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bloodyminded

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I can't quite imagine hanging, as it looks painful; further, if botched, I can imagine a lot of needless suffering; perhaps, eyes bugging from the rope's pressure around my neck, I would be helplessly forced to continue watching the monstrosity before me. My ideal method would be a gun. Now, I don't own a gun, but I suppose I could be motivated enough to buy one; it seems a waste of money for a single use, but then, "you can't take it with you," am I right? Barring that, pills seem effective--but this has to be done right, to spare myself the ignominy of anyone saying "it was a cry for help." Fuck no, it isn't; it's a genuine desire to escape from the dregs assaulting my eyes and destroying my hope for a better humanity. When I want out, I want out, man. Ok: I admit I know precious little about pharmaceuticals, having eschewed the respectable, middle-class drug addictions of choice that have infected North American culture. Easy enough to find out, you say? Quite so. A little research. The right drug, the right amount of pills...but do I mix it with alcohol? I don't want to vomit up that which is meant to save me from the abortion I am witnessing. Perhaps a plastic bag, for redemption through aspyxiation. At any rate, there are several methods, all a welcome balm, a restful peace from this nightmare. The culture is now spiralling downward, almost dead. I'm not staying to bear witness.

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From what I understand, one of the main characters (Edward) is supposed to be in love with Bella, a student. Which brings up a couple of issues:

- Isn't that borderline pedophelia (or hebephilia, depending on how picky you are about definitions.) Edward is supposedly something like 100 years old (even though he doesn't age, mentally he's an 'adult') Bella is a teenager who hasn't even finished high school (she's what, 17)?

- At one point Edward admits he has been watching Bella, even sneaking into her room when sleeping. Umm.... Isn't that sort of stalking? Most people would be more than a little creeped out if they found out that people were doing that.

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From what I understand, one of the main characters (Edward) is supposed to be in love with Bella, a student. Which brings up a couple of issues:

- Isn't that borderline pedophelia (or hebephilia, depending on how picky you are about definitions.) Edward is supposedly something like 100 years old (even though he doesn't age, mentally he's an 'adult') Bella is a teenager who hasn't even finished high school (she's what, 17)?

- At one point Edward admits he has been watching Bella, even sneaking into her room when sleeping. Umm.... Isn't that sort of stalking? Most people would be more than a little creeped out if they found out that people were doing that.

Dude, he's a vampire, he is supposed to be creepy. It's harmless fantasy aimed at teenage girls, who seem to like it.

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It goes without saying that Buffy would not have stood for behavior like this.

--------

The vampire drives a Volvo.

--------

There was a laugh-out-loud funny moment early in the film. We find Bella studying paramecia in biology class, with Edward hovering nearby, twitchy and agitated like a meth addict going into withdrawal. Finally he gets up and storms off, leaving Bella inexplicably intrigued. We next see Edward at the principal's office, demanding to be transferred out of biology into physics or chemistry or anything else. Informed that there's nothing else available in that time slot, he proclaims "I guess I will just have to ENDURE!!" and storms off again, leaving Bella even more inexplicably intrigued... because guys who storm off in high dudgeon are just inexplicably intriguing to women.

At first I thought the idea was that vampires hate studying biology because they hate being dead. But then I realized that it was sitting near Bella that was the torment: she is, for some reason, like vampire catnip. She apparently just smells super-delicious to vampires.

So... the immortal prince of the night was unable to get out of biology class, which leaves us wondering... why the immortal prince of the night needs to attend highschool at all. Especially if being around the teenage girls is like putting booze right in front of a recovering alcoholic.

--------

Bella is walking in town after dark and within about 12 seconds a gang of men are there with the intention of raping her. Our immortal prince of the night charges to her rescue (in his Volvo). The movie iswish-fulfillment fantasy for teenage girls:

"I wish I had a dark knight to watch over me."

"I wish a handsome boy was obsessed with me."

"I wish I had a cool name like Bella Swan instead of Suzie Pfetzer."

"I wish the cool clique at school would adopt me into their circle."

"I wish I could be a part of a world of magic and secrets instead of this boring life I lead."

Kristen Stewart deliberately makes Bella Swan a bit of a void. (Deliberately? I think so, although I may be overestimating Stewart's abilities.) She makes Bella a blank screen, onto which young women can project themselves.

-k

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It goes without saying that Buffy would not have stood for behavior like this.

--------

The vampire drives a Volvo.

--------

There was a laugh-out-loud funny moment early in the film. We find Bella studying paramecia in biology class, with Edward hovering nearby, twitchy and agitated like a meth addict going into withdrawal. Finally he gets up and storms off, leaving Bella inexplicably intrigued. We next see Edward at the principal's office, demanding to be transferred out of biology into physics or chemistry or anything else. Informed that there's nothing else available in that time slot, he proclaims "I guess I will just have to ENDURE!!" and storms off again, leaving Bella even more inexplicably intrigued... because guys who storm off in high dudgeon are just inexplicably intriguing to women.

At first I thought the idea was that vampires hate studying biology because they hate being dead. But then I realized that it was sitting near Bella that was the torment: she is, for some reason, like vampire catnip. She apparently just smells super-delicious to vampires.

So... the immortal prince of the night was unable to get out of biology class, which leaves us wondering... why the immortal prince of the night needs to attend highschool at all. Especially if being around the teenage girls is like putting booze right in front of a recovering alcoholic.

--------

Bella is walking in town after dark and within about 12 seconds a gang of men are there with the intention of raping her. Our immortal prince of the night charges to her rescue (in his Volvo). The movie iswish-fulfillment fantasy for teenage girls:

"I wish I had a dark knight to watch over me."

"I wish a handsome boy was obsessed with me."

"I wish I had a cool name like Bella Swan instead of Suzie Pfetzer."

"I wish the cool clique at school would adopt me into their circle."

"I wish I could be a part of a world of magic and secrets instead of this boring life I lead."

Kristen Stewart deliberately makes Bella Swan a bit of a void. (Deliberately? I think so, although I may be overestimating Stewart's abilities.) She makes Bella a blank screen, onto which young women can project themselves.

-k

Are you admitting to actually spending money to watch this?

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Bella is walking in town after dark and within about 12 seconds a gang of men are there with the intention of raping her. Our immortal prince of the night charges to her rescue (in his Volvo). The movie iswish-fulfillment fantasy for teenage girls:

"I wish I had a dark knight to watch over me."

"I wish a handsome boy was obsessed with me."

"I wish I had a cool name like Bella Swan instead of Suzie Pfetzer."

"I wish the cool clique at school would adopt me into their circle."

"I wish I could be a part of a world of magic and secrets instead of this boring life I lead."

I agree. There's also, arguably, a virginity theme at play here. (Will she or won't she?...thankfully--some would say--the boyfriend is reluctant.)

(I know, I know; this is hardly insightful, and certainly not my "insight" at any rate.) I like your ideas here better.

Kristen Stewart deliberately makes Bella Swan a bit of a void. (Deliberately? I think so, although I may be overestimating Stewart's abilities.) She makes Bella a blank screen, onto which young women can project themselves.

-k

Actually, I suspect you're right. The drabness, the almost lack of personality, seems deliberate. Personally, I couldn't figure out what the hell was the plan here, since I found the desultory character intensely irritating. But I think you're on to something here.

Edited by bloodyminded
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Was it a GWEMAC(Girls Who Eat Meat Adventure Club) night out?

I'm surprised the adventure club has created so much interest around the board. You guys should start a Boys Who Eat Meat Adventure Club!

Actually, I suspect you're right. The drabness, the almost lack of personality, seems deliberate. Personally, I couldn't figure out what the hell was the plan here, since I found the desultory character intensely irritating. But I think you're on to something here.

I'm not the originator of this idea either, although I have no idea where I picked it up.

I've dabbled in writing fiction for a long time, and although I'm not very good, I've at least spent enough time at it to recognize some of the hooks the author is trying to use to get the writer emotionally invested in the story. I can't speak for the books, but the movie plays like something that was based on a story by a high-school kid.

One of the things I've learned while writing, and reviewing other writers' work, is that one surefire way to write crappy fiction is to make your character a thinly veiled avatar of yourself. Writers of Star Trek fan-fiction coined a term for such characters a long time ago: "Mary Sue", after a character in a parody. Mary Sue is a character who wins the respect and admiration of all, wins the romantic interest of Captain Kirk in the story, and more than likely saves the Enterprise from inevitable destruction with some incredibly noble act of self-sacrifice which leave everyone heartbroke that she is gone. While originating in fan-fiction, I think Mary Sue is a concept that can be seen in original settings as well... and to me that was what I saw when I saw Bella Swan: a vehicle for the author's wish fulfillment. But not just the author's, but the audience's as well: I think the root of Twilight's immense popularity is that an enormous number of teenaged girls look at Bella Swan and imagine her as themselves.

-k

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I think the root of Twilight's immense popularity is that an enormous number of teenaged girls look at Bella Swan and imagine her as themselves.

-k

No doubt. My daughter on the otherhand can't stand Bella. Not sure why...but I think she may be jealous of her...

I have yet to watch the series...and I hope I never do, but alas with parenthood come obligations...

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I've dabbled in writing fiction for a long time, and although I'm not very good, I've at least spent enough time at it to recognize some of the hooks the author is trying to use to get the writer emotionally invested in the story. I can't speak for the books, but the movie plays like something that was based on a story by a high-school kid.

One of the things I've learned while writing, and reviewing other writers' work, is that one surefire way to write crappy fiction is to make your character a thinly veiled avatar of yourself. Writers of Star Trek fan-fiction coined a term for such characters a long time ago: "Mary Sue", after a character in a parody. Mary Sue is a character who wins the respect and admiration of all, wins the romantic interest of Captain Kirk in the story, and more than likely saves the Enterprise from inevitable destruction with some incredibly noble act of self-sacrifice which leave everyone heartbroke that she is gone. While originating in fan-fiction, I think Mary Sue is a concept that can be seen in original settings as well... and to me that was what I saw when I saw Bella Swan: a vehicle for the author's wish fulfillment. But not just the author's, but the audience's as well: I think the root of Twilight's immense popularity is that an enormous number of teenaged girls look at Bella Swan and imagine her as themselves.

-k

Kind of like Obama's "hope and change" campaign, quite consciously designed, I think, to let frustrated voters paste their own hopes and wishes onto an essentially blank canvas.

And you're right. I write fiction too, if nothing close to spectacular, and one does develop an eye for authorial method.

The avatar point is a good one. No less respected a figure than Salman Rushdie has been increasingly criticized for this (though most reviews seem to remain preposterously worshipful of what I think is a production of diminishing returns). He's a talented writer, whether one likes his work or not, but he frequently composes characters who are so like him that their expositions on culture and politics read almost identical to his essays on such topics. I would argue that these aren't really "characters" in the full sense of the word...though sectors of the literati would no doubt consider this blasphemous, and utter "postmodern" as a justification; an answer that does not automatically fly, in my view.

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Kind of like Obama's "hope and change" campaign, quite consciously designed, I think, to let frustrated voters paste their own hopes and wishes onto an essentially blank canvas.

That's awesome! I wrote the same thing about "hope and change" a year and a half ago and yet the similarity never occurred to me until now.

The avatar point is a good one. No less respected a figure than Salman Rushdie has been increasingly criticized for this (though most reviews seem to remain preposterously worshipful of what I think is a production of diminishing returns). He's a talented writer, whether one likes his work or not, but he frequently composes characters who are so like him that their expositions on culture and politics read almost identical to his essays on such topics. I would argue that these aren't really "characters" in the full sense of the word...though sectors of the literati would no doubt consider this blasphemous, and utter "postmodern" as a justification; an answer that does not automatically fly, in my view.

Literary characters as avatars for the author isn't a new idea... I'm not sure about the idea of literary characters that are designed as a blank canvas where the reader can imagine herself. Some video games work on this idea... Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Knights of the Old Republic, etc... appeal to the same sort of premise, creating an epic story where the focal point is the avatar of the player.

-k

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That's awesome! I wrote the same thing about "hope and change" a year and a half ago and yet the similarity never occurred to me until now.

Literary characters as avatars for the author isn't a new idea... I'm not sure about the idea of literary characters that are designed as a blank canvas where the reader can imagine herself.

Oh! right. I got distracted by my recent frustration with Salman Rushdie. They're different points.

Edited by bloodyminded
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  • 2 weeks later...
I've dabbled in writing fiction for a long time, and although I'm not very good...
Kimmy, I have read your writing here for several years now and you write well. I suspect that I am not alone in that opinion.
One of the things I've learned while writing, and reviewing other writers' work, is that one surefire way to write crappy fiction is to make your character a thinly veiled avatar of yourself.
I think the old-line is that every first novel is autobiographical. (One of my English language favourites is Other Voices, Other Rooms by Capote, but Graham Greene's The Man Within is another.)

Avatar? All autobiographies are invariably sympathetic to the principal character, or nearly so.

----

I haven't read any of the Twilight novels, nor have I seen any of the movies. (But I can tell a related anecdote. I'm in Moscow now and looking for a video to watch, a video store clerk suggested that a friend and I buy a Twilight DVD. As a way to suggest that we don't buy it, I explained in French to my friend that the movie was popular among young girls - and then I was astonished to discover that the video clerk - a young girl - understand French!)

What I understand of Twilight, or the Harry Potter novels, is the secret mystery of a good story, the page turner. Such good stories may exist only in time and place but they sometimes even work in translation. Mark Twain had it right: tell a good story.

Kimmy, Bella may be a thinly veiled autobiographical avatar, but I bet that Twilight is a good story, well told. It's a page turner.

Edited by August1991
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Kimmy, I have read your writing here for several years now and you write well. I suspect that I am not alone in that opinion.

I think the old-line is that every first novel is autobiographical. (One of my English language favourites is Other Voices, Other Rooms by Capote, but Graham Greene's The Man Within is another.)

Avatar? All autobiographies are invariably sympathetic to the principal character, or nearly so.

----

I haven't read any of the Twilight novels, nor have I seen any of the movies. (But I can tell a related anecdote. I'm in Moscow now and looking for a video to watch, a video store clerk suggested that a friend and I buy a Twilight DVD. As a way to suggest that we don't buy it, I explained in French to my friend that the movie was popular among young girls - and then I was astonished to discover that the video clerk - a young girl - understand French!)

What I understand of Twilight, or the Harry Potter novels, is the secret mystery of a good story, the page turner. Such good stories may exist only in time and place but they sometimes even work in translation. Mark Twain had it right: tell a good story.

Kimmy, Bella may be a thinly veiled autobiographical avatar, but I bet that Twilight is a good story, well told. It's a page turner.

Just to clarify (since I made a similar error): Kimmy was talking about character as avatar for reader wish-fulfilment, not as avatar for the author. If the literary Bella is as vapid and emotionless and, well, as poorly-drawn as the movie Bella, the point seems a good one.

And a good story usually has good characters, with some flesh to them.

I don't know that I'd compare Graham Greene to Mormon whats-her-face. :)

Edited by bloodyminded
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- Isn't that borderline pedophelia (or hebephilia, depending on how picky you are about definitions.) Edward is supposedly something like 100 years old (even though he doesn't age, mentally he's an 'adult') Bella is a teenager who hasn't even finished high school (she's what, 17)?

Well, if we're going to be picky, it's ephebophilia.

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Kimmy, I have read your writing here for several years now and you write well. I suspect that I am not alone in that opinion.

aw, thanks. :)

Kimmy, Bella may be a thinly veiled autobiographical avatar, but I bet that Twilight is a good story, well told. It's a page turner.

People read page-turners. People read books that pique their intellectual curiosity or tickle their sense of humor. People read books about subject matter that appeals to them, or that they are emotionally invested in for one reason or another.

I haven't read any of the Twilight books, but if I were guessing based on the movie, I would bet that its appeal is the latter.

-k

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