Friday, June 13, 2014

A Rant : Just lay off of Twilight already!

I was over on Facebook (regretfully) where a friend posed an interesting question about artist as "artists" or as "career professionals". There was some really interesting conversation going on, thoughts on branding came up as well as making art you love versus making art for monetary gain and not passion. And then, of course, an idiot has to jump in...you know, because it's Facebook and everyone, even the most intelligent people, seem to lose their damn minds. And she says, "I agree that the ideal is to be both. For me the difference is that Michael Ondaatje is an artist. Stephanie Meyer is a career professional." Ugh, just ugh. A quick, one-liner that has nothing to do with the conversation at hand and more to do with belittling Stephanie Meyer YET AGAIN! (In case you didn't know, Michael Ondaatje is a novelist and poet.)

I felt that the comment about Ondaatje vs Meyer was not only completely irrelevant to the beautiful conversation at hand but also so fucking obviously trite that I find it hard to believe any intelligent person is still making the comment!

This all happened while a visiting friend was packing up and getting ready to hit the road. I, as I do, called the woman an ass and an idiot and told her she provided nothing to the conversation. My friend laughed instead of calling me an asshole. Whatever. I don't do well on social media. I should avoid that shit...or just remain unapologetic about calling people idiots. As I walked my friend to her car, I started ranting about "Twilight" and Stephenie Meyer and using social media to interject with comments irrelevant to the discussion and being a judgy asshole about art. (I ended up deleting all my comments because...whatever. I have issues with social media, even when I feel justified in calling out someone.)

Because what the commenter didn't say is that she felt Stephenie Meyer produced art consumable for the masses for the sole purpose of making money and not because Meyer was pursuing her art. And for reals, no one can argue that. I mean, we can all argue the merit of Meyer's work (and most people think there is none) but we can't really argue why she made the work. The rest of the discussion was about why artists choose to make commercial art or if making art to make money makes someone a "career professional" instead of an artist. No one had brought up two artists and decided that one artist's work had more worth because it was "good art" and therefore defined them. And while I do think there is another discussion there about "good art" versus "bad art" and how "good art" may or may not make money but "bad art" might make money...we weren't talking about that. Hence, calling her an idiot, because she wasn't adding anything to the discussion.

As I walked my friend to the car, I went into a massive rant. Because honestly, I am SO TIRED of hearing everyone bash Stephanie Meyer. I read "The Twilight Saga," and I ENJOYED it. I recognized as I was reading the books that they were not the best books of all time, but I don't spend my days reading Shakespeare and Chaucer and shun everything else for not being good enough. I read all kinda things for all kinda reasons, even if they are young adult novels with a poor plot and pathetic character development. Sometimes, a book is entertainment and it doesn't have to be the best written thing ever. Furthermore, "The Twilight Saga" brought a lot of young women to reading a long series and created a role model for those young women. Meyer doesn't have to create "good art" to be a good role model for young women in America.

But also, I have argued and will continue to argue that "The Twilight Saga" has merit in the larger vampire genre. And here is why:

  • Sparkly vampires : I know, right? THE WORST. But you should know that "Dracula" didn't define vampirism and that vampirism in folklore never laid out rules for what a vampire is. But in terms of the mythology of vampires, one thing comes up often : that vampires are the most beautiful creatures ever and also that their skin becomes hard like marble (or something similar). So if you consider that human skin has pores and that the surface of the skin has hardened, it's not hard to imagine that pores could refract light and sparkle. It's certainly a new twist on the sunlight problem, a twist I had never heard before. I still don't know why it pisses everyone off. Maybe because we view vampires as extremely masculine and this gave them a feminine element? Or maybe because geeks just decided vampires had to be a specific way? I don't know. Personally, I found Meyer's solution to the daylight problem a very interesting one.
  • The Volturi : Though Meyer didn't spend a ton of time going into the history and heirarchy of The Volturi, I found her creation of a vampire royalty to be very interesting. I liked that vampires created their own laws within what they perceived to be their own society. Vampires believed they were set apart enough from humans to have laws specific to them and to have created law enforcement. I mean, this could go very far in terms of literature...even bringing up governments against each other, independent vampire states, and so on. The Volturi was a good idea, and I think it was an interesting part of Meyer's universe.
  • The "Werewolves" : So, on the surface, "The Twilight Saga" can look like werewolves against vampires, but that's not what it is. Readers learn very near the end (or at the very end) that the Quileute Tribe werewolves actually had the power to shape-shift into whatever animal they desired at their first turn. But because the Quileute's keep their shape-shifting a secret and don't speak about it enough, the children who begin shifting tend to do what everyone else does. Furthermore, all of the telepathy within the pack, the confusion about the girl who became a shifter, the idea of protecting something you don't understand for the sake of what your ancestors did, and the relationships that suffer or thrive because of this situation...anyway, it was all interesting. It wasn't really developed well because Meyer was busy writing about a love story between teenagers who had stopped growing as human beings...nevertheless, the ideas where there. The Quileute Tribe offered a lot to consider within the entire supernatural realm.
Honestly, I could go on. But typing this out has helped me come out of my ranting head space. All I'm saying is this : Stop dissing "The Twilight Saga" just because you're dissing "The Twilight Saga". If you don't have anything new to add and you're just throwing your judgment around in order to make fun of Stephenie Meyer, then just stop. It's not interesting. It's not intelligent. You're not cool. In fact, you just sound like a douchebag. But if you really want to talk about vampirism and shape-shifters and what Meyers brought to the genre, well then I'm definitely interested. Because that could be a great conversation about the genre, and I'm into it. And for fuck's sake, when are we all going to learn to stop being total douchebags on social media?! I mean, NOBODY likes it!

4 comments:

  1. Honestly, before I ever saw the movies or knew what the storyline was about, I wasn't interested in either the books or the movies. But somehow I ended up seeing the movie, and I was hooked. I had to see the second and the third, and now I plan to maybe start reading the books on deployment. It all depends on how I'm feeling at the time, but, yeah, I want to read the books. As far as arguing about how vampires are suppose to be and how the storyline is told, I think it's perfect the way it is. I happen to like Stephanie Meyer's interpretation. -Jess L

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    1. I actually think the movies are comedies and poor representations of the books. Some things that I wanted emphasized aren't and of course, not everything is in them. But really, they're just good entertainment. Not every book has to be THE BEST. And if you liked the movies, you'll definitely like the books!

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  2. I've never seen the movies and I have no interest, only because I've seen Kristen Stewart in other movies before and her acting bugs the crap out of me, plus I've watched enough clips to know that I would probably just end up making fun of them. However, I'm interested in reading the books. As far as the artist/career thing goes, I think that making a career out of your art is hard as hell, and anyone who doesn't have an intense passion for the art they're producing shouldn't be doing it. Therefore, I think that anyone who has become successful with their creative work (in this case, writing) probably loves it, and isn't that all that matters? Whether or not it's "good" is relative.

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    1. Yeah, don't bother with the movies. All the annoyingness of Kristen Stewart is magnified by a billion. But read the books. They're so much better than the movies and so fun!

      Also, I totally agree with you. I doubt someone could sit down and write an epic story that spans several novels is doing it for the money. Because...I mean, how do you know you're even going to make money of that, right? And also, yes, "good" is relative. Totally.

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