Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Twilight Rant.

I'll warn those of you looking for a good laugh at this title's expense: you're not going to find it here.

I love Twilight. I absolutely fell in love with the books; I only started reading them because my friend Malinda was nagging me to. I expected to not get much out of them as I'm really not all that into the vampire thing, but figured I'd make it up in trade by having something I could make fun of Malinda for liking, as we have a mutually abusive friendship. She's never forgiven me for making her watch Vamp, and I still find it endlessly hilarious that Ghosts of Mars scared her. We both hated Skeleton Key, I've never forgiven her for making me see Cabin Fever in the theater. She loves making fun of me because I love reading romance novels.

To my shock, I enjoyed the book, immensely, and the next day had to go get the next two, which I read in two days. I read all four books and the unfinished fifth in a week; it would have been shorter but I spent a day in Seattle seeing The Phantom of the Opera at the Paramount. I was stunned; I had expected something irritating, and instead lucked into a story that I had absolutely no problem being consumed by. I read them again and again, and since school is in session, I got the audio books so I could listen to them on the way to class when I wanted to. (As as aside, audio books are GREAT for a college student; I can listen to a book on the way to class and not feel guilty for not doing my school reading.)

I know not everyone got the same reaction to Twilight that I did; I specifically told my roommate not to try to read them, because I knew they were not to her taste, and this story was something special to me. She totally understood; she feels the same way about the Jack Fleming Vampire Files books by P. N Elrod, a great series. Bevin's not a romantic; I am. I'm friends with several people who tried the first Twilight book, and found it not to their liking, and that's cool. They tried it, didn't like it, and got the fuck on with their lives.

Then the horror community became aware of the series.

Holy shit people, really? I'm a moron because I quietly enjoyed a story? I'm not a true horror fan because I like Edward Cullen and Bella Swan? It's stupid, poorly written story, simply because you decreed it? What's that? You never actually read it, you just heard some people make fun of it and decided you wanted to be like the cool kids, so maybe if you made fun of the quiet kid you'd be cool too?

Fuck you. Fuck you hard, long, and painfully. I'm not a screaming fan girl. I only talk about the books to people of a like mind. I don't want anything to do with the rabid fan base because guess what? I don't want anything to do with ANY rabid fan base. I also loved reading Heart Shaped Box, House of Leaves, Carmilla, Ghost Story, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, Hellboy, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice as well as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Coraline and about a million other titles. See how I'm not just one thing?

I'm trying really hard to remain concise and cool, and it's hard, really really hard. I'm a volatile person by nature, so when my feelings get hurt, as they have been repeatedly, by people I don't even KNOW, I tend to want to lash out and hurt back. My inner middle school girl is occasionally dangerously close to the surface of my emotional well. But do you get that it's complete and utter bullshit to pigeon hole a person based solely on the fact that they liked some books?

If you tried these books and hated them, fine. That's fair, because at least you gave it a try. But do not, DO NOT imply that I am mentally deficient simply because I enjoyed something you did not. Do not imply that I am in anyway lacking because I read a story and found it to my liking. Do not insult me because I am different than you. Haven't you ever been treated with condescension simply because you mentioned that you liked some form of horror movie? Did you like it when someone implied that you didn't have a true grasp on cinema because you liked A Nightmare on Elm Street, or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or whatever title of choice you gravitate to? Then don't do it to someone else.

A lot of horror fans decry Twilight because the vampire myth was changed. Guess what: it's been changed before. It'll be changed again. And honestly, the original idea was, for me, getting stale. Don't give me that "she's a cheeseburger to him, that's all!" crap. Guess what: I'd have a hard fucking time eating a steak if a cow asked me not to. I can't eat octopus anymore because I found out they're so much smarter than I thought they were! It pisses me off, too; I really liked octopus. It's not outside the realms of believability that a vampire somewhere, somehow, would like to not eat a person, would still have a conscious. I'm a romantic; it's not hard for me to believe that somehow a vampire could fall in love, if still in possession of all of his emotions.

Don't agree? That's fine; this is myth. Make up your own version and run with it. Do I think all vampire stories should be emotionally driven? Not at all. I haven't seen 30 Days of Night, but I want to, because I've heard the monsters in it are absolutely terrifying in their lack of humanity, and complete absence of mercy. That's why I want to see it. I love to be scared, and I love the grotesque beauty that you can find in horror films. But just because something has a fucking vampire in it does not mean it must be cover to cover with ripped out throats, blood smeared faces, and obligatory lipstick lesbian tendencies the minute you're bit.

If I hear one more smug, self-righteous asshole start in on the "Hurr! Sparkly vampires! Huuurrr!!" bit yet again, I will be moved to violence. If you read the fucking story you would learn there is a reason behind that, other than "it's pretty". I love that people who have absolutely no problem enjoying stories about a roller skating mutant who can take sound and make it into light have all decided collectively that a story about two lonely people meeting is JUST TOO MUCH! How dare she?? HOW DARE STEPHANIE MEYER TELL HER OWN STORY THAT SHE CAME UP WITH ALONE?! DO you see how fucking STUPID this attitude is?

Don't read the story if it's not your speed. Don't read it if you think you're going to hate it. That's great, not everything is for you. I personally get virtually nothing out of science fiction or fantasy books, with the exception of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's stuff. But I don't assume that everyone who likes Lord of the Rings is somehow less of a person than I am. I don't sneer at my friend because he likes the Dune series.

I'm really stressed out lately. I'm a full time, non-traditional student, I work a LOT, I've had a friendship apparently end very abruptly with someone that I assumed I was probably going to name one of my kids after, and with no word from her on why. None of my close friends read these books, with the exception of Malinda, and she's both pregnant and far away. You will, I'm sure, pardon me if I've about had it with everyone around me shitting on one of the few things that can help me relax, and makes me happy.

EDIT:These are my feelings, not Cins.


Nojh said...

Heh. You weren't kidding with your initial disclaimer.

I actually read some of the first book. I think Cins was the one who gave it to me. The idea of sparkly vampires was actually interesting.

However I just couldn't get past the first 5 chapters. Or rather after 5 chapters, I was so sick with Bella that I moved on to other things.

I've had more than one close friend read the entire series and tell me 'Yeah I liked it, but really it felt like I was reading a Fan-fic'. Like it was something that could have used a few more rough drafts and a hard professional edit and it might have been a really good work of fiction. I'm mostly quoting here, again I've only read the first 5 chapters.

I read another book series, two out of I think 5 now, about a female protagonist werewolf who had run away from her pack to try and pretend to be human. The first half of the book was more or less constant whining about who she is and why her life sucks because she is a female werewolf. The second half of the book is nearly a complete reversal as she goes back to her pack and now everything is fine, except for the dramatic tension of the antagonists wanting to kill her/friends/family/etc.

I relate this because I hated the first half of that book. I literally found myself calling the main character a whiny stupid idiot verbally while reading the book. But two factors kept me reading: one I had nothing else to read at the time, and two I like werewolves and the actual world/mythos the author had come up with about werewolves was really interesting.

Similar with the first two (and maybe the 3rd) Harry Potter book. As stand alone books they are nothing special and the writing is actually fairly boring.

So I assume there are several reasons why people like the Twilight series. 1. They like the world and idea, and are willing to put up with a dislike of the characters. 2. They're enamored with the characters in some way that I can't understand. 3. They love the quick read. All of this allows them to ignore the writing style, or perhaps the fan fiction like writing style is an appeal. Souls knows the internet is breeding a large readership for it.

Plus you have to admit the 'Literally untrue' summary of Twilight is hilarious. "Bishonen vampire with a glitter addiction constantly saves a whiny suicidal love sick girl from bloody thirsty vampires while she adjusts to life in a small hick town, with her new truck."

Boy her ungratefulness over that truck really pissed me off... sorry.

Stac said...

Nojh-- see, this is my point. If you didn't like it, I'm fine with it. I know it's not for everyone, and I'm fine with that. I don't want or expect everyone to like it. And you tried it, and disliked it, and moved on. I'm just angry that people assume that because they don't like it, no one should like it, and if someone does enjoy it, then they're somehow less of a person. Good for you for at least giving it a chance.

I liked Bella, and everyone else in the books. I wasn't irritated by her because I remember what being a teenager was like. I was frequently an ingrate as well, and didn't even realize until years later what a turd I had been. So I can get over it. I also like reading the book through her telling, so there you go.

I'm amazed that so many males are trying to read these books; they're completely girl aimed.

I hope I'm being concise with what I'm trying to say here, and that you don't think I hate you simply because you didn't like some books I liked. I like you very much, and I appreciate your response. :) I was just tired of this being constantly lambasted for it. And I laughed my ass off at some of the summations of the books being so silly-- the first few times I read it.

In summation: I don't mind that people don't all love these books. I just mind that these same people automatically judge me without knowing me.

Cins said...

I do understand the rant you're giving. I used to get the same thing with Harry Potter.But like you I read OTHER things too. Shocking I know!
Its a simple formula:
Mainstream + Internet=TEHDRAMAZ!1!!
Seriously, I find that a lot of people on the internet will crap on something just because its popular. Because you know, Its FAR cooler to hate the mainstream. And since Twilight is the mainstream right now its the object of hatred. And if they hate that thing, then their fans must be hated too. Its mob mentality.
I've had a lot of people look their noses down at me being an admitted Harry Potter fan, especially when was at its peek. I remember asking people not to spoil one of the books for me and I pretty much got laughed at and called a nerd. Eh fuck em. I get enjoyment out of it and if they want to think I'm some sort of idiot then let them.

As for my personal opinion of Twilight, I'm one of those rare people who are pretty middle of the road about it. I don't hate it, but its really not my cup of tea. But I only read the first three chapters of the book then got distracted when World War Z fell into my lap. I am considering giving it another whirl mostly because the consensus is the books after wards are pretty dang good.

Now don't get me wrong, SOME fans deserved to be mocked. Not just in the Twilight fandom but every fandom. Every fandom has THOSE people. But the thing is one shouldn't think everyone who likes the subject is a drooling nutbag.

I can understand completely loathing material. I make it no secret that I have complete contempt for Jeepers Creepers and Exorcist the Beginning. But am I going to to call the person who loves those movies complete fucktards? Nope. I may not understand their love of it but we all have our own tastes right? Now, if that said person shot my cat, shit in my cornflakes, AND likes those movies? Then yes, they are fucktards...mostly for shooting my cat and shitting in my cornflakes.

As for the other things getting you down. Gimme a call or catch me on IM if you need to vent!

Bevin said...

Hey, just chiming in with my two cents here. I agree with your point totally, and I'm the first to admit that I was less than fair to the books and their fans when I first heard about them. But those were books I hadn't read and people I didn't know, so it was easy to judge them from where I was sitting. When you got so into them, I did have to stop and rethink my impressions a bit, since I know you're not an idiot, even if our tastes don't always run in sync. And while I haven't read the books, still, I have listened to you tell me about them and why you like them and have come to the conclusion that I will probably never read them, mostly out of respect for your feelings. I know enough to know that the books aren't for me, and I'm cool with that, and I also know that it's really hard for me to keep my reasons for not liking it to myself as it is, let alone if I'd actually read the books. But my opinions are mine and yours are yours and who's to say one's right and one's wrong? They are what they are and they're not worth getting so bent out of shape about that we put more importance on them than they deserve.