This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Once you've been in Serenity, you never leave."
11976 members | you are not logged in | 03 April 2020


November 20 2008

Hey Twilight: Our Vampires Are Cooler Than Your Vampires. Buffy mentioned on why she is better than Twilight.

Just about anything Twlight is attempting to do in an allegorical form, Buffy did first, and did it better.

Everybody's vampires are cooler than Twilight's vampires.

Count Chocula doesn't sparkle like a disco ball in sunlight, does he?
Iíll admit I donít have a deep knowledge of the franchise, but everything Iíve heard about the movie sounds pretty derivative.

Well here's a handy hint. Read the books before you write an article on the subject. Otherwise the article just looks like an excuse to bash the series.
"Twilight" bashage has become really popular. A lot of people seem to hate it before they even give it a try. Seems to say a lot more about them than it does about the book.
IDK, anything that has vampires that glitter in sunlight instead of bursting into flames, deserves a little bashing. Besides, he makes a good point about the originality of the concept. From everything I've heard from people who have read it, this article got it pretty much right. Plus, bashing can be hilarious and more hilarious.
Think about it, "icallitvera." The guy writing the article writes it entirely based on what he's heard other people say. You think he's got it right, because you also don't like the series... because of what other people say. Two people in agreement that "that series that we heard about but never read but sounds really lame" can't really successfully bash until they've actually given the material a chance. For example, watch this. "Wanted" is steaming, stinking trash. I've seen it, tried to like it, was upset that it was bad, and then was insulted when it was so bad that it insulted me by being mind-numbingly terrible... but I stuck it out. Now, totally free to bash away. Watch again: "Wanted" sucks! It's liberating, really. Give at least the movie a shot, though. If you like it, hey, you had a good time at the theater! If you don't like it, you can make with the liberating bashing and be justified.
Can I hate it before I see it because of the trailers and how incredible bland and pretty in a "central casting" way the main characters look? And because of what I've heard about the books from people who have read them (or tried) and say that Bella is the anti-Buffy (and anti-Sookie, from fans of the Southern Vampire books) because she's a throw-back to the "helpless girl who needs protecting? And that the books are not just "about" young people, as Buffy is, but just plain juvenile?
because I do :)
Complaint A) You think the cast looks pretty and bland. I suppose that's a valid... albeit odd... way to judge a movie, but until you see them interact on screen, how can you judge? The posters are basically all 100% photoshopped anyway, and look admittedly awkward. But still, not reason enough to hate it. If you hated all movies because the actors looked "pretty in a central casting way," you probably miss a lot of movies you'd enjoy.

Complaint B) You think Bella is the anti-Buffy and anti-Sookie. Completely valid read of the books (not at all the final book, though--quite the polar opposite, in fact), but it's certainly not the only reading, nor the most popular one. Concerning the movie, though? Not at all. Bella in the movie is completely in charge of herself, and tells Edward to back off every time he tries to patronize her or 'protect' her.

Complaint C) "And that the books are not just "about" young people, as Buffy is, but just plain juvenile?" Wait, now, I thought you didn't read the books? How do you know this?

I need to get some of these psychic powers Whedonesque users seem to have. Because according to you all, you know that Twilight sucks without having read it, you know that the film sucks without having seen it, you know that the "Dragon Ball" movie will suck without having seen it, and you also know that "Angel: Aftermath" isn't canon despite having no evidence to support any of it. On second thought, these psychic powers seem to make you guys pretty negative, so I think I'll pass. If any of you can fly, though, I'll take that.
Well, considering that Dragonball itself (series) just doesn't really work as live-action and the atrocious leaked script, I think there's enough evidence the film may not be very good.
Haven't read the script, but I definitely think it would work well in live action, as long as the effects don't look too cheesy. Either way, I'll hold out judgment on that film until I see it. I mean, if faith in James Marsters weren't enough, it's a movie that I owe my 7th grade DBZfanboy past-self to go see. I hope it'll be good!

On second thought, these psychic powers seem to make you guys pretty negative, so I think I'll pass.

Oddly enough I'm not wild fond of posters attacking other posters in such a manner so consider yourself warned.
Maybe I should have added an IMO. Lots of people form opinions on movies from trailers and you can't flip past REELS channel without being inundated by Twilight trailers lately.
My feelings about the books come second hand, but from people whose opinions I respect, so IMO didn't seem to be quite right. Sorry if I offended anyone.
Besides, I'm not being negative, just sarcastic. ;-)
No worries, Shey, not at all offended. I'm just baffled that every time I see someone hating on "Twilight," I later found out that they haven't read the book. It's not offensive at all, just kinda confusing. It's like you're in the middle of a conversation with a friend, and you're talking about this hamburger. And he's describing the tastes of it, the way the pickles and onions and meat don't blend togther and the whole thing is just rancid... and then you find out that your friend never really ate the sandwich. It's more disarming than anything else XD
Okay, so I've read the first two books in the franchise and I can say, with full justification, that they're really bad. I'm going to see the movie this weekend, probably Saturday, but I will have a hard time going in with an open-mind. And judging something based off a trailer is not totally off-base when the trailer shows as much stiff dialogue and poorly delivered lines as the "Twilight" trailer.
The trailer did have some pretty badly delivered dialogue. But I think you might be pleasantly surprised by the film. It had a very different mood than the book, though it did manage to follow the story. I'd say more, but I think you'll at the very least like it better than the book.
Judging whether something's (apparently) your cup of tea from the trailer is fine, everyone does that all the time, it's just a part of not having infinite time available to us. Judging that something's rubbish from the trailer is, however, daft - no-one knows whether something's rubbish (even just in their opinion) until they see/read/hear it, everything else is hearsay of varying reliability.

In general though, oh dear. Really ? Our vampires are better than your vampires ? What are we gonna do if we lose this one, go home and take our ball with us ?

How very playground.
I'm not a fan of vampire romance novels but I am pleasantly surprised to see Twilight doing so well. And wondering if 20th Century Fox will push for a Buffy movie to be greenlit to cash in on the trend.
Considering the fact that I know what rancid hamburgers smell like without having to eat them (both metaphor and otherwise), I'll pass on seeing Twilight. I read a few snippets of the books, and I don't like the writing style at all, let alone the characters and basic plot. But hey, one man's mold is another man's penicillin, right? And I'm in no position to judge, as I like shows that end up getting canceled after half a season.
I think what baffles me is that my friends that made fun of me for watching Buffy, simply because it had vampires/elements of the fantastic, are completely in love with Twilight . . . and yet they still won't give Buffy a try.

(And, full disclosure, I tried to read the first book, but I just couldn't bring myself to finish them. Definitely not my cup of tea.)
I loved BtVS and Angel despite the vampire element - no because of it. So I don't really care if they sparkle, burts into flames or turn into bats. Tell me a good story and I'm there - the coolness of your vampires is simply unimportant.
I'll have to add my voice in saying that I tried the first book and just couldn't stick it. And, upon giving up and doing a random flip through, finding a description of the dude as a "carved Adonis" made me glad I quit actually reading before I got to that part. I'd hate to yack on a borrowed book...

So, no, not interested in the movie.
I was curious to read the first book only because there's just so much hype, and I wanted to see what the hype was all about. Btw, I'm just now reading the Harry Potter series. And the verdict on that is that I'm probably going to hate Twilight because I hate romance novels and Rowan Hawthorn's example of the "carved Adonis" almost made me gag, and I'm not too impressed with Harry Potter either.

Which is to say, it's probably my problem because the books are targeted at 9 to 11 year olds and I'm nowhere near that age, and so I find them less than remotely challenging.
*visions of Dru super gluing glitter onto a struggling Spike to make him a proper Vampire* :0

I've never read them myself, but have been aware of the negative reaction from certain quarters to it. But I imagine that they are being aimed at kids/young teens. Is that right?
*visions of Dru super gluing glitter onto a struggling Spike to make him a proper Vampire* :0

Now if that was in a movie I'd be queueing to see it already ;) I think it's aimed at teens+ and doesn't sound my cuppa tea at all, what with all the 'carved adonis' going on.

Like Saje said sounds like something you might hear in school playground and seems very silly indeed.
I own all four of the Twilight books. Two were obtained at midnight release parties, and I spent two of my total of three all-nighters reading them (the third was Deathly Hallows). They are sitting neatly on my shelf. Where they will probably remain untouched indefinitely. I used to be one of the shameless, drooling fangirls, but I have since come to my senses. Possibly as the result of AP English and learning what truly good literature is--but even more likely because I was finally properly introduced to the Buffyverse, and have since seen all three of Joss's series at least twice in their entireties. Pretty much all of the major characters of Twilight are Mary Sues. The only ones I was interested in were the random other vampires with much better backstories who turned up in the fourth book. But whatever its other failings (such as being revolting in general after a point), I just can't respect a supernatural series with no character death. For this, I admiringly blame both Joss and J.K. Rowling.
Oh, I dunno... it seemed a fun enough little article, and the "our vampire is better than yours" thing seemed tongue in cheek to me, no? I mean, at least, highly aware of its own silliness.

I'll agree it's silly to say something you've never read is awful but surely it's quite normal to say it sounds awful? When people mention The Wire, which I've never seen, I immediately say "oh, I've heard such good things about it! Meaning to watch it!" though I'm aware I might not like it as much as all the people whose tastes I so often share. Still, it seems like a good bet. If someone mentions Twilight my immediate reaction is "Oh, I've heard it's basically schlocky teen romance, meaning to not read / watch it" because it doesn't sound like my kind of thing and so why go out of my way to "make sure" of that, I'd never have time to cover all the things that sound like crap to me.

Obviously, it's very successful at what it sets out to do, and I take the point that expending energy "hating on" something you have no intention of reading is silly. But I did think the article was a fun little piece. More or less.
The film got a very good review in The Toronto Star today. I was surprised. The script is by Dexter's Melissa Rosenberg, and that gives me some hope. The review also says that she axed the first-person narration and flowery dialogue. I may see it after all.

My niece loves the books.
I've read the books and really dislike them. The writing style is terrible, the characters are Mary Sues, and the plots are juvenile. Most of all, the pacing is slow.

However, this is why I want to see the movie -- I'm hoping that in cinematic form, the slow pacing can be nixed. I'm hoping this is one of those rare "movie is better than the book" scenarios.

Tanya Huff once wrote that many vampire fans will read or watch any vampire-related item, no matter how terrible. I'm one of those people, and although I find it pathetic, I cannot seem to stop myself. Although, after finishing each "Twilight" novel, I had to go back and re-watch Buffy, and re-read Huff's Blood novels, just to wash the nasty taste out of my brain.

I would also like to thank the public library of Washington, D.C. for providing the Twilight books, so that I do not have to spend money to read them.
I haven't read the series...but TWILIGHT does seem quite different from BUFFY. In that there is no slayer other sorts of demons besides vamps...etc.

But hey what do I know.
Oh, I dunno... it seemed a fun enough little article, and the "our vampire is better than yours" thing seemed tongue in cheek to me, no? I mean, at least, highly aware of its own silliness.

I'll agree it's silly to say something you've never read is awful but surely it's quite normal to say it sounds awful?

I dunno the author's intent but
Not only do I not see Twilight adding anything unique to the vampire genre, but most of the movies it resembles could kick its ass. Sorry Twilight, our vampire is cooler than your vampire, and not just because theyíve been around longer. Hereís a look at half a dozen examples why.

Our vampire is cooler than your vampire becauseÖ The whole presentation of the vampire society keeping itself in check here is just fantastic, not to mention when Brad Pitt dons the vampire fangs, everyone wins.

doesn't seem particularly tongue in cheek to me catherine. All the counter-examples the author gives are tongue in cheek (i.e. the case he makes for Twilight's vamps being cooler than "ours" is facetious) but then, they would be wouldn't they ?

Though I agree "sounds rubbish" is fine, that's what I meant by "Judging whether something's (apparently) your cup of tea from the trailer is fine ..." (emph added). The article kinda makes the mistake that we see on here quite a lot though in that it confuses "sounds rubbish" for "is rubbish". Personally, i'm very likely never gonna read the books or see the film cos they don't sound like my sort of thing at all but i'm also not gonna call 'em rubbish or claim they're not as good as something else either cos how can I possibly know that ?
I think a lot of the Twilight-bashing around here is pure jealousy. Joss builds an amazing show and an equally excellent spin-off, full of good acting and good writing and valuable lessons. But because it's about vampires it never gets a lot of respect, and a lot of people refuse to even give it a try. Then along comes Twilight, which is rumored to be such a vastly inferior product, and suddenly everyone's jumping up and down about it and saying "Next Harry Potter!" despite the vampires. And we're standing here saying, "Man, that's just not fair at all."

I'd love to read Twilight and judge for myself, but I've heard enough bad stuff that I'm now reluctant to spend any money on it.
Ha, OK, maybe I read it too fast and inserted my own tongue-in-cheek-ness. It seemed there were some funny bits but that might have been my morning groggy. Point taken, anyway.

Twilight really does sound awful to me... but maybe if I was twelve I'd think it was sexy? I thought my principal was sexy when I was twelve. And he really ... wasn't. So there you go. The author said in an interview somewhere that the whole thing sprang from a dream (ew!), but she's tapping into something if so many teens are swooning over it.

On the coolness of vampires... I'm not sure Buffy's vampires were really that cool. There were a few specific characters that were cool, but the general take on vampires was hardly original or interesting. It was for a million other reason that the show rocked, certainly not for the awesomeness of its vampires. Their cliched cornballiness kind of seemed like the point. The female vampires actually always seemed a little more interesting... Drusilla, and Darla in Angel. I thought Angel was the worst Sexy-Broody-Vampire cliche ever, at first, and David Boreanaz seemed like the most wooden actor on the show. But somehow that actor and that character managed, over a few seasons, to turn into something really compelling.

ETA I think you're right ManEnoughtoadmitit

ETA 2: except for the part about valuable lessons ;)

[ edited by catherine on 2008-11-21 17:18 ]

[ edited by catherine on 2008-11-21 17:19 ]
Aha, out-caffeined you ! An old maneuver but still effective ;).
*goes and makes a mug of really strong coffee to prepare for the next round*
I will say ManEnoughToAdmitIt beat me to my point. I think that is a big part of the bashing, and I admit that is a big part of my problem with "Twilight". An inferior product gets the recognition that should go to someone else. When the actors themselves bash the fans and the product, it must say something.
Buffy, no matter how many papers written on it, no matter how many websites devoted to it, will never rise above "cult" status. And I think that bothers alot of people, me included.
ManEnoughToAdmitIt, just go to the public library as I did -- you can read the books without having to spend money on them. Most libraries allow you to put yourself on a queue to get the books (there's usually a waiting list for newer books). Also, if you already have a library card, most libraries allow you to conduct the entire transaction on a website.

Getting back to the film, someone said earlier that the actors are blandly pretty. In my book, that's no sin, especially since Robert Pattinson has a latter-day Hugh Grant look. (Being a lesbian, what do I really know about male beauty, though?) I am a bit leery of the whole "sparkles in the sunlight" crap, and expect to cringe inside and possibly out loud at certain dialog, but that cheesiness is part of the fun of the experience. Basically, go for the bland prettiness, expect no more, and try to enjoy the product on its own level. If you don't expect it to be as good as Buffy, you'll have more fun than you otherwise would.
I don't really know much about these books or the movie aside from the somewhat-rabid fanbase (to which I say: go on with your bad selves. Lord knows I'm just as rabid about stuff that I love), but I think I've heard that Vampire is good just because he wants to be. Which is kind of different and is something that sort of goes against vampire mythology.

This whole 'not bursting into flames when the sun is out' thing is also pretty different and kind of iffy in my books.

But whatever, I don't lose any sleep over it. Plus, the song Paramore wrote for the soundtrack is catchy as balls.
I would attempt to read the books before having an opinion on them, except that what excerpts and portions I have read are so lacking in skill, art, or craft that I know I'd never be able to read hundreds of pages of it.

So I have no opinion on whose vampires are better. But it doesn't take long to discover whose writing is better.
A lot (but not all) of this is the same hate directed towards the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, and anything else marketed specifically for teens.

The actors, the movie, etc was made to be a teen flick. Hot guys, pretty girls and the edge of cool that older generations will get whined at "you just don't get it."

The books have loyal followers (some of the book people aren't happy about the movie but that's hardly a surprise ever). And some of those people who love the books are people whose opinions I respect.

I agree bashing without reading/watching is a move to make me not respect the opinion. And believing what mass media tells you is also a way for me not to respect the opinion. If I believed everything the news told me I'd live in constant fear for my life.
but maybe if I was twelve I'd think it was sexy?

That's what all the fever is about. My daughter's friends love Twilight, and I've overheard many sleepover conversations about the books. None of the girls in her group like Bella--they all say she's a whiner, boring, etc., but they LOVE the boys (the glorious glittery too-gorgeous-to-look at Edward and the hot Native-American werewolf guy). When they watch Serenity, they love River; when they watch Buffy, they love Buffy or Willow (and Spike), but when they read Twilight, it's all about the boys.
I applaud people making movies that are not exclusively for 18 year old men. I hope it is wildly successful and there are many sequels even though I have no intention of seeing it in the theater.
Plus, the song Paramore wrote for the soundtrack is catchy as balls.

Catchy as balls??? Are balls... catchy? ;)

Yeah, I think these have a very specific young-teen appeal jcs (and, true 'nuff, TamaraC, that these younguns deserve movies too). I remember being entirely fascinated by V.C. Andrews' truly sick "Flowers in the Attic" series when I was about eleven... talk about bad writing, and disturbing models of sexuality and male / female behaviour! But I think for kids that age, the first time you encounter sex in a book, whether it's explicit or implicit, it holds your attention.

(oops... typo fixed)

[ edited by catherine on 2008-11-21 18:38 ]
And believing what mass media tells you is also a way for me not to respect the opinion.

I don't find a lot of people just somehow blindly believing what mass media is telling them about Twilight. I find a lot of people who have read portions (or all) of the books, and have read informed opinion about the author.

(Also not sure why it's only "mass media" that gets singled out here. Does only "mass media" have a problem here? Is it okay if we, say, uncriticially believe what podcasts tell us?)
Yes to what Saje, patxshand and TamaraC said.

There is room in the world for Twilight and Buffy. I don't understand the drive to bash (for want of a better word) something you aren't interested in.
And I don't understand the drive to equate all criticism with bashing.
I have to add that I completely agree with b!X about the writing. I actually listened to Book 2 w/ my daughter on our commute to school last year, and nothing makes bad writing so excruciating as listening to it instead of reading it. You can't skim! It was kind of useful, though, because we had a lot of discussions about what was wrong with the writing (endless parade of bad metaphors, same adjectives used over & over, same feelings described over & over, tons of unnecessary explanations tacked on after dialog, etc.) It got so we would scream every time Bella mentioned the "hole" in her chest that represented her longing for Edward. So we did get something out of the experience.

That said, it's quite possible that the movie is better than the books.
Ha ha, well it sounds like your daughter is getting all the fun of the experience while also learning some "how not to write" tips, jcs. Sounds like a win-win. :)
The One True b!X: I don't equate all criticism with bashing.

[ edited by moley75 on 2008-11-21 18:56 ]
That said, it's quite possible that the movie is better than the books.

This is also entirely possible. Although there's a rather savage review on AICN right now that I find entertaining.
The books are fantastic. I always love a series that has a fan base of parents AND their kids! I went to the premiere of the movie here in Austin last night, (the director Cathrine Hardwicke was on hand and did some Q & A after the show.) and had mixed feelings. While it stayed true to the book, you could really tell it was a low budget film, and the acting seemed a bit forced. As a whole though, it was entertaining and enjoyable for a fan of the books. Also, anyone who says they don't like the books because they listened to the audio version is silly. The reader for the audio CD's was horrible!
catherine, I read all those V.C. Andrews books as well. What were my parents thinking letting me read that crap? LOL
I read Twilight (actually made it through 3/4 books in the series). I did not like it. Here's why: It's total fluff. I classify it as a tweener's Romance novel. That's all it is. Pure sexual fantasy (minus the actual sex-- no sex in the first 3 books). Bella as a character is so disappointing as a heroine. Does she count as a heroine if she doesn't actually do anything besides follow either Edward or Jacob around like a puppy?
What bothered me the most in the third book to the point of not wanting to read any further was: *SPOILERS*
But, despite its flaws, it's an ok storyline (aka a really shallow, superficial, romance-novel-ly storyline from which people can get their kicks and giggles.) What worries me is that the younger crowd is way too into it.
What were my parents thinking letting me read that crap? LOL

Hee... but we seem to have survived it.

I solemnly explained to my mother that the book was about children locked in the attic by their evil grandmother and left out the incest. They didn't monitor my reading too much and there were plenty of good books among the Sweet Valley Highs and Babysitter Clubs ;). So yeah... I'm in no position to criticize (or bash? but that sounds so violent!) kids for being into Twilight.

I wouldn't "worry" about the fanaticism of the fandom, Linnea1928. The reason I brought up V.C. Andrews was because it seemed comparable... everybody in my grade was reading it. But we weren't as open as the Twilight fans because it was really smutty stuff. (I just said smutty! I must be 108 years old! Good for me!). I'm pretty sure fluff (and smut) never did anybody any real damage.
Sweet Valley High books were awesome. There shall be no criticism of them here at Whedonesque.
Um, yeah, that was what I meant to say. There were plenty of good books, like Sweet Valley High... :)
Also, I'm suddenly having deja vu... have we had this conversation on whedonesque before?
I think we'd remember if we had a discussion about how great the Sweet Valley High books were.
Yeah, that sort of thing doesn't go away in a hurry. Anyway, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators totally kicks SVH's ass, yo ! Even though Alfred Hitchcock wasn't actually in them that much, totally false advertising on that score. And they kind of glossed over/didn't in any way mention the weird head games he played with Melanie Griffiths.

And I don't understand the drive to equate all criticism with bashing.

And I don't understand Urdu ! Wait, what are we talking about ?
Yeah, I don't now. I've never even read them and now I'm having deja vu as well.
It's the Matrix, it's really been playing up lately. Buggy PoS.
I think we'd remember if we had a discussion about how great the Sweet Valley High books were.

;) That would be unforgettable, of course, as are all conversations about Sweet Valley High, ahem. But the vices and virtues of Twilight? No? Just me?

And I don't understand why weebles don't fall over when you try to knock 'em down. Are they evil?
TamaraC wrote:
I applaud people making movies that are not exclusively for 18 year old men.

I also wholeheartedly applaud this. I strenuously agree that it's good to make a movie for the teens and tweens. But why must said movie be Twilight? Couldn't it be, y'know, something actually good? With valuable life lessons?

That's the thing, really -- everything I've read indicates that the basic message of the story is something like this: Hey girls! Find the perfect guy, become utterly devoted to him no matter what, have his babies, and you'll find true happiness! In other words, men are gods and women just need to find the right one to worship. I know I need to reserve judgment until I've actually read the books, but still... if there were anything against this in the books, I think I would have heard of it by now.

Nolan wrote:
Plus, the song Paramore wrote for the soundtrack is catchy as balls.

Well, in my case, Paramore's involvement was what drove me over the edge. I was a bit disgusted that a women's rock band got involved with a movie which doesn't seem to do a lot of good for women. But maybe the movie's better. I don't know.
I have to disagree again on the whole life lessons thing, ManEnoughToAdmitIt. If I were into stories for the "lessons" they seemed to offer, I'd be pretty appalled at the whole sex leads to punishment thing that seems to be a recurrent them of Buffy. I haven't read Twilight either (hee hee, there is something hilarious about this conversation...) but my impression is that it's a kind of fevered-tween-sex-fantasy-without-explicit-sex (until book 4 perhaps?). I don't think it has a "message" per se, and the nice thing about certain kinds of fantasies is that we can vicariously experience certain things without having to live them. Maybe.

Or... it seems like jcs's daughter has got it all... she can swoon over the boys in Twilight, and probably outgrow them in a few years, and enjoy the kick-ass-ness of Buffy, which we all hope she'll never outgrow! There's lots of stuff out there, and young girls like to have a taste of all of it, as I remember.
I think the books should be read before folks comment on the lack or inclusion of "life lessons". I haven't so I can't comment. Seems ridiculous really.
I just saw the same black cat walk by twice.
I know right ? But will they put out a service pack ? Who knew evil machine overlords would offer such terrible after sales support ?
sueworld2003 said:

*visions of Dru super gluing glitter onto a struggling Spike to make him a proper Vampire* :0

I read a hilarious piece of fanfiction about that once!

I have read the first book and selections from the other books, and while the flat characterizations and wince-inducing writing was enough to turn me off to them, it's really what they say to young girls that makes me hate on them. I honestly believe that Bella is a very bad role model for girls and that the series is teaching them the wrong things.

I was a teenage girl not that long ago, and my heroines were Jo March and Meg Murray and Anne Shirley and Mara, Daughter of the Nile and Buffy Summers and Veronica Mars--who, sure, all ended up "getting the man" but were smart and resourceful and had wonderful, deep friendships with other characters and goals and dreams of their own to meet. Those are the kinds of role models I want for my little sister, my younger cousins, all the young girls in the world. Not someone who has no identity outside of her relationship to one guy, who throws herself off cliffs when he isn't around so that she can hear his voice, not someone who is so single-minded in pursuing being with him forever that she cannot focus on anything else.

Now, obviously, those of us on here are old enough and mature enough that we wouldnít be taken in by the message of these books, but the seven year old girl who asked Robert Pattinson to bite her? Obviously not.
What the frak is a seven year old girl doing reading this book/seeing this movie for anyway?

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-11-21 20:22 ]
the seven year old girl who asked Robert Pattinson to bite her?

ew! But I betcha even she will turn out OK. I just don't believe a single series has the power to warp the minds of its readers for all time. A little temporary warping maybe... but who hasn't been through that? ;)

And also, AHA, we have had this conversation before! I knew it! I even rattled on a bit about VC Andrews (who I called VH Andrews, dopey me), which has me depressed at my own repetitiveness...
I read the whole series, though mostly so I could insult Edward to my friends. They're fans. We generally have fairly similar tastes -- and they do like Joss's stuff -- but we differ on Twilight.

To me, it strikes me as a relatively well written fan fic. (I mean well written on a fan fic scale of writing, rather than a scale of fiction that's actually been published.) It's got the Sues, it's got a main couple who the author ships, and it's got a massive amount of descriptions of how wonderful the main couple is.

Message-wise... I don't think a story should be about the message. I mean, it's cool to have something to say, but I think it's far more important to tell an interesting story. That said, I think Twilight does generally support marriage and traditional family values.

I guess my main problem with the series isn't the writing or the bland plot... It's the characterisation of Edward. I generally describe him in such terms as 'controlling', 'paternalistic', 'egotistical'... I hate how he thinks he knows what's best for Bella and doesn't allow her to make her own decisions.

I like to bash the series, but that said, it's kinda sad how quickly I read each of the books -- I was absorbed by them despite how ungood they are.

The movie looks worse than the books, from the previews I've seen; I'm planning to see it with my friends and snark through it. Of course, I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised, but I'm not holding my breath.

Of course, this is all IMO... but I've read the books, which is, I guess, a start.
So the book "does generally support marriage and traditional family values" via a male lead who is controlling, paternalistic, and egotistical. Yeah, I think that summarizes much of the criticism.
Catchy as balls??? Are balls... catchy? ;)

If I were to throw a ball to you, wouldn't you catch it? Of course balls are catchy!
I'm planning to see it with my friends and snark through it.

Remember the special hell - snark afterwards.

(one of the few human behaviours I genuinely cannot understand - is it so hard to just, y'know, not talk for two hours ?)
Comment win, Saje. I, along with my equally disenchanted friends, will also be watching it to snark. Once there aren't enough insane fangirls present to lynch-mob us, that is, so probably next week at a morning showing. And the snarking likely won't consist of talking. Just derisively snorting. A lot.
I thought that special Hell was reserved for people that talk on their phones in the theater?
Or am I getting Book's pet peeve and Nathan's MySpace rant confused?

BTW, I read the books. Like snowinhell, they felt like fan fics to me. I liked them like I like candy corn. (Can I say like one more time? Like. Hehe.) Once I started reading them, I had to finish. Sort of. I never read the 4th book. I had planned on sending them to my niece but instead sent them to my nephew. I knew he'd dig the werewolves and ignore the rest. I was worried, though, that my niece wouldn't and might get some dumb idea in her head to find her "Edward". I needn't worry. Other than Harry Potter and Teen People, she doesn't read much.
I had hopes that the movie would be better than the books because the would have to cut out some of the teenage ick for time alone, but the trailers don't interest me in seeing the movie at all. (And I'm not saying that because I'm jealous of the hype on the behalf of Joss.)
My stepniece when she was 5 or 6 years old was allowed by her mother to watch Titanic obsessively over and over. She even went so far as to ask her daddy to draw her naked. o.O (Er, he didn't.) Anyway, she's grown up to be a lovely 15-year-old who still loves movies but now wants to make her own. Kids are pretty resilient and will generally grow past the ickiness of the more unsuitable stories they see or read. Some will even become Buffy and Firefly fans. ;)
If I were to throw a ball to you, wouldn't you catch it? Of course balls are catchy!

Ha ha, OK, I see it now! Also, what cabri said re. resilience and ickiness.
I don't think a story should be about the message.

Really, snowinhell? I agree with you that if a story isn't entertaining, then it isn't worth it--I'm never going to defend a poorly made movie or a poorly written book by saying, "But it's got such a good message."

I think you have to have a balance of the two because, like it or not, stories (whether sitting in front of a fire passing down legends or watching a television series) are the way cultures pass on their values--what makes a person heroic, what's worth fighting or dying for, what you should look for in the people you surround yourself with.

I realize that not everyone internalizes things the way that I do, but I can say without any hesitation whatsoever that I would not be the person I am without the books I read when I was younger--especially between, say, the ages of 10 and 13. I know my friends would all say the same things.

One book series isn't going to turn someone into a horrible person (well, it might, but probably not). What will is hearing the same things over and over again from culture at large: from romantic comedies and fashion magazines and the Twilight series. That you, as a girl or a woman, are only valuable as you relate to a man you're romantically involved with. That you should spend all your time chasing after a romanticized ideal to the point where nothing else matters.

I'm all about romance. But romances only really work between people who are comfortable with who they are--not perfect, but trying. That is not what I see with Twilight books or the values being pushed on pre-teen and teenage girls.

Sorry for the tl;dr. This is one of my personal soap boxes, in case you couldn't tell. ;)

[ edited by Lirazel on 2008-11-21 22:13 ]
So the book "does generally support marriage and traditional family values" via a male lead who is controlling, paternalistic, and egotistical. Yeah, I think that summarizes much of the criticism.

Yeah, that's pretty much my problem with it... I meant the whole "traditional family values" thing in terms of sex before marriage more than anything else. I certainly wouldn't want anyone I care about to get together with a guy like Edward.

I wasn't planning to disrupt anyone else's enjoyment, Saje. In practice, it probably means that I'll mentally snark, then grumble to my friends after. That's what I did in the Eragon movie (which made an okay-if-cliched book look far worse than it was), though I couldn't help laughing silently through a scene where it pulled a disney death. I think if other people enjoy it, good on them. After all, I enjoy things that the mainstream don't (like Firefly). Diversity of taste can only be a good thing, in theory at least.

I do largely agree with you Lirazel, that fiction does say important things about the world we live in, and is an important way of discussing our world... But I think that it's priority has to be the story. I know that someone used this example above: when Buffy and Angel consumated their relationship, and Buffy went evil, I wouldn't interpret it as giving a message about the undesirability of sex-outside-marriage. I think it's just a way to bring new drama into the story. And I think that some plot turns can just be about the story rather than about sending some message or moral to the audience. I think that, while discussing issues adds depth to a story, the story itself has to come first. That said, I'm pretty sure I've gone off some pieces of fiction (though I can't think of any definite examples) because I disagree with their ideas. :)
I'm going to preface this by saying I haven't read Twilight nor have I seen the movie.

I think why people are bothered over Bella and Edward's relationship, and how Edward is very controlling, insisting he knows best...I think the problem is that Bella does not seem to have a sense of self-being. She seems to take on the role of blank slate, for Edward to manipulate. She seems to be okay with being the object of fascination, and we haven't seen that kind of apathy in a long time. I dare say not since the original Stoker story. We've seen girl power so often now that we take it as the norm, and a woman who is perfectly content to NOT speak her mind, and have really nothing to say, is surprising.

And I don't think it's putting out such a great message to young women. But I do see it as being somewhat of a throwback to ye olden days, when there were true damsels in distress. But as a woman, I've never enjoyed being treated like the damsel in distress, so I would never "let" anyone like Edward treat me as such. But then again, we're thoroughly modern women aren't we.

It actually kind of reminds me of Anita Blake in the Laurell K. Hamilton books. I hate those books with a passion since they came to represent absolute drivel and lack of real depth of character or plot, but the first three or four books were actually very good because they were character-driven, not just chunks of poorly written plotlines and smutty passages.

In the first few books, Anita is much like Buffy, she's confident, strong, has a sense of self. Jean Claude, the dashing vampire, seems to be hellbent on helping, on being there for a way that is bad since he's a vampire and she kills them. But he spends much of the time wanting to save her, wanting to draw her into his world, and she the beginning. But it's that resistance that is important to the story, and I just don't see that in what I know of Twilight. There just doesn't seem to be anything there....the message can't be "if you don't know who you are, that's okay, because there are other people who can decide that for you."

But according to most of the reviews I've been reading, one of the gripes is that the message isn't very solid for young women.
For a review by someone who has seen the movie (which I haven't), Pajiba just posted a very funny one, possibly rated R or at least a hard PG-13, but it confirms what I've assumed about the quality. Nice to know, though, that most of the tween- and teenagers are perfectly aware of its ghastliness.
My 18 yr old cousin (who has read all the books and went with her sister and a bunch of girlfriends last night) said it wasn't as good as the books and kinda cheesy but that she is in love with Edward. She is a strong level headed girl. Pretty sure she hasn't been warped by the books. Silly fun it all is.
I actually saw the movie (against my will) and i can confirm that it was horrible. I spent the whole movie with Tom Servo, Crow and mike in my head making fun of it! Totally MST3K worthy!

The story, which i was told stays pretty true to the books, wasn't that great. And for the record, Vamps in daylight goes back to older versions of Dracula (according to the history channel) and my favorite My Best Friend is a Vampire!
*shrug* I saw the movie last night, and thought it was considerably better than the book. Good film all around. However, I guess it can't win, really, because the huge fans of the book spent the movie going "OMGZers, they changed that totally unimportant scene, they're such IDIOTS! Edward looks nothing like that, even though he's a fictional character that I've never seen before," and the people who have never read the book, yet somehow already hate it, went into it with a checklist titled "Reasons Why This Will Suck" and checked each thing off as the film rolled.

I'm just confused by the consensus that someone who is "aware" or "level-headed" just MUST realize that the film and books suck. I'm an aware, level headed, college educated man, and I'm not afraid to say that the movie certainly didn't suck. The books (especially #3) irked me in parts, but they were also fairly enjoyable, particularly the last book which--sorry to all those "this book is anti-feminist" people--has Bella rise to become the strongest of the entire group. I'm just really not sure I like the idea of having to agree with the masses on the lameness of something to be considered part of the "smart crowd."
Twilight is what it is. It is not going to win any awards. Most adults will find it silly and overwrought. The book series is young adult for a reason. It's about a 17 year old girl who falls madly in love with a vampire. And it's the end of the world and the most tragic important thing ever and she would literally die to be with him. She isn't at all like Buffy and I really don't care. Because not everything has to be like Buffy IMO. I also think that those who are fans need to chill about all the negative reviews. It was to be expected that critics wouldn't think highly of the film. Have enough gumption to like something and not care if other people don't like it or think you are stupid for liking it.
My opinion on the Twilight books has come from the negative criticisms I've read. For all those supporting Twilight, is this true?

- Within less than 3 weeks of knowing Edward, Bella wants to be turned into a vampire. As a person who likes to read about strong heroines, the message that Bella wants to be turned after knowing Edward for a few weeks spells of "Girls need to change to be with the one they love".

- The writing is littered with descriptions of Edward's beauty. Obsession with appearance seems a bit sophomoric, no? Which seems appropriate as the target audience is teenage girls. But again, if it's targeted at teenage girls than the heroine's attitude isn't very self-empowering. Rather it seems a bit irresponsible and disappointing that this mindset for young women is being celebrated.

I actually was interested in reading this book (curious about the phenomenon), but then I read these critiques. So to the fans of the book, is it not derivative and sophomoric while preaching a negative self-image to young girls?

I'm interested in hearing the counter-argument because the opposing side is very vocal in critically analyzing the negative aspects of the novel.
I certainly didn't mean that my young cousin shouldn't enjoy this fun bit of fluff because she is level headed. I just think level headed young folk will recognize this for what it is, fun fluff. I think many here are totally underestimating a whole generation of young women who are perfectly able to separate reality from fiction.

Her main takeaway from the movie is that the guy who played Edward was hot. Now that is some harmless shallowness that I can fully support.

Didn't part of the feminist revolution include the right for girls to be just as shallow as boys? Everything doesn't have to be good for you. Chocolate can be enjoyed along with a diet of vegetables and tofu.
I absolutely indulge in shameless fluff. I just think it's fair to be aware it's shameless fluff.
When I was a teenager and reading shameless fluff, I knew it was trite crap. I don't think kids these day are any less self-aware. They are probably more media savvy than I ever could have dreamed of being.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-11-22 01:10 ]
I saw the movie today with my girlfriend. She hadnít read the book and I had. I agree with Patxshand, the movie was better then the book. Itís not a good movie, it just had a feel and pace that I, going in with low expectations, found surprisingly, um, well, not unbearable. Part of the fun I had was seeing this with the fangirls. Their reaction to the movie as it was paying was more amusing than the movie itself. My girlfriend really disliked it and didnít even have fun making fun of the audience with me. Oh well, we had a good day all the same.

Also, I like an empowered female character as much as the next Whedonesque user, but I donít need every heroin (or hero for that matter) I read or watch to be tough, or particularly brainy. I donít need her to have a strong head on her shoulders; unstable, head off shoulders people are interesting too. I just need her to have depth and to hold my attention because sheís interesting and/or relatable. Bella doesn't meet these requirements.

[ edited by RCM on 2008-11-22 01:05 ]
Ah, wait. She doesn't? Talk about a crucial edit. ;)
Yeah, I'm writing on my phone while shopping. Having focus issues.
A friend of mine forced the Twilight books on me a few weeks ago. I actuall enjoyed them, as a whole, but the first book is truly the worst. I'm usually not one to formulate opinions on much of anything. Passion is not my forte. So reading the first book I didn't take anything from it rather than a beginning courtship easing two completely different worlds together over time into acceptance.

I just got back from the movie not long ago and I gotta say...huhmanawho? It had the right tone, but really bad pacing. They took 7 months of courtship and turned it into weeks of whirlwind romance. I can deal with the lack of sex. It's a religious theme throughout the books. But I've never understood spending a couple weeks with someone and deciding I want to spend all eternity with them. The books always made Bella out to be more adult, with danger constantly chasing her. The movie showed her as a typical teen, possibly mistaking infatuation with true love.
I'm going to break my lurker habit to bash on Twilight, but for a different reason:

I view it as an antifeminist piece of Mormon propaganda. I have not read the books (for multiple reasons, including the fact that I believe that since vampire lore originated as an expression of Victorian sexuality, a vampire novel without sex is just a little ridiculous. Also, money, time, and then having read the reviews and hearing about it from friends). However, based on what I've read about the plot, I see a pretty clear parallel.

First of all, But, the fact that she wanted Edward to turn her and that this--along with marrying him--was her goal since the beginning of book one lends credence to my theory.

However, the big factor is what Stephenie Meyer said about
...which sounds very much like what I hear from the Mormon people around me (I live in an area where they're 95% of the population--not Utah though).

Basically, the Reader's Digest version is that I think that because all Bella does is sit around pining for her love, and she is being a very, very bad role model for any girl who does not grow up in a society where that is pretty much a given for all women. I, as an educator, am really bothered by this., I have heard that the books and movie are rubbish.
Well, I suppose one could argue from an anti-feminist, misogynistic (Iím neither, donít hurt me) stand point that Buffy is clearly pro-feminist, female empowerment propaganda, and therefore, is not good.
Oddly, I can remember being 11 and liking certain types of movies. And being a teenager and liking certain types of movies and music much to my parents disdain. And when I was a younger woman, liking what was popular at that time for people my age. Whatever it is, it's geared for a certain age bracket. I don't think Twilight is my cup of tea. But that is because I respect my same age friends opinion of it because she is the type of mother that always reads what ever it is her kids are reading just so she keeps up. She didn't care for it and explained clearly why. And I agreed with her. But if kids like it, let them. So what? Who will care in a few years? Who are we to judge? At my age I am sometimes embarrassed by things I had an infatuation with at a younger age. But we outgrow those things eventually. Somtimes not. I say let the people that like it have it. And let's move on to something we like. Bashing is fun for a while but it's boring now. Can we talk about the new Buffy movie?
Who are we to judge?

We're the same people who have opinions on all sorts of things and don't feel it's wrong to express them.

Bashing is fun for a while...

Really tired of criticism being called bashing. Then again, it occurs to me that our own fandom has a lot of people who call Whedon criticism "bashing", too.
Well, yeah, b!X, but only 'cause it is... ;-)
Again, I don't think that just because a girl reads these books that she's going to completely exchange a previously healthy mindset for a dangerous one. There are obviously tons of mature girls out there who read them, enjoy them on a "fluff" level, set them aside, and move on with their lives. I just view them as symptomatic of a whole realm of thought that's still perpetuated in our culture. I guess this is because I'm around a lot of girls/women who do think like this--that a romance is going to fix everything in their lives, get rid of all the things they dislike about themselves, they'll find someone to give them all the "stuff" our materialistic society tells them that they need...and then they'll be happy.

I come from an area of the country where people get married pretty young. I don't have a problem with this. Several of my friends married very young, but were mature and responsible adults at the time, and are now involved in strong, healthy marriages. Others, however, viewed them as a quick fix and dedicated themselves so totally to that one person that when it turned out to be harder work than they thought and it then fell apart...they had nothing left. It seems to me to be the same mindset that I see in the Twilight books.

And I've read several interesting metas on the books as Mormon propaganda as well, BandofBuggered--you're not the only one with that opinion.

Perhaps because of the specific examples with women I know, I tend to judge the books more harshly. But it hurts me so deeply when this happens to them that I just want to make sure that younger girls don't make the same mistakes.

Also, RCM, I've read some very convincing essays that argue that Buffy is dangerously sexist against its male characters. Just mentioning that to be fair. ;) And I get just as riled up about male stereotypes, especially in current sitcoms and movies, that present negative expectations for men. That's just not what's being discussed right now.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2008-11-22 03:47 ]
Sweet Valley High books were awesome. There shall be no criticism of them here at Whedonesque.

Oh dear Lord Simon, this is a fabulous thread, but I have to stop right now and say thanks for making my great day better!

Sweet Valley High. If I'm not mistaken, I have a handful of original paperbacks in storage somewhere. God love Sweet Valley High.

Thank the gods I found great fiction later. I suppose they helped point me in the right direction.
Definitions according to Webster:

To attack physically or verbally
To consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly or to find fault with.

Just defining the terms. After reading the actual definitions, I find I don't like bashing at all. Criticism is just fine with me.
I am relieved to see some of the thoughtful critiques of Twilight here... I read it over Halloween just on a lark, and it was an experience akin to bludgeoning oneself over the head repeatedly. It really disturbed me how...sighing and useless... Bella seemed to be. Honey, if he can't decide whether he wants to kill you, that's not a good relationship! It's a dangerous standard of "love" that's getting held up here... And okay, I was skimming by the end there, but it was softcore descriptions of quasi-orgasmic almost-kisses sprinkled amidst the "oh, need something to do now, let's put the heroine in danger! and let's have the hero save her! because she can't save herself!" sorts of nonsense, at least in my reading of it. I can see where preteen girls might not have discernment in matters of fine literature, but I also agree with those here who said that Bella's a dangerous sort of role model for our young girls... makes you appreciate Buffy even more. Makes you realize how much of a paradigm shift her character really was...
Ah, Sweet Valley High--a little before my time, actually, but excellent stuff. Also, Babysitters' Club.

As for tweens and teens liking their own stuff, I was an avid reader of RL Stine books as a kid; funnily enough, one of my favorite books of "his" was the Goodnight Kiss 1 and 2...vampire books! As for music, let's just say that a couple of years ago, the used music store found themselves with a plethora of peppy teen pop-punk (yes, including Avril's first album). So trust me--I understand!

I think that part of the reason that the Mormon propaganda bugs me so much is because I've had several classmates who were intelligent and had great potential--but were Mormon and weren't planning on teaching (ed major), but instead getting married and being housewives and mommies.

I do want to say that I have no problem with a woman wanting to do that; part of having equal rights is having the right to choose to be an active and devoted wife and mother. But it bothered me when my 19-year-old classmate was freaking out because her younger sister was engaged and she wasn't.

I do agree, Lirazel, that girls with a healthy mindset aren't going to change after reading these books. On the other hand, I really do fear that young, idealistic, impressionable girls who do not have positive role models in their lives might get some wrong ideas about lust, love, and just romance in general. And that bothers me.

Also, I'm grumpy that I have no Harry Potter 6 movie right now. And that people are comparing Stephenie Meyer to Jo Rowling. Additionally, I think that anyone who is going to experience one human/vampire forbidden love story should be watching Buffy and Angel's. ;)

Also, madmolly, thanks for the definition. I hope that I only criticize, never bash. And now, with finals looming dangerously, I plan to return to my lurker status--because I'd forgotten how addictive posting on here can be, and I really, really don't have this time!!
I would hardly consider raising children to be a waste of potential. But, then again, I'm a Mormon.
Oh, great thread and oh so relevant.

Ok, this is really long but I haven't posted in forever and .org sucked me in thru Nov. 4. This post is too long, I know, but I haven't yet written much about Twilight, let alone through a Whedonian perspective.

Just got back from the film a little while ago. I was afraid it would suck, no pun intended. I enjoyed the series and I'll get to that in a bit, but seriously, I went in all unspoiled and apprehensive because I was so hoping it would at least be pretty good. I was afraid for Twilight because I don't want it to fail this weekend. I want it to be a moderate success financially. The work stands on its own.

Is Twilight great literature? No. Is it a good story? Yes. Most folks here appreciate the heck out of high quality literature and the art of the narrative and on and on. Joss sets the bar high, eh? He's ruined me on 90% of television for obvious reasons. As most of us here love the great narratives of pop, watching Twilight grow as a commercial vehicle has raised some eyebrows and ruffled some feathers, to say the least. Maybe even an eyebrow or feather of my own.


My opinion on the Twilight books has come from the negative criticisms I've read. For all those supporting Twilight, is this true?

No. The first novel would seem so. Bella as a blank slate in need of rescue, Edward as controlling and domineering. That would be my opinion if I didn't finish the series. I don't think these characterizations are true at all. However, Twilight the film is only the first installment. There's more to the story than the first installment.

But Twilight is okay, and that's just the point. It's okay. It's good. Meyer's work won't receive the same academic scrutiny as Joss' work because it's not the same type of work. She tells a really good story and the characters and setting stand on their own... and that's about it. It's entertainment. People have taken the Potter thing too seriously--the Rowling references seem to be because she has a rabid fanbase, not because her work is high-quality literature of the same magnitude. Fans waited in line for Potter and Bella. That's where the similarities end.

The whole "tween" thing is spot on. It's no surprise they love it. It's probably the first cool vampire story that's been in language accessible to them. The language of the Twilight series has been over-critized a bit. It's not bad. It's just simple and ordinary.

I'm teaching ESL to mostly young adults, many of whom would like to study at an English-speaking university in the US. The single-most critical skill they must develop is reading fluency, especially considering many want to study at the graduate level. It's plain and simple. If they want to raise their test scores and increase their fluency, they must read fiction extensively. They can and should choose to read some non-fiction of course, but reading fiction makes the process much less painful and far more enjoyable, with other added benefits only English teachers want to hear about.

So all that to say, I spend a heck of a lot of time trying to find authentic texts of all types for my students to read. Sadly, this often means eliminating many greats from recommendations or class materials. 90% of what makes Joss' work great would fly right over the heads of my students. They need materials they can comprehend on a basic level. We have these graded readers that actually work well. Horribly boring for a lit lover, but great for my students. Some kids' books and high school fiction books work really well with my students, too. While I won't be ordering a class set of Twilight books, I'll happily recommend it to any student who professes to like vampire stories. There's always one here and there -- vampire lovers world round, I can attest to that. The language is so simple I read each book in about two days. That's why the books are so popular with young readers. Seriously. The language isn't bad. It's just s i m p l e.

If everyone wrote like our favorites, they'd be boring and we wouldn't notice them. That's why they are special. However, that doesn't mean there isn't a place for the Stephanie Meyerses of the world. Twilight is the perfect beach novel. I started the series during hurricane season when I knew it would rain buckets for days and I wouldn't be out and about much. There's a place in the literary world for stories like these. They benefit young or otherwise emerging readers as well.

Oh, and some criticism of Meyer might prove unwarranted, or premature perhaps. Now that Joss has made me so critical when reading the work of other writers, I had a major beef with Meyer at the end of the first book. That was a couple months ago, and something was really starting to bug me during the second of the four books. I don't want to spoil anyone, but let's just say I love Joss for certain reasons. If Meyer wanted to redeem herself as a writer in my eyes, she was going to have to do something or I'd lose all respect for her as a writer. By the end of the fourth novel, she had roughly redeemed herself, imho. The third novel was poorly executed, and there's some over the top drama in the fourth, but I was satisfied with the ending, and a tad smug about one prediction I made early on, although it played out in a flawed manner, again, imho.

Teaching reading forces me to be objective, I guess.

That's not so bad.

I won't apologize or hide the fact that I like Twilight. It's something of a guilty pleasure, and I also like it for one reason that's just too personal-sappy to even mention here. :) It's fun.

Oh, and OH! The pain.
When Buffy hurt, we hurt. We hurt too, because we loved Buffy.

Pain drags us deeper into stories, doesn't it?

Back to the film.

I think many fans of the books will like it well enough. Some non-book fans might be bored, but enjoy the eye candy in the meantime. The most rabid of fans probably wouldn't be satisfied with anything... It isn't high budget, but so what? I really liked the natural scenery and a lot of the visuals. The cast were all beautiful... and mostly unknown, I think, so therefore cheap. The film needs to make a certain amount of money to generate sequels. I really hope the sequels are made. Like I said, I was satisfied with the ending of the fourth novel. If Twilight does well, they'd be wise to invest more in the next two installments. Amped up visuals would be cool. Yet as I write this, I'm just really pleased with how well the story came through on what seems a low but not bad budget.

Meyer's work doesn't read like fan fiction because she's created a little world that's just different enough from others to stand on its own, and that becomes more evident as one reads further into the series. Some books that I know of that read like fan fiction were written under the name of Buffy and sold in paperback. I'm pretty sure some of Meyer's harshest critics are fueled by jealousy.

And I can't get over how pleased I was with the film. I think many of the cast hit the spot in terms of visual representation of characters. Since when is eye candy bad? My ticket cost $9.50. You bet they had better look good! And they did!

Twilight's all good... please don't hate on a good, simple story. I hope the film pleasantly surprises a lot of people, as it did me.

[ edited by April on 2008-11-22 05:54 ]

[ edited by April on 2008-11-22 05:56 ]
I have read the books... all four of them. I kept getting angry all the while I was reading them, but I did want to see how the story turned out. I definitely decided there was no way in h**ll my daughter would read them before she was 16 or so. Joss certainly has spoiled me for fiction and TV. It's easy to forget just how badly women can be treated by authors when one treats oneself to Joss. Sure, he's not perfect and I have qualms about some of what he does. However, you compare that to the Twilight books and whoo doggie.

Can I just say that the actor who plays Edward is all sorts of nomnomnom and I'll leave it at that, because I'm having Interview With the Vampire flashbacks and he could really be a younger Lestat of some kind.
I think those who like Twilight are just going to have to accept (like Buffy fans!) that a lot of people think it's crap.

And those who think it's crap are just going to have to accept that a lot of people like it.

Ta Da! I fixed the thread! Well, maybe not. I do think the idea that it's "dangerous" is overwrought. My grandfather forbade his daughters to read anything but "fine literature" - he was so sure that reading Enid Blyton would lead to intellectual torpidity, and so my mother and aunts spent their formative years reading Turgenev and memorizing Horace... and they have their own scars to bear as a result! She may have cringed at some of the stuff I read, but I was allowed to read whatever I wanted... and VC Andrews is wayyy worse than anything I've seen here about Twilight... can't be topped for powerless females and icky rape fantasies.

My point, if I have one, is that nobody is going to read Twilight and say "my new goal in life is to be a damsel in distress and find a beautiful man to save me" unless that was kind of their thing to begin with. (And it is what some girls and women are into... the damsel thing, and even the distress ...and we almost all like beautiful men... nothing wrong with any of that). The vast majority of fans will read and watch other things too and grow up in the modern world and figure out who they want to be, and Bella will only be a role model if they choose her. And if they do, that's juuust fiiiine too. Whenever anyone decides to police what other people should be reading, it all goes bad, IMO. Not that there is any policing going on! But when we start talking about the "bad" message it carries or how it's dangerous, it feels like the conversation is tilting in that direction to me.
I don't think it's dangerous. But discussing meaning and message, and the positives and negatives of such meaning and message, is sort of what people do with cultural artifacts. And I think one can argue that a book's message is "bad" without that being an argument that the book is "dangerous" or an argument for "policing" what people read.

Mainly, I think that anyone who reads, listens to, or watches anything and wants to discuss it publicly needs to accept that it means critics of said things get to discuss it, too. Criticism is no more "policing" than it is "bashing".

(To put it another way: There's a "meaning" and a "message" behind why Buffy was created. It's legitimate criticism to discuss that meaning, that message, and make a value judgement on whether or not it's a good meaning, a good message. It's perfectly legitimate to subject Twilight to an examination as well. Just because many of us think that examination yields the discovery of a "bad" message or meaning doesn't somehow make the examination an attack.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-11-22 06:27 ]
Oh, I didn't at all mean that the general criticisms in the discussion qualified as policing... I've just seen the word dangerous in a few posts, which seems extreme to me.

ETA but fair enough re. the "message" being "bad"

[ edited by catherine on 2008-11-22 06:29 ]
To put it another way: There's a "meaning" and a "message" behind why Buffy was created. It's legitimate criticism to discuss that meaning, that message, and make a value judgement on whether or not it's a good meaning, a good message.

I agree. I think that's why when there was a previous thread about the dangers of 24, in that the show promoted an irresponsible use of torture as a realistic interrogation tool, I was quite critical, even though I enjoy the show (well, season five, specifically, which kicked booty).

I've skimmed the first Twilight book, and it's really not my cup of tea; I don't like romances and the swoony teen-girly aspects aren't for me. I also am not a fan of the themes of romantic love as promoted by the book. But! I can't say it's truly dangerous to society.

As a potential youth librarian, anything that gets young people reading = good thing. Also, it's obvious to me that Twilight is clearly a classic example of the romance genre, and that genre is booming. Romances are the most popular genre in the publishing industry, accounting (at last reports) for one-fifth to a quarter of ALL BOOKS SOLD. One of the reasons is that women tend to read more than men, in all age groups (as children and grown adults) and a huge proportion of them read wish-fulfillment fantasies like Twilight that deal with much the same themes of ever-lasting, soul-binding, chaste-but-eroticised, love at first sight (or bite), etc. Modern romances are more varied than that, from what I've read about the industry, but Twilight seems firmly entrenched in romance the old-school way.

Women and young women have been reading these books for ages. Just like men have been watching James Bond movies (and its derivations like the Bourne/24) and playing crazy violent video games for the same reason: wish fulfillment via escapist fantasy. I don't personally enjoy romance as a genre, but is it really a more irresponsible form of entertainment than the masculine version? Sometimes you want a goopy love story, just like sometimes I want to see a car explode in a ball of fire.

For the record, though, I am totally going to see the movie. I saw Quantum of Solace last weekend, and I'm a sucker for big, splashy, fun, escapist stuff on the screen -- terrorists being blown up are equivalent sparkly vampires, in terms of 2 hour screen entertainment, in my book.

[ edited by dottikin on 2008-11-22 06:49 ]
Whedongeek, you said, "I definitely decided there was no way in h**ll my daughter would read them before she was 16 or so."

When I was around 10 or 11, my mom was reading Clan of the Cave Bear and liked it. Since it was about a girl, she thought I'd like it, too. I did. A couple years later, Valley of the Horses came out. Ayla was no longer a child, and wow! the amazing sex she had! My mom said, oh, no. You are not reading this. NO. I was around 12 or so, not more than 13.

I immediately went on a mission to secretly check it out of the library, hide it in my backpack, and read it under the covers at night. I even snuck it back to the library without my mom finding out.

You could say I learned some things about sex in the process, but I'd already heard rumors of such things. The more ya read the more ya know. My mom realized that. It was the first and last time she tried to control what I read, unless you count one Judy Blume incident when I was 7.

I get drawing limits, and the XXX line is a good one. If people don't read a wide variety of text that includes medium and low grade quality, they'll never learn to discern the good from the bad.

If you keep reading materials away from a teenager, what do you think their first desire is? Find out what's bad/wrong/sordid!!!
I think that as much as we should defend Sweet Valley High, we should like double that for Enid Blyton. Her books are, like, made of awesomeness. I so wanted to go to Mallory Towers! Plus, Moon Face, Silky, and the Saucepan Man were my buds.

Also, Taaroko, I sincerely hope that I have not offended you. I am friends with many Mormons who are all fantastic people and are shining examples of not only good people but also good Mormons. I have no problem with people having beliefs or faith in any religion (though I will admit that Scientology is a bit of a head scratcher). That being said, I think that all religions have the ability to take their creed to the extreme, and I have witnessed some of these cases. And it frustrates me, because I think that part of having beliefs is being able to see the other side and to make an educated decision about what things you believe and why.

I am not Mormon, and would not fit in well in some respects because I love coffee, I cuss like a sailor, I would hate waking up early to go to church, I do not condemn premarital sex (though I don't advocate it either; I see it as none of my business), I have no problem with gays or gay marriage, I'm pro-choice, and I don't plan on getting married until I'm close to 30.

On the other hand, I get along well with Mormons because I am extremely close with my large family, I consider myself to be a generally good person, and I watch my mouth. :)

I don't view having children as a waste of potential--I want 5. But, I want to have a career and be successful on my own. I don't want a guy to define me. I want a husband who can keep up with me intellectually and on the dance floor. I want us to be absolute equals in everything, from childrearing to earning and spending money.

The reason Twilight bugs me as Mormon propaganda is because of the way it presents Bella's choices and actions as the ultimate fulfillment of a woman's desire and purpose.

Like I said earlier: I believe that if a woman chooses to make her husband and children the central focus of her life, I applaud her (especially as I see too many students who have suffered because of their parents' lack of involvement). But I strongly believe that before she makes that choice, each woman should get to see the multiple paths she is able to take, and should be able to make an informed decision. Should religion come into play for this decision? Of course--it's a big part of who any person is. But a woman should have other options objectively presented to her. And this is where I feel Twilight falls short in showing those.
I haven't looked at Twilight, either as a book or as a movie (although a good friend is enjoying the books very much, so I may take a peek). As far as its content goes, I agree, broadly speaking, with Wilde: there's no such thing as a moral or immoral book, only books that are well-written, or badly written. (Meaning that the value of a book as literature is separate and apart from its moral content).
BandofBuggered, thank you for that comment. You came across pretty much exactly like my best friend, who is non-Mormon. She and I are polar opposites on practically every political and religious front imaginable, but she is all kinds of wonderful and I love her to death. And I definitely agree about your idea of equality and compatibility in marriage, and that Twilight did a rather poor job of portraying that kind of relationship for the lead characters (which might have been saved had Bella learnt to be strong and her own person--while still being a hopeless clutz--in New Moon instead of going catatonic/reckless insane).

Also, your username cracks me up. Love that quote.
, we should like double that for Enid Blyton.

Richmal Crompton for me. I love her William Brown books.
Mainly, I think that anyone who reads, listens to, or watches anything and wants to discuss it publicly needs to accept that it means critics of said things get to discuss it, too. Criticism is no more "policing" than it is "bashing".

That's a fair point (kinda like "worries" and "panic" re: 'Dollhouse' ;). On the other hand though, how many comments here and elsewhere start out (to paraphrase) "I haven't read the books or seen the movie but here's why I think 'Twilight' is crap ..." ? I think negatively critiquing something you haven't actually seen or read is perilously close to "bashing" and as someone said upthread I wonder if some of it's based on a sense of aggrievement (possibly justified) or jealousy (probably not).

(just to be clear though, i'm not saying you have to have read all the books and seen the film before you can have an opinion - trying to read the books and giving up or walking out an hour into the film in disgust qualifies you to some - probably lesser - extent too)

My point, if I have one, is that nobody is going to read Twilight and say "my new goal in life is to be a damsel in distress and find a beautiful man to save me" unless that was kind of their thing to begin with. (And it is what some girls and women are into... the damsel thing, and even the distress ...

Word catherine.

In ten years (most) grown women will look back at it and cringe, just like we all look back at some of the stuff we thought was "so true" and really "spoke to us" and "totally got me" and cringe.
Good points, April. And if my daughter wants to read *Twilight* when she's older, it will present a great teaching opportunity. I will not, however, be offering it to her as I have offered Terry Pratchett, Madeline L'Engle, Cornelia Funke and other wonderful fantasists.

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home