Vampire Family Values

Understanding the massive appeal of The Twilight Saga: New Moon

It’s exhilarating to finally find a genre movie that knows how to pander. The Twilight Saga: New Moon opens with Bella Swan (Kristin Stewart) looking windblown in a barely-buttoned shirt; it moves quickly to show us bare-chested Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), and ends with the dreamy declaration from vampire-lover Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) that all the girls have been waiting for. Add in a romantic triangle as Jacob and Edward vie for Bella, a heavy dose of angst, some unrequited (and fully requited) love, and it’s no wonder the preview audience I viewed this with kept bursting into spontaneous applause and sighs.

Vampire trappings and soap-worthy love triangles are all very well and good, but the heart of the Twilight series isn’t cheesecake or melodrama: It’s safety. Author Stephanie Meyer, just like her characters, is consumed by fear. All her creations are worrywarts: Edward is terrified that he’ll hurt Bella, Jacob is terrified that he’ll hurt Bella, Bella is terrified that everyone will get hurt defending her.

But this fear also manifests itself in an odd, and never fully confronted, fear of aging. At the opening of New Moon, both the book and the movie, Bella has a vision of herself as a grandmother—a vision that she experiences as terrifying.

Bella is so adverse to aging that she tries to get her friends and family to ignore her 18th birthday. More dramatically, she begs Edward to turn her into a vampire at every opportunity. But is this because Bella doesn’t wish to grow old while Edward remains forever young, or is it because Edward’s immortality is itself so appealing?

If Edward represents agelessness as a perfect fantasy, Jacob Black represents aging as a horror-film disaster. As you almost certainly know from advance publicity (and if you don’t, here comes the spoiler,) Jacob discovers partway through the film that he’s a werewolf. Lycanthropy, as it turns out, is adolescence on steroids. Jacob loses control of his emotions, grows hair where he shouldn’t, starts hanging out with the wrong crowd, and begins thinking so loudly that all his friends can hear him.

In choosing between Jacob and Edward, Bella is choosing between growing up, with all its dangers and messy unpredictability, and staying a faery child, forever young and lifeless. In the end (here’s another spoiler), without much of a fight, she opts for immortality. Thus, the Twilight series isn’t so much a coming-of-age story as a refusing-to-come-of-age story.

It’s easy to make fun of that. When the film showed a dream-image of Bella as a future fantasy vampire, running besides Edward with her magical fairy dust vampire skin all sparkly in the sun, the mostly enthusiastic preview audience erupted in derisive laughter. The desire for eternal youth is childish. And kind of embarrassing.

But there’s also something natural, even conservative about it. In the age of Obama, it’s generally assumed that young people are progressive, but Twilight is here to tell you that isn’t necessarily so. The desire for safety and sameness, the reluctance to change, the wish for some father figure—like Edward’s vampire dad Carlisle—to come and fix everything, that’s appealing.

Indeed, one of the series’ oddest and most telling creations is Edward’s family, a group of coupled-up vampires who refer to each other as sisters and brothers and call Carlisle “dad.” In the Cullen household, you can get married without growing up or leaving home. The domestic idyll he offers is surely as much a part of Edward’s faery charm as is his ability to remain forever 17. And that’s not even mentioning Twilight’s obsession with abstinence. Edward won’t have sex with Bella because (of course) he’s afraid of hurting her with his super-vampire bedroom antics.

Meyer may be promoting family values of a sort with the books, but she’s also promoting tolerance. In the movie, Jacob—the muscled wolf-man running with the all-male pack—insists that his new existence is not a “lifestyle choice” but that he was “born this way.” Judging by the giggles in the theater, the gay subtext couldn’t have been much clearer. Nor could the moral of the story when Bella accepts Jacob for who he is despite the secrets hiding in his closet. She does something similar with Edward, insisting that her vampiric true love has a soul even though Edward believes himself to be damned.

New Moon thus holds out the promise of life and love for all God’s children, whether tween and swooning, closeted and hairy, or angst-ridden and pale. It’s not a new vision, but it remains a popular one.

Noah Berlatsky is a Chicago-based writer whose work appears in Comics Journal, The Chicago Reader, and other outlets. He blogs at The Hooded Utilitarian.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Buffy's never around when you need her.

  • ||

    The Twilight Saga: New Moon opens with Bella Swan (Kristin Stewart) looking windblown in a barely-buttoned shirt; it moves quickly to show us bare-chested Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner)[...]

    It reads like a romance novel, except in this case, the characters are even less interesting...

  • ||

    If you've ever been unfortunate enough to read an excerpt from the novels themselves, they're even worse than that, if you can believe it.

    I'm in my twenties, and women my age and older freaking out over Twilight is just sad. I'm embarrassed for my demographic.

  • ||

    I'm in my twenties

    How you doin'?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Man, Guardian of Secret Dreams is so much more, uh, worthwhile than "Tweelight".

  • ||

    Wow guys. We're really reaching for material today, eh?

  • ed||

    This is what $55K buys. Congratulations. Free minds, markets and romance novels/movies.

  • ||

    Yeah, this is what a Reason donation gets ya--A review of some gay movie.

  • ||

    After my wife gets off of work tonight she is dragging me to see this piece of shit. She claims that since I drag her to movies that she has no interest in seeing (Inglorious basterds, Section 9, Zombie Land being 3 of my last few choices) that she gets to pick a movie every once in while.....fucking bullshit. I looked online and it is listed as lasting for around 2 hours, fucking shit. Maybe I will get lucky and our car will flip over on the way to the movie or something.

  • ||

    Dump her. You can do better.

  • Episiarch||

    Chicks don't understand that chick movies are infinitely more painful to guys than guy movies are painful for chicks. Like, exponentially more painful.

  • ||

    For going to a Twilight movie, you get to pick the next 124 movies. That should even it up.

  • MARY STACK||

    Episiarch, You know how both men and chicks feel because of a sex change?

  • ||

    And here I was, thinking Warty is the resident H&R hermaphrodite.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Uh, but Inglorious Basterds was a really great movie. I don't think you necessarily have to be a man to enjoy it.

  • MNG||

    I lost faith in my fellow man's movie acumen when 2012 raked it in last week.

  • Lord Jubjub||

    2012 was billed as destruction porn. I doubt the audience was expecting anything better.

  • JB||

    One cool scene about art, but Knowing was better.

  • ed||

    I lost faith in my fellow man's movie acumen when 2012 raked it in

    Not until then? How old are you...seven?

  • anon||

    The message of Twilight is stick with your abusive, stalker, pedophile boyfriend long enough and you'll have a fairy tale ending. It sends a terrible message to impressionable tweeners.

  • JB||

    Shrug. Keeps them away from the rest of us.

  • ||

    Tweens are funny.

    Me and my friend went to see American Ninja 2 when it came out and had a great time.

    I suspect the Twilight series is just American Ninja for the other gender.

  • ||

    My brother thought Michael Dudikoff was the universe's Supreme Badass until we were in junior high (I believe he was supplanted by Tony Hawk). Good times.

    And you're probably right, but girls can think ninjas are cool without any blowback. Any man who likes sparkly emo vampires is probably sorting through some issues.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I always thought Boba Fett was the embodiment of badassery. Dude didn't have to say shit.

  • Library Desk Graffiti||

    only reason I even know a little about star wars. that dude can't be topped

  • Dave||

    If vampires could survive in the sunlight, how would any humans beings still be walking around free?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Drive that wooden stake of logic right through the heart of their twisted mythology, brother!

  • Chadwyck||

    Dracula could go out in the daylight in the original novel by Bram Stoker

  • hmm||

    I have to go see Twilight on Sunday with my mentee. Saturday night I have to go see 2012 in the "rumbly seat" theater with my wife and a couple of her coworkers. TV engineer nerds can be loads of fun, seeing a shitty movie with them is like repeated blows to the head with a wiffle ball bat.

    Suicide by spork is lookin' pretty good at this point.

  • charcoal||

    I'd much rather watch a zombie flick or a "guy" movie (which I'm always having to drag my husband to) than suffer through another Twilight movie. However, there is a sick excitement to having a boyfriend that could rip your throat out at his whim.

  • JB||

    You must date some womanly men.

  • ||

    it's all a cover to gain more mormon converts.

    interesting note, in the final book, the chick is pregnant with a vampire baby that is killing her from the inside. but she can't deliver it because its made an ultra powerful protective device, so she asks her boyfriend edward to BITE HER WOMB open and bring the baby to life. then the wolfman falls in love with it.

    that's all fucking true and weird.

  • ||

    Yeah, things kind of go off the rails somewhat catastrophically in the fourth book. It is genuinely perverse though. I appreciate that about it.

  • 2999||

    WTF?!?!??

    Please be trolling!

  • ||

    no dude, read it on wikipedia... I thought it was fake at first but confirmed with my friend who is stupid enough to read it.

  • ||

    "The message of Twilight is stick with your abusive, stalker, pedophile boyfriend long enough and you'll have a fairy tale ending. It sends a terrible message to impressionable tweeners."

    Lots of people say this. There's something to it, certainly — but I think it's mostly off base. The whole point of Edward is not that he's a dangerous stalker, but that he's completely safe — to the extent that he won't even engage in heavy petting, much less sex. Futhermore, the books are actually pretty clear that when Edward acts like a crazed stalker, he's being a dick, and needs to quit it. For instance, when he's being controlling and won't let her see Jacob in the third volume, Bella tells him in no uncertain terms that he needs to quit it, and that's exactly what he does. That seems like a pretty good for tween girl relationships, as these things go.

    I don't get the visceral hatred people have for the books and films. As chick flicks go, this was a lot more fun than most romantic comedies I've seen. The books are in my opinion pretty solidly superior to Harry Potter. I mean, neither books or movies are my favorite or anything, but they're competently done and I can certainly see the appeal.

    Probably people don't care and just want to bitch, but if you're interested, my blog review of the first Twilight film is here

  • ||

    I agree with Dagny. I can understand a bunch of middle school girls getting in a tizzy over it, I don't understand anyone over 20 having that much of an interest.

    As a guy trying to find a decent girl to spend some time in a coffee shop with, it's discouraging.

    I don't like criticizing something when I haven't read it myself, but it's not very high on my list of priorities.

  • ||

    As someone well over twenty, I found the characters interesting and engaging, and the heartbreak and relationships touching. Meyer also has the obsessive geek thing going; she's good about setting up all the vampires' different powers and then working through the plot taking account of all of the givens.

    If it doesn't interest you, don't read it, certainly. And if you don't want to criticize it without reading it, just don't do that either.

  • Episiarch||

    Dude, you are an infinitely better troll than anyone seems to realize. Well done.

    (If you're serious you need to seek help, immediately. Maybe start reading some Burroughs Tarzan or something. Or just get a sex change, because I don't think you're in the right body.)

  • ||

    I disagree with your prescription there, Dr. E. I think what he needs is some Pratchett. He's got fairy-tale on the brain.

  • Some Poster||

    I second that one. Pratchett writes some of the best modern fantasy.

  • ||

    The point is that Twilight is in our discussion because it's relevant. Pratchett (who is a good writer but no Philip K Dick) isn't exactly part of the mainstream dialogue. That doesn't mean his writing is bad, but a long discourse on Pratchett's work would leave most people scratching their heads.

    The numbers Twilight is bringing in indicate it can't be just 'tweens' that are supporting. In fact, there are a many 30-something adults at my work that are going to it. It simply makes sense to me that Berlatsky would write this very nice review.

    BTW - for all you haters out there, why did you even click on the link in the first place????

  • ||

    I like plenty of stuff for guys, thanks. It's cute that you care though; very sweet. Mwaaaah.

  • ReAnimator||

    I recommend Tim Dorsey, at least if you're into something on the chaotic side. It'd be a pretty big departure from Twilight.

  • ||

    Haven't read Tim Dorsey; I'll keep my eye out for it.

    Read tons of Terry Pratchett back in the day though. Got bored with it eventually, but certainly enjoyed the 10 or so books I read.

  • ||

    Generally, if teenage girls mob the bookstore for it, I would make a good guess that it's below my preferred reading level. I'm not trying to be elitist, just making a comment on the current educational standards of the average teenager.

    I've read snippets, and just from those, there is plenty to criticize.

    I think fiction writers such as Dumas, Orwell, Heinlein, Orson Scott Card etc have much more to offer than a teenage girl's wet dream.

    I think you're looking for some kind of moral in a book that's just a soap opera in print.

  • ||

    I've read all those folks. And yet, somehow, that doesn't mean I have to hate either teenage girls or the books they read.

    I like that you included Heinlein just to show how uninterested you are in wet dreams of any sort. Nicely done.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Well done, Mr. Berlatsky. Nice tie-in to that article about unclassifiable (as far as genre) literature.

    Incidentally, have you seen Tommy Wiseau's "The Room"?

  • MARY STACK||

    James free advice: But the damn book and whip it out every time you see someone you are interested in (the book only). I promise, you will be found.

  • ||

    Mary,

    I appreciate the help, but most of the girls who would find me are exactly the ones I'm trying to avoid.

  • not the real jb||

    LOL

    Seriously... LOL.

    My degree in French Lit has turned me into a book snob. I thought Harry Potter was mostly trash, but Twilight was seriously the worst book I have every read.

    I'm not talking about the story, I'm talking about the writing. I shudder to every read something like that again.

  • Hacha Cha||

    I was forced to watch the first twilight movie when I was with my ex. she loved it even though she usually hates vampire movies. I hated it even though I usually like vampire movies (though usually of the Nosferatu, Lugosi, Hammer type). its for little teen girls and it sucked big time in my opinion. I hear Benicio Del Toro is doing a remake of the Wolf Man, that might be worth watching but I will never watch the Twilight sequels. its shit-tastic teen garbage.

  • Hacha Cha||

    oh and if I go to see any movie any time soon it would probably be the Men Who Stare At Goats, looks like it could be funny.

  • ||

    I enjoyed Men Who Stare At Goats much, much less than the Twilight movies. But your mileage will vary, of course.

  • gribblefitz||

    I read the first book, "Twilight", to see what the fuss was about. Basically it's porn for chicks, setting up a totally unrealistic character that appeals to all their fantasies (Bella finds that Edward - this perfect guy - isn't even the slightest bit interested in the other girls, but nonetheless all the other girls get to have decent boyfriends of their own - how nice and tidy! Bella gets her man AND gets to feel good about all her girl friends having beaus too).

    That said, whether intended or not there is definitely a subtext of pedophilia in Edward's concern about harming Bella accidentally. I don't know the author's intent, but I suspect that this is part of what makes the books and films so appealing to tweens who find themselves in a culture which has made it taboo for older men to love them, but still find themselves attracted to older men and wanting to be loved by them.

    Vampire stories have traditionally had a strong element of dealing with sexual taboos, and nothing today is more taboo in western cultures than intergenerational relationships. Whether Ms. Meyers intended this or stumbled across it is difficult to say, but it is present in her works AND in every other successful vampire story in the past decade.

  • ||

    The books really don't care all that much about Bella's girlfriends. Most of them aren't even really her friends, per se; she doesn't like them all that much. And I don't think they all get paired off successfully in any case.

    The appeal of Edward is that he's older, wiser, and dangerous *but* also younger and completely harmless. People like to focus on the first bit of that, but the second is at least as important. The sexual taboos are there to be defanged, and it's the defanging that's the fetish, not the taboo. That's why vampire fans often hate these books; they really are doing something different with the mythos.

    Also, intergenerational relationships are not the most taboo relationship in Western cultures. That award goes to bestiality — which, of course, Twilight also flirts with.

  • vegetation||

    intergenerational relationships are not the most taboo relationship in Western cultures. That award goes to bestiality

    Meanwhile, we suffer in silence.

  • vegetation||

    intergenerational relationships are not the most taboo relationship in Western cultures. That award goes to bestiality

    Meanwhile, we suffer in silence.

  • vegetation||

    rape that squirrel

  • JB||

    You trees really need to keep it in your forests.

  • ||

    Fuck that chicken!

  • kiyo||

    The ongoing issue of Edward and Bella having "rough sex," and him hurting her during intimacy, smacks of rape fantasy on Bella's part.

  • That Son-of-a-Bitch Van Owen||

    That award goes to bestiality...

    Hey, Fucko, we like to call it inter-species erotica.

  • JB||

    All the Obama zombies are nothing but little-bitch teenage girls.

  • ||

    On the one hand, other people's tastes and opinions mean little to me, and I couldn't care less if people like Twilight.

    On the other hand, the books are so poorly written (my wife reads them, and I read a chapter or two), and the movies so vapid, juvenile, and chock-full of sparkly whiny emo losers, it's tough to suppress my gag reflex.

  • But||

    Is Pingback a vampire? How can it be killed?

  • ||

    ...there are no vampires or werewolves in Twilight, only sparkle faeries and pedo-wolves!

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Kill 'em all, Blade!

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I should note that Anonymity Guy is the only being capable of destroying Pingback. Unfortunately, Anonymity Guy is too busy battling heroin addiction to do anything.

  • Episiarch||

    STEVE SMITH CAPABLE OF DESTROYING PINGBACK! BUT PINGBACK GROOM STEVE BACK HAIR! STEVE ONLY RAPE GENTLY! CLOSEST THING STEVE HAVE TO FRIEND, BESIDES PAULY SHORE!

  • ||

    I would rather watch Steve Smith rape Pauly Shore than Twilight... not that that's something I think about or anything.

  • kiyo||

    OMG, I might have to say, "For a magazine called Reason..." just so we can all drink and escape this hellish article. And Twilight, which is more hellish.

  • Pingback Mountain||

    I'm so gay.

  • Medic001||

    Only if you like it and do it twice. >:)

  • qwerty||

    I ended up watching the first movie--I'd give it two out of four stars. Not my kind of movie, but harmless, and Kristen Stewart is attractive in a goth sort of way.

    Interesting point about aging. I agree with her. Aging is terrifying. Someday, when we finally find a cure for it, people are going to look back at us with pity. "They had to live knowing their bodies and minds slowly deteriorated. How awful!" It is. It's just that we're used to it.

  • anon||

    Um, no. I'm a conservative 20 year old girl, and I want NOTHING to do with this abusive-relationship, pedophilia promoting trash.

  • ||

    Are there 2 'anon's then?

    Wasn't there an 'anon' that was a middle aged jewish guy?

  • MJ||

    "In the age of Obama, it’s generally assumed that young people are progressive, but Twilight is here to tell you that isn’t necessarily so. The desire for safety and sameness, the reluctance to change, the wish for some father figure—like Edward’s vampire dad Carlisle—to come and fix everything, that’s appealing."

    How is what Obama and the progressives are offering not this? Look at the health care bill. It is not appealing to people who wish to face the world as independent adults. With it's mandates and limitations on choice it appeals to people who want to submit their responsilbility for themselves to a parental authority who will always take care of them so they never have to grow up.

    Progressivism is not a philosophy for adults, it never has been.

  • ReAnimator||

    I also seem to recall that the majority of the Twilight-zombies I know are also Obama-zombies and universal health care-zombies... So I don't really understand your observation. Its thoughtful, but I doubt that there's any substantial correlation between Twilight and conservatism, at least on the part of it's readers.

  • MJ||

    Are you responding to me or Berlatsky? 'Cause if it's me, I agree with what you said, I'm not sure how Berlatsky thinks what he describes as the "Twilight" vampire's lifestyle correlates to conservatism better than it doesto progressivism.

  • ||

    Conservatism is at least in part about doubt and caution. Radical alteration and change are to be avoided. Twilight is conservative in that it's leery of change — and committed to stable families and traditional institutions like marriage.

    I don't see why its especially adult to subscribe to some fantasy of absolute autonomy. That's being an adolescent, not a grown up.

  • MJ||

    There are social support structures which are for meant for adults cooperatively assisting each other and social support structure that treat it;s particpants as helpless beings submitting to an authority. What you described as the vampire society sounded much more like the latter. I am enitirely relying on your description as the books and the movies of this series hold faint attraction for me.

    My comment was based on the impression that you are seeing a political philosophical correlation that was not really justified by your desription of the story.

  • ||

    I don't see why guys are so gaga over Kristen Stewart, Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen) is prettier.

    In the age of Obama, it’s generally assumed that young people are progressive, but Twilight is here to tell you that isn’t necessarily so

    Keeping things in complete stasis is a totally progressive thing to do. Why else are progressives so gung-ho to hold onto old ways of organizing the economy?

  • ||

    Ok I have to add my own comments here. I am a twenty year old woman who loves Twilight. I also read Stranger in a Strange land when i was in 8th grade, so I'm not exactly a lightweight in the reading area. But I do have to say a couple of things.

    First Jacob also doesn't age. It is explained in the books that as long as he continues to "phase" into a wolf he will not age, so it's not exactly like Bella is choosing someone who doesn't age over someone who does because neither one of them age. Also I'm really not sure how riding mortorcycles without training and jumping off of cliffs is considered being grown up, and those things make up the majority of Bella and Jacob's interactions, especially in the movie. Both of these acts seem to me to be a much more obvious refusal to grow up, going off without any forthought to get a thrill, it seems to me to be a very childish way to live.

    And as for the Cullens calling themselves a family that is more used to show their humanity, such as it is, then anything else. And the vampires do not always live together. It is made clear in all of the books that the family lives together for the convince it offers them. The individual couples live by themselves from time to time, as full married couples. They live as a family to allow themselves as much time to live in any given local as possible.

    As for the comment earlier about the "rough sex" being a rape fantasy on Bella's part, it is obvious you have never read the books. There is no discussion of "rough sex" simply the fact that Edward is so much stronger than Bella that being intimate with her in any way could lead to Bella being inadvertently hurt,however careful Edward might be. It is Edward who is worried about this, not Bella. But I suppose if this qualifies as rape fantasy then I suppose it is, but I doubt if most people would class it as that. After all, what person doesn't have that moment of panic when they are just that little bit to passionate and their partner ends up hurt, even if all it was a nip on the lips that had a little more force behind it then was intended? Nipped lips and nail marked backs are considered normal parts of a paasionate night, but of course if the partner was a vampire even that could be dangerous. That is the point that Edward tries to make, and that is hardly rape fantasy, rather a concern for the well being of his lover.

  • kiyo||

    One book in the eighth grade gives you "non-lightweight" reading cred? Wow.

  • kiyo||

    I read as much of the first book as I could gag through, and have read parts of the others. And oh, my bad, there's no discussion of "rough sex," there's just discussion of rough sex. The great force of Edward's passion being brought to bear is a source of fear but also of fascination. I've fallen into this truly terrible habit of using quotes online like one might use those stupid air quotes. So no, nobody says, "rough sex," but there's plenty of talk about what amounts to rough sex.

  • ||

    Hey Bridget. You make some interesting points. I think Jacob isn't so much seen as actually adult (obviously, he and Bella are still both adolescents) as much as he's seen as holding out the potential, or the possibility, for a normal life involving normal aging. I'm thinking especially of the sequence in the third book (I believe) where Bella talks about seeing her future with Jacob, involving kids and growing older and generally turning into an adult. The split in the book is very much between the changeless vampires (always described as stonelike) and the werewolves who are defined by their changeability (they're so unstable that Alice can't predict their futures.)

    I don't think Jacob or Bella are particularly interested in thrills, or that they're especially irresponsible. They both worry about homework, for example, and are very concerned about their parents and friends. They engage in some fairly minor risky behavior (riding motorcycles and cliff diving, rather than, say, drinking, drugs, or sex.) They're kids, who could be adults -- unlike the vampires, who won't be.

    I think you're downplaying the importance of the family, both to the vampires and to Meyer. Over the course of the story, it's revealed that the Cullen's strength is precisely that they are a family, whereas most other vampires are not. It's central to how Meyer sees them. They're still individuals, and they don't do everything together, of course — but what family does?

  • Medic001||

    I think its funny that were even "arguing" or discussing these B rated books and Movies as if they were anything of worth. I'm a long fan and writer of true fiction and gore, and I'm not the slightest intrigued, much less drawn to the ideals of love sick diamond fruit cake vampires. The Rice novels were enough to drain you of any good vampire lore, and now I have to suffer through tweenaged screams walking through the mall over a Book backed by some religious nut.

    Vampires are not a romantic creature int he sense their love pools for humanity. If they had any love for humanity, they would have remained human.

    But that's my bias account of crappy poorly written tween wetting fantasies.

    And as a fan of the true Were wolves, this movie and series makes me want to vomit up unpleasant things on the cover.

    I'm glad these books gave you some hope and satisfaction at 20. I guess everyone needs to start somewhere.

    I started with Deidre at 12. Some start with Twlight at 20.

    Goes to show, can't educate them all.

    lol.

    What ever gets you reading I guess.

  • ||

    Amen, MJ.

  • ||

    The desire for eternal youth isn't childish.

  • ||

    I'd be curious to know why you think that. Dreaming of eternal youth seems fairly clearly to be a rejection of adulthood.

    As I suggest in the essay, though, childish doesn't necessarily mean bad — as, for example, Chesterton would tell you.

  • ||

    Judging from the campaigns launched to find such things as The Fountain of Youth, adults are very much interested in eternal youth.

    Chesterton was speaking of seeing the world with the wonder of a child, especially how it relates to faith, he wasn't encouraging people to be eternally immature.

  • ||

    I think Chesterton would argue that immaturity is part of seeing the world with the wonder of a child. I mean, obviously he didn't want adults throwing tantrums, presumably — but my point was just that childishness can have good and bad aspects.

    Adults are often quite childish in any case. Freud was right about that, at least.

  • ||

    And as for your comment above, I have no problem with teenage girls...just young people in general who never seem to grow out of certain phases. Tween girls like Twilight. I'm sure Tween guys have something analogous.

    I also don't have a problem with older people liking those things. Hell, I've read Harry Potter. Even Harry Potter seems to carry a little more intellectual weight than Twilight - the musings of an emo teenage chick.

    I guess the debate will always come down to "to each there own." My opinion is that it's silly, and no one should try to make it any deeper than it actually is.

  • ||

    You didn't say bad, but you did say embarrassing. What embarrassing thing has ever been good, or neither good nor bad? Isn't a thing always embarrassing because it's in some way "bad?"

    As for my opinion on youth, I'm referring to physical youth. Mentally, all vampires develop, and not even just this latest Meyers set (see: Anne Rice, Whedon, etc.). So in wanting eternal youth, the protagonist of this (awful) series does not want eternal immaturity, or at least never conceives of the question as such, because her fear is not of becoming an adult; her fear is of looking like an adult --- she doesn’t want wrinkles. She’s scared of death.

    Eternal youth is not a childish obsession, but a human one. Then, you have only to Google the research on the subject to see that scientists are making breakthroughs in the field almost every year; it’s not just something we think about, it’s something that we, as a species, have been working towards since we became self-aware.

  • ||

    Embarrassing means embarrassing. You can be embarrassed to do something that is actually moral, or at least neutral. In the South not so long ago (or, indeed, in many parts of the north) expressing an opinion in favor of racial equality would have been embarrassing. (Read Huck Finn.)

    Humans are childish in a lot of ways. I think the obsession with youth can be seen pretty easily as immature — though, again, immaturity doesn't have to be wrong in every case.

  • ||

    ???

    You didn't really respond to anything I said about eternal youth. You're only repeating your point, "I think the obsession with youth can be seen pretty easily as immature --- though, again, immaturity doesn't have to be wrong in any case." But you're not unpacking that at all. The opinion is sort of baseless.

    I don't understand how the aim for "eternal youth" is childish. Then, I would personally like to live (stay young) indefinitely.

    *shrug*

    Maybe I'm just childish.

  • ||

    Also, the quotes I set around "bad" were meant to imply most of what you wrote about embarrassment, there. I never mentioned morality. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

  • ||

    Wanting to stay young forever strongly suggests that you are interested in/obsessed with childish things, and/or that you value childish things more than being an adult. There are lots of worthwhile things about getting older — wisdom, more self-control, more stable relationships. Wanting to be young forever means turning your back on a lot of that (see Peter Pan.) In that sense, it's childish — though, of course, most people see the appeal of being young forever, and most everyone remain childish in various ways for good and ill throughout their lives (see Freud.)

  • alittlesense||

    With all due respect, I think it is wise to remember....IT'S JUST A MOVIE!
    Haven't yet seen a movie that everyone liked, so let's just all not give a rat's red patootie if you liked Twilight or not.
    Sound like a bunch of lefties trying to get everyone lined up and politically correct....especially the "stalked" comments.....what is Reason coming to?

  • ||

    Well, it's just a comments thread. I wouldn't get too worked up about it.

  • alittlesense||

    By the way...in Slate magazine.....there were a couple of turds who insisted that Twilight was "abstinence propaganda" jeez.....

  • ||

    It *is* abstinence propaganda! Edward refuses to have sex with her until after they marry; it's a huge deal in the book.

    I don't necessarily see why it's a bad thing to preach abstinence to teen girls myself. And it's not especially doctrinaire or foaming about it — it's not denigrating condom use or anything. But it's definitely promoting continence.

  • alittlesense||

    I am completely in favor of no sex before marrying a vampire.......

  • KD||

    Only to teen girls? How about maybe to teenagers in general?

  • Bingo||

    Guys have Rambo and chicks get Twilight. Whatever. Maybe Astrolube can come out with a glittering variant and everyone can go home and fuck happily.

  • ||

    Nobody gives a rat's ass about this shit flick. Bring on the stuffing and gravy Alfred!

  • ||

    Noah Berlatsky should stick to "Comic" affairs. Trying to justify a stupid movie just because of the fortune spent on promoting it is hardly a serious and responsible posture.

    There is no doubt that in any garbage load one will eventually find one or two valuable things. But the entire load is still eminently garbage.

    New Moon is a perfect example of a truly insignificant idea, made into a silly movie that became a record-breaking BS, fit for ... unfits and misfits.

  • Medic001||

    'Twlight' is for people too stupid to read real novels and books of worth.

  • ||

    I forgot I was on Reason.com while scanning this, instead thinking I was over at the Onion AV Club.

  • ||

    Two mistakes: Jacob is a shape-shifter, not a werewolf. And there is a female pack member, Leah, in the book, and there are no gay undertones whatsoever.

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won't get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there's more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I'm not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It's just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight...the Bible's books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on.

  • Katie||

    I just can't get into Twilight.

  • nikeoutlet||

    Unlike the First Amendment, which limited the actions of Congress and by extension had to be incorporated, the Second Amendment stated that RKBA was not to be infringed, and lacked detail as to by whom, and therefore applied to all government. By its very language it was already applicable to the states!

  • ||

    This work argues that what makes these characters enduring and engaging is their critical family connectionsfor their most involved struggles occur.
    Michigan Modeling

  • Harrison Fletcher||

    Personally i love the twilight saga:) good article

  • nike shox||

    is good

  • film izle||

    Thanks

  • Joanne||

    I love Vampire, I love Twilight Saga, I love Alice, Jasper and Bella.
    I'm very excited for the Breaking Dawn part 2.

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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