Tuesday, 11 August 2009

In Defence of Twilight

Greetings, Good and Intelligent People!

I’d like to talk to you about something that has been bugging me. Recently places like Facebook and the world of LOLcaptions has been flooded with anti-Twilight sentiments. Even the Goodreads application that works through Facebooks but is ultimately an independent entity is filled with terrible reviews of the series by Stephenie Meyer. First off, if you don’t like something, let it go and move on. It’s like Michael Jackson’s death: if you’re so tired of hearing and reading about it, why do you have a status message saying you’re so sick of it? Not only are you reminding everyone else who would rather get on with the important things in life about this celebrity’s misfortune, but you yourself will be reminded of it every time you look at what you wrote. I personally hated the Twilight movie- I couldn’t even get through giving it a second chance. How did I deal with this? I turned it off did something else.

Now for my main argument. No, the Twilight series is not now, nor will it ever be, Great Literature. It will not (and should not) be part of any 10th grade curriculum, and it will never be sold as part of a boxed set of hardcover books with shiny gold lettering on the side for $20 from Reader’s Digest. However, it IS Meyer’s first shot at publishing fiction, and Teen fiction at that (re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone and see how much J.K. Rowling improved in 7 books). I’m not saying that Teen fiction should have lower standards, but when was your last work of Juvenile Fiction published? What I am saying is that it is a book written ABOUT teenagers FOR teenagers. Specifically, teenage girls. To be fair, lot’s of teenage girls find the series abhorrent. I found American Pie abhorrent. What I don’t get is why so many ADULTS, particularly MEN (seriously, look through who reviewing the book online). Of course you don’t like it: it’s not written to appeal to you.

But! But! It’s full of MORMON PROPAGANDA! It preaches TEENAGE MARRIAGE! First off, reading one book in which a teenage girl gets married to her true love is not going to make the entirety of the teenage girl population of the western world suddenly run to the altar. I promise. It also suggests that girls have actual standards for the boys they date and (God Forbid) not have sex before marriage. But hey, if you would rather see 15 year old girls reading the Gossip Girl, A-List, Clique, Private or It Girl series, which do NOT include teenage marriage but DO include (and this is just what I’ve gleaned from the backs of the books) drugs, sex, arson, sex, lies, deceit, sex with your fake best friend’s boyfriend, all night parties for young teens, plastic surgery, cheating (of all kinds), and more sex, then I suppose you’re entitled to your opinion. Sure, they could read Brontë, and most likely will in school. But if I was supervising my daughter’s trip to Barnes and Noble, I know which book I would prefer to come home with.

What’s that? It inspires girls to have delusions of vampirism? They think Robert Pattinson is a real vampire because the series has led them to lose the line between fantasy and reality? Yes. There are some girls who take the whole vampire thing to far and occasionally ask Pattinson to bite them. Or whatever. People also spend thousands of dollars on Darth Vader costumes and plenty of people are and have been into vampires for much longer than Meyer herself has existed. What horrible things resulted from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Addams Family or The Munsters? Oh right, Buffy had wit and the Addams’ were ‘original’. NOTHING in mythology is original. It changes all the time! That’s how it gets to be a legend in the first place. Poo-poo! Vampires sparkle now??? YOU re-invent a mythology. I personally found it refreshing that the Twilight vampires possessed qualities and features totally unlike any other vampire I’d read about or seen. That’s what creative writing and fiction are all about. Should people stop writing stories involving other fantastical beings just because they don’t conform exactly to what you think these creatures should be doing?

My point is CHILL OUT. Not everyone likes the same books. That’s what makes this world such a fun place to live in. People have different opinions. It is, again, why books in shops are separated into genres. No, Twilight is not the best book out there. It’s not even close. But it’s not bad. And it’s DEFINITELY better than about half of what is currently residing on Teen Fiction shelves (I worked in the kid’s department in a book store. I know what’s out right now. I put it there.) If you don’t like it, then don’t like it. But stop beating the proverbial dead horse and stop reminding everyone about how much you DON’T like something. Find something better and tell us all about it. Maybe you’ll introduce the next teenage fad!

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