Twilight
December 1, 2008 3:46 PM   Subscribe

What Girls Want - A series of vampire novels illuminates the complexities of female adolescent desire. (via)

[prvsly]
posted by kliuless (226 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. It's been a long time since I've had such a visceral reaction to a piece of writing-- I mean bone shaking SHUT THE FUCK UP actual anger.

And I haven't even gotten past the introduction. Huh.
posted by jokeefe at 3:53 PM on December 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


As many of you know, I work at the buying counter of a used bookstore. I see these books a lot, FWIW. I also see Stephen Colbert and Al Franken a lot, too. To the point that I'm sick of looking at them.
posted by jonmc at 4:00 PM on December 1, 2008


Oh god. Now I've skimmed through the rest. It gets no better. I'm gobsmacked at the premise and the argument both. I recognize nothing of what she writes of in terms of either female adolescence of womanhood. The contempt-- the contempt!-- for women throughout. FFS.

Also, The Twilight books suck, and this is the worst attempt to explain their popularity I have ever read. What a lot of well-written sludge.

Harumph, harumph.
posted by jokeefe at 4:03 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think the author of this piece clearly has contempt for men as well, jokeefe. It rather popped out of the page screen at me.

The Twilight books do, indeed, suck. And they are a bunch of anti-feminist claptrap.
posted by Justinian at 4:06 PM on December 1, 2008


And seeing as I'm already ranting, my exact memories of being a teenager were, well, that my desires were not complex in the least. They involved fucking lovely young men, and hoping one day to meet my one true love. The end. Pretty much what I imagine guys felt too. Of course there was adolescent self-consciousness and confusion and so on; both boys and girls felt that. We hurt each other. But I never felt that my desires were complicated in the least, or that being a girl made me in thrall to romance with a capital R.

I wouldn't have had the time of day for a preening narcissist prig like Edward Cullen.

Maybe I should get some coffee or something. Erm.
posted by jokeefe at 4:07 PM on December 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


All you need to know about Twilight is that the vampire watches her sleep every fucking night and she thinks that's incredibly romantic. That encapsulates it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:08 PM on December 1, 2008 [36 favorites]


Justinian, true-- I don't think that anybody who has a genuine respect for adult relationships and their (real) complexities would have written this piece.
posted by jokeefe at 4:09 PM on December 1, 2008


The books are incredibly potent, even if you're inclined to skim the let's-make-apparent-what-adult-readers-saw-coming-100-pages-ago parts. The final book really cemented the author's commitment to doling out the consequences of each character's actions, which shocked me since I expected her to backpedal furiously just to tie things up neatly. It's really easy to be snobby about this stuff, but I think Twilight really is one of those rare uncut gems that winds up being worth more as it is than it would be if it were cut down and polished. Especially when it comes down to the weirdnesses like what Pope Guilty pointed out. The movie wasn't as bad as I expected, either.
posted by hermitosis at 4:11 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Pope Guilty-- not just that he watches her sleep, but that he climbs in through her window to do so while she is unaware of it. And when she finds out, it's all "how sweet!"

The only way to handle Twilight is to read the recaps by Cleolinda, for they are genius.
posted by jokeefe at 4:12 PM on December 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


hermitosis, you must be joking. They are so badly written as to make the gods cry. I couldn't get past the first couple of pages before my brain broke.
posted by jokeefe at 4:13 PM on December 1, 2008


You don't need to know, for example, that a huge plot point is her refusal to consider aborting a baby that is going to chew its way out of her abdomen?
posted by Justinian at 4:13 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


TWILIGHT IS GARBAGE. It is the most awful book/movie that I've read/seen in the last, oh, 27 years of my life. I'm 27, by the way. Maybe I don't read enough (I read a lot actually) so I haven't had the chance to be exposed to worse writing. Maybe I need to pick up more stuff that was written out with crayon on napkins or something. Who knows? What I do know is that last night, I went out with my wife to the local art theater and saw a wonderful vampire/romance flick called 'Let the Right One In'. THAT movie actually followed the literally hundreds of years of vampire folklore where, you know, Vampires DON'T GLITTER LIKE A PIXIE WHEN THEY ARE EXPOSED TO THE SUN. Where they have to be invited in. Where they have to feed on human beings, none of this 'vegetarian' nonsense. ARGH!
I think the worst, worst, worst part of being forced to go see the Twilight movie was the audience. Two days after it had been released, matinee showing, still packed, the whole audience must have been Jr. High school girls fresh out of their shopping spree at Hot Topic because when Edward, the Ambercrombie & Fitch model-turned-vampire came on the screen looking like zombie elvis, the whole audience let out a collective *sigh* that made me throw up in my own mouth. STAY AWAY FROM TWILIGHT. GO SEE LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. Or stay home and play Left 4 Dead.
posted by Bageena at 4:13 PM on December 1, 2008 [8 favorites]


The final book really cemented the author's commitment to doling out the consequences of each character's actions, which shocked me since I expected her to backpedal furiously just to tie things up neatly.

Edward Cullen delivers their mutant half vampire baby by performing an improvised C-section. WITH HIS TEETH.
posted by jokeefe at 4:15 PM on December 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


WHAT!?
oh, ‘bucking’ up. oh.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:16 PM on December 1, 2008


Edward, the Ambercrombie & Fitch model-turned-vampire came on the screen looking like zombie elvis

Hee! I'm feeling better already.
posted by jokeefe at 4:16 PM on December 1, 2008


Girls want creepy stalkers? SWEET.
posted by gman at 4:17 PM on December 1, 2008 [25 favorites]


I'm probably going out on a limb a bit here, but if you were ever wondering if there is an answer to the question of why women date jerks, shit like this is a large part of it. It's not the whole answer mind you, but the sad fact is most of us are force-fed this crap - love is supposed to be painful, moody=deep, aggressive=passionate, domineering & obsessive= romantic intensity, etc., from a very, very young age. When you hear the term "internalized oppression" it's referring to shit like this.
posted by echolalia67 at 4:18 PM on December 1, 2008 [81 favorites]


The only thing as difficult for a girl as a divorce—if we are to judge from stories aimed at the teen market—is a move. Relocating is what led to the drug addiction, prostitution, and death that freaked out a generation of readers in Go Ask Alice [...]

Wait wait wait wait wait. Did the author just assert that moving was the culprit of the girls problems in Go Ask Alice?
posted by symbollocks at 4:19 PM on December 1, 2008


Edward Cullen delivers their mutant half vampire baby by performing an improvised C-section. WITH HIS TEETH.

I'm confused. I thought you guys said these books weren't awesome.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:21 PM on December 1, 2008 [40 favorites]


At least this will all be gone in ten years time when my daughter is old enough to be obsessed with it.

…they will probably have invented something five times as horrible by then, of course.
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on December 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


From the article:

Reading the book, I sometimes experienced what I imagine long-married men must feel when they get an unexpected glimpse at pornography: slingshot back to a world of sensation that, through sheer force of will and dutiful acceptance of life’s fortunes, I thought I had subdued.

LOL. As a long-married man, I just keep laughing more and more as I try to think what I really think when I have "an unexpected glimpse at pornography". Because 99% of the time, I was actually expecting to see it.
posted by GuyZero at 4:26 PM on December 1, 2008 [36 favorites]


Twilight deserves contempt for, if no other reason, resurrecting the word "chagrin". Someone ought to drive a stake through that word, or drown it in running water.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:29 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


hermitosis, you must be joking.

I know, I know. I got really impatient with the first one, but was determined to stick it out so I could discuss the book with my sister. When I got to the end of it, however, I realized I really honestly wasn't ready to stop.

I kept pointing out to Sis that Bella winds up living in a world in which her boyfriend, her father, and her best friend are literally OBSESSED with protecting her from harm, to the point that she has no freedom and virtually no inner life, and that eventually she just accepts this (which chilled me) and even worse, sets up her daughter to have the exact same situation from the moment she's born. They are kept women! But gradually, I found the horror I felt to be a feature, not a bug, of the overall picture. After all, Bella sets out from her first awareness of Edward's true nature to embrace the unnatural, to make a Mephistophelean pact in which she will abandon everything that is human about her. And she succeeds. It's grotesque, but it's set up so deliberately that I can't help but consider the book to be a much darker fantasy than people give it credit for -- It's about the forbidden desire to be enslaved. Whether or not Meyer meant it that way, that's the book she's written, and I'm rather awed by that.
posted by hermitosis at 4:30 PM on December 1, 2008 [31 favorites]


...Okay, was this article written by two different people?

Because the first part, about girls and reading and teenage daydreaming and deep thought and all that had me nodding in recollection -- but then it went on to say that Twilight was GOOD and I just said Whattttt?

I would have thrown this book across a room when I was fifteen.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:31 PM on December 1, 2008


I'm probably going out on a limb a bit here, but if you were ever wondering if there is an answer to the question of why women date jerks, shit like this is a large part of it. It's not the whole answer mind you, but the sad fact is most of us are force-fed this crap - love is supposed to be painful, moody=deep, aggressive=passionate, domineering & obsessive= romantic intensity, etc., from a very, very young age. When you hear the term "internalized oppression" it's referring to shit like this.

This reminds me of R. Crumb's* observation about women in the movie about him: "I can't tell you how many times I've seen some guy acting like a complete asshole, and some woman next to me say, 'Wow, who's he? He seems really interesting.'"

*Fully realizing that Robert Crumb has many, many profound problems with women that are rooted in his own neuroses, mind you.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:33 PM on December 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


I hate to disabuse the author of her convictions, but I'm pretty sure males are capable of having just as tempestuous a shitstorm of an adolescence as females are. I'm not saying every teenager does, mind you; I'm just saying that generalizations on either side of the spectrum are unhelpful.

The author has managed to provide us a probing insight into her own adolescence, but when it comes to the rest of humanity, let's not confuse insight with a stew of conveniently poetic conjecture.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 4:38 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Girls want creepy stalkers? SWEET.

Yes, that's what pop culture says.
posted by piratebowling at 4:40 PM on December 1, 2008


All I can say is thank Christ somewhere along the way most women stopped wanting waifish assholes who treat them like garbage and started digging big bald dudes who make them laugh.
posted by The Straightener at 4:42 PM on December 1, 2008 [15 favorites]


Pope Guilty-- not just that he watches her sleep, but that he climbs in through her window to do so while she is unaware of it. And when she finds out, it's all "how sweet!"

Well, you know. It's treading in well-worn tracks. "Spike rapes Buffy because he loves her so much! It's such a feminist show!"
posted by rodgerd at 4:43 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hate to disabuse the author of her convictions, but I'm pretty sure males are capable of having just as tempestuous a shitstorm of an adolescence as females are.

Clearly we need to measure this by suicides.
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Spike rapes Buffy because he loves her so much! It's such a feminist show!"

Heh. "Hot lesbians! Whedon is so progressive!"
posted by Artw at 4:44 PM on December 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


Twilight is so anti-feminist that I now hate the early evening, just on principle.

I registered my thoughts earlier in the Breaking Dawn thread. I'll second jokeefe's Cleolinda recommendation: good for those who're curious about the series plotlines, but do not enjoy the sensation that their brain is threatening to leap out of their skulls.
posted by cirocco at 4:47 PM on December 1, 2008 [9 favorites]


This whole ‘1/2 vampire’ thing is off putting and would keep me from reading it anyway.
I mean, I’m no geneticist...

But anyway, the whole ‘1/2 this and 1/2 that’ thing is complete cliche in fantasy.
Just smacks of a Mary Sue type character (not that in this specific instance I know it is or isn’t) and lazy writing.
Being a 1/2 anything tends to be motivation in a can. That and being a ‘vampire.’
And why call ‘em ‘vampires’ if they don’t die in sunlight?
Anyway, just the fact the ‘1/2’ thing is brought up is a big red flag to me.

Still, haven’t read it. Maybe it’s marvelous. I don’t know.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:48 PM on December 1, 2008


Hermitosis, the Faust I recall does a dirty deal with Mephistopheles and gets power, wisdom, and knowledge.
Without having read the books, it seems that Bella gets not a lot besides kids and a beating. From the Atlantic:

Because it takes three and a half very long books before Edward and Bella get it on—during a vampiric frenzy in which she gets beaten to a pulp, and discovers her Total Woman—and because Edward has had so many decades to work on his moves, the books constitute a thousand-page treatise on the art of foreplay

Somehow I can't imagine Faust trading his soul for domestic violence.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:48 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm grateful for the Twilight movie, only because I got to listen to NPR's critics writhing and moaning, trying to describe it.
posted by boo_radley at 4:51 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was in Powell's last month and noticed that they have a half-aisle devoted to paranormal romance. I knew that subgenre was getting trendy, but I'd had no idea how trendy. If anyone has a link which explains what vampire sex is a metaphor of, I'd like to see it.

The feeling I get from watching True Blood, and what reading I have done in the genre is that the paranormal element is supposed to explain why good girls are doing dirty things. Enchantment, mental dominance, literally uncontrollable desires etc... so that the virgin/whore dichotomy becomes even more sharply defined. The flipside is the idea of the cold, dead things are literally given warmth and life by the love of a good woman.

So, now that I think about it, the trend shouldn't be that surprising as it's an exaggeration of cliches that traditional romance already possesses.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:54 PM on December 1, 2008 [14 favorites]


All I know about Twilight is that my 24-year-old cousin, who is dyslexic and loathes reading, told me over Thanksgiving that those were the first books she was able to curl up and enjoy in a long time.

Even if it would transform every novel in the world into Dickens, and every film into Citizen Kane, I wouldn't take that away from her*.

Thus, fully admitting that personal bias, I can't help but get a vibe of "I don't like these books and/or their message and/or some societal evil they reflect and therefore they are OBJECTIVELY BAD NO MATTER HOW MANY PEOPLE LIKE THEM" from a lot of the comments here.

* Okay, okay, especially if it would transform every novel into Dickens and every film into Citizen Kane.
posted by Riki tiki at 4:55 PM on December 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


When I saw this was a link to The Atlantic, I said to myself "This better not be another inane piece by Caitlin Flanagan."

Alas, it is.
posted by grounded at 4:55 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Twilight of the idles
posted by Sparx at 4:56 PM on December 1, 2008


TWILIGHT IS GARBAGE. It is the most awful book/movie that I've read/seen in the last, oh, 27 years of my life. I'm 27, by the way.

You know that it's a book for young girls, right?

My 11 year-old daughter is reading it, along with pretty much every girl in her class and general circle of acquaintances.
I actually read it really quickly in the bathtub over two mornings (it was sitting there...I had nothing to read...I wanted to see if it was appropriate for her, etc., etc.) and ya, it's crappy writing and really obvious story telling. Kind of reminded me of Dan Brown. Too many adjectives, like a Grade 7 creative writing assignment.
But I can see why they like it and at least it's got a bit of edge to it, a world to get lost in which is pretty fun at that age.
She's not done yet but we'll discuss what she thinks about it when she is.
posted by chococat at 4:58 PM on December 1, 2008


This was a pretty good observation:

Twilight is a 498-page novel about teenagers in which a cell phone appears only toward the very end, and as a minor plot contrivance. The kids don’t have iPods; they don’t text-message each other; they don’t have MySpace pages or Facebook accounts. Bella does have a computer on which she dutifully e-mails her mother now and then, but the thing is so slow and dial-up that she almost never uses it, other than on the morning that she decides to punch the word vampire into her wood-burning search engine to learn a thing or two about her squeeze. But the world of the past is alive in other, more significant ways: Bella’s friends, all in search of “boyfriends,” spend weeks thinking about whom they will invite to a Sadie Hawkins dance. After a friend (toward whom Bella has gently been directing one of her own admirers) finally goes on a big “date” (a lost world right there, in a simple word), she phones Bella, breathless: “Mike kissed me! Can you believe it?” It was a scene that could have existed in any of the books I read when I was an adolescent; but in today’s world of Y.A. fiction, it constitutes an almost bizarre moment. (Few things are as bewildering to contemporary parents as the sexual mores and practices of today’s adolescents. We were prepared to give our children a “sex is a beautiful thing” lecture; they were prepared to have oral sex in the eighth grade.)

Have not, will not, read the book(s), but now at least I know I don't need to.
posted by voltairemodern at 4:59 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


But I can see why they like it and at least it's got a bit of edge to it, a world to get lost in which is pretty fun at that age.

How romantic does your daughter think it is to break into someone's house and watch them while they sleep, on a one to ten scale?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:01 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Really interesting observation, BrotherCaine.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:03 PM on December 1, 2008


Independent of the quality of either the books or the movie, I'm grateful kliuless found an article which finally explains to me WTF this whole thing is all about.

Metafilter: Ripping [you] away from the world of the living and bringing [you] into the realm of the undead.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:03 PM on December 1, 2008


I read Twilight - I was curious, after I heard so many bad things about it, about why it had so many fans, and I thought that having been a teenage girl not all that long ago I might see why. I am none the wiser, it's a terrible book but what I was not expecting was how god damn boring it was. I think I read two hundred pages of Bella going to school and wondering about those mysterious Cullens and writing her English assignment and cooking potatoes and riding about in her truck before anything happened, and even then all she does is have endless tedious conversations with Edward while he orders her around and smirks a lot.

Then there's the part where the vampires play baseball, which they can only do when there's a thunderstorm on because they hit the ball so hard it sounds like thunder, and I started to see some of the appeal because now I can play Horrify the Twilight Noob and tell them that no, I really am not making this shit up.
posted by penguinliz at 5:04 PM on December 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


I just read the article. Oh my God. I really and truly hope that my daughter grows up to detest these novels.
posted by oddman at 5:08 PM on December 1, 2008


Heh. "Hot lesbians! Whedon is so progressive!"

As I recall the original Willow was not traditionally "hot."
posted by brevator at 5:08 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, I thought we were going to start talking about 'Let The Right One In' now. I must not have been clear in my derail; Twilight = The Devil's Asshole. Sparkly vampires who play baseball and... no? We have to keep paying attention to this?

I miss Harry Potter.

*goes back to reading Dragonlance*
posted by Bageena at 5:09 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


As I recall the original Willow was not traditionally "hot."

The way Alyson Hannigan and Sarah Michelle Gellar were dressed and made up were aimed at different demographics. I can assure you that, as someone who was age-appropriate at the time, Willow was indeed hot.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:10 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


And for that matter I wouldn't consider either Alyson Hannigan or Amber Benson to be traditionally "hot".
posted by brevator at 5:10 PM on December 1, 2008


Shinga's chapter by chapter parody of the first book. IMHO, outshines Cleolinda's recaps by a far margin.

I'm with hermitosis on this. I recognize the shallowness of the characters, the terrible quality of the writing, the contrived plot, and how incredibly Mary Sue it is. I mock Twilight fangirls with the best of them. But for whatever reason, once I started flipping through the first book in the bookstore, I really really didn't want to stop flipping. So now I own the first book and have read the first three, and it's something I don't even like admitting because intellectually, I know them to be pretty much crap.

Eh. We all have our guilty pleasures.
posted by Phire at 5:12 PM on December 1, 2008 [8 favorites]


I'm speaking of the original Willow.
posted by brevator at 5:14 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Twilight is fantastic. It’s a page-turner that pops out a lurching, frightening ending I never saw coming
He fixes the cable?
posted by mustard seeds at 5:17 PM on December 1, 2008 [9 favorites]


Fun game: Google Image Search for "Riff Regan" and count how many of the pictures are actually Alyson Hannigan.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:18 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm with hermitosis on this. I recognize the shallowness of the characters, the terrible quality of the writing, the contrived plot, and how incredibly Mary Sue it is. I mock Twilight fangirls with the best of them. But for whatever reason, once I started flipping through the first book in the bookstore, I really really didn't want to stop flipping. So now I own the first book and have read the first three...

The book publishing industry's answer to World of Warcraft.
posted by voltairemodern at 5:18 PM on December 1, 2008


I hate Twilight. I hate the baby-faced actor playing Edward -- even as a middle schooler, I didn't understand why other girls loved teen idols who look like tall blond six-year-olds in a perpetual sulk. I hate vampires. But, surprisingly, I don't hate this piece.

Sure, she shouldn't have generalized so much. And the bit about "oral sex in the eighth grade" -- is she getting her parenting tips from the scare stories on daytime TV? Still, I think she captured something about the cruelty and contradictions and sadness of desire as a teenage girl. That, naivete, and ignorance are probably much of what's behind Twilight's success.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:19 PM on December 1, 2008


And as for the sparkly thing, and the breaking into the house to stare at her thing: I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that most people who read the novels are looking at it from a conceptual point of view. I very much doubt even the most rabid Twilight fangirl (and there are a hell of a lot of them on deviantART and it's scary as fuck to see their righteous indignant anger) would relish the thought of someone actually climbing through their window and staring at them when they sleep, but a lot of girls who do find solace in the books crave this idea of unconditional love and attention that is - face it - pretty rare in the preteen world of backstabbing and cruelty.

I'm not necessarily defending the books, but the amount of incessant vehemence I'm seeing from the anti-Twilight side doesn't make them look too much better, y'know?
posted by Phire at 5:20 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dude, WTF, the original Willow is totally hot.

Ok, that was a little fucked up.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:20 PM on December 1, 2008 [19 favorites]


I always thought Willow was hot. And Chococat, I think the Harry Potter books were meant for kids too, and those ended up being rather fantastic. Same goes for Roald Dahl, Judy Bluhm, that guy who put together the Scary Story to Tell in the Dark books... I know the target audience, but I think it's still possible to appeal to that demographic without writing crap. And penguinliz, totally agree - I think it literally takes 350 pages before an antagonist actually appears. During the family home evening baseball scene, no less. Maybe years of Stephen King have corrupted my mind, but I expect that, if I'm reading a book with vampires or werewolves in it, there should be death or blood or anything even vaguely scary within the first hundred pages. That's just me though.
posted by Bageena at 5:20 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


These are great:

BELLA: Okay, I’m going to be a stereotypical daughter of a single father and do all the food stuff. I am going to the store.

SHINY NEW VOLVO: *sparkle*

BELLA: Oh crap, rich kids. OH WAIT IT’S THE PRETTY PEOPLE YAY. That seems weird that pretty people have money but I guess that’s normal. But no that must mean they want to be alone.

LOGIC: Wait, what?

Well, guilty pleasures, sure. Anne Rice is a guilty pleasure. This stuff is just plastic through and through.
posted by jokeefe at 5:21 PM on December 1, 2008


I had such a crush on early Willow
posted by Brainy at 5:23 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dude, WTF, the original Willow is totally hot.

ALMOST made real the completely made up and stupid "WTF DOOD YOU OWE ME A NEW MONITOR". Seriously. Never been so close to a genuine spit-take. You make me re-evaluate the whole comic device.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:23 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, the books are fantastically materialistic. It is necessary for us to know the exact model of Volvo that Edwards drives? The brand names elsewhere? That the vampires are so pretty that they can only be described as looking like they should be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue (I'm not making that up)? Bah.
posted by jokeefe at 5:24 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who was prepared to have oral sex in eighth grade?

Sheesh, man, I was prepared to have Mad Libs-style "<adjective> sex" in eighth grade.
posted by Flunkie at 5:27 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is Willow short for Warwick?
posted by gman at 5:27 PM on December 1, 2008


Dude, WTF, the original Willow is totally hot.

Well played, sir.
Well played.
posted by brevator at 5:28 PM on December 1, 2008


Am I the only one who was prepared to have oral sex in eighth grade?

No, me too, of course we were all prepared to have oral sex in eighth grade. I spent valuable class time thinking about how prepared I was. But it failed to occur.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:30 PM on December 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


Exactly.

I wish that I had known that my female eighth grade classmates were as, err, "prepared" as me.
posted by Flunkie at 5:31 PM on December 1, 2008


I mean I simply couldn't stop preparing.

(OK, I'll stop now)
posted by Flunkie at 5:33 PM on December 1, 2008


I really can't complain about "Twilight" considering that I spent 12 hours I'll never get back leading up to the terrible anticlimax that was the season finale of "True Blood".
posted by brevator at 5:34 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Where did I hear the term "fang fuckers" applied to this type of writing?

I have a feeling that it was here on the blue. But, I enjoy how nicely it encompasses all vampire/supernatural romantic (even remotely) stories. Anything from Rice to White Wolf publishing. My mother in law tried to convince me that there was no sex in the books as they are meant for young girls. But, if Justinian is referencing directly from the book... well that totally throws it out of the water.



Fang. Fuckers.
posted by Severian at 5:37 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just popped by to say that this is in fact truly genius:

EDWARD: So I listened to everything through Jessica’s thoughts. Ignore how creepy that is.

BELLA: Stop dazzling me!

EDWARD: Golly, sorry.

BELLA: I know I know, you just can’t help it.

ACTUAL DIALOGUE: *is pretty much exactly that*

EDWARD: I like you more than you like me.

BELLA: Nu-uh, I like you more than you like me.

READERS: YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.

BELLA: I’m just so plain and ordinary!

READERS: COME ON.

EDWARD: Actually I know for a fact because I read minds - did I mention that? - that all the boys want to do you. You are the opposite of ordinary.

BELLA: Gosh that’s just silly, I don’t believe it.

READERS: I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS CONVERSATION IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.
posted by jokeefe at 5:41 PM on December 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


HBOs True Blood uses the epithet fangbangers for mortals who have sex with vampires.

I've been waiting for a while now to read a story where someone insultingly calls a vampire a tampon sucker. I'm picturing redneck vampires like in Near Dark.

Gman, I'll me-mail you the joke explanation.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:43 PM on December 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


How romantic does your daughter think it is to break into someone's house and watch them while they sleep, on a one to ten scale?

I don't know. I'd guess that she didn't give it too much thought, since that detail is part of the psyche of a character who's also a VAMPIRE, who is struggling to avoid hunting people and killing them by drinking their blood. In a story.
But I'll ask her.
posted by chococat at 5:46 PM on December 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


One of the fundamental changes in how I read things as I get older is that I have more and more of a knee-jerk rejection of people positing their experiences as universal.

This essay really annoyed me.
posted by klangklangston at 5:47 PM on December 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


Omg, jokeefe. Those cleoland synopses are so beyond brilliant. The final paragraph does not stop being hilarious:

And they sexed happily ever after in their magic cottage while their half-vampire toddler slept in the next room, and it was the best series starting with a teenage girl in love with a mysterious boy in her class that ended up with a teenage girl defending her growth-accelerated mutant hybrid baby from an ancient clan of evil vampires with her magical psychic shield that I ever read, THE END..
posted by dame at 5:54 PM on December 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


jokeefe, you'd love this one online discussion amongst Twifans I read a while back, although I am too lazy too Google it up right now. From memory:

Fan 1: One thing that bothers me is that outside of Edward, Bella has absolutely no interests or hobbies whatsoever.

Fan 2 [with no apparent sense of irony]: That's totally not true! She cooks for her dad!
posted by cirocco at 5:54 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Gman, I'll me-mail you the joke explanation.

Apparently my joke didn't work.
posted by gman at 5:58 PM on December 1, 2008


hilarious defective yeti review
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:59 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I really can't complain about "Twilight" considering that I spent 12 hours I'll never get back leading up to the terrible anticlimax that was the season finale of "True Blood".

IF they were going to be so unfaithful to the book throughout the rest of the series, the least they could've done was not be faithful to the start of the second.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:04 PM on December 1, 2008


Reading the book, I sometimes experienced what I imagine long-married men must feel when they get an unexpected glimpse at pornography: slingshot back to a world of sensation that, through sheer force of will and dutiful acceptance of life’s fortunes, I thought I had subdued.

As a fairly long married man (16 years) I never get an unexpected glimpse of pornography. Never. I always expect, nay, demand glimpses of pornography. Oh, and my wife says the Twilight books suck. Suck, suck, suck.
posted by MikeMc at 6:06 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I mean, shit, I liked True Blood. Bill's almost as much of a fucking creep as Edward, but it's not played off as a good thing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:06 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I second the suggestion to see Let the Right On In (Låt den rätte komma in) instead of this Twilight crap. Gorgeous, charming, occasionally very funny, and in the end, deeply chilling. Plus, none of this shiny vegetarian vampire shit.
posted by ubersturm at 6:12 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'd better stay away from this stuff. Seeing that I still haven't gotten over wanting to slap Heathcliff and Cathy and tell them to quit being such goddamned emos.
posted by jfuller at 6:17 PM on December 1, 2008 [9 favorites]


That the author is a practicing Mormon is a fact every reviewer has mentioned, although none knows what to do with it, and certainly none can relate it to the novel;

haha. She has got to be fucking kidding. Almost every review or comment I've read have mentioned how obvious the Mormonism is through it all.
posted by graventy at 6:18 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the defective yeti review:
And it's imperative that Ed avoid direct sunlight because, when it hits him, he becomes EVEN MORE GORGEOUS. I am so totally not making this up.
I simply could not believe this, so I did some Googling and the first result was this poor unfortunate who asks Yahoo Answers, "Why did Edward's skin glimmer like diamonds in the sunlight? - From the novel/movie 'Twilight'? Every previous vampire story, movie, song, or novel the vampire BURNS to ashes, so why did this author choose to make these vampires different?" (Warning: One of the answers has a spoiler to one of the books, and all of the answers are from Twilight fans).
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:21 PM on December 1, 2008


How romantic does your daughter think it is to break into someone's house and watch them while they sleep, on a one to ten scale?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:01 PM on December 1 [+] [!]


I haven't got a daughter, but I remember being a teenage girl - and yeah, I would have thought that was totally romantic. I would have been tempted to do it. Teenagers are weird.

But everyone knows that what you need to hand pre-teen and teenage girls are series after series of science fiction novels about women being tough and cool (beginning with the Alanna series, where a girl becomes a knight, and graduating to things like The Gate to Women's Country or the books about the Renunciates in the Darkover series), and let them get their sex ed from the Clan of the Cave Bear series (in which tough cool woman invents everything, and then has loving sex with her soul mate), and they will work out all fine. Super nerdy, but fine.
posted by jb at 6:23 PM on December 1, 2008 [12 favorites]


tyler cowen thirds that, "Let the Right One In is the movie to see, not Synecdoche" :P sacrilege!
posted by kliuless at 6:25 PM on December 1, 2008


let them get their sex ed from the Clan of the Cave Bear series

"Your first sexual encounter is likely to be non-consensual."

?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:25 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Perviously"?
posted by mhoye at 6:26 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wish that I had known that my female eighth grade classmates were as, err, "prepared" as me.

Math 08, 10:10AM every alternate weekday. You could set your watch by it. Oh, Megan, who sat in the next desk and was as cute as buttons, if only I had known your lustful thoughts.

I blame my mother for not informing me that grade eight girls were lust-demons wanting to swallow my pride and joy.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:28 PM on December 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


I remember seeing the trailer for the movie and hearing Bella say this line: "Your skin is pale white and ice cold," and immediately thought "That sounds like it was written by a teenage virgin 'cause nobody wants to snuggle up to something cold."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wha...I can't read this article. First paragraph: modern children’s literature (which, since the Victorian age, has centered on a sentimental portrayal of the happy, intact family)

Is that a joke? I don't know the percentage of real-life people whose parent or parents die or disappear during their kids' childhood, but I'd be surprised if their representation in modern children's literature weren't doubled at least. Modern children's literature is pretty much all about kids on their own. It's become a cliche for children's protagonists to lack parents, one way or another. Although it sounds like she may be equating children's literature with picture books, as opposed to all types of books for children. That's a pet peeve of mine.

Then...her theories about why so many girl YA books begin with a move are a stretch at best. I'd venture a guess that stories that begin with a move occur just as frequently in boy YA books, unisex YA books, and middle grade books of all stripes. It's because a story has to begin somewhere; there has to be a reason why we're joining this character on this day of her life rather than any other. Moving is a common but life-changing event for kids, and so it is a common beginning for kids' books. Her interpretation may be correct for any number of individual books, but it's not an explanation for the trend.

As for Twilight. I found this goodreads review of Breaking Dawn by a real live young adult to be an illuminatingly succinct roundup of the series' anti-feminist elements. I must say though that I am also intrigued by hermitosis's idea that the anti-feminist elements are actually the horror part of this horror/romance series. Elsewhere I've read opinions that Meyer had to make "traditional values" central to the series because she's Mormon. To that I say, check out this awesomely kickass (if inconsistently drawn) graphic novel by Mormons Shannon and Dean Hale, which has some of the coolest implicitly feminist characters, story and setting I've read in a long time.
posted by lampoil at 6:41 PM on December 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


I couldn't even get through the first Twilight book -- when Bella started wandering around in the abandoned industrial district and was shocked -- shocked! -- when someone followed her until Edward saved the day I threw the book across the room. Literally couldn't get through it. I read a ton of YA, since that's what I write and I like to keep up with the current market, as well as enjoying it on its own merits.

I do wish, though, that I could somehow bottle whatever it is Meyer has in her books, because I could do with legions of rabid fans. Oh yes, I could.

I don't have much of a problem with the departure from traditional vampire folklore. Because, well, it's folklore. About magical mythical creatures. It's okay to play with the tropes a little.
posted by sugarfish at 6:44 PM on December 1, 2008


What I find most frightening about the Twilight series is that so many adults read it.

I mean, wtf? There is no end to the good books out there. Good light books, even. So why the hell would any functional adult waste his or her time reading tripe like this?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:48 PM on December 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Clan of the Cave Bear was a good read, but Ayla felt a lot like your typical Mary Sue (so different, so smart, saves the day, etc.), if an exceptionally well written one.
posted by Phire at 7:00 PM on December 1, 2008


let them get their sex ed from the Clan of the Cave Bear series

"Your first sexual encounter is likely to be non-consensual."


...and inter-species.
posted by Artw at 7:08 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


...and inter-species.

Our basset hound was a horny son-of-a-bitch.

Learned an important lesson about falling asleep on the couch only wearing a bathrobe, though.
posted by maxwelton at 7:11 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Also, the books are fantastically materialistic. It is necessary for us to know the exact model of Volvo that Edwards drives? The brand names elsewhere? That the vampires are so pretty that they can only be described as looking like they should be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue (I'm not making that up)? Bah."

Because national brands are an easy/the best way to ground current tweens' experiences?
posted by klangklangston at 7:22 PM on December 1, 2008


More about Let The Right One In (8.4 on IMDB, #192 in the top #250 movies of all time there). Here's the trailer. Here's a brief synopsis;

Oskar is a 12-year-old-boy who is being bullied at school. He befriends a mysterious girl, Eli, who moves in next door with an older man, Håkan. In the course of the story, the reader finds out that all is not what it seems. Eli turns out to be a vampire, but the two children develop a close relationship and Eli helps Oskar fight back against his tormentors.

It's so much more than that though - it's subtle and dark and beautiful and haunting and about fifteen shades north of disturbing. I really can't think of any other film that centers around two 12 year olds falling in love. All of the children in the movie are amazing, fantastic actors. Slowly paced, but again, the action is there throughout, just... subtle.

I'll quit now.
posted by Bageena at 7:24 PM on December 1, 2008


They involved fucking lovely young men, and hoping one day to meet my one true love.

Mine were the same, except instead of finding my one true love I wanted to become a world-renowned astrophysicist. I probably would have had better luck with tru luv. :(

Some people really overthink it when it comes to Twilight. It has a hot boyfriend, romance, magic, the wish-fulfillment fantasy of being special...

You don't have to peer into the subtext of Twilight to get the appeal, because teens don't pick up on subtext very well anyway. They're very shallow readers as a general group. Things like Edward breaking into Bella's house and watching her sleep don't bother them because they're not mature enough to criticize that romantic trope, even as far as Meyers takes it.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:01 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're never going to talk to me again, Bageena, but I actually was pretty meh about Let The Right One In. Especially the ending, though I won't say why for fear of spoiling it. There were plenty of moments that I found spellbinding, and I loved the actors, but I left feeling unsatisfied.

Then again, the projectionist goofed and showed one of the reels TWICE -- once out of place, then again in its proper place -- and that would probably mess up any movie for me.
posted by hermitosis at 8:05 PM on December 1, 2008


I saw Let the Right One In last night. How good was it? It was so good that it actually made me grateful that I'd previously read Twilight, so I could relish having experienced both the nadir and apogee of vampire fiction.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 8:13 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


An awesome quote from Wikipedia: "However, she refuses his offer and says that she will do everything the right way: marriage, making love, and then becoming a vampire."

Because, you know...yeah, that's totally the order I learned as a kid.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:14 PM on December 1, 2008 [12 favorites]


You're never going to talk to me again, Bageena, but I actually was pretty meh about Let The Right One In. Especially the ending, though I won't say why for fear of spoiling it.

I thank you for holding back; I'm currently downloading it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:14 PM on December 1, 2008


I thank you for holding back; I'm currently downloading it.

YOU WOULDN'T DOWNLOAD A CAR
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:21 PM on December 1, 2008 [19 favorites]


YOU WOULDN'T DOWNLOAD A CAR

If it had enough seeds and a decent tracker, I sure as hell would.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:26 PM on December 1, 2008 [38 favorites]


YOU WOULDN'T DOWNLOAD A CAR

I would. Actually. In fact I'm downloading a car even as we speak? WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:26 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A HANDBAG
YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A CAR
YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A BABY
YOU WOULDN'T SHOOT A POLICEMAN... AND THEN STEAL HIS HELMET
YOU WOULDN'T GO TO THE TOILET IN HIS HELMET... AND THEN SEND IT TO THE POLICEMAN'S GRIEVING WIDOW... AND THEN STEAL IT AGAIN!
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:42 PM on December 1, 2008 [12 favorites]


From the defective yeti review:

And to make matters worse, he wants to eat Belle more than anyone, because apparently she has great smelling blood. But he's also in love with her, you see. Oh my goodness, what a pickle! It's as if you or I were dating an apple fritter.


I LOL'd.
posted by Windigo at 9:05 PM on December 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


Where did I hear the term "fang fuckers" applied to this type of writing?

I talked to several New York publishing professionals a couple of years back and was told that they refer to the genre as were-porn internally, though that probably isn't industry wide.

I blame the Anita Blake books for all of this. No one would have acquired Twilight for publication if Laurel K. Hamilton hadn't made fucking vampires the in-thing.

And Buffy, I guess.
posted by Caduceus at 9:17 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I still love you hermitosis, no worries. I blame it all on the reels.

I am currently downloading all the cars from the Twilight books.
posted by Bageena at 9:33 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the article:"I hate Y.A. novels; they bore me. "

Well, screw you, then. Oh, yes yes, you spent your youth reading "grown up" books. Heaven forbid the literary world expand and evolve since you were spending afternoons with Scarlett O'Hara.

(blood proceeds to simmer...)

Oh. This whole article's by Caitlin Flanagan. Of course it's irritating. That woman's following the patented Christopher Hitchens track of pissing off wide swaths of folks. She brings up the innocent kissing chastity of the first Twilight book, comparing it to the books of her youth, yet had just named Judy Blume's Forever in the opening list of books that consumed her.
posted by redsparkler at 9:47 PM on December 1, 2008


From the defective yeti review:

And to make matters worse, he wants to eat Belle more than anyone, because apparently she has great smelling blood. But he's also in love with her, you see. Oh my goodness, what a pickle! It's as if you or I were dating an apple fritter.

I LOL'd.


Perhaps related to that: when looking for the explanation as to why the vampire boy becomes more attractive in sunlight - instead of a smoldering cinder - I came across this question, "In Twilight, can Edward smell when Bella's on her period?" I was surprised that this problem was actually addressed in this book by the author calling menses "dead blood" and that Edward is too much of a "gentleman" to mention it.

So, despite the rather discourteous habit of breaking into his girlfriend's house and watching her as she sleeps, he does, at least, refrain from saying, "*sniff, sniff* ... Say, are you menstruating?" With those impeccable manners, I'm surprised he wasn't characterized wearing a monocle and top hat.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:55 PM on December 1, 2008 [26 favorites]


With those impeccable manners, I'm surprised he wasn't characterized wearing a monocle and top hat.- Marisa Stole the Precious Thing

Hi. You're my FAVORITE PERSON.
posted by 235w103 at 10:06 PM on December 1, 2008


From the defective yeti review:

And to make matters worse, he wants to eat Belle more than anyone, because apparently she has great smelling blood.


Shades of "Return of the Living Dead Part II"

Joey: But they [her brains] smell so good ... so spicy...
Brenda: Take me!
posted by MikeMc at 10:11 PM on December 1, 2008


Oh, sure, Marisa. I'll bet you were searching for attractive vampires. I believe you when you say that you didn't start digging around BrotherCaine's lovely "tampon sucker" line.
posted by graventy at 10:17 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've only had one real run-in with the Twilight series, thanks to sharing my statistics class this semester with a handful of high-school seniors from the local math and science magnet school. The conversation went something like this:

HS Girl #1: "Have you guys read the Twilight books? I love them so much! My boyfriend's reading them now and he's really into them too."

HS Girls #2 and 3 sort of stopped and stared for a second.

HS Girl #2: "...your boyfriend reads?"

HS Girl #3: "I don't think I've ever dated a boy who read."

Total Bill Hicks "...what'chew readin' fer" moment. I had to turn around and note that I had, in fact, just been out the night before buying actual books* for Mr. F's manly delectation. Given the frosty reception HS Girl #1 got, I guess we should be glad that the kids are reading anything, even anti-feminist Mormon vampire pornoganda.

* (Well, OK, if you count Hunters of Dune as an actual book, which I admit might be debatable. Mr. F didn't find it too awful, at least.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:42 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Or is "reads" some special code for "reads the right book".

I feel sorry for todays male tweens, they cleary aren't the reading proper things like I did when I was a kid (any and all science fiction, anything by Sven Hassel, The Pan Books of Horror, and, um, a phase of liking Enid Blyton despite instictively knowing that these were class enemies) - therefore I'm pretty sure they're doomed.
posted by Artw at 11:02 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Artw: No, it was "reads," full stop. Given the predilictions of the other two for showing up late, leaving early, and occasionally just not taking exams/ doing homework/ whatever, I could well believe it.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:07 PM on December 1, 2008


Wow, this is way too long to make me angry. If my brain had some sort of belt around it, I would totally be loosening it in a dramatic fashion about now.
posted by tehloki at 11:35 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


So this got me thinking about how I obsessively read Piers Anthony's Xanth books back when I was a kid (featuring books with children-friendly titles like The Color Of Her Panties and whatnot.) Ah, the joys of Mundania and The Adult Conspiracy (neither of which I remembered until I looked at the Wikipedia page; honestly, if those books left a mark, I don't know where the mark is.)

However, what did leave a mark was a book of Piers Anthony's short stories, most definitely not for children, that my father bought and read. He then offered me the book to read, but strongly advised I skip one story. He was adamant that, while some of the other stories were good, this one story had an awful thing that I would hate if I read it, so I shouldn't read it. He even went so far as to write on the title page for that story "DO NOT READ! TRUST ME!" or words to that effect.

Needless to say, I read it. It was called "On The Uses of Torture", and it went in great detail describing various methods of torture used on the main character. It was discomforting, but not horrific, and I couldn't understand why my father had insisted I not read that story.

Then I got to the page that described in excruciating detail the crushing of the main character's body parts. Specifically, a testicle. In a metal vise. I closed the book when I got to the part about the popping noise.

For weeks afterward I couldn't get that image out of my mind, and whenever I thought of it I felt phantom pain in the appropriate area. In fact, to this day as I just discovered while typing out this comment I can't think about the story without having a visceral twinge in my groin.
posted by davejay at 11:54 PM on December 1, 2008 [12 favorites]


davejay, that post easily makes it into my top 5 "omg why the fuck did you share that with us" MeFi comments.

*wanders off to bed wincing*
posted by Caduceus at 12:21 AM on December 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


When you hear the term "internalized oppression" it's referring to shit like this.

I'm sorry, but books are not instruments of oppression, no matter what their contents. Now, the idea that someone needs to reconcile their reading list with someone else's political orthodoxy? That would be damn oppressive.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:27 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Interesting. According to the article, I am currently a prepubescent girl.

I had no idea.
posted by Scattercat at 12:28 AM on December 2, 2008


And for that matter I wouldn't consider either Alyson Hannigan [...] to be traditionally "hot".

Slender redheads with nice boobs and a great arse aren't traditionally hot? From which parallel universe do you hail?

Dude, WTF, the original Willow is totally hot.

You win the Internet.

Modern children's literature is pretty much all about kids on their own.

Be fair. Perhaps the author missed such underappreciated, unexamined classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - or, indeed, most everything else Dahl wrote for kids. Obscure works, I can understand why.

Likewise the Harry Potter series is barely known kid-lit. Artemis Fowl likewise.

featuring books with children-friendly titles like The Color Of Her Panties and whatnot.

WHAT. THE. FUCK!?
posted by rodgerd at 1:03 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Davejay, my Dad did the same to me with a piece of execrable garbage called The Eighth Trumpet. I wish he hadn't, because I probably wouldn't have read past the first page if he'd told me not to.

I mean, wtf? There is no end to the good books out there. Good light books, even. So why the hell would any functional adult waste his or her time reading tripe like this?

If I had kids I'd be reading everything they read. I swear some of the crap I read going through puberty permanantly warped my budding sexuality.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:12 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I kind of liked that Piers Anthony story as a kid. Also, I recall Bio of a Space Tyrant having some kink in there. Now I'm not so fond of Piers Anthony, because I have to shovel all of his books out of my way when I'm looking for Patricia Anthony.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:18 AM on December 2, 2008


kid ichorus, I think she meant the book is a demonstration of internalized oppression, not a method of internalized oppression. But I could be wrong.
posted by harriet vane at 1:22 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I tend to call anything in the paranormal romance genre a vampire-shagger novel, but I'm not sure where I picked that term up.
posted by penguinliz at 1:31 AM on December 2, 2008


swear some of the crap I read going through puberty permanantly warped my budding sexuality.

Yeah, mine too. But it was good warping.

I think.
posted by rodgerd at 1:39 AM on December 2, 2008


vampires DON'T GLITTER LIKE A PIXIE WHEN THEY ARE EXPOSED TO THE SUN. Where they have to be invited in. Where they have to feed on human beings, none of this 'vegetarian' nonsense.

This is frequently what happens when the modern world tries to re-appropriate any classic storytelling trope. The art is broken down to discrete imagery and re-purposed without much consideration of why it worked in the first place.

Look at German Expressionism, from a distortion of which our whole notion of "Gothic horror" springs. The original Germanic Maerchen, these dark, magical folktales, dealt with boundaries. Precipitous adolescence, and the body's first steps towards maturity and death, like the slippery edge between summer and fall. Drowned maidens and their Narcissus pools. Forests so dark that, once inside, your breadcrumb tracks get eaten and unraveled behind you. The Minoan labyrinth never ate Ariadne's thread.

And the revenant or ghost tale, is, too, a thing of folk magic and boundaries - of running water, doorways and invitations, holy ground and profane ground, and of the divisions of day and night, the witching hours and morning bells.

But hell, we're modern. We don't really believe in ghosts. We believe in markets. We don't believe in arbitrary boundaries. I mean, isn't imagination and fantasy principally concerned with tearing boundaries down? We want to write fantasy stories about boundless, eternal youth, because everyone fantasizes about that - not like a Cronenberg movie, about becoming a creature whose alien life cycle is come and gone in a week. Who wants to be a fly?

In a Maerchen, when a coda was given, death is the final word:

...sie lebten gluecklich bis an ihr Lebensende.

"And they lived on happily until their deaths."

It passes into English as the familiar:

"And they lived happily ever after."

Death was the first boundary we trimmed off in the retelling.

That we can't do this particular sort of folk horror right couldn't be more obvious with these oversexed Anne Rice revenants and undead. Muench's washed-out, evacuated madonnas become a corseted heroin chic; the libido is not a ticking death clock, but a revving engine. It's a candyland, a playground tailored to wish fulfillment and to an insistence that we have our magical worlds without their rules and limitations.
posted by kid ichorous at 2:05 AM on December 2, 2008 [104 favorites]


I bought these books during a trip to California and read one out and one back (eagerly awaiting the third one) and enjoyed them enormously. I totally agree with a majority of you guys about how awful, terrible drivel these "novels" are. And I love them.

I don't quite understand how it's reached such an epic proportion. I read tons of trashy teen vampire/witch/werewolf stories when I was young (Christoper Pike or RL Stine anyone?) and this series doesn't seem much better or worse. A part of why I like them is because it reminds me of what a silly girl I used to be and find them utterly hilarious from this side of maturity. Maybe because of the proliferation of the internet as a tool makes stuff like this spread faster and bigger than they deserve?

Relax, this is not going to ruin a generation of women, it's a silly fad they can look back on like I look back at NKOTB. (Of course, unless this is the only books they read, in which case I agree, very scary indeed.)
posted by like_neon at 4:02 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Precipitous adolescence, and the body's first steps towards maturity and death, like the slippery edge between summer and fall. Drowned maidens and their Narcissus pools. Forests so dark that, once inside, your breadcrumb tracks get eaten and unraveled behind you. The Minoan labyrinth never ate Ariadne's thread....And the revenant or ghost tale, is, too, a thing of folk magic and boundaries - of running water, doorways and invitations, holy ground and profane ground, and of the divisions of day and night, the witching hours and morning bells....the libido is not a ticking death clock, but a revving engine. It's a candyland, a playground tailored to wish fulfillment and to an insistence that we have our magical worlds without their rules and limitations.

Hi. You're my FAVORITE PERSON.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:41 AM on December 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine called them "the Sunfire Romances version of Laurel K. Hamilton".

And that right there explained why I adore Twilight for its sheer awfulness. They're awful, but beautiful. And I love them for it.

(I'm actually in the middle of highlighting and annotating my copy of Twilight so I can get a friend of mine to read it.)

And to quote:
Edward in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn't get used to it, though I'd been staring at him all afternoon. His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn't sleep. A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal.
I LOVE THESE BOOKS SO MUCH.
posted by Katemonkey at 5:10 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are you there God? It's me, Nosferatu.
posted by bardic at 5:13 AM on December 2, 2008 [25 favorites]


V.C. Andrews looks pretty good now, huh?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:22 AM on December 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


Seriously, kid ichorous, that's one of the best-written comments I've ever read on this site. Thank you.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:27 AM on December 2, 2008


In fact, to this day [...] I can't think about the story without having a visceral twinge in my groin.

And now hundreds more join your club! Congratulations.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:08 AM on December 2, 2008


"sculpted, incandescent chest"??????????????

FOR REAL? OH MY GOD. Now I HAVE to read these horrible, awful books. They are too awful to be true!

I should mention that I recently got to interview an amazing, worldwide-bestselling author recently who has written books featuring young female characters who are not INCREDIBLY STUPID like little miss dead-menstrual-blood here... and I totally stopped the interview at one point and said "I just have to tell you -- thanks so much for writing that series... I've been recommending it to all my friends with young girls to read instead of that vapid Twilight."

Except now I want to read it precisely because it is so bad.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:02 AM on December 2, 2008


"Their very premise, however laudable, so defies the nature of modern children’s literature (which, since the Victorian age, has centered on a sentimental portrayal of the happy, intact family)"

This woman really, really doesn't know what she's talking about.

Some children's classics that center on children who are not from a happy, intact family: The Secret Garden (parents dead), The Little Princess (parents dead), Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates (brain dead father), Little Women (absent father), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (alcoholic, later dead, father), Girl of the Limberlost (dead father), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (dead parents), Chronicles of Narnia (largely absent parents).

I could go on with examples from the ranks of modern children's classics (for fantasy/ sci-fi, A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter, and His Dark Materials immediately come to mind), but I really feel like there are too many to name. It's pretty obvs to me that, aside from not liking children's lit, this woman hasn't really read any of it.

Did anyone else wonder if Staphanie Meyer was just ripping off LJ Smith when they first heard about the Twilight books? I mean, vampire/human romances? That's so early 90s.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:12 AM on December 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think the worst, worst, worst part of being forced to go see the Twilight movie was the audience. Two days after it had been released, matinee showing, still packed, the whole audience must have been Jr. High school girls fresh out of their shopping spree at Hot Topic because when Edward, the Ambercrombie & Fitch model-turned-vampire came on the screen looking like zombie elvis, the whole audience let out a collective *sigh* that made me throw up in my own mouth. STAY AWAY FROM TWILIGHT. GO SEE LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. Or stay home and play Left 4 Dead.

Did you expect a bunch of 8th graders who were watching a vampire romance movie to be discussing the mise-en-scène?

Around my house we call it Dracula 90210 and I could see the anti-feminist slant coming a mile away. I don't really care, I want my kid to read because reading is the single greatest thing you can do for your ability to express yourself as an adult (imho). Of course, I'd rather she reads good stuff, but I can't force her to do that.


Also, I recall Bio of a Space Tyrant having some kink in there.


I recall lo these many years later at least one scene where the space tyrant has some zero gravity reverse cowgirl space sex with a young teenager (maybe his sister?), it includes, I believe, the phrase "she was divinely impaled".
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:14 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know it's been beaten to death already, but the concept of children's lit centering around a happy intact family is utter bull. Not just from an anecdotal, "look these examples prove you wrong" sort of point of view, but also from a literary theory sort of view.

It is pretty much both traditional and essential for children's lit to feature absent parents, because that is exactly what makes it appealing to children. They want to live vicariously through the books, go on grand adventures, be daring, be bold, be the hero they can't be in real life. And that's just not possible with parents around reminding them to wear a scarf and take their medicine. Children just aren't interested in reading moralistic tales about how mother knows right and if you stay with your family all will be well. That's what adults want their children to read. But that sort of stuff doesn't appeal to the kid's imagination. And if it doesn't catch their imagination, it doesn't get read. Simple.

Stupid author.
posted by Phire at 8:23 AM on December 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


It is pretty much both traditional and essential for children's lit to feature absent parents, because that is exactly what makes it appealing to children.

We talked about this extensively in my graduate children's lit classes. Absent parents also make it possible for the hero to be "restored" to a position of wealth/power--by the end of the story, they're recognized as the long lost princes/wizards/whatever that they are. Mega wish fulfillment there for the young readership, and it's not possible at all if the child protagonist already lives with their birth parents.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:32 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, yes yes, you spent your youth reading "grown up" books. Heaven forbid the literary world expand and evolve since you were spending afternoons with Scarlett O'Hara.

Strongly agree. High five. Times have changed, very quickly. Young adult literature is totally different from what it was five years ago, let alone when Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret came out.

So why the hell would any functional adult waste his or her time reading tripe like this?

My theory is that it's because they didn't know it was tripe when they decided to read it. There are a lot of YA books out there that have really compelling stories and characters, as well written, nuanced and satisfying as any adult book and therefore perfect for an adult reader who is looking for something good that they can read quickly. People go on what people are talking about, they hear about Twilight, it doesn't look too kiddie. They read it, it's mostly bad but they give it a chance because so many people like it that it must have something...then by the time they're done with the first book they're hooked on the story and no longer care about how bad it is. Then, I've found, people fly through books two and three and either hesitate before reading book four for some reason, or read it and go back to hating it or at least love/hating it.

One thing about adult books I've found is that I see two big categories: you have the books that are more intellectually or emotionally satisfying. They are about people and communities and relationships, they're character-driven and well written, they hit on some essential truth about being a human in the world. They also tend to be kind of boring. They probably seem more boring to me because I read a lot of children's and YA, but...they go at a slow pace, they're longer than they need to be--you're sticking with it because you like it and it's good, not because you just can't wait to find out what happens next. Then you have the books that ARE fast-paced. They're action-packed, there's a mystery to be solved or something to be saved. The characters are flat and the setting doesn't feel too real but you keep reading because you just have to know!

Good YA is fun to read because it takes the best from both of those. It can be wholly character-driven and have a ton of heart while still clipping along at a very satisfying pace. Of course there are adult books that do this too, but it seems that YA is uniquely qualified to do so more often, perhaps because of a combination of a tradition that books for younger people are shorter and quicker-paced (usually) and the fact that being a teen is one of those times in life when you're just that much more excruciatingly aware of being a human in the world.

It's also a good category for trying out a new genre, either as a writer or a reader. You can try out a scifi or fantasy or mystery or romance or historical fiction and it doesn't have to be EPIC. Or formulaic. It can just be a good, quick story that also has those other elements.

Unfortunately, Twilight despite all its popularity doesn't seem to be the best example of any of these things. But! In at least some cases it leads young readers to the more obscure but even better books waiting in the wings when they're done. One more thing: there's another series of popular romantic fantasy YA books. I won't say which, because I'm about to spoil the ending, but there's a very sexy forbidden love thing going on and in the end, they can't be together. Some of the readers were very upset! They said, how can Protagonist live without Love Interest! To which the author said (paraphrasing) ...Protagonist is 16. She had a great love and she'll have more. And even if she doesn't, she'll have herself. If a girl NEEDS the guy she loves at 16 in order for her to live, that's pretty sad, and also unrealistic. Twilight seems either to not get that or to disagree with it.
posted by lampoil at 8:55 AM on December 2, 2008 [7 favorites]


You don't have to peer into the subtext of Twilight to get the appeal, because teens don't pick up on subtext very well anyway. They're very shallow readers as a general group. Things like Edward breaking into Bella's house and watching her sleep don't bother them because they're not mature enough to criticize that romantic trope, even as far as Meyers takes it.

And at the risk of sounding cynical, I'd venture to say that the same is true for most adults. Possibly even to a greater degree than most teens. And that may be another reason the series is so popular across age range.
posted by lampoil at 9:05 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dude, WTF, the original Willow is totally hot.

Ok, that was a little fucked up.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:20 PM on December 1 [13 favorites +] [!]


I don't know if you were joking, but yeah, young Warwick Davies was really cute - I was a total fan-girl when I was 15. (The accent was a plus, but mostly it was his face.)

I can't watch the Leprechan movies - evil Warwick is too disturbing to me. I just want to go on imagining he's really Willow, making magic out of his little finger.
posted by jb at 9:14 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


better that than imagining he's really wicket the ewok, gnawing on the bones of felled stormtroopers and humping leia's leg.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:38 AM on December 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


A comment made way, way upthread, but one I have to call out all the same:

"Spike rapes Buffy because he loves her so much! It's such a feminist show!"

Dude, did you even watch the show you're deriding? I mean, I have no doubt there are a handful of weirdos out there who hold the belief you quoted, but almost anyone who's seen that show, and specifically the episode you're referencing, does not in any way view the rape as a natural extension of Spike's "love."

The rape scene was visceral and horrifying, and in no way glorified Spike's twisted version of "love" -- if anything, it cemented Buffy's realization that her relationship with Spike was incredibly destructive, both to her and to those she loved. It cast a harsh and unforgiving light on just how fucked up Spike was when it came to Buffy, and put a metaphorical stake in the heart of all the bizarre Spike/Buffy 'shippers.

Sneer all you like, but Buffy is definitely a feminist show, hands down.
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:56 AM on December 2, 2008 [8 favorites]


Slender redheads with nice boobs and a great arse aren't traditionally hot?

Get real. We're talking doorbells here. As for the hiney, I don't think EmpressCallipygos has anything to worry about.

Willow's (or Alyson's) best feature is her smile. Whenever I see it at full wattage (on video, which is the only way I'm likely to ever see it), it makes me smile. Me! And I'm Crabby-Fucking-Appleton!

Of course, I wouldn't wish myself on her, but I do have my fantasies (which run more to the cuddling and less to the hot monkey love).
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:04 AM on December 2, 2008


It occurs to me that the Twilight books are sort of the YA version of the infamous Paladin of Shadows series (aka the "OH JOHN RINGO NO books, previously). They're badly written, total creepy wish-fulfillment, their moral stance is repellent, and yet they're still weirdly compelling total tripe.

That being said, I bet Mike Harmon could totally take this Edward Cullen guy in a fight. Edward's never beheaded Osama bin Laden by Chapter Eight of his first appearance, after all.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:23 AM on December 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry, but books are not instruments of oppression, no matter what their contents. Now, the idea that someone needs to reconcile their reading list with someone else's political orthodoxy? That would be damn oppressive.

Yes, books which promote the idea that being followed around by a creepy, abusive stalker is true love don't at all promote patriarchy. Good call there.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:28 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also we should totally continue to talk about whether or not women live up to our standards of fuckability, that's totally helpful and not creepy as fuck.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:29 AM on December 2, 2008 [11 favorites]


Muench's washed-out, evacuated madonnas become a corseted heroin chic; the libido is not a ticking death clock, but a revving engine

kidichorous, did you, like, copy and paste this from page 75 of your thesis or something? Because RAWR. I mean, if you just wrote that off the top of your head? Favourite person time.

Also, just in re: Edward sparkling like pretty diamonds in the sunshine-- talk about the signifier and the signified.... Edward's a cold, hard, walking diamond ring. The symbol, not the reality. A fetish object.
posted by jokeefe at 10:34 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but books are not instruments of oppression, no matter what their contents.

Yep. Mein Kampf wasn't all at responsible for the bad affects it had.

Shit, I've Godwinned the thread. Sorry about that.
posted by jokeefe at 10:35 AM on December 2, 2008


And while I'm running in here before I start working...

It is pretty much both traditional and essential for children's lit to feature absent parents, because that is exactly what makes it appealing to children.

A huge yes to this, and it's one of the things that immediately pissed me off when I started reading. I feel very, very protective of the books which I loved when I was a child, and what the experience of reading them was like, and I cannot think of a single one that featured a happy family unless the parents were very, very far in the background (and the main action revolved around the ghosts that lived in the house, such as the Four Storey Mistake).

Even as an eleven year old I knew that Gone With The Wind was racist as fuck; and I never, ever liked those icky heterosexual romances. I just wasn't built that way.
posted by jokeefe at 10:46 AM on December 2, 2008


So, I read one of the Gor books (partially read, really, I couldn't finish it). Out of sheer morbid curiosity.

Twilight is stroking that same morbid curiosity. Is it better or worse than Gor?
posted by sandraregina at 10:48 AM on December 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Relocating is what led to the drug addiction, prostitution, and death that freaked out a generation of readers in Go Ask Alice

From the article-- this pissed me off too. Because I loathe the way Go Ask Alice has been marketed as some kind of genuine document, some girl's actual diary, when it was written by an adult author as an anti-drug tract. But every girl I knew who read it, including me, assumed that it was real-- that we were listening to an authentic voice. Grrrr.
posted by jokeefe at 10:51 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Personally I think the hijacking of the vampire myth by contemporary culture is the height of dumb. Vampirism is almost Jungian in how common it is across ages and cultures that don't have any clear connections to each other. From the Brahmarak-Shasa in India, to the ramanga in Madagascar, to the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet, to the revenants of England in the 1200's, all the way back to the more recognizable "wampyr" figure, the vampire myth used to focus on the unknown, the fearsome, and the taboo.

A vampire coming after a young girl was nothing cute or romantic until recently. Before, the vampire represented a threat to the holy by the unholy, to the natural by the unnatural, to the norm by the taboo. Look at what vampires were associated with-- cannibalism, infernal magic, immortality, and murder. All bound up in an uncontrollable, superhuman, godless shell that can't be ruled over or reasoned with. A supreme threat to the relatively tenuous order in earlier societies. In my estimation, vampires weren't meant to embody alluring sexuality or glamorized youth-- they represented the very essence of common primal fears in early human history.

Today, we're appropriated that myth and turned it into something trite by comparison. Monsters who used to stalk the night and inspire terror across generations and ages are now reduced to lapdogs for starry-eyed teeny-boppers. As if a dash of Elle perfume or a stragically-placed Abercrombie dress (that's still what the kids these days are wearing, right?) could capture the heart of an undying personification of evil.

Maybe it reflects how much progress our society has made. We don't see the world through the lens of superstitious reflections of our struggle for survival. We don't live in daily fear of being killed at random or having the foundations of our civilization subverted by outside forces. Instead, our mythology depicts outside forces being subverted by us-- vampire slayers worried about high school popularity, witches distraught over not being able to get a date. As we grew stronger, the myths of monsters alien to our society got weaker. Maybe consumerism and contemporary American culture is more powerful than even Jonathan Harker-- it tamed the vampire, not needing to kill it.
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 10:58 AM on December 2, 2008 [15 favorites]


Davejay, thanks for that comment. I also remember that story in vivid detail, the testicle-popping and worms-eating-a-lung especially. That whole collection, "Anthonology," was pretty messed up. I thought it was great at the time, though, because -- whoa! -- it was written by the same guy who wrote the overly punny Xanth novels. I couldn't get over how different the stories and styles were.
posted by m0nm0n at 10:58 AM on December 2, 2008


Personally I think the hijacking of the vampire myth by contemporary culture is the height of dumb.

I think wanting myths to freeze at some pre-modern point and not change to reflect the culture, as myths have since the start of myths, is pretty dumb and misses the whole concept of myths.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:07 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Vampires and sex is not new (according to wikipedia):

"In the Balkans it is believed that male vampires have a great desire for women, so a vampire will return to have intercourse with his wife or with a woman he was attracted to in life. Indeed, in one recorded case, a Serbian widow tried to blame her pregnancy on her late husband, who had supposedly become a vampire, and there were cases of Serbian men pretending to be vampires in order to reach the women they desired. In Bulgarian folklore, vampires were sometimes said to deflower virgins as well. A vampire may also move to a village where nobody knows him and marry and have children there. The sexual activity of the vampire seems to be a peculiarity of South Slavic vampire belief as opposed to other Slavs, although a similar motive also occurs in Belarusian legends."


If vampires (and other folklore/myths etc.) respresent a culture's anxieties and fears, and with sex in our culture all tied up with anxiety and fear and taboo, well I can see why vampires and sex go together like peanut butter and jelly.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:17 AM on December 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Reading the book, I sometimes experienced what I imagine long-married men must feel when they get an unexpected glimpse at pornography: slingshot back to a world of sensation that, through sheer force of will and dutiful acceptance of life's fortunes, I thought I had subdued.

I'm charmed by the author's innocent assumption that men stop looking at porn once they get married. Cherish that innocence, Caitlin!
posted by verstegan at 11:19 AM on December 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


jokeefe: the reason why parents are gone in YA books/Disney is that if there was a set of loving, caring, participatory parents on the scene, there's no way in hell kids would be allowed to go on adventures to other universes or date vampires and whatnot.

I blame my parents. If they hadn't been around, I could have wanked away with sparkly vampires when I was 17!

Okay, okay. I really just came in here to post this, which is my favorite analysis of Breaking Dawn ever, and I think it explains the appeal of the series. It's the writing from the...hips.

"ID: *writes busily*
EGO (entering and looking over id's shoulder): Hey, sport. Whatcha got there?
ID (reads aloud proudly):

Girl.
Boy!
Boy say girl: "You very pretty and perfect. You best girl in world. Me very very strong, dangerous, but me never hurt you."
Girl say boy: "Yay!"
Pretty boy and girl kiss and have sex! Pretty boy and girl have very very pretty nice smart strong baby! The end.

EGO: Uh, that's great, buddy. So, what makes this boy so strong and dangerous?
ID (dreamily): So strong. Bruise girl at a touch.
EGO: Uh, okay, good. Superhuman strength, dangerous-- okay, maybe he's a vampire.
ID (doubtfully): Vampire?
SUPEREGO (hurrying in): Vampires are evil.
EGO: They don't have to be. They have free will. They could choose not to kill people-- just to eat, like, animals and stuff. Of course, it would be difficult... vampires who made that choice would have a constant struggle against their own monstrous natures...
ID (pleased): Boy struggle. Boy hurt. But then girl make happy.
EGO: This could be interesting, actually-- like, how do they function in the world without getting found out? What are the dangers? I think-- well, for example, I'm pretty sure vampires usually can't go out in the sun. Maybe there's some kind of tell-tale sign, like their skin is sort of like marble-- really cold and hard-- and in direct sunlight, it sort of-- sparkles.
ID (ecstatic): Boy SHINY!!!! Make girl shiny too!!!!
EGO: What, have him turn her into a vampire too?
SUPEREGO: Uh, that's not very nice, if the life of a vampire is such a constant struggle for him.
ID (singing very softly to itself): Shine, shiny, shine...
EGO: Maybe there's some good reason, like she'd die if he didn't. We'll figure something out. But wait a minute-- if he turns her into a vampire they can't have a baby. Vampires don't have, like, sperm.
ID (lip trembling): No baby?
SUPEREGO: I don't think it would be very nice to deliberately bring a vampire baby into the world anyway.
ID (eyes welling up): Id want baby. Pretty, soft, smart, shiny baby. Name Renesmee.
EGO: "Renesmee"? ...oh, hey, hey, buddy, don't cry, don't cry. We'll figure something out.
SUPEREGO: Look, why don't you two just write this thing up and I'll troubleshoot later?
ID (sniffling): Fuzzy wolf boy love Renesmee.
SUPEREGO: ...or I'll just... go now...?
EGO: I think that might be best.

I'm not making fun of Stephanie Meyer, exactly (okay, my superego would like to point out that I most certainly am making fun of Stephanie Meyer, and also that I'm one to talk)-- I'm saying, her problem isn't so much that she writes from the hips, as that she lets the hips jerk the rest of her around."


Everyone who goes on about how GOOOOOOOOOOOOD these books are, well, I think they are thinking with their...hips and id when they say this.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:31 AM on December 2, 2008 [15 favorites]


That whole collection, "Anthonology," was pretty messed up. I thought it was great at the time, though, because -- whoa! -- it was written by the same guy who wrote the overly punny Xanth novels. I couldn't get over how different the stories and styles were.

It's not so different if you see them as just different sides of the same creepy old perv -- Anthonology, Firefl etc are him talking to his pedo buddies online, while the Xanth books are him in the amusement-park parking lot using candy to lure little girls into the back of his cargo van.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:32 AM on December 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


It's not so different if you see them as just different sides of the same creepy old perv -- Anthonology, Firefly etc are him talking to his pedo buddies online

YES. I read the Incarnations of Immortality series and quite enjoyed it as humorous, armchair philosophical fun. But Firefly was just ... what's the word I'm looking for here? ... gross. I got as far as the five-year-old girl seducing the grown man and dropped the book into a subway station trash can. Then went home and spent the rest of the day lying down. It sickened me deeply. And it wasn't just because of the blatant pedophilia coursing through the pages; again, I read this book after Incarnations of Immortality. This would be like if Shel Silverstein followed Where the Sidewalk Ends with an anthology of GG Allin lyrics.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:49 AM on December 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow. I just remember a book where everyone had some kind of magic power, except for one kid, who it turned out had the magic power to be immune to magic powers. I might have skipped some loony bits.
posted by Artw at 11:58 AM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I got as far as the five-year-old girl seducing the grown man and dropped the book into a subway station trash can.

Theres always Fledgeling, for that AND vampires.
posted by Artw at 11:59 AM on December 2, 2008


I read some Xanth as a kid and got increasingly creeped out as time went on.

Killobyte was kind of fun, if somewhat leering.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:00 PM on December 2, 2008


So I have to chime in too - I bought and read probably a dozen Xanth books before I realized that THEY. WERE. ALL. THE. SAME. And they were bad. So embarrassing.
posted by GuyZero at 12:01 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


To be fair, most of Terry Pratchetts books are the same and everyone raves about those.
posted by Artw at 12:06 PM on December 2, 2008


Pratchett is funny, not creepy, has amazing insight into the human condition, and is a good writer.

So basically he's got all that on Anthony.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:10 PM on December 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Arguably, but does Anthony wear an annoying hat?
posted by Artw at 12:17 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


"But every girl I knew who read it, including me, assumed that it was real-- that we were listening to an authentic voice."

My mother was 15 when it came out and assumed it was a parody, or at least a comedy. She was mortified that her mother took it seriously.
posted by klangklangston at 12:22 PM on December 2, 2008


Wow, it looks like I read the first one and theres a fucking million of them after that. I wouldn't have said it was a setting that could sustain that many books.
posted by Artw at 12:23 PM on December 2, 2008


Xanth, that is.
posted by Artw at 12:23 PM on December 2, 2008


Robert Pattison (the actor playing Edward Cullen, the vampire hero) has expressed some, uh, reservations about the books... and the author.

When I read it, it seemed like (grimaces) I was convinced that ... Stephenie was ... convinced that she was Bella, and uh, and you, it wasn't, it was like it was a book that wasn't supposed to be published, like reading her ... her sort of sexual fantasy about some -- especially when she says that it was based on a dream, and it's like, "Oh, then I had a dream about this really sexy guy" and she just writes this book about it, and there's some things about Edward that are just so specific that it's like, I was just convinced that, that this woman is mad, she's completely mad, and she's in love with her own fictional creation and I -- sometimes you, like, feel uncomfortable reading this thing, and I think a lot of people feel the same way, that it's kind of voyeuristic, ah, and it creates this sick pleasure in a lot of ways. (fan transcript)

(He's not hugely impressed with Edward, either: "When you read the book," says Pattinson, looking appropriately pallid and interesting even without makeup, "it's like, 'Edward Cullen was so beautiful I creamed myself.' I mean, every line is like that. He's the most ridiculous person who's so amazing at everything. I think a lot of actors tried to play that aspect. I just couldn't do that. And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that's how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he's a 108-year-old virgin so he's obviously got some issues there.")

(All snagged from Cleolinda's Twilight compendium.)
posted by ElaineMc at 12:41 PM on December 2, 2008 [10 favorites]


Just chiming in (again) to say that I liked Piers Anthony way back when I was 15, but I don't think I've read anything by him in at least 10 years. Still, I think I read nearly all of the Incarnations of Immortality series and most of the Xanth. I never read any of his other stuff, although it doesn't sound like I'm missing out on much. I'm currently reading/residing in the imaginary but magical world of Krynn by way of the Dark Disciple trilogy by Margaret Weis. Zombies, but no Vampires. At least, you know, not yet.
I think it's awesome how pretty much every single person in this thread say the books are awful. Even the fans admit they suck but then add that they can't put it down. I hate to say it, but I think I'm probably going to end up being a LOLFAN and reading the rest of the series just because it sounds like it gets even worse and I don't mind polluting my mind with garbage. I mean, have you guys seen the movie Donkey Punch yet? EFFIN FANTASTIC.
posted by Bageena at 12:57 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't have said it was a setting that could sustain that many books.

Artw: It can't, hence the obnoxious creepiness. Anytime a SciFiction author gets stuck in one place they start to rot. Just ask Heinlein. I won't even tell you what horror lurks in the unreleased Wheel of Time novel.

(spoiler: more collars!)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:11 PM on December 2, 2008


I liked Incarnations of Immortality...and then in the last one I read (Ah, Eternity!), hmm, there's that pedophilia again. "Oh, hey, turns out the teenager has been traveling around in time and space for enough years to make her legal now! Groovy!" Uh, what? Boy, am I glad I never read Xanth.

You know a book's bad when you read it and think, "V.C. Andrews did better than this, and she wrote about incest all the time."
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:12 PM on December 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh come on, I like horrors!
posted by Artw at 1:13 PM on December 2, 2008


and I cannot think of a single one that featured a happy family unless the parents were very, very far in the background (and the main action revolved around the ghosts that lived in the house, such as the Four Storey Mistake).

This makes me think of two of the bits of trash kid lit I enjoyed, the Hardy Boys and the Willard Price adventure novels. The Hardy Boys are interesting in that light, because they feature the absent-from-the-boys' life father who is always away on work, but swings in to save the day and sort things out at the end of the novels. It's dovetails neatly with our mythology of 50s families, doesn't it?

Vampires and sex is not new

No, but vampires as cool boyfriends is relatively recent. Vampires and sex used to be about a social fears and anxiety about sex - the fear of female sexuality, the fear of the intruder making off with women, and so on. Not so much in a post-Anne Rice era.

I read some Xanth as a kid and got increasingly creeped out as time went on.

I didn't read Anthony as a young teen, because a classmate of mine spent waaaaaaay to much time describing in loving detail various rapes and incest scenes in the Space Tyrant series, and it creeped me out. And I was reading Julian May and the Cave Bear novels at that stage, so it's not like I was exactly shooting for the high notes.

Willow's (or Alyson's) best feature is her smile.

Irresepective of the finer points of whatever one happens to find attractive about Alyson Hannigan, she's hardly a bold casting call, per the original claim. Camryn Manheim would be a good example of that. But not Hannigan.

(Oh no. Something else for the Whedon-worshippers to string me up for...)

Dude, did you even watch the show you're deriding?

Yes, yes I did. And that was one of the more risible bits of it.
posted by rodgerd at 1:30 PM on December 2, 2008


Well OK, Art, I warned you:

Rand

* Rand gives babies to Aviendha (will they be the remnant of a remnant, and able to channel, all 4 girls?) Grosser even than it sounds.

* Merger with "another man" (Lews Therin personality or Moridin?--see Min's viewing)
Actually pretty tame until the, let's call it an Explosion of Shai'tan

Isam/Lord Luc/Slayer

* Will have a confrontation with either Lan or Rand as he is Lan's cousin as well as Rand's uncle. A common confusion in Two Rivers, apparently the West Virginia of the Westlands

Mat

* Mat rescues Moiraine (who marries Thom?) it's basically the plot of Honeymoon in Vegas except with more anal beads.
* Sounds the horn ...You don't even want to know what this means

Egwene

* Gets the Amyrlin Seat
* Links with the Kin, the Wise Ones, the Sea Folk
* Links with the Asha'man (Elaida's construction would become the Black Tower?)
You may have thought you can't get herpes from a feminine brain channel. Think again.

Elayne

* Elayne is crowned
* Elayne gives birth
* finds a "Man in White who will make her fall head over heels"
Reading between the lines here: barf.

The Karaethon Cycle
Revealed to have an obscenely short refractory period.

posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:45 PM on December 2, 2008


I think my brain protected me by interpreting that as gibberish.
posted by Artw at 1:47 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's what you think, a week from now you'll be wearing a ninja djellaba in the desert and howling to your wolfbrothers.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:53 PM on December 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Spike rapes Buffy because he loves her so much! It's such a feminist show!"

It's been a while since I've seen these seasons - but is this a scene after the fight/break house scene? Because I thought that was mutual. And then there's the creepy she pressures him scene..... but yeah, that wasn't suposed to be a healthy relationship - he was a soulless vampire. (Note to self: put in "soul" under requirements in dating ad.)

And I was reading Julian May and the Cave Bear novels at that stage...

I don't know May, but the Cave Bear series has some incidents of rape which aren't that graphically described - followed by 4 books of graphically described loving sex. I wasn't disturbed by it at all, and I read the first at age 11 or 12 (I began it because I had read the scene where she gets to hunt - I was obsessed with gender transgressing girls, and this is the most interesting part of the first novel). The rape was put into a certain cultural context, but not justified or in anyway glossed (its a horrific trial, not suggested to be sexy or even sexually motivated) - and the reader follows the character (who was much less Mary Sue-ish, or just Mary Sue-ish to be heroic, before the last couple of books) as she deals with it.
posted by jb at 2:08 PM on December 2, 2008


Though thinking about it - thinking of the 11 year olds I know now, I would be a totally irresponsible 31 year old if I let 11-year old me read that book. But 11 year old me felt like it was fine for my age (and the bits about puberty made a scary thing a lot less scary).
posted by jb at 2:16 PM on December 2, 2008


My GOD this thread is fantastic. Bravo, MeFites. Bravo.

Also: Throw me in with those who read Xanth/Anthony as a teen, but will probably never return there. Although I still have the Incarnations books in a box somewhere, and the Mode and Phaze books I remember being relatively interesting.
posted by owtytrof at 2:16 PM on December 2, 2008


I wish these kids reading TWILIGHT would read, say, the Uglies stuff by Scott Westerfeld instead. Even if it is tragic that Westerfeld caved in to the bigger payday from writing YA fiction and will thus almost certainly never write anything as good (and mature) as EVOLUTION'S DARLING ever again.

I'm torn as to whether reading something like TWILIGHT is better than reading nothing at all. HARRY POTTER, sure, because that's just full of mediocre writing and reading something mediocre is better than not writing. But TWILIGHT, as detailed in this thread, is possibly actively harmful in worldview and so might be worse than not reading at all.

Of course THE LORD OF THE RINGS is also actively harmful in worldview... but it has other redeeming qualities with TWILIGHT most certainly does not.
posted by Justinian at 2:26 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


better than not READING, of course.
posted by Justinian at 2:26 PM on December 2, 2008


"But every girl I knew who read it, including me, assumed that it was real-- that we were listening to an authentic voice."

My mother was 15 when it came out and assumed it was a parody, or at least a comedy. She was mortified that her mother took it seriously.


Well.... I was 11, or just barely 12, I think. My critical faculties weren't quite up to speed yet... also, I was dying to find out about this exciting new world of drugs! that everybody (in the middle classes) was panicking about.
posted by jokeefe at 2:54 PM on December 2, 2008


The rape scene was visceral and horrifying, and in no way glorified Spike's twisted version of "love" -- if anything, it cemented Buffy's realization that her relationship with Spike was incredibly destructive, both to her and to those she loved. It cast a harsh and unforgiving light on just how fucked up Spike was when it came to Buffy, and put a metaphorical stake in the heart of all the bizarre Spike/Buffy 'shippers.

Oh, but...no. Because then you have an entire season of Spike longing for Buffy, wanting to be good enough for Buffy, wanting...yes...to express his soul. I promise that when Spike hugged a cross and emo-whined, "When do we rest, Buffy? When...do we rest", the hearts of 'shippers all across the world exploded into a million-billion glittery shards of glitter and slightly funny-smelling fingernails. "Can he...sigh!...redeem himself?" they must have sighed. Seriously, it's kinda sketchy.

(But probably not any sketchier than WAY older man Angel devirginizing Buffy on the cusp of barely legal...I like this show a lot, at least up to the end of season four, but there is some mad crazy sleaziness happening in it that is so far removed from anything like the feminism its creators seem to think it's rocking. Don't get me wrong -- I'm all for moral ambiguity in my popular entertainment, but the whole point of this story is that Angel is heroic and selfless and awesome right until after he's known true joy by nailing a high school sophomore. People question just about everything he does as Angelus, but at no point does anyone later reflect on, hey, what the fuck, when you were totally normal you fucked a sixteen-year-old. Take out the fantasy element and I have a very hard time picturing this character going on to become the star of his own show.

...Anyway!)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:05 PM on December 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's been a while since I've seen these seasons - but is this a scene after the fight/break house scene? Because I thought that was mutual. And then there's the creepy she pressures him scene..... but yeah, that wasn't suposed to be a healthy relationship - he was a soulless vampire. (Note to self: put in "soul" under requirements in dating ad.)

No, it's after Buffy fights the dorks, Andrew and Jonathon are arressted and Warren flies away with a jetpack. Buffy's in the bathroom and Spike's all "I know you love me blah blah." And shiu mai baby is right, it more or less cements, for Buffy, what the viewer could see all along, that the relationship was profoundly fucked up and that Buffy was both using and abusing Spike, and forgot that Spike was an evil creature who had no real understanding of human emotion at all. My beef with that scene is that we've seen Buffy kick Spike's ass five ways from Friday numerous times, and she barely holds her own in that scene. Season 6 had it's flaws (not as much as season 7 tho) but the portrayal of the Spike/Buffy "relationship" was not one of them, I think.
posted by Snyder at 3:08 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, but...no. Because then you have an entire season of Spike longing for Buffy, wanting to be good enough for Buffy, wanting...yes...to express his soul. I promise that when Spike hugged a cross and emo-whined, "When do we rest, Buffy? When...do we rest", the hearts of 'shippers all across the world exploded into a million-billion glittery shards of glitter and slightly funny-smelling fingernails. "Can he...sigh!...redeem himself?" they must have sighed. Seriously, it's kinda sketchy.

Well, yeah, but shippers are fucked up.
posted by Snyder at 3:10 PM on December 2, 2008


I wonder about that too, Justinian. At least with the trash I read as a teenager (see previous post), I never took it seriously because it was so over the top. Twilight fans sure seem to.

P.S. My cousin was reading Breaking Dawn during Thanksgiving dinner. I only wish she was far enough along in it for me to go, "So, what'd ya think of the toothy Caesarian, huh?" and see if she still liked it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:12 PM on December 2, 2008


Thanks, Synder -- that's exactly what I was driving at. Furthermore, judging a show by what the 'shippers and fanfic writers see is, you know, kind of bizarre and tremendously unfair to the show's creators.

If anyone thinks that scene was in any way remotely sympathetic to Spike, or that it validated the rape as an acceptable extension of Spike's obsession, well, you either need to rewatch it and/or get your interpretive circuits checked, because it's about as non-subtle as Whedon gets.
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:23 PM on December 2, 2008


but the whole point of this story is that Angel is heroic and selfless and awesome right until after he's known true joy by nailing a high school sophomore

He's not heroic and selfless and awesome, he's just in possession of the same kind of soul as humans. While he's got a monstrous past that he's trying to work off, so to speak, for purposes of moral evaluation he's acting as a human.

Spike, on the other hand, is an inhuman, amoral monster, and the rape scene serves as a slap upside the head for everyone- including, tragically, Buffy- who's forgotten that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:28 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


If anyone thinks that scene was in any way remotely sympathetic to Spike, or that it validated the rape as an acceptable extension of Spike's obsession, well, you either need to rewatch it and/or get your interpretive circuits checked, because it's about as non-subtle as Whedon gets.

I think you can actually put that on the astonishingly unsubtle Marti Noxon. Whose producer's touch seemed invisible to me on "Mad Men" until the second-to-last episode. And then I was all like, "Oh, hi! There you are, Marti Noxon!"
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:30 PM on December 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Willow's (or Alyson's) best feature is her smile.

No, it's her nose.

(...or it could just be in comparison to Geller's freakish conk, which I spent most of three season's staring at after a friend pointed out how odd it is)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:39 PM on December 2, 2008


Appropriate (-ly cheesy) soundtrack to this thread (YT).
posted by jb at 3:45 PM on December 2, 2008


(note: if you are epileptic, please do not click on my link - there are strobe lights. Lots and lots of strob lights.)
posted by jb at 3:48 PM on December 2, 2008


Just wanted to say that Bio of a Space Tyrant is hands down my favorite Piers Anthony novel. I read all the Xanth books, the Incarnations, that one about that guy named Stile, I don't know, tons of them.

And then I got a few pages into Space Tyrant and finally realized what a terrible, fucked-up person Anthony really was, and that his writing was equally awful, and I've never opened another one.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 4:33 PM on December 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think you can actually put that on the astonishingly unsubtle Marti Noxon.

Or, as she was known in my circle of Buffy fans: Marti Fucking Noxon, Kali of Narrative, Destroyer of Episodes, Ruiner of Plots. Thanks for correcting my memory on that key point, kfb. Heh.
posted by shiu mai baby at 5:19 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


This would be like if Shel Silverstein followed Where the Sidewalk Ends with an anthology of GG Allin lyrics.

Where does Father of a Boy Named Sue rank?

That we can't do this particular sort of folk horror right couldn't be more obvious with these oversexed Anne Rice revenants and undead. Muench's washed-out, evacuated madonnas become a corseted heroin chic; the libido is not a ticking death clock, but a revving engine. It's a candyland, a playground tailored to wish fulfillment and to an insistence that we have our magical worlds without their rules and limitations.

The best of these stories use the temptation of the forbidden to draw the protagonist into a more and more tightly subscribed life, wearing down moral boundaries with increasingly constrained suboptimal choices. In a sense this is holy versus unholy recast as moral absolutism vs moral relativism (or vice-versa depending on the author's predilictions). Is the absense of volition just a euphemism for death? I'm not sure adding a layer of yearning for oblivion on top of these myths really detracts from them in any way. Perhaps they are refining to a more ideal representation rather than moving farther from their archetypes.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:44 PM on December 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, but vampires as cool boyfriends is relatively recent.

True. I think this is reflective of how women's gender roles and their roles in society have changed, while males' roles have stayed the same. Which leads to conflict in what women want in a partner, what they think they should want, what society tells them they should want, and what men are willing to offer.

If anyone thinks that scene was in any way remotely sympathetic to Spike, or that it validated the rape as an acceptable extension of Spike's obsession,

<shipper>
But it wasn't rape. In their relationship, Buffy would say no and then Spike would push and Buffy would say yes. Spike was just acting according to the previously established rules in their relationship. How he was he supposed to know that this time she really meant no? Spuffy 4ever!
</shipper>

On Incarnations of Immortality, I can't believe no one mentioned the scene in And Eternity (pg. 41-44) where two women, Orlene and Jolie, are trying to get somewhere and a god turns Orlene into a man. Of course, Orlene immediately starts acting like a dick and tries to rape Jolie because male passions are so powerful that anyone who hasn't spent a lifetime learning to control them is just going to end up a overpowered by them. So, the god stops Orlene from raping Jolie by having sex with her and them turns her back into a woman. And Jolie is all WTF?. So the god turns Jolie into a dude, and of course she tries to rape Orlene. And this is a good thing because now they now what it's like to be a man.
posted by nooneyouknow at 7:50 PM on December 2, 2008


First I heard of the Twilight series was when my daughter (14) borrowed the whole lot from a friend this summer and read straight through in three days. That didn't get far onto the radar, but then the movie came out, and she said how it was better than she'd feared, because Bella doesn't whine nearly as much in the movie (because in cinema, the internal monologue is gone, you see).

Then I happened onto this thread. And Cleoland's compendium (thank you forever, jokeefe) -- and forwarded my daughter the links.

We've been giggling about it all day. God. These books are truly amazing, aren't they? I will never ever read one, but holy Toledo. I'm a total lolfan.

Also, I'm gonna quote Cleoland again for truth, because it just can't be stated enough: it was the best series starting with a teenage girl in love with a mysterious boy in her class that ended up with a teenage girl defending her growth-accelerated mutant hybrid baby from an ancient clan of evil vampires with her magical psychic shield that I ever read, THE END.

A true phenom.
posted by Michael Roberts at 7:52 PM on December 2, 2008


True. I think this is reflective of how women's gender roles and their roles in society have changed, while males' roles have stayed the same. Which leads to conflict in what women want in a partner, what they think they should want, what society tells them they should want, and what men are willing to offer.

That's really interesting. Could you expand on that?
posted by Snyder at 7:57 PM on December 2, 2008


On Incarnations of Immortality, I can't believe no one mentioned the scene in And Eternity (pg. 41-44) where two women, Orlene and Jolie, are trying to get somewhere and a god turns Orlene into a man. Of course, Orlene immediately starts acting like a dick and tries to rape Jolie because male passions are so powerful that anyone who hasn't spent a lifetime learning to control them is just going to end up a overpowered by them. So, the god stops Orlene from raping Jolie by having sex with her and them turns her back into a woman. And Jolie is all WTF?. So the god turns Jolie into a dude, and of course she tries to rape Orlene. And this is a good thing because now they now what it's like to be a man.

Waaait a minute. I don't remember this at all - on second thought, I didn't read the entire series. I would have remembered a plot twist like this. And all within 3 pages!

Yeah, reading this sooner would have prevented me from starting Firefly.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:16 PM on December 2, 2008


This would be like if Shel Silverstein followed Where the Sidewalk Ends with an anthology of GG Allin lyrics.

You make that sound like a bad thing. I defy you to find more profound and moving song lyrics that speak of love and loss than those found in "C*nt Sucking Cannibal" or "Last In Line For The Gang Bang.
posted by MikeMc at 8:34 PM on December 2, 2008


On Incarnations of Immortality, I can't believe no one mentioned the scene in And Eternity (pg. 41-44) where two women, Orlene and Jolie, are trying to get somewhere and a god turns Orlene into a man. Of course, Orlene immediately starts acting like a dick and tries to rape Jolie because male passions are so powerful that anyone who hasn't spent a lifetime learning to control them is just going to end up a overpowered by them. So, the god stops Orlene from raping Jolie by having sex with her and them turns her back into a woman. And Jolie is all WTF?. So the god turns Jolie into a dude, and of course she tries to rape Orlene. And this is a good thing because now they now what it's like to be a man.

All due respect, but that's moronic.
posted by jokeefe at 8:43 PM on December 2, 2008


I think this is reflective of how women's gender roles and their roles in society have changed, while males' roles have stayed the same.

Men's roles have stayed the same? Are you serious?
posted by jokeefe at 8:45 PM on December 2, 2008


Yes, you would say that, jokeefe. Having never experienced the overwhelming libido I deal with on a daily basis.
posted by graventy at 8:46 PM on December 2, 2008


I think this is reflective of how women's gender roles and their roles in society have changed, while males' roles have stayed the same.

I think that's true, more or less. It's a bit more complex, which is why I wanted to hear nooneyouknow expand on it.
posted by Snyder at 9:05 PM on December 2, 2008


I am not sure where nooneyouknow was headed, but I think a good way to illustrate it would be to read Stoker's original novel and then immediately watch the Bram Stoker's Dracula movie. There's an enormous difference in the way vampirism is handled.
posted by winna at 9:17 PM on December 2, 2008


All due respect, but that's moronic.

Yeah, I know that's why I posted about it. I thought a subthread in the comments was let's mock Piers Anthony. This "And this is a good thing because now they now what it's like to be a man." is the book's opinion not mine. (The above sentence sounds like you don't think I know that it's moronic. If that's an incorrect assumption please ignore previous paragraph)


My contention is that the popularity of the vampire bf has to do with women's dissatisfaction with their relationships, specifically what they are and what they are 'supposed' to be and that vampires combine the good aspects of traditional masculinity with the stereotype of the 'bad boy' that women are supposed to love. I haven't written a thesis on this or anything this is just from general reading.

The conception of masculinity has not changed much for at least the last 50 years (it has opened up and men are allowed to be a lot more than traditionally masculine but it's still there and I think it still dominates). Men are still expected to be protectors, providers, stoic, alpha males, strong etc, etc. (I was listening to the radio this morning, and they were talking about how many cry passes a man gets, i.e how many times (and about what) can a man can cry in a relationship without him being a punk. WTF?)

Also, there's the whole bad boy thing and vampires are about as bad as you can get. "He kills but he would never hurt you because he loves you so much."

When you grow up absorbing the traditional idea of what a man is supposed to be this day in and day out, it seeps into even the most feminist women. I am a feminist and recognize the bs of needing a man's protection and the whole alpha male thing, but I can't say it doesn't have a certain appeal in fiction.

And nowadays, het relationships are supposed to be egalitarian. They are a hell of a lot more equal than they used to be, but still they tend to be kind of a raw deal for women, and not the egalitarian wonderland they are supposed to be.

For example, how many men routinely buy birthday/christmas etc presents for their wife's and their own family as opposed to vice versa? Who's expected to take who's last name? Who's last name do the children receive? Who does most of the housework? Who is judged negatively if the house is not clean? Who takes on most of the emotional work in the relationship? Who manages the couples social calendar? If both parents work, who does most of the childcare? Number of stay at home dads vs stay at home moms? Who has an easier time returning to work, stay at home dads or stay at home moms?

It can be disappointing when you expect your relationship to be equal and it doesn't work out that way.

Vampires being undead and not human don't give a damn about any of that. Of course, some (most/all? ) vamp/human relationships in fangbanger fiction is not egalitarian. The vampire becomes an idealized alpha male, he will protect her, provide for her, free her from all of the boring stuff involved in a human/human relationship, he loves her enough to not kill you, but he loves her so much he wants to drink your blood, he may treat her like a child, but the sex is awesome, she just automagically knows what he's feeling. he may be overbearing and possessive, but you don't have to do his laundry and wash his dishes.

I apologize if this doesn't make that much sense, but it's late and I should be sleep. But I knew if I didn't write a response now, I wouldn't get back to this thread until later tomorrow. Also, I know the above is chock full of generalizations and that what I'm talking about doesn't describe everyone.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:19 PM on December 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Yes, you would say that, jokeefe. Having never experienced the overwhelming libido I deal with on a daily basis.

graventy, I'd happily go one to one with you on the libido stakes, believe me.

Wait, that sounds all wrong....
posted by jokeefe at 10:28 AM on December 3, 2008


Yeah, I know that's why I posted about it. I thought a subthread in the comments was let's mock Piers Anthony. This "And this is a good thing because now they now what it's like to be a man." is the book's opinion not mine. (The above sentence sounds like you don't think I know that it's moronic. If that's an incorrect assumption please ignore previous paragraph)

Yes, of course I got that. Apologies if it sounded like you personally thought the passage was just nifty-- I never assumed so. I was having kind of a cranky day yesterday, and typing in all caps and stuff. Sorry.

Now, please to proceed with the subthread mocking of Piers Anthony.
posted by jokeefe at 10:31 AM on December 3, 2008


noneyouknow-- that makes perfect sense. I would probably argue, though, that the vampire has less to do with the ideal boyfriend (and that Twilight is some kind of odd exception) than it is to do with pure eroticism.
posted by jokeefe at 10:34 AM on December 3, 2008


This would be like if Shel Silverstein followed Where the Sidewalk Ends with an anthology of GG Allin lyrics.

Tangent: do yourself a favor sometime and try to see a production of his one-man show "The Devil and Billy Markham." It's gloriously raunchy, and profoundly fun.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:57 AM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


that the vampire has less to do with the ideal boyfriend (and that Twilight is some kind of odd exception) than it is to do with pure eroticism.

The vampire has degenerated from Bram Stoker's apocalyptic sexuality the the "bad boy" of Cosmo advice columns and Sex and the City plots. So sad, poor little vampire.
posted by rodgerd at 8:11 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


THIS IS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU GUYS:

I started reading these damn books to see if they really were as LOL-worthy as they seem.

Oh.

My.

God.

Yes.

They are the most awful, cringe-worthy books in the world. I am holding out for the vampire Caesarian to redeem them. So help me if I have to read one more "molten topaz eyes" or "liquid onyx eyes" or "liquid + gemstone eyes" description I am gonna hurl.

And the editing. MY GOD, THE EDITING. If you are a copyeditor do not read these, you will CRY. There are so many crimes against homonyms, you don't even want to know.

"Dust moat" for example. Do you mean SPECK OF DUST, Stephenie Meyer? Because if so, it's "mote," pal. Only royal dustbunnies have dust moats...

They are really fun for doing dramatic readings, though... (poor kittens for breakfast got to hear me doing some the other night).

They're also worth reading so you can realized just how unpopular Stephenie Meyer was in high school. My god. The longing in the lunchroom scenes is just palpable.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:06 AM on December 4, 2008 [13 favorites]


Next let's deconstruct High School Musical:
The Fassbinder-esque, auteurist tome to forbidden love he never got to make?
Or a cynical, cheap American franchise of Vertov's Man With A Movie Camera; a heavy-handed, didactic morality tale with dancing and boys' hairstyles.
posted by chococat at 8:28 AM on December 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Dust moat" for example.

I usually assume that there is a 20% chance the writer wasn't responsible for those, but in this case I think we know where to lay the blame. I've been collecting homonym screwups over the years. I kind of like "Yolk of Japanese tyranny" and "...throws of birth". I wish I'd written them down as I came across them, because I've forgotten a lot.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:26 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anyone using the "liquid + gemstone eyes" construction that many times cannot possibly be anything but an enemy to homonyms.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:56 AM on December 5, 2008


@Artw and Potomac Avenue

WTF?! brainsplode!
posted by stratastar at 10:08 AM on December 25, 2008


another entertaining review:

I was kind of looking forward to this book being page-turning popcorn, but at about the halfway mark I started feeling this strange, undefined feeling of frustration that went beyond the fact that there seemed to be no plot. I couldn't put my finger on it... and then, it hit me: The book was written in the style of erotica and I was waiting for the sex. So that part of my brain that likes to spank it to bad literotica.com stores... or, you know, that WOULD if I were into that sort of thing *cough*... was impatient to get the show on the road. Subconsciously, my mind was saying "GET TO THE FUCKING ALREADY!" and once my conscious mind figured that out, I was like "This book was written by a Mormon. There will be no fucking." And then, admittedly, I was a little annoyed. I almost wanted to write the sex scenes myself. They would probably go a little something like this . . .
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:57 PM on December 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


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