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Fighting the TRUE menace
December 13, 2011 8:37 AM   Subscribe

George Takei wants Star Wars and Star Trek fans to unite against the REAL enemy: Twilight. (slyt)
posted by antifuse (159 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
George Takei! I loved him in Attack of the Clones.
posted by theodolite at 8:40 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Shut your big wormholes! But does anyone labor under the pretense that "Twilight" is anything other than escapist fantasy, let alone sci-fi?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:41 AM on December 13, 2011


Originally I was afraid he was going to try and unite them against the British invader, Dr.Who.

Growing up, Star Trek vs. Star Wars was like Mac vs. PC with Dr.Who being Linux.
posted by charred husk at 8:44 AM on December 13, 2011 [25 favorites]


Twilight? Damn. I was so sure that was going to say "maturity".
posted by Decani at 8:44 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maturity blows.
posted by josher71 at 8:46 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Maturity blows.

Bella apparently does not?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:47 AM on December 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Burhanistan Escape - from acting?
posted by CaptApollo at 8:48 AM on December 13, 2011


HOLY WAR HOLY WAR CLEANSE THE EARTH
posted by The Whelk at 8:48 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


If only humans were capable of liking two things.
posted by bondcliff at 8:49 AM on December 13, 2011 [24 favorites]


Hehe Takei is such a good sport.. and so FUNNY!
posted by ReeMonster at 8:50 AM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sigh. More fan infighting. It seems like to gain some more 'legitimacy' as a fan group, you're required to shit on any other fan group that is newer or (subjectively) dumber than yours. You get it from people who have 'mainstream' tastes or relationships with the media you consume, and then you spit it right back at people who like slashfiction or a less 'intelligent' properties.

But then at the same time, some of the major tenents of fan interaction include letting people who don't have entirely developed social skills (or are just kind of shitheads) in because they love the same things that you do. Inclusivity within your group, but fuck everyone else that has less mainstream tastes than me, all the way to the top. George gets halfway by saying "we're more or less into the same stuff, star-buddies!" but then fails hard by uniting them against a common enemy.

Fandom is a weird thing, man.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 8:54 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seemed like all in good fun to me, but obviously YMMV.
posted by josher71 at 8:56 AM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Just don't confuse Twilight fans with Goth kids.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:56 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty okay with Twilight, but I'm having a hard time not doing whatever George Takei tells me.
posted by emmtee at 8:56 AM on December 13, 2011 [17 favorites]




Sigh. More fan infighting.


Serious business.
The man was joking. A joke! On the sacred soil of geeks, no less.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:56 AM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Can I be for Star Trek and Twilight but against Star Wars? Because my other half does in fact sparkle and it's nice to get some representation for once.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:57 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


No one needs permission to hate Star Wars. It was fun for what it was but the way it's held up as a cultural touchstone that must be venerated is just repressive.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:59 AM on December 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


It was fun for what it was but the way it's held up as a cultural touchstone that must be venerated is just repressive.

I could not agree more.
posted by josher71 at 9:01 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sigh. More fan infighting.

See, I agree with you about how fan infighting is annoying.

But TWILIGHT really is that bad. Honestly.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:01 AM on December 13, 2011 [25 favorites]


As long as they don't make me choose between Carrie Fisher's books and Bill Shatner's music because both are really freaking hilarious.
posted by rokusan at 9:01 AM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


My favorites, cause were wondering, in order of preference. Buffy, Star Trek, Twilight, Underworld, Blade. I never liked Star Wars. I know Underworld wasn't mentioned but it should have been.
posted by shoesietart at 9:02 AM on December 13, 2011


That was pretty funny.

But I've gotta say. Yesterday I un-liked the official Star Trek page on Facebook. For those who don't use Facebook, it's worth saying that the company has cleaned up its "official pages" feature for companies, and it's really a useful tool now. I have about a dozen local businesses "liked" on my Facebook, and a few more national ones. I get notices in my News Feed about new-product releases or when a store is changing its hours. For the most part, the companies that I subscribe to have exercised restraint in making updates and kept the feature useful.

So when I saw that Star Trek had an official page, I was excited. I "liked" it. I'm a Trekkie. I figured I would get updates about various conventions (I've always wanted to attend one) and news about book releases, and of course alerts if any new series or film was in the works. No. No, no, no. Instead, the official Star Trek page is being used basically as a coupon book for the Star Trek online store, notifying me that this T-shirt is on sale or this coffee mug would be great for Christmas.

But the worst part is, interspersed with the consumerist nagging, the official page was also spamming me with, "Who had the best hairstyle on TNG?" and "Which VOY character would you consult about math homework?" These questions were attracting thousands of comments. They were...popular. I am not kidding or exaggerating. These are literally questions that used to be asked by Facebook apps that I would block. The official Star Trek page is basically "Star Trek for Fans of Farmville."

I'm sorry, Mr. Takei, but if that isn't Twilight-level crap then I don't know what is. Fix your own house before storming over to Meyer's.
posted by red clover at 9:03 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Twilight isn't just bad as literature/movie franchise. It actually promotes a sexist worldview and romanticizes abuse. And not in like a "OMG! Mr. Spock has pointed ears and slanted eyebrows JUST LIKE SATAN" way, but in that the entire point of the whole series is glorifying emotional manipulation.
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:04 AM on December 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


Oh myyyy!
posted by Brocktoon at 9:05 AM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


obviously 7 of 9 on the math homework is that a joke
posted by neuromodulator at 9:08 AM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Which VOY character would you consult about math homework?

How is that even a question? Obviously you go to seven of nine. If you wanted to get out of doing homework go to Janeway. If you want to skip the homework and get thrown in the brig go to Paris.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:10 AM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


obviously 7 of 9 on the math homework is that a joke

Neelix would be my first choice if I had to, say, make something out of paper mache.
posted by drezdn at 9:11 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


as a fan group, you're required to shit on any other fan group that is newer or (subjectively) dumber than yours

"Subjectively"? We're talking about Twilight here.
posted by Hoopo at 9:12 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


ughhhhhhhhhhh
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:14 AM on December 13, 2011


As long as they don't make me choose between Carrie Fisher's books

Her live stage show for Wishful Drinking was so much fun, I hope she does another tour for Shockaholic.
posted by nomisxid at 9:17 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just so we're clear, it was not a joke. They actually posted that question (math homework). It got over 2,000 comments. The most recent such status-update appears to be, "What holodeck simulation would you run?", which is marginally better than the TNG hairstyle question but not a lot. I honestly do not see much difference between these and, "Hey, girls...Jacob, or Edward?"

I didn't mean to derail the conversation here. Those debates are still raging on the Facebook page I'm sure, so you could dive in there. Sadly, you will discover that you have missed yesterday's amazing sale of 40% off calendars, books, and prints. (Because if there's anything Star Trek was all about, it's buying stuff.)
posted by red clover at 9:17 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Twilight As Tragedy And Cautionary Tale
posted by The Whelk at 9:17 AM on December 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Clearly I forgot the "tongueincheek" tag. But I sort of thought that was a given, what with the GeorgeTakei tag. Silly me.
posted by antifuse at 9:17 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I can picture the assembled armies of Jedi, Star Fleet officers, Stormtroopers, and Klingons charging down the hill towards the massed TwiHards. LED sabers reflecting off of polished batleths, it would be a sight to see.

Until the charging horde stumbles into chaos, the assault broken by the simple fact that most of the defenders are female. Not just any females, mind you, but one who would be willing to barter attending a convention of your choice in a costume of your choice in return for you just applying a little sparkle and a touch of hairgel. And for the female WarsTrekkers, I'm sure there would be a fair number of abs flared just for you.

The WarsTrek Alliance would last all of five minutes. After five hours, the new, mightier TwiTrekWars Confederacy would begin its long march, demanding fealty from the Whovians and the Whedonites, as it wound its long way towards the Super Bowl.

And there, my friends, there would be a FIGHT.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:19 AM on December 13, 2011 [11 favorites]




Just so we're clear, it was not a joke. They actually posted that question (math homework). It got over 2,000 comments.


Right now I'm imagining a grown man screaming at a child for asking a stupid, irreverent question about a science fiction show. Kind of like this.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:19 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


How is that even a question? Obviously you go to seven of nine. If you wanted to get out of doing homework go to Janeway. If you want to skip the homework and get thrown in the brig go to Paris.

If you want to see something you'll only remember in sleepless snatches of half-conscious terror, you go to Neelix.

And if you want the opinion of someone who comes from a parallel universe exactly the same as ours except every five years humans erupt in neurotoxic spines and go on a week-long orgy of skin-eating, and to whom it has never occurred to check that things might not be the same over here, you go to the iteration of Harry Kim currently aboard ship.

ArmyofKittens and I are a Star Trek household to the extent that there has been a still image of Worf on the TV for about two and a half hours, and neither of us has thought this remarkable or troubling enough to go and turn it off.
posted by emmtee at 9:22 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jon_Evil: “Twilight isn't just bad as literature/movie franchise. It actually promotes a sexist worldview and romanticizes abuse. And not in like a ‘OMG! Mr. Spock has pointed ears and slanted eyebrows JUST LIKE SATAN’ way, but in that the entire point of the whole series is glorifying emotional manipulation.”

This is obnoxious and pernicious nonsense. Twilight does not in any way promote sexism or romanticize abuse any more than Star Trek promotes communism or Star Wars promotes killing people with swords. I know it's a fad to say "Twilight is sexist!" but that doesn't make it true.

The widespread hatred of Twilight, particularly among people of a certain age and background, gets really tiresome. It's as though we've all decided to place every bit of loathing we have for popular things, for things that are well-liked by other people, onto this one series. And it was written by a Mormon! Awesome, it's fun to hate Mormons, especially because they're so sexist and provincial.

Really, I tried confronting this nonsense rationally and discussing it, but after a while one begins to believe that there isn't much point. People will hate Twilight; this is simply how it will be. And they will not hate Twilight because there is something inherently wrong with the Twilight series, nor because Twilight represents some grand sexist plot to ruin our children, nor because they glorify abuse or something like that. Twilight itself is completely innocuous, but that doesn't matter. People will always hate Twilight because people love hating things.
posted by koeselitz at 9:23 AM on December 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


Sparkly doesn't do it for me. I prefer shiny.
posted by Lou Stuells at 9:25 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Isn't the real enemy the continuing production of new Star Wars and Star Trek movies?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:26 AM on December 13, 2011


Four words:

Worf - Jacob cage match.
posted by fairmettle at 9:27 AM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


It seems like to gain some more 'legitimacy' as a fan group, you're required to shit on any other fan group that is newer or (subjectively) dumber than yours.

Look, I agree that fan infighting can be really dumb and is usually very hypocritical. Comic book fans looking down on fanfiction writers, video game fans making fun of Buffy watchers, etc are all pretty damn dumb. I don't even like furrybashing. (Some furries deserve it, but every fandom has fucking wankers.)

But hating on Twilight (much like hating on the Star Wars prequels or the Last Airbender movie, not the sublime TV show) is objectively right. It's practically canonical.

(Sadly there can be a sexist approach to hating on Twilight that's not uncommon among some nerd fandoms. The existence of these sexist approaches does not in any way validate Twilight.)
posted by kmz at 9:28 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Worf would destroy Jacob and then write a moving poem about it.
posted by drezdn at 9:28 AM on December 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Growing up, Star Trek vs. Star Wars was like Mac vs. PC with Dr.Who being Linux.

Lower production values and difficult to follow for anybody but a few initiated?

You may be right, you know.
posted by Skeptic at 9:29 AM on December 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Today is a good day to be shirtless."

Doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

("Today is a good day to sparkle." Even worse)
posted by kmz at 9:30 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


No way - Jacob would totally punk Worf.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:31 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Sparkly doesn't do it for me. I prefer shiny.

Finally, some sensibility! Firefly didn't need to prop itself up with either sham mysticism or handwavey quantum physics. It had compelling storytelling, just the right balance of serious and whimsy, AND it respected the audience to not have cheap explosion sounds in the vacuum of space. Just think how good that show would've been if HBO let Whedon have three years and a big budget.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:31 AM on December 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


drezdn: “Worf would destroy Jacob and then write a moving poem about it.”

And then have to apologize to Alexander, who, it turns out, is a rabid Twilight fan. And then have to talk it over together with their therapist and make an agreement to be more sensitive to the feelings of others in the future.
posted by koeselitz at 9:31 AM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Man, it's been almost 20 years, but thinking about Alexander's posture still sends me into conniptions.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:34 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know it's a fad to say "Twilight is sexist!" but that doesn't make it true.

No, what makes it true is its sexism.
posted by Aquaman at 9:35 AM on December 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


And then have to talk it over together with their therapist and make an agreement to be more sensitive to the feelings of others in the future.

This therapist perhaps?
posted by kmz at 9:37 AM on December 13, 2011


I was trying to make a joke about having a character with a half-computer brain (okay, so my understanding of borg physiology is vague at best) and with an actual math-type sounding name being the obvious answer, with a smidgen of pretend uber-fan indignation that I was being asked such an easy question. But I delivered that joke like Data so it fell flat! Ha ha ha I'll be here all night.

But seriously: I would like to take this opportunity to share Jhonen (Spaceman Zim/JTHM) Vasquez' ST: TNG doodles because they're totally awesome.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:38 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Twilight does not in any way promote sexism or romanticize abuse any more than Star Trek promotes communism or Star Wars promotes killing people with swords.

The main character is a teenage girl who makes little to no effort to take any agency in her own life, and relies on the hunky boyfriend to save her. And wants him to kill her, by making her a vampire.

Oh, and the first time they have sex she ends up bruised to shit and thinks it's romantic.

What in the ever-loving sparkly baseball-in-the-rain FUCK is that if it's not promoting abuse?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:39 AM on December 13, 2011 [17 favorites]


Oh man I hated Alexander. He was like when they brought that new girl on The Cosby Show.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:39 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


But hating on Twilight (much like hating on the Star Wars prequels or the Last Airbender movie, not the sublime TV show) is objectively right. It's practically canonical.

I totally agree with this. Twilight is awful, and that Airbender movie broke my heart. But there's a huge difference between saying a property sucks and you don't understand why anyone would like it, and saying that someone sucks because they like it. Naamsayin?
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 9:40 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think one thing we can almost all agree on is that it's time to LET IT GO with Firefly and Serenity. I mean, really.
posted by Yowser at 9:42 AM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


It seems to me like this battle has already been won. Or, rather, will already be won. Because in the 23rd Century, as far as I remember, there are no vampires. Sure, there's that salt sucking creature, but that's about as close as it comes, and Bones took care of her.
posted by Flunkie at 9:42 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because in the 23rd Century, as far as I remember, there are no vampires.

And then there's Blindsight. In which we're all raped and murdered by antediluvian genetic dead ends.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:45 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Because in the 23rd Century, as far as I remember, there are no vampires.

Or they are all vampires and no one mentions it because that's just how things have been for years.
posted by drezdn at 9:46 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someone needs to do a picture of Han Solo holding a wooden stake while Captain Kirk pounds it through Edward's chest. With the rest of the characters solemnly looking on.
posted by jquinby at 9:47 AM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Or they are all vampires and no one mentions it because that's just how things have been for years.

You've just given me a VERY interesting mental image for how the Tribble episode could have gone.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:48 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was going to point out that seven had the majority of her implants removed and then had new implants added when she rejoined the Borg in the two parter Dark Horizons. And that she had the the entire body of knowlege of the Borg collective and was acknowledged by the crew to be the smartest human alive. So she would be the best choice for math homework.

But fuck that, there are more important things than seven of nine. I will never let Firefly go! You can't take the sky from me!

I am occupying this thread until they bring back Firefly.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:49 AM on December 13, 2011 [7 favorites]



Oh man I hated Alexander. He was like when they brought that new girl on The Cosby Show.


Or that new kid on Family Ties, even!
posted by entropicamericana at 9:49 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


And wants him to kill her, by making her a vampire.
Or maybe she wants eternal youth and to live forever. Like in a million other vampire stories, see Anne Rice.

Bruises don't always equal abuse, see hickeys.
posted by shoesietart at 9:49 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aquaman: “I know it's a fad to say ‘Twilight is sexist!’ but that doesn't make it true.”

Aquaman: “No, what makes it true is its sexism.”

Ah. And how many readings of the series did it take you to realize this?

Sigh... here we go again.

EmpressCallipygos: “The main character is a teenage girl who makes little to no effort to take any agency in her own life, and relies on the hunky boyfriend to save her. And wants him to kill her, by making her a vampire.”

No. The main character is a teenage girl who takes more agency in her own life than anyone around her does in theirs, even her divorced mother and father; who meets strange outcasts with lots of power, but sympathizes with them instantly; and who, when she quite naturally finds herself saved by these strange creatures, relentlessly demands that she be allowed the same power over her fate as they have over theirs, and pointedly insists to be made a vampire. You'll recall (?) that in the books, she doesn't just ask Edward to make her a vampire; she asks all the vampires to do this for her, and makes it clear that she's willing to go behind Edward's back to have this done, even though she loves him.

“Oh, and the first time they have sex she ends up bruised to shit and thinks it's romantic.”

The text is very clear on this point, and I went over this last time, but briefly I'll say this: she emphatically does not believe the bruises themselves are romantic. She believes the sex is romantic. But she demands to be made a vampire for this reason also, because she wants to be powerful enough that sex with Edward doesn't bruise her, if only to assuage Edward's deep and abiding sense of shame over the bruises.

“What in the ever-loving sparkly baseball-in-the-rain FUCK is that if it's not promoting abuse?”

It's a coming-of-age story about a young woman coming to grips with strange powers and learning to demand what she believes suits her.
posted by koeselitz at 9:53 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry; that first quote in my last comment wasn't from Aquaman, it was from me.
posted by koeselitz at 9:53 AM on December 13, 2011


Or maybe she wants eternal youth and to live forever. Like in a million other vampire stories, see Anne Rice.Bruises don't always equal abuse, see hickeys.

It's pretty clear from the context that he didn't hickey the bedframe into scrap lumber.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:53 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The main character is a teenage girl who takes more agency in her own life than anyone around her does in theirs

By doing what, specifically?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:55 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think one thing we can almost all agree on is that it's time to LET IT GO with Firefly and Serenity. I mean, really.

Most fans have. Really. At least the old guard. New fans' enthusiasm can go way too far (people wishing Castle would get canceled, people bashing Joss for not trying to revive Firefly every second of his life, etc), but most everybody calms down once they've been in the fandom long enough.
posted by kmz at 9:55 AM on December 13, 2011


@stagger lee

if you want a picture of the internet imagine a grown man screaming at a child for asking a stupid, irreverent question about a science fiction show forever
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:57 AM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]




Most fans have. Really. At least the old guard. New fans' enthusiasm can go way too far (people wishing Castle would get canceled, people bashing Joss for not trying to revive Firefly every second of his life, etc), but most everybody calms down once they've been in the fandom long enough.


I'm not sure how it could possibly live up to the combined expectations of the entire internet anyway.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:57 AM on December 13, 2011


I really do think Firefly would have been something if it had been allowed to develop for a few seasons. I also really do think that opening song had a lot to do with it being cancelled.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:58 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's a coming-of-age story about a young woman coming to grips with strange powers and learning to demand what she believes suits her.

Your valid reading doesn't invalidate the valid readings of others.

(Bella's mother also has agency over her life: she chooses to love the baseball player and to leave Forks, which she hated, for a better life. However, this is viewed as a negative in the narrative of the books because she does not choose to raise her daughter. Bella, meanwhile, does, and so her actions are viewed in a positive light, rather than the negative and selfish light in which she views the actions of her mother.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:01 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, Mr. Takei, but if that isn't Twilight-level crap then I don't know what is. Fix your own house before storming over to Meyer's.

George Takei's Facebook page is highly recommended. He's fairly active. All the pictures and jokes are fairly run of the mill, stuff your aunt would send to everyone in her address book, but if you read them in Takei's voice, they're all KOMEDY GOLD.

He also makes gratuitous burns about his husband, which can be quite endearing.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:01 AM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


By doing what, specifically?

Well, see, when Edward sabotages her car so she can't see Jacob, that was actually Bella's subconscious acting up for herself!
posted by kmz at 10:04 AM on December 13, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: “It's pretty clear from the context that he didn't hickey the bedframe into scrap lumber.”

So now the issue is that he abuses a bed?

me: “The main character is a teenage girl who takes more agency in her own life than anyone around her does in theirs...”

EmpressCallipygos: “By doing what, specifically?”

You really want to do this?

This is actually covered explicitly and extensively in the books, but: by being more emotionally and practically supportive of her parents than they are of her. By, at very beginning of the story, recognizing that her mother is going to want to travel a lot to be with that baseball-playing boyfriend of hers, and taking the initiative to give her license to do so by moving in with her dad instead, even though she loathes Forks. By doing much more for her father than he seems to be capable of doing for himself, like cooking for instance.

She takes initiative on all of these things because her first instinct is to nurture. This is remarked upon by many people in the story, from Edward on down. This is her first instinct, but because of her upbringing she doesn't at first realize that she ought to be helping herself before she helps other people.

The story is about her learning to temper that instinct to help other people with a selfishness which causes her to demand the things she deserves, the things that are fitting for her.
posted by koeselitz at 10:05 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's pretty clear from the context that he didn't hickey the bedframe into scrap lumber.

He broke the bed, not her jaw. She was not hurt or afraid of him and the sex was consensual. Rough sex doesn't equal abuse.
posted by shoesietart at 10:06 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


The story is about her learning to temper that instinct to help other people with a selfishness which causes her to demand the things she deserves, the things that are fitting for her.

Except she explicitly states several times that she doesn't want to be a mother and the final act of the series is largely about how wrong she was in that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:06 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love George.

Came in the thread for the nerd butthurt, was not disappoint.
posted by brand-gnu at 10:09 AM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi: “Bella's mother also has agency over her life: she chooses to love the baseball player and to leave Forks, which she hated, for a better life. However, this is viewed as a negative in the narrative of the books because she does not choose to raise her daughter. Bella, meanwhile, does, and so her actions are viewed in a positive light, rather than the negative and selfish light in which she views the actions of her mother.”

First of all, we don't really see Bella raising her daughter in the books at all; it's probably going to happen in the future, but that's certainly not supposed to be a basis for our evaluation of Bella from the start, right?

Second, I'm not sure it's accurate to say that Bella's mother is viewed as negative in the narrative of the series. One would want to reach that conclusion, but Bella never seems to. Her parents are who they are; there's really no changing that. The point of the series is not, in my reading, that Bella should have had a mother; it's that Bella has to grow up of her own accord.

me: “The story is about her learning to temper that instinct to help other people with a selfishness which causes her to demand the things she deserves, the things that are fitting for her.”

PhoBWanKenobi: “Except she explicitly states several times that she doesn't want to be a mother and the final act of the series is largely about how wrong she was in that.”

I am not sure that that contradicts my reading.
posted by koeselitz at 10:11 AM on December 13, 2011


See, if you want to read a Stephenie Meyer book that actually is more messed-up than anyone even thinks Twilight is, there is a hole in your life waiting to be filled by The Host. I've never read a book featuring a protagonist who I more deeply wanted to see the rest of the cast stamp on until it died. And I've read Ender's Game.
posted by emmtee at 10:12 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


me: “The story is about her learning to temper that instinct to help other people with a selfishness which causes her to demand the things she deserves, the things that are fitting for her.”

PhoBWanKenobi: “Except she explicitly states several times that she doesn't want to be a mother and the final act of the series is largely about how wrong she was in that.”

I am not sure that that contradicts my reading.


She explicitly states that she doesn't want to have children, up to and including wanting to abort her child, is told that she's wrong by her husband, and then is shown by the resolution of the book that her own desires about motherhood were incorrect. This contradicts the idea that Bella's arc is about her learning to "demand the things she deserves" because in the narrative of the book, she doesn't know what she deserves or what's "fitting for her."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:19 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoops, wait. She doesn't want an abortion. Edward does. It's been a few years since I've read it (and after the conversations about souls in the 3rd movie, I don't have much of a desire to see the other two).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:22 AM on December 13, 2011


PhoBWanKenobi: "She explicitly states that she doesn't want to have children"

To be fair, her original ideas about motherhood will have been based on her assumption that she'd be a human mother to a human baby, and thus her life would come to revolve around the child whether she wanted it to or not; when she actually becomes a mother she's a super-powered vampire who can quite easily care for a child and have a fulfilling life without sacrificing either, and this would have been the case even if the baby hadn't turned out to be preternaturally well-behaved and super-ageing.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:28 AM on December 13, 2011


She was not hurt or afraid of him and the sex was consensual. Rough sex doesn't equal abuse.

you know what, you're right on this point. My apologies.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:28 AM on December 13, 2011


My favorite example of non-sexist female empowerment in the Twilight series is how Edward constantly tells Bella that she's too alluring and irrestistable, and tells her that if he can't control himself, something bad will happen and it will be her fault.
posted by Aquaman at 10:30 AM on December 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


> My favorite example of non-sexist female empowerment in the Twilight series is how Edward constantly tells Bella that she's too alluring and irrestistable, and tells her that if he can't control himself, something bad will happen and it will be her fault.

Granted, I haven't and will never read the books, but I infer that means that he's a crazy vampire and is giving her fair warning to stay away. I don't know why people need to read that as a manifesto on sexuality writ large.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:33 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, he wants to eat her blood. This sick series actually condones cannibalism.
posted by koeselitz at 10:33 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


After the first movie, I had to spend over an hour explaining to my (much younger) sister why a boy you barely know sneaking into your house at night to watch you sleep was not a good thing. Then we had to talk about why a 100 year old man (with all that life experience) being sexually interested in a high school girl was not romantic, but rather a really creepy power differential. She got it, eventually, and is now a strong opponent of the Twilight movies among her classmates, but it took a lot of talking to get her to that point. We never watched the later movies. The important point is, many girls her age walked away from that movie thinking that these things were the epitome of romance, just as my sister did before we had our talk. So as far as I'm concerned, (whether intentional or not) Twilight does in actuality promote sexism and abuse as romantic.

I have no problem with erotic fantasies of power or abuse for adults, but they should be labeled as such, not marketed to pre-teens. Not every child has a responsible parent or older sibling.
posted by yeolcoatl at 10:34 AM on December 13, 2011 [18 favorites]


In defense of Twilight, I'm sure that 99% of the media I consumed as a child (or worse, as a teenager) was in some sense problematic. I don't think that problematic depictions of sexuality are necessarily sufficient reason to condemn it entirely, although they're a totally legitimate cause for concern.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:37 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be fair, her original ideas about motherhood will have been based on her assumption that she'd be a human mother to a human baby, and thus her life would come to revolve around the child whether she wanted it to or not; when she actually becomes a mother she's a super-powered vampire who can quite easily care for a child and have a fulfilling life without sacrificing either, and this would have been the case even if the baby hadn't turned out to be preternaturally well-behaved and super-ageing.

Still, in a very concrete way, Bella's initial beliefs about what's best for her life turn out to be wrong, and so I really struggle to see this as a narrative about going out and getting what you know is best for yourself.

It's not. It seems to me, rather, to be about learning how it's actually awesome to embrace a traditional family structure, whether, in your youth, you think it's a good idea or not. Again, Bella's mother is empowered: she has a job (which Bella admires), agency over where she lives and whether or not she's beholden to her daughter. The narrative view on her mother felt very explicit to me from the first pages--the flightly mother sends Bella off on her own, regardless of whether that's what Bella, herself, wants. The misery inflicted on her child is clear. Bella, meanwhile, doesn't make the choices of her mother even though she believes that both Forks and motherhood are wrong for her from the outset (just as her mother did), and she lives happily ever after because she eventually eschews those beliefs.

She was not hurt or afraid of him and the sex was consensual. Rough sex doesn't equal abuse.

you know what, you're right on this point. My apologies.


You can't view the bruises without the larger context, which is that Edward has stalked her, threatened suicide if he should ever lose her, told her that her sexual desires will get her killed and cause her to lose her soul, threatened other people who loved her, isolated her from her family of origin, and so on and so forth. The bruises alone without the surrounding context aren't nearly as troubling.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:39 AM on December 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


@Stagger Lee
That's a fair point. It's hard to be that reasonable when emotional issues like one's own family are directly involved, though. I suppose that's why "for the children" is so easily used for evil. =)
posted by yeolcoatl at 10:42 AM on December 13, 2011


In defense of Twilight, I'm sure that 99% of the media I consumed as a child (or worse, as a teenager) was in some sense problematic. I don't think that problematic depictions of sexuality are necessarily sufficient reason to condemn it entirely, although they're a totally legitimate cause for concern.

A lot of responses to feminist analyses of Twilight lately boil down to this. But I think many of the (mostly) women having these conversations would happily turn their critical lens onto, say, Flowers in the Attic (and some have). Twilight is just more current and enjoys a larger media saturation.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:43 AM on December 13, 2011


She was not hurt or afraid of him and the sex was consensual.

Yeah, but saying, "it's OK because the author said she enjoyed it" is like comic book artists defending heroines who prance around in stripper's costumes and chainmail bikinis by saying, "But that's what this character chooses to wear. It's her choice to dress that way."
posted by straight at 10:44 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


You can't view the bruises without the larger context, which is that Edward has stalked her, threatened suicide if he should ever lose her, told her that her sexual desires will get her killed and cause her to lose her soul, threatened other people who loved her, isolated her from her family of origin, and so on and so forth.

Oh, yeah, that's still messed up. But I was the one that called out the bruises in and of themselves, out of context, and that was my mistake.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:45 AM on December 13, 2011


I suddenly really need to know where Mr Takei stands vis a vis ponies. Entire worldview depends on it.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:48 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Meh, I still have Firefly in comic form. I'll just listen to the theme song before I read them. No need to occupy the thread anymore I guess, it is getting kinda dull sitting here and I gotta use the bathroom.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:53 AM on December 13, 2011


The theme song to Firefly is just fine, thank you very much. It alludes to both the backstory and theme of the show, and goes great with a spaceship flying over a pack of wild horses.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:55 AM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]



I didn't come here to read the comments about how amusing George Takei was about ganging up on Twilight. I came here to read about Twilight!

Oh wait. No I didn't.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:57 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


PhoBWanKenobi: “You can't view the bruises without the larger context, which is that Edward has stalked her...”

... and told that this is not okay, and had it made clear to him that it is utterly and completely unacceptable.

“... threatened suicide if he should ever lose her...”

For an immortal being, this means something different. Regardless, he has it made clear to him that this isn't okay, either.

“... told her that her sexual desires will get her killed and cause her to lose her soul...”

Advice she rebuffs, rejects, and roundly contradicts.

“... threatened other people who loved her... ”

Again, he's told in no uncertain terms that this is NOT OKAY.

“... isolated her from her family of origin...”

I guess you mean she is separated from her father for a bit after the transformation. Which – well, for one thing, that's not Edward's doing, and for another thing one of the underlying themes of the series is her growing away from her family and becoming independent of them.

“... and so on and so forth. The bruises alone without the surrounding context aren't nearly as troubling.”

The trouble with all of these criticisms is that they are out of context. The books in no way condone any of these actions. On the contrary, in all cases these kinds of behavior are pointed up and called out as bad things.
posted by koeselitz at 10:59 AM on December 13, 2011


Star Trek x 100 = Star Wars
posted by finite at 11:02 AM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I guess you mean she is separated from her father for a bit after the transformation. Which – well, for one thing, that's not Edward's doing, and for another thing one of the underlying themes of the series is her growing away from her family and becoming independent of them.

Nope, not just Charlie. Her mother, too.

The trouble with all of these criticisms is that they are out of context. The books in no way condone any of these actions. On the contrary, in all cases these kinds of behavior are pointed up and called out as bad things.

I don't think the book really "condones" any action. I think the books show a pattern of behavior that is troubling, that, in a real person, would be a cut-and-dry case of abuse regardless of whether the teenage girl in the relationship tells her boyfriend he's wrong for doing it. And I disagree that the book calls out all of these behaviors as bad; Edward's suicide threat, for example, is rewarded with their reunion.

When it comes down to it, straight's right. You can pull out all of the narrative reasoning that these behaviors are "okay" as you want; when it comes down to it, it's a fictional structure meant to support and affirm the author's worldviews, so of course these things go unchallenged in the book itself. That doesn't mean that they're not troubling for other readers, though, and I wish you'd respect that rather than grandstand about how all these feminist readings are wrong and ignorant and hip and come out of hatred of female fans and Mormons because hating teenage girls and Mormons is the cool thing to do.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:08 AM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, here's George Takei's take on the Addams Family and Wayne's World movie franchises (not to mention McDonalds).
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:09 AM on December 13, 2011


Star Trek x 100 = Star Wars

Shirtless Takei x 100 = ?
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:10 AM on December 13, 2011


emmtee has put on a random TNG episode to watch while paintin-- OH GOD HOW DOES LWAXANA TROI KEEP GETTING ABOARD
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:13 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


George will have to suggest some fabulous gemstone rings to combat the blue and pink Twilight rings.

http://www.blingjewelry.com/sterling-silver-inspired-by-twilight-bella-engagement-ring-p-3718.htmlh
http://www.overstockjeweler.com/inspired-by-twilight-bella-engagement-ring-sterling-silver-cz-pave-25ct-p-4262.html
posted by rough ashlar at 11:16 AM on December 13, 2011


Shirtless Takei x 100 = ?

The mathematical term for that is "Suluplex".
posted by Burhanistan at 11:17 AM on December 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Randomly picking TNG episodes is great. You have to avoid all the ones you know are great episodes -- Disaster, Captain's Holiday, Data's Day -- and go for ones that are a complete mystery. Who knew that something with a worthy-ass title like Cost of Living would be a Lwaxana Troi/Alexander Worf episode?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:21 AM on December 13, 2011


I infer that means that he's a crazy vampire and is giving her fair warning to stay away. I don't know why people need to read that as a manifesto on sexuality writ large.

Well, because the vampire/undead mythos in Western culture is about sexuality writ large, usually female sexuality and its dangers, and always has been. You don't get the Greek Lamia, seducing lonely wayfarers into death, without a corresponding view on the rapacity of an unbound woman. You don't get Dracula, creeping into the bedrooms of women, destroying those who surrender to him, enthralling those who resist, without corresponding cultural agitation over the desperate fight against wantonness in the unmarried woman and the need for them to be married off in order to protect them from predation. Virtually every vampire story is about the undead of one gender seducing and killing young people of the other gender (with the notable and deliberate exception of Anne Rice, but I don't think anyone would say her vampire stories aren't about sexuality). I don't think you can find a popular vampire story from the last few hundred years that doesn't tie into some broader view on the dangers and pleasures of sex.

Which is what makes Twilight really interesting, because usually the vampire is the representation of unbridled hunger and lust, a metaphor for the ravages of unchecked sexuality. In Twilight, though, the "good" vampires are super repressed, holding themselves back constantly and only feeding reluctantly; it's the bad ones who revel in their natures and sate their appetites regardless of the cost in emotions or lives. Vampires are able to exist uneasily in human society, so long as they do not give in to their needs. Edward, the heroic vampire, reacts with revulsion when faced with his unrelenting desires. Bella, the heroic "victim", pursues her death openly and willingly.

Regardless of how you feel about the quality of Twilight (and I have some very strong opinions on the matter), this is a really interesting inversion of the typical vampire story. In this story, sexuality once awakened is an unceasing surge of desire that must and can be constantly controlled and suppressed; those who fail to do so are censured, cast out, or destroyed by society. But also in this story, the heroine openly seeks that death and awakening and wishes to be transformed by it, even though everyone who has come before warns her away. She is portrayed as unique in this way; most every other vampire became so out of necessity.

The sexual beings don't want more people to become sexual, and most good people don't want that either. In order to restrain their sexuality, they form families and sublimate their desires to the benefit of the community. It is not the sexual being but the sexually-curious one who is rare and threatens to up-end society. She is dangerous because she is aware of and courts lust, without the conversion experience that will put her under control. I mean, these are fascinating metaphors for contemporary sexual mores.
posted by Errant at 11:25 AM on December 13, 2011 [20 favorites]


The theme song to Firefly is just fine, thank you very much. It alludes to both the backstory and theme of the show, and goes great with a spaceship flying over a pack of wild horses.

I have a theory that because of their (alleged) musical similarities and that they both were the intro to early 21st century sci-fi shows, hate for the Enterprise theme seeps into people's feelings about the opening to Firefly. I'm not saying anyone here feels this way, but I do think this is a mistake that happens.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:26 AM on December 13, 2011


Data if you stopped using the thermal sensors and started using the imaginary friend sensors you'd find that intruder in no time
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:27 AM on December 13, 2011


The sexual beings don't want more people to become sexual, and most good people don't want that either. In order to restrain their sexuality, they form families and sublimate their desires to the benefit of the community. It is not the sexual being but the sexually-curious one who is rare and threatens to up-end society. She is dangerous because she is aware of and courts lust, without the conversion experience that will put her under control. I mean, these are fascinating metaphors for contemporary sexual mores.

Damn, man. That's...dude, you actually made me find something thought provoking about TWILIGHT.

I mean, I still kinda want to punch you for doing that, but still.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:29 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


PhoBWanKenobi: “I wish you'd respect that rather than grandstand about how all these feminist readings are wrong and ignorant and hip and come out of hatred of female fans and Mormons because hating teenage girls and Mormons is the cool thing to do.”

I respect the feminists I've known who have honestly made this criticism. But as a man who has sometimes called himself a feminist and at other times realized that I was probably doing so largely in order to make myself look good and to sound like a great guy, I guess I'm just more sensitive to the fact that I think a lot of times nowadays guys like me adopt feminism more as a posture than as a real goal. The phoniness of that and the ease with which people dismiss something they haven't read as "anti-feminist" strike me as somewhat akin.

I say this because I have heard people – not people here, but many people in the media, on television, on the internet, etc – talk about how "anti-feminist" the Twilight series is and then proceed, in the same breath, to talk about how it's beloved of 'annoying pre-teen girls.' And even when that isn't stated, it's something I often feel as an undercurrent in this.

But all respect to you and your position on this. I'm not trying to tear that down. And I'm open to it, honestly I am, even if I may disagree with it at this moment in time.
posted by koeselitz at 11:33 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love both Carrie Fisher and Bill Shatner, but can't help but shake the feeling that if I was alone in a room with either of them they would scare the crap out of me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:38 AM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who knew that something with a worthy-ass title like Cost of Living would be a Lwaxana Troi/Alexander Worf episode?

God, that one was the worst.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:39 AM on December 13, 2011


I'm not saying anyone here feels this way

For the record I'm completely unfamiliar with the theme from Enterprise and think the theme from Firefly is a crime against ears. Hyperbolic joking aside, I am serious about thinking it might have caused negative reactions to the show, because it actually did for me. I had to overcome a strong reaction to the opening, reminding myself of the recommendations that had brought me to the show, in order to keep watching and get to love it.
posted by neuromodulator at 11:43 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I first saw Star Wars with my high-school buddies in 1977, movie merchandising was a new idea. As we left the theater, we actually said to each other "man, I would definitely buy a t-shirt of THAT movie." Can you fathom that there were none available at that time? Anyway, lucky for me, by the time the side sales phenom took off, I was too old for that crap, and have still never bought any of the moichendise.
posted by telstar at 11:45 AM on December 13, 2011


Fights like this amuse me, because as much as I find Twilight very hard to like, Star Trek, Firefly, and Doctor Who come off as similarly poor to me; the campiness and melodrama of the shows come off just as fanservicey as any detail from the Twilight books, albeit marginally more intelligent. So when people bash Twilight and start going on about how repulsive the novels are, and then immediately begin fan-justifying little details about Trek, 'fly, and Who, it reads like a silly slapstick.

It does bug me a little that people get so entrenched in insisting that the things they like are things anybody ought to be able to like. I get tired of being told to give Firefly another try, I didn't enjoy My Little Ponies, and I can't tell the difference between the Doctor Who parody in Extras and the actual Doctor Who. Conversely, when those same people tell me not to enjoy the things I do enjoy (which include much-maligned titles like Ender's Game), I start to wonder what the point is of trying to make the world conform to your media tastes.

Especially when those tastes are all so clearly wretched. I kid! I kid! I love that Steve the Pirate guy! Don't hit me!
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:46 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I respect the feminists I've known who have honestly made this criticism. But as a man who has sometimes called himself a feminist and at other times realized that I was probably doing so largely in order to make myself look good and to sound like a great guy, I guess I'm just more sensitive to the fact that I think a lot of times nowadays guys like me adopt feminism more as a posture than as a real goal. The phoniness of that and the ease with which people dismiss something they haven't read as "anti-feminist" strike me as somewhat akin.

I appreciate that, and sorry if that last comment was made with mounting GRAR. I've been reading a lot of "answers" to feminist critiques of Twilight, including one made by a YA author I like quite a bit, that try to claim that we feminists are trying to deny young girls their sexuality, that we're acting as tools of the patriarchy in doing so, and we're also being prudes, and also are ignorant about What the Text is really saying (and that we haven't read it). I find in that a denial of the fact that the communities of people who have largely raised these initial accusations of anti-feminism (before they reached the mainstream) were usually made by communities of women, too. It's frustrating, and honestly I picked up a bit of mansplaining in your criticisms, too. I read the books, you know, I don't need a man to tell me my interpretation was based on insufficient understanding because I disagree with his, and I don't think that, say, EmpressCallipygos needs that either
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:47 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I mean, I still kinda want to punch you for doing that, but still.

I saw Breaking Dawn p1 over the weekend, and I am not kidding when I say that it did some real damage. It's not funny-bad or haters-on-the-bandwagon bad, it is traumatizing. I seriously get a little shaky when I see stills of Pattinson and Stewart together now. So you may consider me pre-punched.

I actually came into the thread to talk about that, but vampire sexuality is just way more interesting. For my next act, I will tell you why The Sign of Four and Dracula are basically the same book.
posted by Errant at 11:48 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, Errant, that is an incredibly interesting take on Twilight, and I thank you for articulating it.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:48 AM on December 13, 2011


I hear you, Rory. But I feel sad that you can't get down with the campy melodrama. Because it means missing out on loads of good writing.

Been watching DS9 again. God, the sociological sci-fi/explorations of alien cultures are awesome.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:50 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


She was not hurt or afraid of him and the sex was consensual.

Yeah, but saying, "it's OK because the author said she enjoyed it" is like comic book artists defending heroines who prance around in stripper's costumes and chainmail bikinis by saying, "But that's what this character chooses to wear. It's her choice to dress that way."


That's not the same thing at all. Bella is in love with Edward, an immortal 100-year-old being who is enormously strong, who is trying to temper his lovemaking so that Bella isn't harmed when they have sex on their wedding night. I don't know what that has to do with a guy wanting to draw a hot chick in a swimsuit that makes no sense in light of the story.

“... isolated her from her family of origin...”
which is kind of inevitable when you're pregnant by a vampire with a rapidly-growing baby that is sucking the life out of you.

"...when it comes down to it, it's a fictional structure meant to support and affirm the author's worldviews, so of course these things go unchallenged in the book itself. "

I don't know what world view you mean here.

"That doesn't mean that they're not troubling for other readers, though, and I wish you'd respect that rather than grandstand about how all these feminist readings are wrong and ignorant and hip and come out of hatred of female fans and Mormons because hating teenage girls and Mormons is the cool thing to do."

There is a dismissiveness aimed at fans of Twilight. They're young and dumb who like a young and dumb heroine. And a dismissiveness aimed at Mormons and that Meyers has a Mormon agenda.

Certainly all the issues mentioned here are worthy of discussion. I wouldn't call it troubling but definitely worth talking about.

These same issues are addressed in Buffy. Both of her significant relationships are with 'older' men yet she is lauded for her behavior, and rightfully so. But she is a Slayer, vested with super powers. Bella is human and has no powers, which creates a power differential and Meyer's books present the navigation of that. Relationships sometimes have power differentials in the real world too.

And who would Edward date/love? He was made a vampire as a young man and goes to high school in order to coexist in the human world. Should Meyers have made his lover a grandmother? This is fiction, with the key fictional element of vampires and that fact gets lost in a lot of criticism.

Errant, that was an interesting take. I'm not sure that I agree with it. I think the importance/control of blood/bloodlust are more key. I'll have to think on it before responding.
posted by shoesietart at 12:00 PM on December 13, 2011


It does bug me a little that people get so entrenched in insisting that the things they like are things anybody ought to be able to like. [...] Conversely, when those same people tell me not to enjoy the things I do enjoy (which include much-maligned titles like Ender's Game), I start to wonder what the point is of trying to make the world conform to your media tastes.

Nah, I hear ya - but I think most people try (and admittedly, sometimes fail) to confine their comments to being about the media in question ITSELF rather than making a "therefore all shall obey and fall suit" pronouncement. My mother actually came up with a really good conversational judo move for a moment like this once -- I was at my parents' for a visit when the 6th-season premiere was on, and I persuaded her to watch with me to check the show out. She was a little dubious, as she's really not a sci-fi person (and she's also REALLY easily scared -- Fellowship Of The Ring gave her nightmares for a week), but she agreed. When it was over, she turned to me and said that it really wasn't the kind of thing she would ever get into, "but I understand a lot better why you like it now." It was very sweet, but I also realized later that "....damn, there's really no way to argue with that."

(I also tried showing Mom Buffy and Mythbusters -- and the Mythbusters ep was the diet-coke-and-Mentos one. She REALLY, REALLY got into that.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:01 PM on December 13, 2011


Duh -- My above post should have read

"...I was at my parents' for a visit when the 6th-season premiere OF DOCTOR WHO was on, and I persuaded her to watch with me to check the show out...."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:03 PM on December 13, 2011


Well you know, there's always furries.

It does bug me a little that people get so entrenched in insisting that the things they like are things anybody ought to be able to like. I get tired of being told to give Firefly another try, I didn't enjoy My Little Ponies, and I can't tell the difference between the Doctor Who parody in Extras and the actual Doctor Who. Conversely, when those same people tell me not to enjoy the things I do enjoy (which include much-maligned titles like Ender's Game), I start to wonder what the point is of trying to make the world conform to your media tastes.

Me, I just watch what I watch and snark the heck of it from the comfort of my living room. I'm much safer that way. Evangelists and haters get a lot more visibility from the inability to shut up about it.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:10 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


No I get it, the fact that it is simultaneously goofy and overblown, especially the theme song, is one of the reasons I like Firefly. It is really just Outlaw Josie Wales with spaceships.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:11 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know what world view you mean here.

It means that these are fictional characters, whose fictional choices are actually narrative choices of an author. That author can structure the entire universe around the characters to, say, affirm relationships where the wishes of young teenage girls go unheeded and adult men know what's best for them, precisely because they want to address political criticisms and show either to readers or to critics how wrong the opposing viewpoint is. For example:

“... isolated her from her family of origin...”
which is kind of inevitable when you're pregnant by a vampire with a rapidly-growing baby that is sucking the life out of you.


You might say that this "inevitability" arose organically out of the situation of the characters, but Stephenie Meyer actually chose to write those consequences into the book. They were not organically a forgone conclusion, the same way that an identical situation involving a real person would be. Which is why we can criticize them as feminist or anti-feminist choices [made by the author].

There is a dismissiveness aimed at fans of Twilight. They're young and dumb who like a young and dumb heroine. And a dismissiveness aimed at Mormons and that Meyers has a Mormon agenda.

That doesn't mean that all criticisms of Twilight come out of the same place. I don't see anything in anyone's criticisms here that imply they're coming out of a disdain for either Mormons or teenage girls.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:15 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is really just Outlaw Josie Wales with spaceships.

And Joss Whedon dialogue.

....And Nathan Fillion.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:18 PM on December 13, 2011



There is a dismissiveness aimed at fans of Twilight. They're young and dumb who like a young and dumb heroine. And a dismissiveness aimed at Mormons and that Meyers has a Mormon agenda.


Of course, my introduction to Twilight was an interview with Meyers in which she stated that she'd begun writing because there weren't enough good books for teenage girls, especially ones that exemplified her mormon values.

So it's not like they made that part up.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:18 PM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sorry, I misread: I suspect, though I can't say for certain, that Stephenie Meyer's views about power, family, and relationships are directly influenced by her religious upbringing. Dictates within Mormonism, especially about sex, gender roles and childbearing, seem echoed by the text. As a feminist, those views conflict with my own. That's not to say that this is particular to Mormonism, or that I dislike Mormons as people because of it, but I do find those aspects of the religion a touch troubling, personally, and the way that they manifest in this story troubling as well.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:21 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a certain aspect of fan communities I hate that appears to involve rolling the eyes and sighing something like "things were much better before ___ brought in all the rabid fangirls." This seems to rotate around every few years, so we'll probably see an essay about Hunger Games or something else feminizing the nerd conventions next year.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:22 PM on December 13, 2011


Wait, not everybody loves Lwaxana Troi (Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed)???
posted by CaptApollo at 12:47 PM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Twilight fandom gives some legitimacy to other weird fandoms. When the fangirls/boys are doing this for a movie premier it makes your fanfic or your trek uniform seem a little less weird.
I know a few grown women, soccer moms, who would not bat an eye at a Twilight fan dressing up for the midnight premier of Breaking Dawn. The same woman, however, thinks I'm a freak for playing D&D.
And while Twilight fans are in the spotlight. I can continue my Star Trek/Wars fandom in peace. If anybody gives me flack, I point to the weirdo wearing a wedding dress when she isn't getting married. But I say let her do it. Let her fantasize about sparkly skin and rough undead sex. Let that freak flag fly. Just let me fly mine too.

I'm OK with Lwaxana. JUST KEEP HER OFF DS9!!
posted by bronco trolley at 12:54 PM on December 13, 2011


....And Nathan Fillion.

That is an unanswerable rebuttal to any criticism of any piece of media containing Mr. Fillion.

I would watch that man read the phone book in rapturous delight.
posted by winna at 12:56 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


CaptApollo: "Wait, not everybody loves Lwaxana Troi (Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed)???"

Pfft. The Sacred Chalice of Rixx is just an old clay pot with mold growing inside it.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:00 PM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would watch that man read the phone book in rapturous delight.

Why?

(Now, I would watch Gina Torres read the phone book in rapturous delight, but the reason for that is perfectly obvious.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:11 PM on December 13, 2011


That is an unanswerable rebuttal to any criticism of any piece of media containing Mr. Fillion.

Heh, I actually watched all of Two Guys and a Girl (And Sometimes A Pizza Place) because I heard Nathan was in it. It was actually a pretty decently funny show, even before he showed up in the second season.

I even tried Desperate Housewives when he was on, but honestly it was so boring I couldn't keep up. And that White Noise sequel (which also had Kara Thrace) was pretty godawful too.
posted by kmz at 1:11 PM on December 13, 2011


Twilight fandom gives some legitimacy to other weird fandoms. When the fangirls/boys are doing this for a movie premier it makes your fanfic or your trek uniform seem a little less weird.

This honestly looks fairly tame to me. It's folks half-heartedly cosplaying for a movie premier, not to any degree greater than any other fanbase. And believe me, I've seen some folks get seriously into their cosplay. For my part, the "strangeness" factor is a combination of the work involved in the costume and the obscurity of the fanbase. Take these Touhou cosplayers for example. This is a little-known video game series, and some of these costumes are downright gorgeous. I think it's admirable, and highly enjoyable, but compared to Trekkies or Twilight fans, yeah, I'll admit it's a couple degrees weirder.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:14 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The people I personally know that hate on Twilight the most for its bad writing and misogyny are also Sword of Truth fans. Talk about cognitive dissonance. This is much more representative, to me, of the kind of people who like to complain about Twilight (good feminist critiques are, sadly, in the minority even if they are represented nicely here). So while I think the series is pretty awful, I can't help but defend it from people whose blind spots are so blatantly obvious.

as much as I find Twilight very hard to like, Star Trek, Firefly, and Doctor Who come off as similarly poor to me

If Twilight had spaceships, time travel, corny dialogue, sexy outfits, aliens, katanas, and a few more characters to distract you from Bella, it'd probably be embraced by mainstream geekdom rather than hated - even keeping all the problematic plot and character and religious elements the same.

If Edward Cullen were played by Nathan Fillion, how many heads would explode?
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 1:26 PM on December 13, 2011


charred husk: "Originally I was afraid he was going to try and unite them against the British invader, Dr.Who.

Growing up, Star Trek vs. Star Wars was like Mac vs. PC with Dr.Who being Linux.
"

Growing up, Star Trek vs Star Wars was like "Ford vs Chevy" and "Case IH vs John Deere."
posted by symbioid at 1:30 PM on December 13, 2011


I hope George Takei lives to be 110 and just keeps doing stuff like this.
posted by jscott at 1:35 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's not the same thing at all. Bella is in love with Edward, an immortal 100-year-old being who is enormously strong, who is trying to temper his lovemaking so that Bella isn't harmed when they have sex on their wedding night.

The question is: Why does Stephanie Meyer want to tell a story (and why do so many people want to read a story) about a man who really doesn't want to hurt his wife but just can't help it so it's not his fault and she totally forgives and loves him anyway?
posted by straight at 2:55 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


The question is: Why does Stephanie Meyer want to tell a story (and why do so many people want to read a story)

Why do people read it? Because it's escapist fiction with shocking and naughty stuff. Why does Stephanie Meyer write it? Maybe she thought people might be interested. Maybe she is.

It doesn't matter. I read plenty of shit with characters that do things I don't agree with. I'm not sure why people feel the need to look at trashy fiction as something people read in order to gain insight in how to they should live their lives. Even YA fiction. A lot of my youth was spent reading Punisher & Batman & Ninja Turtle comics and Stephen King novels and the like. The characters in these works are not good examples or role models either, but it's only going to be a problem for people who can't see these things as fantasy. We're talking about a werewolf and vampire story here. I think even a 14-year-old is going to be able to appreciate it for what it is even while they totally crush on the cute boys who play the characters in the movies.
posted by Hoopo at 3:14 PM on December 13, 2011


You know, people are always quick to say that teenage girls know the difference between fantasy and reality and that the things we consume as teens have no impact, but . . .

Well, murky messages about consent sure confused me as a teenager. My first sexual encounter was non-consensual and I spent months convinced that this was just proof that the guy really liked me. Likewise, the jealous, possessive things he said. I don't think that made me an idiot--these messages sure were strong in media I loved, even in the progressive 90s.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:18 PM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Perhaps I'm just plain old, but Meyers just seems tame compared to vintage Anne Rice, V.C. Andrews, or even some of King's weirder trips into talking about sex.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:19 PM on December 13, 2011


When I was the age that the Twilight target audience is now, Anne Rice and V.C. Andrews were definitely read and passed around hand-to-hand and giggled over among my friends, but we knew it was weird shit. The transgressiveness of it was part of the thrill, and at least in the case of V.C. Andrews, it was pretty clear that we weren't meant to be idealizing it. It was dark, it was twisted, it was tragic. It had a certain appeal, to be sure, but on some level we recognized it as voyeuristic, watching a trainwreck. From the outside looking in, at least, I don't recognize this happening with the Twilight fandom -- although maybe it is, and this is what the V.C. Andrews fandom would've been like if the books had been a little less weird, a little less the sort of thing you probably should be hiding from your parents.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:38 PM on December 13, 2011


The question is: Why does Stephanie Meyer want to tell a story (and why do so many people want to read a story) about a man who really doesn't want to hurt his wife but just can't help it so it's not his fault and she totally forgives and loves him anyway?

Because he doesn't hurt her. They have consensual rough sex, sex that she's been wanting since they met.

Part of the vampire mystique is the lure of the immortal, incredibly powerful being and whether he is going to turn someone or not. Read many romance novels, they are filled with women falling for difficult men.

Perhaps I'm just plain old, but Meyers just seems tame compared to vintage Anne Rice, V.C. Andrews, or even some of King's weirder trips into talking about sex.

I agree.

I'm not sure why people feel the need to look at trashy fiction as something people read in order to gain insight in how to they should live their lives. Even YA fiction.

Agreed. And remember, vampires don't actually exist. Or cute werewolves with awesome abs.
posted by shoesietart at 4:19 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Twilight had spaceships, time travel, corny dialogue, sexy outfits, aliens, katanas, and a few more characters to distract you from Bella, it'd probably be embraced by mainstream geekdom rather than hated - even keeping all the problematic plot and character and religious elements the same.

I'm not sure if I'm helping your argument or hurting it by pointing out Battlestar Galactica.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:39 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


KLAATU BERADA NIKTO.

Wait, wrong thread.
posted by dbiedny at 4:47 PM on December 13, 2011


Is George standing in front of an epic picture of himself?
posted by promptcurry at 8:34 PM on December 13, 2011


The widespread hatred of Twilight, particularly among people of a certain age and background, gets really tiresome. It's as though we've all decided to place every bit of loathing we have for popular things, for things that are well-liked by other people, onto this one series. And it was written by a Mormon! Awesome, it's fun to hate Mormons, especially because they're so sexist and provincial.

Really, I tried confronting this nonsense rationally and discussing it, but after a while one begins to believe that there isn't much point. People will hate Twilight; this is simply how it will be. And they will not hate Twilight because there is something inherently wrong with the Twilight series, nor because Twilight represents some grand sexist plot to ruin our children, nor because they glorify abuse or something like that. Twilight itself is completely innocuous, but that doesn't matter. People will always hate Twilight because people love hating things.


Well, on the basis of nothing apart from Twilight sucking and everybody knowing it, I bet myself five dollars three years ago (or whenever MeFites first discovered Twilight, and were quite rightly appalled) that koeselitz would one day be up in one of these threads saying exactly this thing. Dude is smart and interesting and sometimes absolutely right, but my god, you can set your watch by that contrarianism. Also, while this "But as a man who has sometimes called himself a feminist and at other times realized that I was probably doing so largely in order to make myself look good and to sound like a great guy," is a brave confession, it doesn't surprise me. It's the most natural thing in the world for people who hold opinions for show to suspect others are up to the same thing. But it's a mistake.

You can't view the bruises without the larger context, which is that Edward has stalked her, threatened suicide if he should ever lose her, told her that her sexual desires will get her killed and cause her to lose her soul, threatened other people who loved her, isolated her from her family of origin, and so on and so forth."

Yes. And it is way too much to ask of anybody with an immediate and longstanding interest in what's going on with girls, feminism, relationships between men and women, or YA fiction to be too cool to care about this. Twilight is about as fucked up as it gets, value-wise, for an international mainstream blockbuster franchise made for girls in the 21st century. If Twilight has no power to do harm, then books have no power to do anything.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 9:44 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think koeselitz does have a point about Bella's agency, though. She is largely the sexual pursuer and aggressor, wearing down Edward's defenses, such as they are.

Don't get me wrong, they're both creepy as fuck and Edward is incredibly manipulative in his way, and neither of them are very good at obtaining consent. I think that Twilight is pernicious at best and dangerous at worst. But I also think there are feminist arguments against Twilight that aren't really accurate by the text. Edward is a lot of terrible things, but he isn't a wifebeater. People focus too much on the bruises -- understandably, I hasten to add, given the prevalence of bruising as an early warning sign of domestic abuse -- and not enough on Bella's active role in this fucked-up relationship.

Their relationship is a miserable model, and the underlying ideal that perfection is to freeze yourself at 18 and enthralled forever is every kind of awful. But I can't get behind the reading of Bella as a victim and Edward as the monstrous abuser. I don't think it's that simple.
posted by Errant at 11:20 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


...relentlessly demands that she be allowed the same power over her fate as they have over theirs, and pointedly insists to be made a vampire...

Since when do vampires have power over their fate? They're forced to suck blood and hide in the dark. They have no choice, no freedom. They are condemned. Hell, even werewolves have more agency over their own lives, and the whole tragedy of a werewolf is that they lose control one night a month. The other 28 days and 27 nights each month they have complete freedom. Meanwhile, the entire, unending "life" of a vampire is non-stop compulsion. No choice, no freedom. "Hey Vlad, let's go bowling or karaoke or something." "I can't, man. I gotta go suck a neck." They can't do what they want. They don't even get to want, unless that want is red and dripping. And even when pursuing the only desire that they have permission to desire, they still can't even go in your goddamn house without a note from your mother. They have as much freedom as a goddamn zombie, because that's what they are: a pretty little zombie wearing makeup and a cape that has to ring the doorbell when he's chasing you.

But I haven't read the series, so I don't know how far from the standard vampire the author deviates. But if they aren't compulsed to drink blood, and if they aren't compulsed to hide from the sun, then I don't know what they are, but they sure aren't vampires.
posted by BurnChao at 2:21 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


They are both compelled to drink blood -- evil vampires drink human blood, good vampires animal blood, but have to be careful around humans while they're "new" in case they snap and go on a spree -- and hide from the sun, but in Twilight's case they hide from the sun because they're not made of flesh but of another material that sparkles in the sun and marks them out as vampires. Since the vampire world is ruled by a bunch of psychotic masquerade fans, it's not wise to get marked out as a vampire.

They still burn, but stakes are pointless and running water and holy symbols don't bother them.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:33 AM on December 14, 2011


Man, this is *not* where I expected this thread to go. And to answer the question above: yes, I do believe he is standing in front of an epic painting of himself. At least, I hope to God that he is.
posted by antifuse at 10:16 AM on December 14, 2011


Also, BurnChao: it's been a long time since I read the series, but I believe the werewolves in Twilight can actually (for the most part) control when they change.
posted by antifuse at 10:17 AM on December 14, 2011


I don't know how far from the standard vampire the author deviates. But if they aren't compulsed to drink blood, and if they aren't compulsed to hide from the sun, then I don't know what they are, but they sure aren't vampires.

Your "standard" vampire is an amalgamation of various traits found in literary vampires, very few of whom possess all of them. Sunlight was not fatal to Dracula. Anne Rice's vampires do not require permission to enter domiciles, and they are depicted as being more passionate and varied in their desires than most humans; the older ones are also resistant to the sun, with the oldest immune to it, and older vampires require blood less frequently than newer ones. The Southern Mystery vampires are required to obtain permission to enter homes, but they are not affected by holy ground or holy symbols. Southern Mystery vampires are compelled to obey their creator but have free will otherwise, traits shared by the vampires in Anita Blake but not by most others. Very few literary vampires are compelled to feed every day, and many are depicted as enjoying blood as one of a multitude of hedonistic pleasures, with the hunt for hedonism as compulsion rather than blood specifically.

Actually, I think only the vampires in the Buffy TV series possess all the traits you list, and they're arguably not vampires in the classic sense but demonic possession of a corpse; the lack of soul explains their constrained fate and absence of will. I like Buffy and their take on vampires, but vampire fiction is hardly as rigid as you make out, and there's a lot of room for variation.
posted by Errant at 10:58 AM on December 14, 2011


Actually regarding Spike in Buffy, and how (the series slowly revealed) his vamp self was just his human self but into blood, my explanation for that is that in the span of time between his getting bitten and dying, and rising again as a vampire, William the Bloody's ghost ascended to heaven but was judged to have written such bloody awful poetry that he was made a demon, just in time to slip back into his old body.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:26 PM on December 14, 2011


On a note of Takei is awesome, he recently happily autographed a new copy of his autobiography for a former professor of mine who lost his original signed copy in the Joplin tornado. (A friend of the professor sent him the copy with the request) For free. Small gesture, but those add up.
posted by Atreides at 2:50 PM on December 14, 2011


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