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The Pilgrimage of the Twilight Fans
April 23, 2010 3:59 AM   Subscribe

"They come from nearby Florence or Siena by bus and carve "Edward Forever!" into the walls while laughing giddily." The small Italian town of Volterra struggles to retain its authenticity amidst New Moon Tours and dungeon shows. Pictures. "'Vampires don't have souls,' Boelen points out. 'But Volterra does.'"

Of course, the inhabitants of Forks, Washington and the Quileute Nation could have warned them about all that.
posted by Omnomnom (82 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Boelen herself finds the Twilight fans terrifyingly virtuous and the novels overly mushy -- a poor imitation of Romeo and Juliet written by a Mormon opposed to sex before marriage. "Every generation fights against their parents' ideals," Boelen says. "That's just the way it is."

Yup. Those boomers are so pushy, all trying to get their teenage girls to have pre-marital sex.

I'll grant that the boomer generation has certainly idealized their free-love shenanigans of the past, the general parenting consensus has been "do as we say, not as we did." Any children who are remaining chaste in rebellion to their parents either have some very weird parents, or incredibly Machiavellian ones who weren't afraid it could backfire.
posted by explosion at 4:11 AM on April 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wow, that explains the huge amount of tourism in Volterra!

I was just in that region last week. The whole Pisa-Florence-Siena triangle was completely covered with tourists and tourist buses. The densest congregation was actually in nearby San Gimignano and we just assumed Volterra was also part of the bus tour.

The thing about Florence is that its big enough to absorb lots of tourists but this is so not true for these small Tuscan villages. We got out of the region as quickly as we could and headed for outer Tuscany and for Umbria where things were a bit saner.

The thing about the Tuscany-Umbria region is that there is such a huge abundance of these Etruscan/Medieval/Renaissance towns that, if you are willing to go off the beaten track a bit its not that hard to find your own place.
posted by vacapinta at 4:19 AM on April 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


He wants Volterra to remain authentic, a real town rather than a scenic backdrop.

The town will be authentically forgotten in a couple of years, when the next fad comes along. They should happily rename (temporarily) everything in town to evoke the movie, stage a million stupid pseudo-events designed to separate fans from their cash, rake in (and invest) all the money they can get right now, and then pull down the stupid temporary signs and return to normal but with some money in the bank.
posted by pracowity at 4:22 AM on April 23, 2010 [31 favorites]


[...] Meyer had never been to Volterra. While writing "New Moon," the second book in the series, Meyer needed to find a hometown for a clan of vampires called the Volturi. When she read about Volterra online and noticed that the names were quite similar, she decided to make it their hometown.

*groan*
posted by brokkr at 4:36 AM on April 23, 2010 [24 favorites]


How long has the check dungeon light been on?
posted by ChuqD at 4:38 AM on April 23, 2010 [10 favorites]


Something else Stephanie Meyer has to atone for.... :P
posted by zarq at 4:38 AM on April 23, 2010


If I didn't work with some people (20s and 30s here, not even preteen and teen) that actually have Twilight posters up in their cubicles and took the afternoon off to be among the first to see the new sequel, I would have trouble believing that people would seriously travel to Italy to visit a place that is featured in some popularly cheesy pulp fiction. I guess it might be a net good, since these people are getting to see some actual culture and travel to a beautiful area, even if their impetus is a bit odd.

incredibly Machiavellian ones who weren't afraid it could backfire.
This is seriously my Favorite Idea Ever. I totally envision some scheming parents steepling their fingers mischievously and pushing the ideas of free love, inundating their preteen children with SEX SEX SEX is good!, and holding up Twilight as a horror story of chastity, not vampires.

posted by This Guy at 4:47 AM on April 23, 2010


pracowity, did you read the article? That's part of what they're doing:
Still, together with a hastily organized committee, Buselli and other locals came up with a cunning plan that would allow them to share in the Twilight hype without spoiling their town. Tour guides in the city scouted out gates that Bella could walk through and alleyways where dramatic events between the couple could take place.

These days, on Fridays and Sundays, the city's guides offers a "New Moon" tour, which includes a bloody finale in a jail, with its own prize-winning troupe of inmate actors.


The concern is over ruining the town, so they're trying to find a balance. I can certainly understand that concern, living in Southern France and having visited Tuscany a few times — I think it's hard to comprehend just how small these places are unless you've been to one, and how easy it can be for things to get out of hand. Looks like it's one of those "perched villages" so characteristic of southern France and northern Italy, and these things are tiny. 11,000 inhabitants, perhaps, but they're all on top of one another inside homes built of centuries-old stone that are probably smaller than most Americans' living rooms. (I'm not joking. I've been looking for a home in a village like that for a while now, and there are quite seriously two-storey houses that are 300 to 400 square feet. TOTAL. Average seems to be 500-600.) Looks like they're doing an okay job of it, I hope that continues.
posted by fraula at 4:48 AM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I doubt that town's commitment to sparkle vampires.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:05 AM on April 23, 2010 [49 favorites]


The 500-year-old Medici fortress in Volterra also serves as a maximum security prison. However, it is a prison that features a renowned theater company as well as a restaurant.

Oh Italy. How I love you.
posted by elizardbits at 5:17 AM on April 23, 2010 [19 favorites]


Something else Stephanie Meyer has to atone for.... :P

So for some reason I ended up at her website and apparently she wrote a *coughcough* "sci-fi" novel. It's called The Host. You can have three guesses for what famous work or trope she based it on.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:20 AM on April 23, 2010


The 500-year-old Medici fortress in Volterra also serves as a maximum security prison. However, it is a prison that features a renowned theater company as well as a restaurant.

Oh Italy. How I love you.
posted by elizardbits at 5:17 AM on April 23 [+] [!]


I know - what could possibly go wrong?
posted by kcds at 5:21 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sign ... when did vampires get reduced to little more than hair product?
posted by bwg at 5:23 AM on April 23, 2010


The town will be authentically forgotten in a couple of years, when the next fad comes along. They should happily rename (temporarily) everything in town to evoke the movie, stage a million stupid pseudo-events designed to separate fans from their cash, rake in (and invest) all the money they can get right now, and then pull down the stupid temporary signs and return to normal but with some money in the bank.

This strikes me as a very US-American way of thinking. It cracks me up because I think you're right, if that worked then that would be the best way of profiteering off a somewhat uncomfortable but temporary situation. I just think it doesn't jive very well with the mentality of the people in a sleepy little Italian town (or perhaps a lot of European towns).
I don't know, maybe it's a stereotype but I often see pieces of news, for instance about elections, where I think, "wow, in the USA they turn everything into a big show" and it's the kind of thing that would feel too over the top in my country. People wouldn't like it and it would give them a headache and feel embarassing and unnatural. But in the US I think it could work.
I think Volterra has probably gone as far as it can in terms of marketing and the Twilight craze. If it goes any further, it would probably find it hard to "pull down the signs" and return to its previous state because so much would have been intrinsically changed (rather than just made over for show purposes.)
posted by Omnomnom at 5:27 AM on April 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


It's already a big show (thanks, of course, to the Americans). Might as well take the Twilighter tourists for all they're worth. Idiots' money spends just as well as anyone else's.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:32 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


(ETA: I know you're not in the USA, that's just what your post reminded me of!)
posted by Omnomnom at 5:32 AM on April 23, 2010


Maybe this trope would be more apropos for her new novel. Or actually maybe Stephanie Meyer is writing books with that in mind; to slowly brainwash people into being her minions and to keep them reading shitty books.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:34 AM on April 23, 2010


bwg: Sign ... when did vampires get reduced to little more than hair product?

I know! Back in my day vampires were about tanning product!
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:36 AM on April 23, 2010


From the article: "And the town is expecting the next attack of vampire vans [sic] in July, when the third Twilight movie will hit theaters."

Them are some fierce 'fuck trucks,' for sure.
posted by ericb at 5:55 AM on April 23, 2010


As an aside, and I know it's probably not super-OK to make fun of names, but does anyone else parse the author's name as "Steven-ie"?

Stephan (steh-FAHN) -> Stephanie (Steh-FAH-nie)
Stephen (STEE-ven) -> Stephenie (STEE-ven-ie)
posted by explosion at 6:03 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Me and the wife were in Forks not three weeks ago on our way to the coast and although she has read the Twilight books and is properly ashamed at how engaging she found them (or perhaps because she has) I insisted that we eat at the bowling alley because it was the only business of any type in the whole town that had a sign that didn't reference the Twilight series.
I'm certain that those who have made the pilgrimage to both Forks and Volterra had a much easier time reconciling Volterra with the setting they had imagined.
Forks is solely a logging town isolated in the corner of the Olympic Peninsula and the slightest twitch in the national housing industry effects everyone, you can imagine how things are now. It has the atmosphere of all towns that go through repeated and severe boom and bust cycles, not empty but seeming as though people are missing and with all investments to home and business hesitatingly made in consideration of the inevitable bust to come. I'm happy Forks had this thrust upon them, it couldn't have come at a more useful time.

Sorry Forks, you are just a little too far from the wild gorgeous coast for us to stay but I promise we'll stop and eat every time we pass through.
posted by vapidave at 6:13 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the article: "And the town is expecting the next attack of vampire vans

If this van is a shaking, please, no staking.
posted by pracowity at 6:16 AM on April 23, 2010 [11 favorites]


Gas, grass, or plasma.
posted by pracowity at 6:21 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the Forks, Washington link: After enlisting a few locals, he asked for help in picking out houses that could serve as stand-ins for the book's famous Forks stops: Bella and Edward's houses, a field where vampires play baseball.

I'd love to see a fake game of baseball played by fake vampires and fake werewolves, or whatever happens in the story. I like to think some folks made jerseys just for this, complete with team names (I'd like to think they would use "SparkleVamps" and "CuddlePups") so they could be told apart.

More from that article: On a recent Friday, his van is headed out of the visitors center parking lot - packed, as it is most every weekend, with teenage girls. Outside the stand-in for Edward's house, a sign on the door says the Cullens are volunteering at a blood drive.

"It's not quite how I thought it would be," says Yena Hu, a University of Washington sophomore who made the four-hour trek from Seattle to visit. "They're always talking about all the windows - and in the book, the house is on the water."


Dear, the phrase is "that's not canonical," and if you're really a fan, you're supposed to get furious and demand that this travesty be taken down or amended right now, or you'll tell all your friends on Team Edward that this is town is a fraud, and that the real Edward would never stoop to this sort of sham.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:29 AM on April 23, 2010


The fans of the movie have got it all wrong here. I watched a making-of documentary this week (I know, I know) and they said it wasn't even filmed there at all -- the producers took a tour of the countryside looking for a hill-town that looked like what they envisioned, and chose one to use as a location.
posted by hermitosis at 6:31 AM on April 23, 2010


The fans of the movie have got it all wrong here.

QFT.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 6:41 AM on April 23, 2010


The 500-year-old Medici fortress in Volterra also serves as a maximum security prison. However, it is a prison that features a renowned theater company as well as a restaurant.

Wow. The escape scene writes itself.

Also: ACT, damn you, ACT! *cracks whip*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:44 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The 500-year-old Medici fortress in Volterra also serves as a maximum security prison. However, it is a prison that features a renowned theater company as well as a restaurant.


So even in prison the actors wait tables? That seems too cruel.
posted by thivaia at 6:46 AM on April 23, 2010 [26 favorites]


An industrious psychopath could rack up quite a headcount offering boat tours of Isle Esme.

You can't unsee that.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:49 AM on April 23, 2010


After some prodding from friends, I saw about half of Twilight recently. It was the best comedy I'd seen in a while.

Two 17-year-old friends from the northwestern city of Trieste speak of having read the book a dozen times and how, to them, it is more meaningful than the Bible.

As they see it, the author's message to girls around the world is: Don't give yourself to the first guy to come along; wait for Mr. Right. "If we had read the book earlier," one of them earnestly says, "we might have spared ourselves some trouble with boys."


I am loathe to use memes when I can express myself well enough, but sometimes you just need to *facepalm*
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:55 AM on April 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's an old Spanish movie that deals with a fairly similar situation: re-designing your insular town to match the stereotyped assumptions of foreigners (or at least, as the town understands them) in order to impress the foreigners and get their money: !Bienvenidos, Mr. Marshall! (Wikipedia page in English.) I don't know of any subtitled version, unfortunately.
posted by queseyo at 7:00 AM on April 23, 2010


The 500-year-old Medici fortress in Volterra also serves as a maximum security prison. However, it is a prison that features a renowned theater company as well as a restaurant.

I'm not a fan (or a hater) of Twilight, so I have no special interest in visiting any of the places they talk about in the books, but this prison-theater-restaurant? This I must see.
posted by anniecat at 7:00 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


If Tuscany is overrun with Twilight fans, I can't help but feel like I'm beginning to enact my terrible vengeance on the place.
posted by COBRA! at 7:08 AM on April 23, 2010


Stephenie Meyer fans next take bus tours to the Desert of the Real.

Sex in the City fans go to New York for famous Sex in the City cupcakes and eat the Dessert of the Real.
posted by codacorolla at 7:09 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Posted before, but still relevant: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
posted by gimonca at 7:14 AM on April 23, 2010


Fake Italian tourist attractions based on fictional stories by an author who never actually went to Italy? It's not the first time.
posted by PlusDistance at 7:27 AM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


[Happy Birthday, Will.]
posted by pracowity at 7:30 AM on April 23, 2010


I go to Volterra most years for a couple of weeks, but I haven't been this year yet. Now I'm dreading it. Because I used to live in Cortona, which - since Under the Tuscan Sun - has turned into a kind of Disneyland, and I'd hate to see that happen to any more quiet, dignified Tuscan hill-towns.

[Happy Birthday, Will.] Er... next Monday, isn't it?
posted by aqsakal at 7:56 AM on April 23, 2010


In my agent-finding efforts for my non-vampire novel, I managed to REALLY piss of a few members of my online support group for writers seeking agents by making a couple of comments about how bad the books were. These writers started to shriek that I was advocating censorship and I protested, no no no no, but are you really saying that I am somehow devoid of the right to criticize the books? And by the way, what about the fact that the books celebrate serious stalkerish behavior? Then one of the writers let slip that she had bought the books for her daughters to read, and has had a full hate-on for me ever since. Oops.

So, to conclude, I have never been to these besieged towns in Europe, but I wish them well. Maybe residents of the said towns and haters of the books here could start an online group dedicated to shaking our fists at Meyer.

Some things need to be hated.
posted by angrycat at 8:19 AM on April 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


I really like the Medici family and love what they did for the world by their help with that whole Renaissance thing. Tuscany and especially the Florence area of Italy have always been on my must see list. I'd love to see the 500 year old Castle/Prison/Restaurant/Theater, but now I know to stay away. *Sigh*

I'll check back in a few years. Hopefully the crazies don't ruin the town.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:21 AM on April 23, 2010


angrycat: Some things need to be hated.

And some people deserve to be mocked. Relentlessly. Good on you angrycat. Don't back down.
posted by three blind mice at 8:23 AM on April 23, 2010


The dazzle in Forks is beginning to fade. One of the two Twilight souvenir shops is already boarded up.

At least Volterra has a soul to fall back on once this is all forgotten. The same cannot really be said for Forks.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:36 AM on April 23, 2010


What the fuck drives this obsession with vampires? I don't get it.
posted by mareli at 8:41 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


It could be worse.
posted by The Whelk at 8:44 AM on April 23, 2010


What the fuck drives this obsession with vampires? I don't get it.

According to agents I follow on twitter, the new hot items are:
1) Books about angels
2) Amish romances (?!)
3) Mermaids may be getting big.

I told the last to a playwriting friend, not knowing that she is currently working on a play that includes a mermaid character. Watching her face fall was really horrible. Her face clearly said, fuck no, and then she said quietly, "I guess I'll have to change it."
posted by angrycat at 8:45 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


What the fuck drives this obsession with vampires? I don't get it.

As an aside to the thread topic, I don't think it's about vampires at all, I think it's about the wave of irrationality that has been building in the US for years. It's all of a piece: Twilight, creationism, Sarah Palin, widespread magical thinking, and so forth. Reason and facts are hard, cold masters, and the world has been changing pretty fast lately, and I see people around me every day who have chosen to retreat into a world that is to a great degree imaginary, who indulge their emotions and emotional needs like small children and are unable to accept reality in one way or another.

I really think that there is some important research to be done into this macro-phenomenon, because I think there have been some profound changes in how Americans see the world over the past 20 years, and not for the better. (And I don't mean any specific worldviews, either--e.g. politics--I mean the ways that people perceive and think about the world. I seem to remember facts and objective reality having some sort of authority in the world 20 years ago, sure doesn't seem that way today.)
posted by LooseFilter at 8:58 AM on April 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


At least it's encouraging Americans to get passports and travel abroad.

And read, I guess.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:59 AM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is ridiculous, we need to stop moping around and make some of this Twilight cash. I know that like 80% of Metafilter has some sort of humanities degree, so let's put away all the pretentiousness and just make a shit load of money. We'll spend a couple weekends hashing out the characters and then each take a chapter. Remember, we're not challenging our readers, we're given them what they want. I'll start it off:

Pre-dawn is set in Cincinnati, where a nerdy girl who is living with her single mom who just doesn't get her and is dropped in a new school. No one linkes which is sort of surprising in that she always has this kind of stoned look on her face and hot girls that looked stoned always get hit on, but let's look past that now. She finds herself attracted to another boy is just like her, down to be a really hot loner, except there is something curious about him, he's a tad on the green side and body parts keep falling off. Fast forward a couple of scenes where she's coming home from a coffee shop and reading a novel by some out of copyright author (Way of the Pilgrim?) and is attacked by a bunch of black guys, well no, um hispanic guys. They surround her and have a bunch of knives and seem ready to slash her up West Side Story style when who appears, slowly, very slowly, lurching toward the hispanic gang? Our protagonist who throws himself between the girl and the gang, getting horribly cut up in the process ... losing all his limbs ... but he'll have that "I have to poop" look in his eyes and and beg, let's call her Stella, to not take him to the hospital. She complies and acts completely normal and the next day at school, there he is! Same as before, still kind of drooling a bit and his eyes are kind of whack but everything is cured.

Fast forward, fast forward, and she's in a cave and he's revealing who he is. He lifts off his shirt to reveal abs you can grate cheese on ... cuts open a big hole and goes, "Smell," but instead of blood and rotting flesh she exclaims, "It smells like lavenders!" and he goes, "Of course, I'm ... I'm a Zombie."

Fast forward some more and at the very end he saves Stella but she has a huge gash in the side of her skull where sees her brain, he almost can't resist but his love over powers it.

Oh and I'm merchandising the shit out of this. Whenever she's around her zomboyfriend she needs to use a "skin revitalizer" (this) so that her zomboyfriend won't eat her brains. We'll include it in special editions of the book and mark up the price 250%. I have a feeling a romantic fantasy novel with an included "facial massager" will make Twilight sales look like bargain bin leftovers.
posted by geoff. at 9:03 AM on April 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


Dude, didn't you just read? It needs to have Mermaids or some matter of merfolk. Some hot boy who lives in a river or something. Set it in the Louisiana - that's a popular genre location and gives people a reason to be waist-deep in water all. the. time.
posted by The Whelk at 9:05 AM on April 23, 2010


Actually, Protag is a young upright christian girl who is not into the loose-sex and beer bonging of her classmates (think Taylor Swift's whole personae) and focuses instead on her swimming carrer until she meets a strange and intoxicating dreamy merteen and falls for him and he's so chaste and lovely (and slightly dangeorus!) but her mother thinks he's an abomination and she has to hide in the MerWorld which has other mythical creatures and and and and it's a reverse Little Mermaid.

Now, lets talk marketing.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 AM on April 23, 2010


Set it in the Louisiana - that's a popular genre location and gives people a reason to be waist-deep in water all. the. time.

Just don't set it during Katrina. There, is after all, a fine line between tacky and tasteless. Not that your ideal audience for this project would know the difference.
posted by thivaia at 9:14 AM on April 23, 2010


I really like the Medici family and love what they did for the world by their help with that whole Renaissance thing.

I cannot recommend enough the Age of Medici by Rossellini which is described as, "a Renaissance painting come to life."
posted by geoff. at 9:15 AM on April 23, 2010


3) Mermaids may be getting big.

I told the last to a playwriting friend, not knowing that she is currently working on a play that includes a mermaid character. Watching her face fall was really horrible. Her face clearly said, fuck no, and then she said quietly, "I guess I'll have to change it."


I once wrote 40,000 words of a Manhattan Project murder mystery before coming across this in an airport bookstore. I was, as D.H. Lawrence, would say, chagrined.

I thought the first book was tolerable and the first film was pretty good; the second book is basically unreadable and the film is bizarre, and yet, people I know (well, women I know) with otherwise normal critical faculties read the entire tetralogy and are pining for 'Eclipse'. So it's about vampires, rather than the elan, or lack of, with which the books are written and the films made. Which means that were all anxious about disease and the end of empire. Apparently.
posted by tigrefacile at 9:29 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Said manuscript, was full, of superfluous commas.
posted by tigrefacile at 9:31 AM on April 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


And no apostrophes. DEATH TO APOSTROPHES!!!
posted by tigrefacile at 9:32 AM on April 23, 2010


Oh, and BTW: the jail in Volterra (see some of the pix in the linked Spiegel article) doesn't have a full-time restaurant, as it might appear from comments upthread. They set up a kind of chef training workshop as part of their vocational training-cum-rehabilitation activity, and then had three nights open to the public with three different style menus. Advance-booked tickets only and limited seats. First try was 2008; success story, so repeat in 2009. Unclear whether they'll do it again this year. I missed out both times (scheduling problems), so I can't comment on the quality of the food, but given the area it's pretty certain the wines would have been great: not far from Montalcino and its Brunello.
posted by aqsakal at 9:51 AM on April 23, 2010


1) Books about angels
2) Amish romances (?!)
3) Mermaids may be getting big.


You know what I hear is going to be huge?

*leans in close*

Stories about people. Shhh!
posted by buriednexttoyou at 10:02 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't get vampires in fiction and I guess I never have. Mainly I'm unclear about the personality changes that do or do not occur. In some works people turned into vampires seem to lose individuality and willpower, but that doesn't seem to hold true throughout the genre or even within the same fictional universes. I think I'm overthinking it.
posted by ODiV at 10:06 AM on April 23, 2010


Amish Romances have been going strong for a certain segment of the population (60+ conservatives) for a very long time. Look up Beverly Lewis and her ilk have been churning (ahem...) them out for the past 15 years or so.

I think at least half of these series are amish

Apart from that, "Inspirational" fiction is mostly romantic in nature, and a perenial best seller. A lot of the stories are evangelical romances, where either a man or woman on the wrong side of the tracks (not evangellically Christian) gets brought into the fold by a true believer who will only love the other person and consumate the relationship when they realize their relationship with Jesus. That's almost as scary, if not more so, than a bunch of tweens wanting to get stalked and sparkled.
posted by codacorolla at 10:09 AM on April 23, 2010


1) Books about angels
2) Amish romances (?!)
3) Mermaids may be getting big.


Angel comes down to earth and becomes smitten with one of Jakob's tribe, but depressed by the limitations of that culture, begins to live a double life, living the Gelassenheit by day, looking for a little tail at night...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:17 AM on April 23, 2010


Twilight induces a rage within me that I've never experienced w/ any book before. Probably because when I go on goodreads to search for books I may want to read in the future I get flooded with page after page of Twilight recommendations. It is at the top of all the lists of most wanted books to read. It physically hurts me to see women my age read them and enjoy them. Which is odd because I freely admit I read a lot of crap too. I wish I knew why I felt this way. They make me feel old and all GRAR-y whenever I see a cover.

When I really get ranting I start believing they're ruining the book business w/ all the knock off Vampire books they've spawned. Sigh.
posted by kanata at 10:56 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh geoff, you're already too late.
I Kissed A Zombie And I Liked It.
posted by redsparkler at 11:03 AM on April 23, 2010


Volterra is possibly my favourite hill town on the planet. Spent two weeks there in 2004 and was pure bliss, though fair play to them for cashing in on a fad.
posted by twistedonion at 11:47 AM on April 23, 2010


1) Books about angels
2) Amish romances (?!)
3) Mermaids may be getting big.

You know what's going to be big?......Dead Amish Mermaids!

Copyright: Me, but will cut you in for a share of the merchandising
posted by arcticseal at 11:51 AM on April 23, 2010


I visited Chenonceau about a year ago, and there's this lovely little maze area with standing statues. That someone had carved "Edward Cullen, 1902" into. Carving your own name into beautiful treasures is obscene, but at least the desire to be remembered understandable. What kind of pathetic person carves a fiction teenage vampire's name into them?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:11 PM on April 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


I love Chenonceau! Somebody actually did that? OMG I can't even... what...

Can I find that person AND SMASH HER HEAD IN WITH A BASEBALL BAT?
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 12:36 PM on April 23, 2010


The Twilight books have a special place in my heart, and I have no idea why.

*sparkles, runs off*
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:57 PM on April 23, 2010


My new novel Low Tide features the hottest fishboy this side of Little Nemo.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:57 PM on April 23, 2010


I think I meant Finding Nemo. Damn, there goes my 1 million advance.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:59 PM on April 23, 2010


As an aside to the thread topic, I don't think it's about vampires at all, I think it's about the wave of irrationality that has been building in the US for years. It's all of a piece: Twilight, creationism, Sarah Palin, widespread magical thinking, and so forth.

Disagree. Interest in vampires comes and goes, just like interest in all other things supernatural and horror-related. You're conflating the two in this case because of the Mormon leanings of Twilight, which 99% of Twilight fans are unaware of and/or don't care about. (Otherwise, you'd have included zombies in your list.)

15-year-old girls are apolitical -- they care about Palin as much as the do mormonism: not at all. You might as well conflate Jersey Shore's popularity to the same phenomenon, but then you'd need to explain why anti-intellectualism is ALWAYS popular and guiding in American pop culture.
posted by coolguymichael at 1:17 PM on April 23, 2010


I am always amazed at tourists who are driven to visit places because a famous murder took place there or because it featured in a movie or because a fictional character was born there, but then I am reminded that if I ever get the chance I would like to travel to Rye, England to see the corner house that Henry James once lived in and which was later occupied by E.F. Benson when he wrote his Lucia books.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:07 PM on April 23, 2010


Are we too late with the mermaid thing? If not, I want to assist this effort by playing the kraken in the inevitable movie.

but then you'd need to explain why anti-intellectualism is ALWAYS popular and guiding in American pop culture.
Because a lot of people are stupid and smart people make them feel bad.

posted by jeoc at 3:21 PM on April 23, 2010


Interest in vampires comes and goes, just like interest in all other things supernatural and horror-related.

Pretty much. The popularity come in waves, especially the young adult stuff. You take a romance novel, tear out all the explicit sex, overlay it with supernatural characters, and add in some "whimsical". You've just wrote yourself a bestseller if you can get it into the right hands.
I'll admit I haven't read any of the Harry Potter stuff, but I'm guessing you would have to switch the format to something without any explicit sexuality whatsoever and turn the whimsical up to 11.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:31 PM on April 23, 2010


Secret Life of Gravy: Speaking of, I was going to turn this into an FPP. That's his third spot. Maybe I'll get around to it Monday.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:37 PM on April 23, 2010


I am always amazed at tourists who are driven to visit places because a famous murder took place there

I work near The Dakota, and there are smiling tourists taking photos at the entrance every single day. I have often wondered about these people.
posted by cmgonzalez at 4:04 PM on April 23, 2010


I was obsessed with mermaids before they were cool, which I am telling you now, before they are cool, so that you'll better understand my sneering in the future. Does that make sense? Man, pop culture is tough.

As a novelist manque (to date), I have to admit I envy an author so popular that the hospital in her chosen locale saves a parking spot for her fictional doctor. But I feel terrible for the Forks residents (Forkians? Forkese? Forkois?) and especially the Quileute for having to cozy up to such a revolting fad as Twilight for some scarce tourist cash.

I'll admit I haven't read any of the Harry Potter stuff, but I'm guessing you would have to switch the format to something without any explicit sexuality whatsoever and turn the whimsical up to 11.

The readers, which is to say the fanfic writers, add the sexuality as soon as it rolls off the presses.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:15 PM on April 23, 2010


This is ridiculous, we need to stop moping around and make some of this Twilight cash. I know that like 80% of Metafilter has some sort of humanities degree, so let's put away all the pretentiousness and just make a shit load of money. We'll spend a couple weekends hashing out the characters and then each take a chapter. Remember, we're not challenging our readers, we're given them what they want.

Charlie Stross is already working on it.

(Or was about 23 days ago, anyway.)
posted by acb at 5:56 PM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Thanks to Twilight, we have not felt the effects of the financial crisis," Buselli says. And the town is expecting the next attack of vampire vans in July, when the third Twilight movie will hit theaters.

Is our novel going to be set where mathowie lives?
posted by anniecat at 9:17 AM on April 24, 2010


I was obsessed with mermaids before they were cool,

I could never get past the whole "the smell like fish" thing. Lord I hate the smell of fish.
posted by anniecat at 9:18 AM on April 24, 2010


the best mermaid story has been written in the collection "Don't Bet On The Prince"
posted by The Whelk at 9:22 AM on April 24, 2010


You're conflating the two in this case because of the Mormon leanings of Twilight, which 99% of Twilight fans are unaware of and/or don't care about. (Otherwise, you'd have included zombies in your list.)

No, I'm not--I wasn't thinking of the Mormon bits of Twilight at all, actually, I was thinking about the adult women who are Twilight-crazy by the hundreds of thousands. I didn't include zombies on my list because I wasn't talking about monsters or books really at all.

15-year-old girls are apolitical

Again, not talking about teenage girls (should have been specific about that I see), I was making a broad and veerrry speculative point that a whole bunch of adult Americans seem to have taken refuge in things that make their emotions feel good, by ignoring large chunks of objective reality. I was wondering if, among adults, the Twilight craze is of a piece of all that, and what "all that" (denial of facts and truth because what one chooses to think and believe makes you feel better) actually is, as it seems to be so widespread in ways that are unprecedented in my lifetime.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:31 AM on April 24, 2010


We organised a big extended family holiday there about 12 years ago. The town is tiny, with no cars allowed in the center (car parks on the edge). A fuck off roman amphitheater on one side, with 10-foot thick stone walls around the whole old town. It was sleepy and great. Hope they make it rich on the back of Twilight and use the cash to fund stuff like the Etruscan museum. Good luck to them.
posted by bystander at 4:26 AM on April 25, 2010


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