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July 03 2009

Buffy v. Edward creator talks about his popular mash-up. Men don't usually guest post on Women in Media & News. But Jonathan McIntosh is "an aspiring feminist guy," and WIMN's executive director says he's "following in the footsteps of Buffy's 'sire' - Joss Whedon ..."

I just love that vid :lol:
thank you so much for this link. i think this is so phenomenal--- really hits home the differences btw Buffy and Twilight.
First time I've seen the mash up vid and I love it. Made of awesome. My sister and I watched Twilight after curiosity made repeated death threats on our cat. Anxious to see what all the fuss was about, we sat down to it with v. low expectations. Yep, it was bad. This video showed many of my thoughts/complaints re: the Twilight phenomena. Buffy being the antithesis of the Twilight franchise in many ways, I loved every minute of the vid. It is exactly what I wanted to see after sitting through Twilight. It kind of made my day.

And I'm not trying to flame anyone here who might be a fan of Twilight - if you can milk some light-hearted enjoyment out of it then good for you. I just dislike the fact that this has so captured the imagination and love of sooooo many teenage girls because I take issue with the points that were so eloquently raised in the linked article. Frankly the film left me with a very squicky feeling and frightened about the message young girls were taking away from it. Ending my rant now I will simply state the very obvious: I love Buffy. I'm so thankful that Buffy was the 'vampire franchise' I cut my teeth on. (-hee teeth bit unintended)
Wow, I am watching this tonight for the first time. Great stuff! I felt that the mash-up was a little awkward-- I kept thinking of clips that I felt would have fit better. Buffy came across as kind of flippant. But the end she was all purpose, as she usually was by the end, doing what she does best.

I do like Twilight, at least the novels, which were very enjoyable, if perhaps not conveying the best message of teen romance. Then again, I don't expect entertainment to preach to me about what I should want in life, or even in entertainment, and I think the parental bust up of Twilight's perceived anti-feminist values serves very little purpose if teen girls are intrigued by it-- and they are. Instead of admonishing Twilight for providing the scenario, perhaps we should ask why many women embrace it. Sometimes I find it a little repugnant that people are so judgmental of the readers of these books-- sometimes it gets a little "silly women/teenage girls don't know what they should be wanting!" Is that any better an attitude to have than the plot line of these books? Whether it's Edward, or the mainstream media, telling Bellas everywhere what's good for them, it doesn't sit well with me. I trust teenage girls to critically examine all the examples of romance on the table, from the doomed love affairs of Shakespeare they read in English class to the many troubled marriages that their parents and relatives choose to end to Twilight to Buffy to Gossip Girl, and so on. I navigated these waters myself, as I'm sure many of you have.

When I was a thirteen year old girl myself, I was raptly watching Buffy, looking to her for clues to everything from boys to parents to fashion. I held her up as my idol, and I've always felt that loving the show to distraction as I did made me who I am. But maybe who I am led me to love the show to distraction as I did-- Buffy was what I was waiting for all along, to solidify what I already felt about myself. I don't think any one television show, movie, or book series makes us who we are or defines our values. It is our character that we possess that leads us to entertainment that reinforces, or challenges, those same messages and values. For me personally, both Buffy and Twilight are a part of that.

I have to agree with the article that this clip is more far-reaching than just its surface entertainment value-- just like Buffy, and Twilight. In defense of Twilight, I will say that in the second and third books in the Twilight series, Bella's character develops quite a bit, apart from Edward, and comes into her own in a way. The books were written as a series and as a whole they capture a transformation that many teenagers go through as they fumble through their first love and really learn what a relationship is about, and this one follows Bella and Edward past the heated infatuation stage. The first book is not the end of the story-- and in the second and third, Bella comes to understand that she doesn't like Edward's more controlling behavior. Their relationship does mature, and does become more of a partnership as they navigate through it. I've had many in depth, deconstructive conversations with my sister, mainly centered on those two books, as there were many situations Bella found herself in that we could relate to. And there were definite times when I found Bella's conduct to be something I could decidedly admire, and other times I cringed at her-- she was written as certainly fallible and often mistaken, but writing off the series completely as only a shallow romance novel is missing a lot of what the story is about, and what does make it so appealing to so many.

All the progress is erased in the last book but, what are you gonna do.

[ edited by ailiel on 2009-07-03 08:22 ]
thanks onthedrift and ailiel... I to am a fan of the Twilight novel series and obviously of Buffy as well

It was definitely refreshing to watch this video, and the point it makes drives home.

I think Bella's character is captivating for her faults and her eventual growth and in the end you find that she stays true to her own beliefs even if she cannot control the world around her. She does her best to deal with the chaos of the world.

We (fans) may relate to Bella in this way, however Buffy is who every girls wants to be. To be in control and have the self confidence and power to overcome the obstacles of the world.

They are both archetypes for the female world, simply different stages of growth.

Bella is the (perhaps perceived) reality while Buffy is the hope, dream and hero.
All the progress is erased in the last book but, what are you gonna do.
ailiel | July 03, 08:17 CET


Making a video that uses humor to expose the Twilight male supremacy/female subservience message for what it is, sounds like a plan. Throw in writing an excellent article about what you were trying to get across and why .... icing on the cake.
Over the course of the film Edward is in turns patronizing, condescending and just downright creepy. He spies on Bella, he stalks her (for “her own good”), he sneaks into her room to watch her sleep (without her consent) and even confesses to a deep, overpowering desire to kill her.

It's probably fair to point out that the Angel also watches Buffy when she's asleep (even before he was Angelus) and that the first time he and Buffy met he was stalking her. And I think I remember Angel at one point confessing a desire to kill her (am I imagining that?). Spike obviously had desires to kill her even after he was in love with her ('first I'll kill her then I'll save her).

But still it's a great video with a great point

ETA: italics

[ edited by Let Down on 2009-07-03 10:34 ]
It's probably fair to point out that the Angel also watches Buffy when she's asleep (even before he was Angelus) and that the first time he and Buffy met he was stalking her. And I think I remember Angel at one point confessing a desire to kill her (am I imagining that?).


Which is one of the reasons I don't like their romance either.

Spike obviously had desires to kill her even after he was in love with her ('first I'll kill her then I'll save her).


Neither Bangel nor, erm... Bedward (?!) was portrayed as that kind of problematical relationship as Spuffy was (cf. "Seeing Red"). I got no problem with creepy relationships, as long as they don't shy away from dealing with the creepiness.
There is a big difference between what Angel and Edward in that what Angel does, is supposed to come off as creepy and weird. But when Edward does it, it's supposed to be romantic and d'awww, while it's actually batshit insane and disturbing.
Teenage protagonist Bella Swan is written as passive, co-dependant and perpetually the damsel in distress. Edward Cullen, her love interest, is written as over-protective, domineering and possessive.

Aaaaaaaaaaaamen!
Instead of admonishing Twilight for providing the scenario, perhaps we should ask why many women embrace it. [...] Whether it's Edward, or the mainstream media, telling Bellas everywhere what's good for them, it doesn't sit well with me. I trust teenage girls to critically examine all the examples of romance on the table.

ailiel -- well said. My only response is that I rarely trust teens to think critically about anything without a little nudging in the right direction; I'm a teacher, so I know what they're capable of, but I also know they usually need someone to get them started.

Or at least I'll say that to keep my job...
Thank you ailiel. That's a very interesting perspective where as I've been very close minded about Twilight, having only seeing the movie.
I definitely agree with ailiel. I read all four books, and liked the first three. I wasn't intending to see the movie, it looked...bad, but my friend dragged me to it and I'm really glad I went. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard or that much at the movies. Both of us are firmly headed toward the special hell, but it was worth every second of it. So...for the record, the movie was stilted, trite, and utterly cliche to an unbelievable degree. The books had more character, or if not character, then a sense of self. The stalking did make me uncomfortable and the fourth book made me furious, but there are reasons to respect and even applaud the series (it is not a saga for God's sake).

I suppose the one of the main reasons I'm so lenient about Edward's behavior is that Stephanie Meyer did manage to reverse my least favorite gender stereotype. I've mentioned it here before, but when Edward and Bella are kissing, Bella says "more" and Edward says "no". It is so, so important for girls to get a chance to explore the fact that they want sex without being pressured to "follow through". Not that all guys/girls do that, but in terms of society, when your son has sex he's a stud, and when your daughter has sex she's a dirty girl. With that in mind, girls say no until they say yes, but they never really get the chance to explore wanting to say yes, which is just a part of being human and becoming an adult, dammit. I don't like how that storyline ultimately played out for Bella and Edward, but I love that the reversal was present. And off the soap box...

Anyway, I loved the mash-up video. It was smart and pertinent, and I love that Twilight has people discussing these issues, because as Joss has shown us, they were there all along.

ETA P.S. Bedward! *Snerk*

[ edited by heinouslizard on 2009-07-03 20:46 ]
You guys are crazy with your insanely long comments!

I thought there was too much lead in and not enough fighting. Guess I have to give some slack because it's 2 things edited together. I'm happy with it I suppose.
Loved the video. Remember, the Twilight books were written by a member of a patriarchal religion; that's going to come through.

wiesengrund, I agree with you. Buffy's relationships with Angel and Spike were disturbing and creepy, and they were mostly shown that way. While we want romance and a happy ending, Buffy showed that love can be screwed up and messy. It also showed that, even if we make poor decisions and do stupid things, we can make the choice to change and survive them.

The stalker side of the early Angel was spelled out in the series. He used Buffy as a way to redeem himself. He was 240+ and attracted to a 15-year-old. Ugh. Spike's love was shown as truer, but he still behaved obsessively.

The fact that in the Season 8 comics Buffy has left both those relationships behind, at least for now (and Angel and Spike's stories being handled by a different publishing company may be part of that), is important. (I must admit I'm getting a wee bit tired of the main character love interest dying meme, though. And, please, the Willow and Kennedy relationship didn't work on the show; why is it still going on in the books?)
I enjoy the Twilight series because the first book truly captured for me what it felt like to be young and in love, the very need you feel for the other person when you haven't fully developed yourself. Buffy, however, is the 'verse that gives me strength. I have a shot of Buffy from s7's Selfless of her holding a sword and looking very determined that is on my front door, so that I see it every day when I leave the house. Both worlds speak to me for different reasons, and thats why I believe its ok to love, and laugh, at both.
Well, I pretty much agree with you all. But I don't think that Angel was supposed to be portrayed as creepy in those early episodes. Buffy is clearly attracted to Angel after the first time they meet when he's stalking her ('I really didn't like him'). Same thing with him watching her sleep - I don't think it's presented as particularly creepy
Remember, the Twilight books were written by a member of a patriarchal religion; that's going to come through.

So were the Harry Potter books. Just sayin’ ;)


The problem with Twilight lies not in what it includes, but with what it does not: a thing Buffy happens to have oodles of, humanity. Placing characters in bad situations, no matter how immoral those might be, is not a reason for criticism; a failure to take responsibility for their humanity is. (Leaving aside a discussion on exploitation lurking in there somewhere.)

A romantic story about a passive, co-dependent woman and a possessive, abusive man can of course be brilliant. But for that the story needs to be aware of the dynamic and spend a bit of time finding what is human about it.

Twilight exhibits some staggering neglectful omissions in that regard. And even if they were intentional (I've read Meyers say she is not sexist, but speciesist) that would not excuse it in any meaningful way. Or it might, but certainly not when you are targeting young adults.

So yay for the guy who made the video and wrote that. Only criticism can fill the gaping hole within Twilight for me since I cannot muster the charity to do it otherwise; if other readers can then good for them. Not everything in one's life should be picked apart.
I am sorry fans of Twilight (you may now want to read on) but in my opinion after having seen the film and after watching that vid it's is so painfully obvious how ham fisted the dialog in Twilight is and how poor it's delivered by the most whiny of vampires, like every sentence is painful to get out. I don't think I have ever felt more satisfied by a youtube mash up vid after watching Buffy slay him, while saying to the screen take that you poser. Again apologies to any fans of the series here, i haven't read the books nor do i plan to so take this for a ignorant hate speech if you wish.
I disagree with most of you. Bella is a character that I cannot relate nor do I want to. Edward is creepy, stalkery and possessive. Jacob is needy, obsessive and immature. Bella's father needs to be reported. I read almost all of the books and got progressively frustrated with the series' portrayal of love, friendship and family. Some argue that Bella represents the alternative to Buffy. Not every girl has to be strong, take control and be independent. Bella is NOT my role model. And don't get me started on the men of Twilight. Edward stalks, lies and tricks Bella. Jacob forces himself on Bella. Not the kind of men I want my little sister falling for.
Angel did stalk Buffy, Buffy told him this was not okay with her. Angel turned evil and stalkerish AGIAN. Buffy killed him. Angel came back, they recoupled and eventually broke up for good because it wasn't working. Buffy SACRIFICED.
Spike, he was love's bitch but he knew that. He was evil and Buffy used him, something that the writer's made painfully clear was wrong. Spike tried to force himself on Buffy, she kicked his ass out (she did not try and kiss him again two days later).
Both Angel and Spike were not healthy for Buffy. She did not end up with either of them, I admire this about Joss and the writers. While the romantic in me wanted a happily-ever-after, reality makes for better storytelling. Bella and Edward are supposed to be the modern-day Romeo and Juliet. R and J died, for a reason, they were idiots.
This video is expertly edited!

Also, it's getting a bit shippy in here, but I think this definitely portrays Edward in the Spike stalker way since I think most of Buffy's eyeroll scenes were toward that particular vamp. I don't think she was ever as exasperated with Angel after the first couple of episodes. Just saying.
Also, it's getting a bit shippy in here, but I think this definitely portrays Edward in the Spike stalker way since I think most of Buffy's eyeroll scenes were toward that particular vamp. I don't think she was ever as exasperated with Angel after the first couple of episodes. Just saying.
DeathIsYourGift | July 04, 05:15 CET




Shippy? how about strrrretch-y? ;)

[ edited by Shey on 2009-07-04 10:16 ]
OMG! It's brilliant. It must have took a lot of effort to pick lines from all seven seasons of Buffy. I just wish he used some color correction to fix up the continuity a bit in some places.
luv4whedon, thank you! ITA Romeo and Juliet WERE idiots!! So were Cathy and Heathcliff and half a dozen other supposedly "romantic" iconic relationships. It drive me nuts and only reinforces girls find unhealthy relationship behaviors "romantic" in the formative years and many never recover.

I read all the books and I kept thinking Bella was going to grow, and she not only didn't evolve, she devolved as the books go one. She increasing abdicated her responsibility as the books went on. And the horrible thing was she was rewarded. Any "moral" aspects of the story presented was terribly twisted and I doubt any teen girl in the throes of hormones would be able to sort through all the unhealthy mess to find the the tiny gem of something positive.

Buffy showed a girl coming of age in exactly the same time frame and it showed her flawed making mistakes, idealistic first love with creepy {and Angel was always creepy, good or bad version} guy, but Buffy never gave up her responsibility. And she grew and learned from the experience, even then she still faltered but she kept moving. Buffy was more real than Bella ever thought of being. Buffy was flawed, made mistakes, bad decisions and we never saw her sort out a healthy romantic relationship but she was still a tremendous role model not for just teen girl but teen boys as well. Buffy taught not just teen but everyone what it was to be independent {but still have help and friends} and responsible, and even if you fail to keep moving and not dwell on you faults but try and do the best you can.

Bella's big claim to fame seems to be she didn't sleep with her boyfriend before marriage but that was his choice, not hers.

I'm sorry to the people that like Twilight. I have no problems with an adult woman to use it as some guilty pleasure fantasy but I truly believe it's damaging to young people's perspective.
It drive me nuts and only reinforces girls find unhealthy relationship behaviors "romantic" in the formative years and many never recover.

I see this idea stated as fact a lot but is there any real evidence that reading such books influences girls' ideas about relationships in adulthood? It just reads very moral panic to me.
In my experience -- as both a teacher and as someone not that far removed from teen-hood myself -- teenagers can be influenced by anything. That said, they aren't totally lacking in free will. What is perhaps a bit more plausible is that they'll use their influences as excuses to do what they already wanted to do. Countless foolish love affairs have been justified in the minds of the participants by invoking Romeo and Juliet (who at least were equal-opportunity idiots... and if we teachers did a better job of teaching it the kids would see that R+J are presented as helpless victims of something rather unfortunate, not something wonderful).

So my fear is not that teenage girls will say, "Oh, Twilight's so awesome, let's all go find older guys to stalk us" -- I'm afraid that they'll use Twilight as mental justifications for unacceptable behavior. "Oh, well, my boyfriend's getting really stalkerish and possessive -- but Edward acted the same way to Bella and he LUUUUVS her, so it's okay, my boyfriend's just controlling me for my own good."

Girls (and some guys) get in abusive relationships all too easily, and it takes a lot of strength (such as they might learn from some other story, for example...) to say, "No more." If there's a social problem with what Meyer has written, above simply bad writing, it's that she may have given the victims in those relationships another reason to stay instead of leave.
I see this idea stated as fact a lot but is there any real evidence that reading such books influences girls' ideas about relationships in adulthood? It just reads very moral panic to me.

Jeez Sunfire, whaddya hate children or something ? ;). Personally I think it might influence someone's idea of what their first, maybe second relationship should be like and then the reality becomes all too apparent (and as it turns out windswept moors play a relatively minor part).

That said, it's surely undeniable that we're partly formed by the culture we grow up in so it seems reasonable to assume that people are influenced to some extent by what they see and read, it's just the depths hidden within the phrase "to some extent" that makes it a hard question to answer. Probably impossible in fact since the powers that be are so tetchy about raising children under laboratory conditions. Anti-science fascists.

(and congrats on becoming blue BTW ;)

What is perhaps a bit more plausible is that they'll use their influences as excuses to do what they already wanted to do.

Yeah, that rings true for me. People can be enabled by fiction I reckon, they can use it as justification for doing what they already want to do (or, perhaps unhealthily, are attracted towards) but I doubt that reading/watching the "Twilight" stuff is going to have hordes of otherwise normal teenage girls growing up to believe that being stalked is how romance is supposed to work. Apart from anything else they have plenty of "plucky single mums" or "struggling career women" to influence them the other way.
If ever a topic could use your input. Nice to see you around.
Ultimately it's just nature vs nurture, we should have it licked in a couple of hours I reckon. Ahem.
Well, it's not just nature/nurture, is it? It's also how important a part a work of fiction really plays in the nurturing. The Twilight phenom doesn't thrill me, but I'm around teenage girls all the time, and I don't think swooning over Edward has turned them into shrinking violets.

You've been missed, Saje!
Maybe it's just the relative proportions between the various nurturing inputs that is important. I mean "They" always say that no matter what goes on around a kid, the parents are the biggest influence in a child's life. Of course if the parents (or some other acceptable substitute) aren't really available... well,vacuums will be filled.

My vacuums were filled by books. I have always thought that I brought myself up by using books. Of course, they were mostly books with adventures and heroic quests and as many female characters that I could find...so who knows?

My 13 year old niece loves those Twilight books, but I'm not really worried about her. She has great parents. I am however tempted to tweak her by wearing an "...and then Buffy staked Edward. The end" t-shirt. Does that make me like, twelve?

Welcome back, Saje!
I mean "They" always say that no matter what goes on around a kid, the parents are the biggest influence in a child's life.

I dunno "they" don't all say that (linkage). Can't offer much in the way of evidence myself though (not a parent though I am a peer. And been "peer"ed at for that matter). And ta BTW ;).

And I know what you mean re: books BreathesStory, I genuinely believe the way I saw the world at an early age was altered by what I was reading BUT i'm not convinced my world-view was substantially formed by one single author/novel/series. Though it could be I just wasn't that "in" to a single author/novel/series.

Well, it's not just nature/nurture, is it? It's also how important a part a work of fiction really plays in the nurturing.

OK, with the fiction thing added in it might take an extra couple of hours. So 1:00 am max. If we solve it early we can start on the Middle East.
I recall my sister's friends in the late 80s reading Virginia Andrews (incest) and Sweet Valley High (same romantic plot every book) when they were in their early teens. They grew up alright and I'm sure girls who read Twilight will do the same.
I blame reading Lord of The Rings at 12 for my geekdom. It warped me terribly for life.
I could never finish LOTR but I did read 1984 at an early age. I wore my first copy to bits and had to buy another edition a couple of years ago. Never had to do that with any other book.
1984 was interesting but not the kind of thing I would read for fun or would want to re-read very often.

Wuthering Heights, which someone mentioned upthread as another terrible set of role models, came across as really weird and got a bit mocked in class when I read it in school. A friend of mine used to re-enact the end of this scene from the movie over and over, because it was so over the top it became kind of hilarious.
Wow, no one has ever called me on "moral panic" before. LOL I think there is plenty of evidence things we read and see as young people shape our later behavior. Perhaps I misspoke, perhaps as said above such role models only reinforce behavior the kids already are leaning towards and use it as justification. But that doesn't seem all that much different to me? Is every child who thought Bronte wrote great healthy romance scarred and never able to make a healthy connection romantically, certainly not. But I do see a LOT of woman who are just not happy if their relationships aren't ripe with angst. They learned it somewhere. I'm sure some people are born with a sensitivity to heighten emotional states or have the urge to want someone to take care of them and not have to make decisions for themselves. I just don't like books or TV shows that help them shape those feelings into unhealthy behaviors. I don't I think these books should be censored by any stretch. But it does upset me to see the 3, count them 3, shrines for Twilight series in my local bookstore while the tons of really great Urban Fantasy written for YA are hidden in the back bookshelves or aren't even stocked.

Oh and sunfire, I was the one that mentioned Wuthering Heights in the same post that got me called on moral panic :D

[ edited by Vinity on 2009-07-06 01:51 ]
Reading Dune at age 13 (and the subsequent dozen times I read it) probably shaped my life more than any one single person/event/other influence ever. Even my parents.
Well, I can't say that I was influenced by any one series. I read everything I could get my hands on and was introduced rather late to speculative fiction, unless you count the Narnia books--which I think I memorized.

I was a weird kid I think. At the age of twelve-thirteen I was also devouring Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle, Dumas, and Gone With The Wind. So far I haven't turned into a murderer, a private detective with scientific leanings, a swashbuckler, or a self-centered bitch.

However, I do think that those books might have influenced my sense of justice and started me thinking about good and evil in a meaningful way. I also fell in love with Abbe Faria's ideas about learning/knowledge which have influenced me up to this day. The Count of Monte Cristo is still on my "favorite fiction top ten list."

I don't think any of those stories are going to have the key to solving the Middle East problem though.

I do also remember reading the first V.C. Andrews book and I remember mostly thinking?/realizing? that the world was not very black and white and that people did indeed hurt their own family members and that bad things happened to little kids--only I don't think I was able to put it quite so clearly as that.

If I was to point to one set of books that influenced my idea of a suitable romantic man however... That would be Zane Grey hands down. I found them in the basement when I was ten? eleven? and even though there was more than enough heaving bosoms, what I really remember were the people, both men and women, trying to live up to a high set of ideals and standards. And the women were active. They did things and excelled at them--at least until they got together with "the guy" and then they sort of degenerated into cookie cutter, wimpy, bores. (I just sort of ignored that part though.) I find them a bit laughable now, but they were a big influence.
Everything Vinty and ManEnoughToAdmitIt said. (Wow, did that save me a lot of typing. ;)

I read everything Ayn Rand wrote when I was seventeen, and it took me years to totally get over it. It "gave me permission" to be utterly selfish and lacking in compassion for those less fortunate. It turned me into a little Social Darwinist for about a year.
But then again, I did get over it.

The message in Twilight is still male dominance/supremacy, and it's hard for a feminist like me, to see the impressionable young girls lapping up that garbage.
I personally think it's religious propaganda on the part of the author, which pisses me off even more.
Saje - the Dollhouse gave you back your memory! Good to hear from you again.
The sloping roof, the stuffiness, the boxes of old Christmas decorations ... Of course, i've been in the attic all along ! ;)

As I say, no single book/author/series had that big an effect on me (though '1984' was a pretty big one for me too) but sci-fi in general along with detective fiction probably contributed to me seeing the world along rational lines (I don't think you were that weird a kid BreathesStory ;). Both genres kinda take it as read that things make sense on some level, even if it's sometimes hard/impossible to actually find out how.

And then there's non-fiction of course (was very taken by "The Armchair Universe" by AK Dewdney as a teen for instance and i'd bet there's a path from there to IT if I were to look. Stephen Jay Gould's essays also featured largely in the 80s for me and 'The Selfish Gene' was a "big" book for me around then too).

And films and TV contributed a lot too so Doctor Who, Columbo, Wargames and too many others to mention all led to the current me (so yeah, it's all Matthew Broderick's fault).
OhMyMe. I've been all whedonesque-absenty myself recently due to life & stuff and now come back to find the Gift of the Saje.

Welcome back, mate. The twin stars of sanity & erudition twinkle once again today...tonight. Whatever.
Jeez QG, you make me want to read more and/or be saner (ta, in other words ;).
Let's see... big non-fiction influences... Emerson definitely tops the list. I discovered him at about fourteen-ish? and I still haven't digested the man. He's the one that I read when I'm feeling down. I find him provocatively energizing.

As far as film goes...the first/forth? Star Wars was HUGE for me followed closely by Kung Fu which I saw in reruns. It was my very first exposure to eastern thought and kicked off a love that persists to this day. (And if they would ever release the original cut I'd buy the bloody thing!) All those courses in Chinese History (I was an art major. ;)), the fascination with tea and Buddhism, the obsession with anime (BLEACH RULES!)...all David Carradine's fault.
I feel the need to respond to my own post.
Bella IS a character I related to...when I was a teenager. That's probably why I read the first book to begin with, I remember feeling the "can't wait to see him at school, oh wow, he touched my hand" stuff. I was a teenager once, I get that. However, Buffy was my role model, she was the character I looked to while in high school; I wished I were that strong. I think someone else said it in this thread; Bella is who I was and Buffy is who I wanted to be. I think the main reason I get so heated about Twilight is that it tells girls it's ok to get lost in throws of first love even if the guy you're with is abusive. I continued to read, even whilst knowing it was poorly written, because I wanted Bella to stand up for herself, wanted her to realize all the mean in her life sucked (some literally). But, she didn't. The author basically said Bella should suck it up and let the men continue being abusive; she's just a human/woman, she doesn't understand what it's like to be supernatural/man. I don't think Twilight should be banned from the market, there are LOTS of other horrid books that promote anti-feminist values. However, I do hope that the ubber fans eventually find other works of fiction, may it be books, movies, poety, ect.. that offer them some levity.
I still stand by my Twilight Sucks opinion and wish it wasn't so popular. But, if I'm being truly honest with myself, I understand the appeal for teenagers and those who remember being a teenage girl, I just don't like it!

To add my two cents about what I read as a kid = Goosebumps, RL Stine books, The Saddle Club, The Babysitter's Club, The Thoroughbred Farm and some Sweet Vally High.

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