Thursday, December 8, 2011

My (Fully Justified) Loathing for Twilight


     I never hated Twilight. Such a thing would have been, I felt, arrogant, since I had never seen the movies or read the books. I felt, at most, an amused contempt at the idea of glittering vampires with strange superpowers (although now I think about it, amused contempt is always pretty snotty anyway). But then I received some information which compelled me to break my vow of abstinence and at least watch the first movie.

     And now I hate it.

     Why on earth, with characters like Jack Bauer and Robert Goren— and one mustn’t forget John Thornton! — out there, has the female American population attached itself to this monstrosity, this Edward Cullen? There is not one aspect of his character or looks that is superior to that of any of the fine gentlemen listed above. And the Bielski brothers! Why have we picked Edward Cullen over the Bielski brothers? It distresses me.

     Ignoring, for a moment, the glaring flaws and complete lack of personality in any of the characters, I shall focus on the more alarming and criminal aspect of the thing. Because there is a definite criminality in about the whole business. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the plot, though I doubt it. Just in case, though— it is, in a nutshell, this: the teenaged Bella Swan must move to a new town in which, it seems, it is perpetually raining, and falls in love with one of the residents, a vampire named Edward Cullen. He repeatedly warns her that his raging vampiric bloodlust may one day become too much for her and he will on that day slay her and drink her blood. Bella, however, believes that their love is stronger than this and vows to remain forever by Edward’s side, although she gets into nasty trouble over it all.


     Is it just me, or is this entire idea unsettling?


     First off, it alarms me that, of all the people I’ve heard say they hate Twilight, not one of them saw fit to mention the fact that
the dashing Edward is, in fact, a murderer. He says so, straight up. “I’ve killed people before.” “Oh, I don’t care!” says Bella blithely. This strikes me as utterly sickening. Murder is possibly the most hideous crime of all. Anyone capable of taking a human life without any just provocation is to be viewed with the utmost suspicion. And this girl just glosses right over it. Oh, but Edward is a vegetarian now. He only eats animals. This might be just me, I believe that there is absolutely no coming back from murder. I don’t mean that murderers will all burn in hell eternally or something like that. I just think that killing someone unjustly is something a man can’t just walk away from. He is, in my eyes, marked forever as a murderer. I’m not saying his behavior cannot be modified, and I’m not saying I’d never forgive him under any circumstance. But nothing can take away the fact that once he killed somebody. Add to that the fact that Edward obviously has the potential to do it again and again, and we have some serious problems on our hands.

     It is interesting to note that Edward’s insistent pleas that Bella run while she still has the chance, his constant worries that he cannot control himself, remind me irresistibly of the words of a certain schizophrenic I read of in the newspaper. This is a man, mind, who killed multiple people because of his insane delusions. He hasn’t done it since he was released from prison, but he actually said that it would be better for him to be locked up because he just knows one day he’ll snap again, and more people will die. He doesn’t want to kill anyone, but he cannot help himself. He, like, Edward, has a serious problem that he literally has no control over. If Bella were dating this poor man rather than the charming Edward, everyone she loves would be urging her with tears in their eyes to run as far away as she could. Her infatuation would be viewed not as beautiful love, but as some bizarre, inexplicable, self-destructive attachment. Not, of course, that one can blame poor Bella for her idiotic behavior. She has a negligent father, and her mother is THE VERY PHSICAL MANIFESTATION OF ALL THAT IS EVIL (If you watch 24, you will share my loathing).

     Pushing aside the question of genuine insanity for a moment, it concerns me that Twilight is teaching teenage girls all over the country that guys who stalk you obsessively are really just too shy to ask you out. Edward follows Bella surreptitiously in a way that is both alarming and highly eerie. At one point he admits to standing in the girl’s room just to watch her sleep. “It’s kind of fascinating to me,” he says shyly. And Bella just gives that half-witted smile of hers. A word of advice, ladies: anyone who breaks into your house at night to watch you sleep is very possibly planning to kill you. I am dead serious about this. Stalking is no joke. Women lose their lives, or at the very least any semblance of their peace of mind. It’s not about love. Obsessive stalkers like Edward are not normal people; they are not motivated by affection. It's about obsession. It’s a terrorist’s game. It bothers me that this very real crime is being downplayed to the status of “cute romantic gesture.” If I ever got wind that some lunatic was habitually in my room at night, watching me sleep, I would take immediate defensive measures, and if it came to a fight I would strike to kill. These people do not give up. At most they switch targets. And that’s not just my paranoia speaking; this is real.


     The real problem with Twilight, however, is that it feeds a delusion we ladies have naturally, a destructive delusion that causes lifelong pain for some of us. That is, the idea that somehow we are special enough to change men who have the potential to hurt us. Edward makes it very clear that Bella is only setting a trap for herself. He is clearly her physical superior, and Bella would obviously have not a shadow of a chance if he finally snapped one day. She continually insists that he is exaggerating the danger. After at most a month of acquaintance, she knows Edwards better than he knows himself, and the bond the have formed is strong enough to withstand the most deep-seated, basic urge in Edward’s psychological makeup: bloodlust.

     This is the lie that abusers want you to believe. I’ve hurt people before you came along, but I would never hurt you. You’re different. You’re special. You’ve changed me. And we believe it because— well, duh, it would be awesome. Who doesn’t want to be the one person who had the inexorable power to transform a person’s basic character? We want to be special like that. And it’s not just women. Men have also proven themselves to be attracted to women who want nothing more than to cause them misery until the end of their days. And all of us think we’re the right one to change this person.

     But the reality is more ugly than that.

     No one is that special. To an abuser, everyone is the same. Everyone is a target. Men and women who hurt other people like to pretend they’ve outgrown their temper or their sadistic urges or whatever it is that causes them to inflict pain. In reality, the people who consistently abuse will always have the potential for it, and I guarantee they will hurt you too if you give them the chance. And somehow, we always do give them the chance. Anything, we feel, is worth it in the name of love. Women love abusive men despite the bruises, and men love abusive women just the same. For reasons I cannot fully identify, it always seems noble to suffer at the hands of someone you love. The way I see it, that is less noble than it is stupid. An abuser, especially if he is psychopathic, is merely entertained by your doglike devotion and will keep hurting you. And let’s leave alcohol out of this. I’m talking only about the people who consistently give out verbal or physical abuse simply because it seems like a good idea at the time. These are the dangerous people that all of us are inexplicably attracted to.

     It puzzles me. These people would not be able to pollute the gene pool and thus perpetuate their hideous personalities if we all just did the sensible thing and left them alone. This, however, is a fool’s dream. People will always be self-destructive, and there is nothing I can do about it except grit my teeth in frustration. I’ve considered making cutting remarks about Twilight whenever I get the chance, but that would only make me seem even more obnoxious than I do already, and it would serve no useful purpose.

     This, in essence, sums up my views on Twilight. By the way, I hope those of you who like the story do not feel like I am criticizing you in any way. I look for crime everywhere I go, and it’s sheer luck I found it in Twilight. Although I would give you a kindly word of advice to watch 24 instead. That, at least, identifies the crime for what it is. Also, the hero has awesome combat skills, a thing which is conspicuously lacking in Twilight. And don’t give me any nonsense about Edward’s super-strength. You and I both know that if he weren’t a vampire he’d be totally lame. North and South is another thing I would recommend. Your life would be much enriched. John Thornton is five billion times awesomer and handsomer than Edward Cullen, even on a bad day. So is Jack Bauer.

     And one mustn’t forget the gallant Robert Goren!

3 comments:

  1. You are FULLY justified! What an outstanding post. Great perspective:) You always give me so much to think about.

    ReplyDelete
  2. greatest. poster. ever.

    I love Edward's eyes.

    CREEPY!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haha, I know, right? They're even more unsettling in the movie. People with golden eyes remind me unfailingly of the Emperor on Gladiator, and while anything that involves Russell Growe is awesome, the Emperor is a decidedly disturbing character.

    ReplyDelete

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