A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a good friend of mine manned up and gave me the first installment of Twilight for my birthday. It means a lot to me that she was willing to buy it in public, and I was excited to find out if the crazy/hilarious/disturbing and offensive aspects of the movie were as ridiculous and outrageous in book form. Basically, I was excited about hating on something that everyone else loved for a full 500 pages or so. But then, dear readers, a crazy thing happened – the book wasn’t actually that bad. I mean, I wouldn’t have kept reading if it wasn’t A Cultural Phenomenon, but really? The accounts I’d heard of Stephenie Meyers’ barely competent English and cardboard-cutout characters were kind of overblown. It’s just kind of a mediocre book, in the end. And so, inspired by the release of the new movie and the realization that its soundtrack might be something I actually enjoy, I give you the list of things that are in fact much worse than Twilight.
1. Every Nicholas Cage movie. This is a topic we’ve addressed before, but I really can’t overstate it. I liked “The Rock.” But that was it. What was that “superhero” movie he did? FireSkeleton Rides Again or some shit? Also, I just remembered he gets laid in The Rock, and that is disgusting. Nevermind, that one isn’t okay either. Twilight is a movie I can actually enjoy in that it’s hilariously bad; I have to be very very intoxicated to feel the same way about Nicholas Cage movies. (Not that I haven’t done that, though.)
2. Sarah Palin’s new book. While we’re talking about implausible works of fantasy that promote a ridiculous and dangerous abstinence-only lifestyle, I feel like we should be coming down a little harder on the ones that have political and policy implications for actual people, and not just pretend shiny vampires. Bristol, girlfriend, sorry you had to take this one for the team.
3. Tila Tequila. As a person, as a show, as a role model, as a “queer person,” as a concept. Just say no.
4. The US prison system/ prison industrial complex. Seriously, guys, it’s not okay! In real life, Edward would have been arrested for driving 120 mph or whatever it is, and then sent to a juvenile detention center for an outrageously long time because the judge who sentenced him is getting kickbacks from “juvenile reform” programs, and probably abused both by other members of the program and by the warden. Bella would probably have been abused by her cop father, because the law enforcement system has ridiculously high domestic violence rates. THERE YOU HAVE IT.
5. The Game, by Neil Strauss. Okay, so there are a lot of things that Twilight kind of subtextually promotes that I don’t necessarily agree with – namely, abstinence, heteronormativity, female passivity, unhealthily possessive/dependent relationships, and the undead. But there are also books out there COUGH COUGH that that very explicitly and intentionally promote awful things – namely, a kind of deeply dysfunctional masculinity that relies upon subjugation and deception of women as its foundational concept. This isn’t a concept that Neil Strauss or any other “pick up artists” invented, but it is something that he pretty explicitly wrote a how-to guide for, under the guise of an exposé. At least in Twilight it’s pretend, you know? And also sparkly!
THE END, New Moon comes out this weekend, I am not sure when I’ll see it but I know I will be PREPARED TO BE DAZZLED