While I am not one to throw stones about pop culture addiction, I will proudly proclaim that I hate Twilight.
No, seriously. I hate it. I hate is SO MUCH. It’s awful. It’s the WORST. It’s disgusting and disturbing and gross. I loathe it. I detest it. I (insert synonym of “hate” here) it.
And you should too.
Here’s the thing: I love Harry Potter with an obsessive passion that borders on humiliating. I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Grey’s Anatomy and Mad Men and …. Well, you get the point. I love pop culture. Especially Harry Potter. I’ve loved Harry Potter since I was 14 years old. The night the final Harry Potter was released was probably the best night of my life. I read all 759 pages of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows between the midnight release and 9:30 a.m. It was the most thrilling and satisfying singular experience of my life thus far. Chapter 34 gives me the chills just thinking about it.
So, everyone told me that I would love Twilight. And in the midst of a grad-school storm of procrastination-related crazy, I tried it. I read all four books. Multiple times. Until my eyes bled and locusts fell from the sky. Until my insides mummified themselves in horror. Until my Harry Potter-loving self was on the brink of seppuku.
Because Twilight was the worst thing I had ever consumed. Ever.
There is no hatred in pop culture like my hatred for Twilight. The novels are addictive in the worst way: The prose is awful, the content of the story alarming and the heroine a downright bore, and yet I couldn’t stop reading them. I got no joy from the pages, only a sick compulsion to continue.
SIDE TANGENT: Why do people insist upon confusing “page turning” with “good?” Just because you can’t put a book down doesn’t mean that it has any redeeming qualities. It just means the author is adept at keeping your attention. Which really isn’t that hard. You’re still reading this blog post, aren’t you?
I could perhaps forgive this if Twilight was merely poorly written with an uncompelling narrator. By the time I got to the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, I realized these books were an unwitting assault on any ambition a woman may have in this world outside marriage and children.
SPOILER ALERT: Bella, the heroine, decides to skip college, despite her supposed smarts, so that she can marry her immortal and creepily obsessive boyfriend Edward. Postnuptials, he knocks her up with a half-human/half-vampire. Bella almost dies in childbirth, so Edward makes her into a vampire.
What is the message to the flocks of devoted young women from all of this? If you have sex, you will get pregnant and die.
Or, as was so awesomely proclaimed on Community: “Since you have clearly failed to grasp the central insipid metaphor of those Twilight books you devour, let me explain it to you. Men are monsters who crave young flesh!”
There are other disturbing things about the Twilight series, including Edward’s bizarre infatuation with the smell of Bella’s blood; Bella’s suicidal mindset when Edward abandons her in the second book; really terrible allusions to classic literature (Romeo and Juliet? Seriously? Could a literary allusion be less original?); and ickiest of all, Jacob the werewolf falling in love with Edward and Bella’s infant daughter.
My problem is not so much with the content of these decisions but how they are portrayed. I’ll give Meyer credit for making Bella the one who wants to go “all the way” more than her vampire boyfriend, but the tone of the romance is sexy love without the actual sex. There is no discussion or thought of realistic consequences. The beauty of the best fantasy is that despite its fantastical flourishes, it reveals something true about the human existence. Twilight does not come close to this — it is divorced from any semblance of reality.
Twilight teaches young girls that skipping college and teen marriage is the very definition of happily ever after. And this is what makes it worthy of my virulent loathing.
The first part of the fourth movie, Breaking Dawn, is coming out tonight. Don’t go. I was criminally assaulted in a movie theater just by the movie trailer. Don’t let your daughters read this crap or see this awful film. Or let anyone read this crap or see this awful film. Everyone who likes this should be ashamed of themselves. No, seriously. I’m not kidding.
I really hate Twilight.
Sorry, I’ll stop saying it now. I think you get the point.
–By Erin K. O’Neill