Friday, September 10, 2010
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 - Regretsy.com 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.