Saturday, 31 July 2010

You just don't understand!

She may be dating a vampire, but she's always polite to her dad.

Jan Moir, that paragon of thoughtful and concise writing, has now volunteered her half-baked opinions on the Twilight franchise. No doubt striking fear into the hearts of teenage girls and their parents, she described fans as “tapping away on computers, unable to communicate with their own families.” (All together now, “What an interesting assumption.”)

She also describes the films as “rubbish,” and Bella is the “glum trophy” in the love triangle with vampire Edward and wolfy shapeshifter Jacob. She also claims that Bella’s final decision is “a straightforward choice between necrophilia and bestiality.”

I hate to sound like a sulky teenager here, but.... she just doesn’t get it!  

Bella is a normal teen, albeit a thoughtful and mature one. Dressed in jeans and plaid shirts, she is the antithesis of the kind of glossy blonde cheerleaders spending their parents' money on MTV's My Super Sweet Sixteen. While Jan Moir bemoans the loss of Saturday Night Fever and Grease as wholesome entertainment for youngsters, she completely misses the point that, far from transforming her wardrobe and personality in an attempt to attract the school hunk √† la Sandy, Bella wins Edward’s heart by being herself. 

The beauty of the Twilight stories is that they're not really about vampires. This is merely a plot device which provides a Romeo and Juliet “This can never be,” element to the books as well as plenty of life-threatening moments in which Edward can be heroic and Bella can faint upon his manly chest. 

Silly old Jan gets confused again when she claims that Bella “takes part in a scene that depicts self-harming as a noble act of sacrifice.” Does she really believe that teenagers are so stupid that they cannot see the difference between self-harm, and battle strategy? (Or is she deliberately misinterpreting events in order to generate more eye-catching headlines about the film? Surely not.) 

The “third wife” story describes the woman who singlehandedly saves the entire Quileute tribe by stabbing herself to distract the vampire trying to destroy her family. Bella is the only non-supernaturally blessed person involved in the current battle; given her general tendency to put others before herself (yet another bad example to teens, tut tut) is it surprising that she would try to defend her loved ones by emulating the story of the nameless woman?  

But winner of “Most stupid interpretation of a book, ever,” goes to Jan’s assertation that Bella “wants to be dead for ever in Edward’s arms, which could be interpreted as an allegory for suicide.” Yes, but it is far more likely to be taken as proof that your reading skills do not extend to whole books, even those meant for teens.  

Far from being fodder for emos, the Twilight books are modern fairy tales which celebrate love, family, chastity, and taking the right path instead of the easy one.

What some would dismiss as puppy love leads to marriage, and a future in which a quiet, clumsy girl with no discernable talents will find that she holds the key to protecting the much stronger members of her new, immortal tribe. But that is another story.

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