Twilight sucks — let me count the ways
November 24, 2009
BY ADI JONES
The Twilight phenomenon is widely accepted but not necessarily understood. The popular books, written By Stephanie Meyer, have very quickly built up a cult-like fan base. Complete with swooning teens (and even some swooning mothers of teens), squealing and screaming fans and even some pushing and hair pulling at the recent midnight premiere of the second movie installment, “New Moon.” The Beatles and Elvis for the 21st century.
The series is based around the relationship between a human and a vampire that craves her blood. It has your basic man-falls-in-love-with-a-woman-they-can’t-be-together- they-are-together-anyway-the-relationship-faces-prejudice-and-they-fight-through-it-and-end-up-living-happily-ever-after, blah blah blah. Granted, this is not the whole reason why the books are so popular. There are actually two reasons: Edward Cullen and Jacob Black.
If you aren’t familiar with these characters, all you have to imagine is two very beautiful men fighting over the same woman and you pretty much have the whole premise of “New Moon.” Jacob Black is a werewolf that falls in love with Bella. However Bella is taken by a vampire named Edward Cullen.(Starting to get the idea?)Now vampires and werewolves have long been fierce enemies.
But when Edward leaves in “New Moon”, Jacob has an open opportunity to woo Bella Swan. Yet Bella is so heartbroken over Edward she is having none of it. She just wants to be friends, while Jacob wants more, again, very predictable. So you are probably wondering, and with good cause, “Why are these books so popular? And why has this movie broken all of the opening weekend records?”
Jacob Black and Edward Cullen are the perfect men. They are loyal and loving and totally devoted. They say all the right things and do all the right things. But unlike all other romance novels, they don’t have sex. In fact, Edward and Bella wait until they are married before they are together in a sexual manner. This basic idea of chastity and waiting is what makes the reader keep reading. Now it may sound odd but it’s true. Stephanie Meyer writes scenes where Bella and Edward kiss, but cuts it short as soon as it starts getting too steamy. The reader is almost disappointed, but the implication of the characters going further is what makes them turn the page. They are just itching for more.
Now some more die hard “Twilight” fans would argue with me. Saying that they love the way that the books are written and how the characters are portrayed. And for a few this is true. But the novels are nothing to be enthralled with. They are good reads sure, but they are the kind of books that you borrow from the library all at once, read through them in one weekend and be done with it. They are very basic romance novels. With a little action and conflict sprinkled throughout. However, they are simply that–romance novels, basic and mostly uncreative.
So, if these novels are so basic, where does the novelty come in? Why are these books such a huge deal? Why are these movies making as many millions as they are? They have a very basic story line and yet they have a following that is as big or bigger than the Harry Potter fan base And J.K. Rowling wrote a series that set the bar high for wizard stories.
So, if this dull and overused storyline is making millions, what does it all say about our culture? Are we so easily amused by bargain basement “true love” that we will choose it over the classics? Isn’t true love from the eyes of Shakespeare or Emily Dickinson more valuable than from the eyes of an author of the 21st century? Will Stephanie Meyer be remembered 400 years from now? To be, or not to be? In this case, that is definitely the question.
Freelance writer Adi Jones divides her time between Morro Bay and Eureka.