spare time and my mother is thrilled. An avid reader herself she's read the classics and all kinds of other genres. She's Team Jacob by the way and can't see how anyone could find Edward attractive. LOL :) My point is, I don't suppose I'm the only one who had this happen and I was a self described book hater prior to the Twilight series and now, just this summer alone I've read 4 other entire novels besides The Twilight Saga (I won't read Breaking Dawn until the movie comes out, that's just a 'me' thing). But I'm a family practice physician who comes with a certain degree of intelligence (hopefully anyway) and I'm anxiously awaiting the next movie as much as any 'tween' out there. SO I don't understand why anyone would be opposed to me for that...

SagaDevotee said...

Hurrah! Take that haters!

JenGambale said...

Thank you, finally someone who dislikes Twilight in a mature way and with actual reasonable reasons! :) I was getting tired of all the people who say they hate Twilight for the reasons that have been stated in the blog post. *yawn* So it's very refreshing to hear your opinion. :)


Saying they don't want to read the Twilight books because it's not in their area of interests is one thing, that's okay.
Saying they hate it without having read it and not wanting to give it a chance is an entirely different matter, that's just plain stubborn and childish.
If they read it and then say, they still don't like it, then that's okay.

wjjaja said...

OMG that was brilliant! There's this weekly newspaper we have which publishes write-ups by college kids who consider themselves superior just because they read Terry Pratchett and listen to Morrissey. Every week, in at least 3 articles they'll make some twilight reference and make fun of it. E.g - In an article about bizarre male fashion trends, they mention gelled hair, so they had to bring up Edward's hair; they talk about glitter and they make fun of sparkly vampires; they talk about teen girls being emo and how Twilight is lame because they like it and so on.

Anonymous said...

On You Tube, I saw a video, where a small group of guys, staged a fake "New Moon" premier. They rented a theater, charged fans for admission. Once the fans were gathered to see what they thought was going to be the premier of New Moon, The guy who set the whole thing up, came out on stage and told everybody in the audience how stupid and gullible, they were.