November 21, 2009

"Twilight Saga: New Moon"

I don't have any exposure to the Twilight vampire books or the movies (the latest earned $72 million at the box office just on Friday, which is huge), so the only suggestion I'll make is that we're experiencing the slow, quiet emergence of the Mormon influence on American pop culture. (The books are written by Stephenie Meyer, a Mormon housewife.)

The first time I noticed the Mormon undercurrent was at a screening for Napoleon Dynamite where everybody else in attendance (lots of really wholesome-looking starlets) seemed to know each other from BYU, and they cracked up throughout the movie over jokes that I just didn't get. I felt like Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones: "Because something is happening here / But you don't know what it is / Do you, Mister Jones?"

What exactly is the Mormon common denominator is far beyond my powers of analysis, but birthrates do have an impact.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

Team Steve!

Simon said...

Ah, the Mormons - the resurgence of the Yankee master race who'll inherit the Earth their Liberal cousins abandoned?

Lost Pilgrim said...

Not sure where you get your gut feeling on this but you're off base. Twilight sure as heck did not strike me as 'Mormon' in any sense of the word.

Napoleon Dynamite did strike me as very 'Mormon'. Humor that was not hateful. Gentleness that was rewarded and a kind ending.

See the movie or read the book and you'll see the differences.

Dahlia said...

"Generally, Mormons believe that true marriage is eternal, not temporal. If properly sealed in a Mormon temple, that marriage lasts beyond the earthly life into one in which human beings become godlike. The ceremonies occur in temple rooms walled by mirrors which reflect infinitely, suggesting the everlasting nature of the marriage being sealed. Even whole families can be sealed, not just spouses.

In the Twilight series, Meyers presents eternal, idealized marriage primarily in the demigod vampire family (the Cullens), who represent a proxy Mormon family. They are flawless creatures, imbued with god-like powers of speed, strength and enhanced senses. And each -- save Edward -- are happily married ... forever."

and

"...assumptions about marriage and the after-life are likely so unconscious that this theology surfaces in her books clearly but nonchalantly. It doesn't make the book a Mormon novel any more than a Protestant writer pens Protestant books."
http://unorthodoxology.blogspot.com/2009/05/twilight-saga-mormon-theology-and.html

When I read the above I thought the very same thing as Steve.

Here's another thing I've been wondering about for a few years: At what point do the Anabaptists reach such numbers that they move from being surreal figures on a different plane to actually affecting the culture?

bjdouble said...

The CIA is full of Mormons because they have foreign language and overseas experience.

Cinco Jotas said...

I've long told people that the Mormons are what you'd get if you could turn the Rotary Club into a cult: wholesome, patriotic, civic-minded, sober people who believe in some utterly wacky bull-crap.

Happily, they're on our side, which given the amount of power and influence they've accumulated, and will continue to accumulate, is mostly a good thing.

By the way, most people don't know that a substantial percentage of our intelligence establishment is staffed by Mormons (Brent Scowcroft, being the best known of this bunch.) Twenty-five years ago, at the Defense Language Institute, my Arabic class had five Mormons out of a group of 36 students.

Mormons have two great advantages for working in the CIA or DIA or the FBI. 1) they all know a second language from their teenage missionary work. 2)because they live clean and wholesome lives they have no problem passing a background check.

Dirt Pipe Milkshakes said...

I can see how Napoleon Dynamite was "Mormon" but not sure about Twilight. Isn't it just a reworked vampire tale, the one that's been around for hundreds of years?

Harry Baldwin said...

No sex or swearing ("Gosh!") in Napoleon Dynamite, but a typical multicultural mindset.

Good guys: the outsiders and Pedro the Mexican kid. Bad guys: Summer Wheatley the blond cheerleader and Don her blond jock boyfriend. Summer proves she's bad because she makes a wisecrack about chimichangas; the school principal proves he's bad because he says, "Look, Pedro, I don't know how they do things down in Juarez, but here in Idaho we have a little something called pride."

Pedro's cousins, the Mexican cholos who evidently now infest this picturesque small town, can be counted upon to help intimidate white bullies--Yay!

Also, of course, an interracial love affair for Kip.

I'm not saying the movie's not hilarious--it is--but the subtext is liberal, like that of every other teen movie.

spacehabitats said...

Mormons are the anamoly; members of a Northern European gene pool who have successfully auto-inoculated themselves against the anti-reproductive memes promoted by (ahem) "other" racial groups.

How socially irresponsible of them to continue to have babies at a replacement rate! Don't they realize that they are destroying the environment? Don't they realize that they are supposed to cooperate in the genocidal, self-loathing that is the basic theme of politically correct theology?

l said...

Napoleon Dynamite was the anti-Borat: Sweet-spirited and sympathetic toward all the characters, even while gently ridiculing them. I'm surprised you didn't "get" it, Steve.

Otto Von Bismarck said...

Orson Scott Card is mormon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orson_Scott_Card

Common trait of Mormons is the ability to produce cultural significant and modern work, while still being throughly conservative. Thats one reason why Evangelicals hate Mormons. Mormons innovate while Evangelicals immitate. Conservative Catholics are the only other conservative religious group to have mormon like sigficance. Mel Gibson comes to mind, also you Sailer.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lost Pilgrim. While the author of the Twilight books may be Mormon, I've never received the impression from reviews I've read of the series that they're Mormon-influenced.

Slightly off-topic, but I don't get all the buzz. That Pattinson fellow is odd-looking to me, and the female lead Stewart is similar. She's kind of pretty but something about her annoys me.

-Vanilla Thunder

Anonymous said...

Twilight is porn for 12 year old girls. That's all.

OneSTDV said...

You weren't alone in not getting Napoleon Dynamite. I never understood it either. Though I disagree that the movie was only for Mormons. It was a huge hit, implying it had widespread appeal. IMO, it was a rather boring and unfunny movie.

Bobblehead Bob said...

The Mormon influence you speak of will bubble up only briefly before sinking into the sea forever. Mormons do breed more, but even birth rates are falling slowly into line with the rest of the country. "Hideously white" Salt Lake City, for example, is now only 77% white.

And Mormons, in spite of all of their missionary efforts, aren't rapidly adding new adherents - not new white or Asian adherents, at any rate. People from the right half of the bell curve just don't join anymore. Ask any Mormon you know who served his mission in a developed country how many baptisms he had. Zero, one or two will be the most common answers - for two years of effort (18 mos. for girls).

The Mormon religion makes huge demands on your time and wallet, and there are quite a number of historical claims it makes that are now easily falsifiable by science, specifically DNA testing.

Their missionary efforts are now mostly focused on third worlders, in their home countries or their adopted ones. Another few decades of that and Mormons will be about as exciting, smart and influential as Jehovah's Witnesses.

Mormons might've gone the way of the Jews, and turned themselves into something of a high breeding ethno-religion (not that influential media Jews would've let them get away with it if they had tried). But Mormons had early success in the 1800s proselyting to Polynesians. Then, I think, it was in the 60s and 70s they started prosleyting more and more to "Lamanites" - Latinos and Native Americans. Then in 1978 they made the ritual submission to the Gods of the Multicult by allowing blacks to acquire the priesthood. Behind the scenes the Mormon Church is now advocating for amnesty, as a look at the otherwise conservative Utah legislature and almost every Mormon politician of note (save convert Rep. Jason Chaffetz) will indicate.

Even all that might've been fine if their proselyting efforts to all of these groups had remained well...lukewarm.

If you don't believe in the doctrinal aspects of a religion or its fantastical claims there are often still very strong cultural and social reasons to either join or to remain. As the LDS Church grows more Third World, however, those reasons - a high trust/high commitment church strongly rooted in Protestant European culture - are slowly disappearing, one by one, and we have yet another institution killed off by the Left.

Bobblehead Bob said...

BTW, "Twilight" struck me as Mormon mostly in the sense that it was emphatically chaste.

agnostic said...

There was a baby boom among Mormons in the latter half of the '80s, so there are even more young people among them, compared to other groups, than is true for other age groups.

And young people need youth culture.

Demography isn't everything, but you see its influence.

Bobblehead Bob said...

The Mormon undercurrent in Napoleon Dynamite was far more obvious because the movie was written by Mormons (Jared & Jerusha Hess), directed by a Mormon (Jared Hess), had a largely Mormon production team, and its star, Jon Heder, was Mormon, and the star Jon Heder

Twlight, otoh, has been filtered through so many non-Mormons that by the time it makes it to the screen you would miss it, if it's even still there. You'd have to go to the source material, the books, to spot it - if it even exists.

Jared Hess has a new movie out, "Gentlemen Broncos," that is, well, interesting, though not nearly as funny as "N.D."

Middletown Girl said...

Mormom or Moron?

Anonymous said...

Demography is destiny.

Anonymous said...

So does the magic underwear stay on when they change into bats? Maybe I'm reading too much into this.

Anonymous said...

This is the important essay on
Twilight (says a father of girls):

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200812/twilight-vampires

Middletown Girl said...

Napoleon Dynamite is Mormon? What's the difference between that and the Jewish comedies of Wes Anderson? Geek fantasies. Yuck. (But, Rushmore is a great movie.)

Whiskey said...

If you don't have any exposure, you shouldn't comment on them Steve.

Far from having a "Mormon influence" the books are low-level romance-porn for tweens and moms.

The books are about a girl's desire for a bad-boy who fights other bad-boys and her horror at the ordinary beta guys around her. With sort-gay type hunky gays as the bad-boy vamps. "Sparkly vampires."

The Housewife who wrote the Twilight saga may have been Mormon, but the whole thing is a total REJECTION of Mormon standards. To wit, the girl is fascinated (and chooses) a violent bad-boy with no skills (other than violence), who is far, far older, and really, really wants to kill her.

In real life this results in pregnancy by someone like Levi Johnston aka "Ricky Hollywood." The books and movies are all about the desire of a 16 year old girl to be sixteen forever, and her yearning for the most violent hunky guy in High School.

John Seiler said...

There's something weird about teenage girls obsessing about vampires. Like Mammy says in "Gone With the Wind":

"It ain't fittin'. It just ain't fittin'."

Dave said...

Middletown Girl,

I noticed that a lot of the long comments you leave here are also posted on your blog:

http://ostrovletania.blogspot.com

I'm not sure whether you comment here first and then put the posts up on your blog, or vice versa.

Anyway, how come here you don't use the name at your blog, "Andrea Ostrov Letania"?

Also, you've changed your name like 8 times in one year.

Anonymous said...

You're overthinking this Steve. No offence but this isn't unusual for you. It's a chick movie made for 14 year olds. It isn't in your ballpark.

I doubt if most of it's fans are Mormons.

Nice of you not to throw the Jews into this though.

Jimmy Crackedcorn said...

She's kind of pretty but something about her annoys me.

Pretty, but a slightly asymmetrical head. I saw her on Letterman just before Twilight was released and she also seemed a little...druggie. Like she'd been smoking pot in her dressing room.

Mormons are the anamoly; members of a Northern European gene pool who have successfully auto-inoculated themselves against the anti-reproductive memes promoted by (ahem) "other" racial groups.

Mormons are what more WASPs and Northern Europeans would be like if we weren't all trying to impress Jews - happy, optimistic, and trusting (of our own).

I say this and mean it: it's truly amazing how culture insinsuates itself in our lives; how it shapes assumptions even for people who don't much imbibe it, or who openly despise it. No, it isn't just all genes. Genes cannot explain the radical changes we've seen in the space of two generations.

The books are about a girl's desire for a bad-boy who fights other bad-boys and her horror at the ordinary beta guys around her. With sort-gay type hunky gays as the bad-boy vamps. "Sparkly vampires." - Whiskey/Testing99

Broken clock, twice a day, and all that. You may be on to something here - at leats for some of the Twlight fans. Not all, but some.

I suspect that with so many fans Twilight must be successful at being a lot of things to a lot of different, mostly female, people. One of the girls I know who is a serious Twilight fan is seriously after the bad boy type. If that's why she likes the books, I don't know. But she is that type of person.

Anthony said...

Whiskey said: "The books are about a girl's desire for a bad-boy who fights other bad-boys"

In the book Twilight, Edward is portrayed as a mysterious but chivalrous and romantic aristocrat, with a dangerous edge. He does things like ballroom dancing and composing classical piano scores in his spare time. The most salient fact about him initially is how good looking he is, and his 'DHV' of Bella by rejecting her - not that he's a 'bad-boy'. The badness in him primarily involves driving quickly (but in a Volvo!) and wanting to drink Bella's blood. This introduces danger into the relationship, which seems to amplify the attraction, but it's a mistake to classify him as a bad-boy because of it.

Truth said...

" I'm surprised you didn't "get" it, Steve."

I didn't get N.D. either, but then I never get comedy so that is not a surprise. I think "In the Company of Men" was the funniest film I've ever seen; I've watched it 5 times.

I'll tell you this much though; it was a whole hell of a lot better than "Idiocracy."

Anonymous said...

How can you have a discussion of Mormon culture without the Aquabats?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzVB3zHeh4U

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Aquabats

The (Mormon) leader of the aquabats went on to make the incredible children's show "Yo Gabba Gabba"

I think safe campy ska encapsulates the whole fun, psuedo-rebellion of being a Mormon youth.

Udolpho.com said...

This bodes ill for Avatar, will the twi-hards turn out for Cameron's faggy smurfs in space pic, or will they be too busy seeing matinees of New Moon for the 17th time?

It might be nice for this movie to undercut Cameron's repulsive science fantasy gift to furries and vindicate audience appeal over special effects and money.

Pat Shuff said...

I was tasked to visit a hundred or two Mormon facilities across eastern OR, WA into ID and UT for quality control checks of privately contracted installation of satellite based data networking equipment when Latter Day Saints became a client of my employer.
Just to say it is a wealthy church, new unworn carpet in hallways and rooms, white not yellowed and stained suspended ceilings, fresh paint, office furniture and equipment, roofing, sealed parking lots, new nets on the basketball hoops, landscaping manicured and maintained, everything updated. As contrasted with, say, the 'dead net', the mom-pop mortuaries that have been scooped up and consolidated nationally and tended to be seedy and rundown facilities.

The visits were courteous and accomodating, no proselytizing, only once was I offered literature. There is a small masonry structure to the back of each church housing ancestral records of congregational members. There was a UT warehouse the size of a Costco with branded canned goods shelved, part of the agricultural enterprise interests.
Also housed a semitruck stocked with food, tents, generators, water purification etc. fueled and ready to roll at an emergency's moments notice to things like an Andy or Katrina where it had been.

Anecdotally I've heard from people who lived in UT for a period of an at least perceived disparity for non-mormons when it comes to things like approvals, permits.

Anonymous said...

The badness in him primarily involves... wanting to drink Bella's blood... but it's a mistake to classify him as a bad-boy because of it.

LOL'ed.

[Literally.]

Anonymous said...

Stanford must have lost yesterday.

David Davenport said...

There's something weird about teenage girls obsessing about vampires. Like Mammy says in "Gone With the Wind":

"It ain't fittin'. It just ain't fittin'."


Vampires -> oral sex, no pregnancy

Reactionary said...

Speaking of such things, what are the Christian Scientists up to these days? There was a fairly large congregation in Atlanta in the 1960's and 70's but it's significantly smaller these days.

I recall a good deal of activity by these peculiarly American strains of theism (LDS, CS, JW's) back then but not so much anymore.

Anonymous said...

I’ve lived in UT and AZ the last few years, and it seems every Morman/LDS guy I gotten to know has a “when the shit hits the fan” plan…food, water, guns, place to go in the country. They've all been bright, hard working, (even funny) and nice as can be...

Bobblehead Bob said...

I didn't get N.D. either, but then I never get comedy so that is not a surprise. I think "In the Company of Men" was the funniest film I've ever seen; I've watched it 5 times.

Oddly enough, In the Company of Men was also a Mormon flick - writer/director Neil LaBute was (at the time) a practicing Mormon. Both he and star Aaron Eckhart were raised Mormon and attended BYU - together, I believe.

I’ve lived in UT and AZ the last few years, and it seems every Morman/LDS guy I gotten to know has a “when the shit hits the fan” plan

Church leadership encourages emergency preparedness, but most of the Mormons I know (I'm lapsed, and I know hundreds of them) aren't obsessively serious about it, and even fewer talk about it.

BTW, the Atlantic article someone linked to above provided great insite into the books and their popularity, I thought.

Anonymous said...

Steve and a couple of commenters hit upon the one genuinely interesting issue here-- why is it that the Mormons are producing art and culture that (whatever you think of it) resonates with a wider audience, while white evangelicals largely aren't. I mean, has anyone attempted to listen to the whole category of music called Christian contemporary (produced by and for evangelicals)? It's unlistenable, which is remarkable when one considers how much great music through the ages has been inspired by Christianity. Same with evangelical Christian literature-- or those creepy movies that always seem to star Kirk Cameron.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people may go, but almost all of them will either be a teenage girl (possibly a twenty or twenty one year old girl) or someone who was browbeaten into it by one.

Ronduck said...

Steve, you are not the only one who has noticed that Mormonism is the next thing in conservatism, so has the Bush family. There is a common thread linking Bush sr, Bush jr, and Mitt Romney a man named Ron Kaufman. Kaufman ran Bush sr's first campaign for the Republican nomination in 1978 and later worked in the Bush sr. White House as a political director/personnel director. This coincided with the last of the high church Protestants having influence on the Republican party, with Bush sr. put up as a fraud to look and act like one of them. Later the Bush family realized that low-church Protestantism (Evangelicalism) was the next big thing and ran Bush jr. Ron Kaufman was/is married to Andrew Cards sister, and Andrew Card was the chief of staff for Bush jr.

Now that Mormonism has reached critical mass culturally, and it is so obvious you can see it, the Bush family has begun to prepare the next imposter to look and say the right things while derailing the conservative movement - Mitt Romney. Ron Kaufman did not run Romney's campaign, but he did sit on the campaign plane across the aisle from Romney advising the candidate. On top of that RK is the RNC committeeman from Massachusetts, so he probably had a hand in selecting and grooming Romney to run for governor in that moral cesspool. If you read the wiki article on Romney's political positions the man has a knack for being a chameleon that can blend in as necessary. The man clearly intends to project an ambiguous image to the public in order to fool people like my grandmother into voting for him.

The House of Bush has perfected the art of reading the trends in the conservative movement, finding what religious background will fit the current zeitgeist of the decade and running a candidate that fits with that while actually being a closet liberal. Family retainer Ron Kaufman has a history of association with these abominable HoB projects and his appearance in orbit around Mitt is the surest sign that this candidate for 2012 is a Trojan horse inside the movement.

As for Ron Kaufman's current activities when he is not undermining the Republic he is a megalobbyist at Dutko. In fact RK was the first lobbyist hired by the fraudulent Pequot tribe when it began forming. The re-emergence of the Puritans defeated foe in New England is possibly the greatest sign of our dispossession.

Anonymous said...

Mormons are what more WASPs and Northern Europeans would be like if we weren't all trying to impress Jews - happy, optimistic, and trusting (of our own).

The Mormon "type" we see today and consider somehow "different" and unique was quite the norm back in the day.

It's remarkable to see the extent to which urban Jewish traits and attitudes, such as verbosity, cynicism, excessive sarcasm, etc have been assimilated by non-Jews in America and have replaced the old type.

Steve Wood said...

Mormons are what more WASPs and Northern Europeans would be like if we weren't all trying to impress Jews - happy, optimistic, and trusting (of our own).

The USA in 1860 was mostly made up of WASPs/Northern Europeans, and I doubt many of them were trying to impress the minuscule Jewish population. How did such "happy, optimistic and trusting" people end up fighting a civil war with each other?

They've all been bright, hard working, (even funny) and nice as can be...

Mormons are nice. Isn't that common knowledge? A close friend of mine lives in Salt Lake. He says that, while the LDS are generally insular and not quick to make close personal friendships with non-Mormons, they are, at the superficial level of interacting with strangers and co-workers, almost universally nice, pleasant and polite. A sense of humor is no rarer among them than among any other ethnically similar group. That has been my observation on visits out there as well.

Anonymous said...

"Mormons are what more WASPs and Northern Europeans would be like if we weren't all trying to impress Jews"

lol What?

Harry Baldwin said...

Anonymous said, "Every Morman/LDS guy I gotten to know has a “when the shit hits the fan” plan."

First Rule of having a WTSHTF Plan is don't talk about the WTSHTF Plan.

PS, that's the Second Rule too.

Middletown Girl said...

Just because it's made by a Mormon doesn't mean it's pro-Mormon or Mormon-ish. As we are all affected by the prevailing pop culture, we've all probably been Seinfeldized and blackified to some degree. Most pop music has elements of blackness. Most humor has been influenced by the Jewish witty kind.

Ray Sawhill said...

I'm not normally a fan of PBS's big documentaries -- for making me go to sleep there's little that's quite as effective as the usual PBS doc. But I did like and learn a lot from their 4 hour number on the Mormons.

http://www.pbs.org/mormons/

Anonymous said...

The 1970s/1980s television producer Glen Larson ("McCloud", "Hardy Boys", "Knight Rider") was a serious Mormon, and many would argue that his most personal project, the original "Battlestar Galactica", was a very thinly-veiled retelling of the Saints' Exodus to Utah, with Lorne Greene playing Brigham Young, and the notion of the "lost tribe that went to Earth" a close analogue of LDS Lamanite Theory.

Anonymous said...

I've long told people that the Mormons are what you'd get if you could turn the Rotary Club into a cult: wholesome, patriotic, civic-minded, sober people who believe in some utterly wacky bull-crap.



Happily, they're on our side, which given the amount of power and influence they've accumulated, and will continue to accumulate, is mostly a good thing.





They're what Jews should be, in a better and less bent world.

Anonymous said...

The badness in him primarily involves driving quickly (but in a Volvo!) and wanting to drink Bella's blood. This introduces danger into the relationship, which seems to amplify the attraction, but it's a mistake to classify him as a bad-boy because of it.




Sure, wanting to drink your girlfriends blood should not be construed as being "bad".

greenrivervalleyman said...

Steve, you're in serious danger of becoming Whiskey/testing99's sock puppet if you keep recycling his favorite obsessions like this ;-) My wife rented the first Twilight movie recently, and I think I ruined the experience for her by laughing through most of it. By pure chance I'd read Whiskey's take on the Twilight series a few days before and- give the man credit- he knows the female weakness for charming badboys like Friedman knows his money supply. At one point the vampire love-interest tells the heroine it's almost a certainty she'll die at his hands if they don't call it off. Without blinking she tells him she knows that'll never happen because, despite belonging to a supernatural species that must feed on human blood to live, "he loves her". So yes, this is fantasy female porn as its most shameless.

There's a website which tracks the popularity of baby names over the years which I used to visit when my wife was pregnant with our latest and, not surprisingly, Bella (the heroine of Twilight) shows a huge spike over the last couple of years (ditto for Willow and Xander, two of the leads from the Buffy Vampire Slayer series.

Whiskey said...

You can look at the pictures of the die-hard Twilight fans lining up for the shows. DeadlinehollywoodDaily.com has pics of them a week before hand, and the OC Register has some for the Friday 12:01 AM showings at the Spectrum in OC.

You will find Moms, and teen girls. What's missing? Women in their mid to late twenties. Presumably, at work.

Edward is a bad boy alright. He's just a Mormon housewife filled with longing idea of a bad boy. He doesn't work, doesn't have a family, is never awkward or insecure, is often arrogant, and is physically and emotionally superior to the awkward adolescent males that congregate around the girl Bella.

As for Avatar, buzz on it is terrible. Haha ode to furries. Already people have taken some scenes from the German film "Downfall" and intercut dialog of Der Furher screaming "I waited ten years for Captain Planet with cats! Cameron should have let Lucas make Ferngully 2: the Last Rainforest!"

Go see it on youtube, it's hilarious.

Peter A said...

we're experiencing the slow, quiet emergence of the Mormon influence on American pop culture.

It's probably the opposite - or at best a meeting in the middle. Mormon theology and practice has been watered down considerably the last 50 years. The LDS church used to be a religion that was really out there, but it's quickly becoming just another flavor of Protestantism.

Anonymous said...

"Speaking of such things, what are the Christian Scientists up to these days? "

All dead from diseases that modern medicine can cure? Just a guess.

"I’ve lived in UT and AZ the last few years, and it seems every Morman/LDS guy I gotten to know has a “when the shit hits the fan” plan…food, water, guns, place to go in the country"

I could certainly be wrong (not a Mormon) but I read once the LDS Church recommends each household stockpile at least a year's worth of preservable food.

"Pretty, but a slightly asymmetrical head. I saw her on Letterman just before Twilight was released and she also seemed a little...druggie. Like she'd been smoking pot in her dressing room."

Maybe that's it. In most of her pictures I've seen her skin seems so pale in comparison to her dark hair. She looks fragile or kind of sickly to me very often.

-Vanilla Thunder

Jimmy Crackedcorn said...

A lot of people may go, but almost all of them will either be a teenage girl (possibly a twenty or twenty one year old girl) or someone who was browbeaten into it by one.

Are you kidding? The Twilight series is loved by any and all single women (and quite a few married ones) between puberty and menopause.

Glaivester said...

Speaking of such things, what are the Christian Scientists up to these days?

They are monitoring.

She's kind of pretty but something about her annoys me.

Well, according to TVTropes, there is something called dull surprise, "A vague, wispy look of emptiness given by a character that's supposed to convey intense emotional shock, horror, or revelation, but really looks like they've been binging on every single narcotic known to man for their entire lives."

According to this site, "In the Twilight film, Bella certainly has a collection of such emotions."

They also link to a series of pictures that demonstrate this (Warning: this picture changes between several different shots VERY rapidly. If flashing lights are problematic for you, don't click).

Anthony said...

Re: Whiskey and bad-boy interpretation supporters,

Bella is initially attracted to Edward *because he's really good looking*. It had little to do with him being 'bad', but it's true that he didn't try to suck up to her and smile at her and generally be dorky like the other guys in the high-school. If that makes him a 'bad-boy' then ... so be it. You guys have a generous definition of bad-boy.

Consider when he saves her from being run over by a car: it's a projection of strength combined with mystery, not bad-boy-ness, that causes attraction. The realization he's a vampire comes later, once she's already smitten.

Anthony said...

Whiskey said: "To wit, the girl is fascinated (and chooses) a violent bad-boy with no skills (other than violence), who is far, far older, and really, really wants to kill her."

This is false on all counts.

As far as having 'no skills', he is an accomplished dancer, musical composer, does extremely well at all subjects in high school, and seems to have a very wealthy family. All of these are portrayed in the book as increasing her attraction toward him. How does this translate into 'no skills'?

It is true that he's older than her, but *she doesn't know this* at first, when she is initially becoming attracted to him.

He does *not* want to kill her. That's why he goes to incredible lengths to prevent her from dying.

This characterization also completely ignores the romantic and chivalrous aspects of Edwards' character, which also are portrayed as increasing her attraction for him.

Again, she's highly attracted to him at first because she finds him really good looking ... but I know this doesn't compute for guys obsessed with 'game'.

Anonymous said...

Just tonight, over dinner, at a friend's house, I learned of a bevy of Soccer Moms who camped out for tickets and went to the midnight show on opening night.

One of them was the guy's sister-in-law, who is married, with three children.

I kid you not.

PS: T99 might be onto something here.

Either that, or else these women just ain't gettin' enough old-fashioned lovin' from their husbands.

IYKWIMAITYD.

The older I get, the more I wonder if most women secretly want animals for husbands - something like a cross between an alley cat and a werewolf.

And if that's what they want - then, well, guys - you might as well give it to 'em...

Anthony said...

Whiskey said: "Edward is a bad boy alright. He's just a Mormon housewife filled with longing idea of a bad boy. He doesn't work, doesn't have a family, is never awkward or insecure, is often arrogant, and is physically and emotionally superior to the awkward adolescent males that congregate around the girl Bella."

Point by point:

"He doesn't work"

Uh, he's in high school. Most of the males in the book don't work.

"doesn't have a family"

Yes he does ... you've read the book, right?

"is never awkward or insecure"

This is true, but how does "not being awkward" or being confident make one into a "bad-boy"? You're just mislabeling.

"is physically and emotionally superior to the awkward adolescent males"

This is also true, but again, how does that make one a "bad-boy"?

It seems you're using this term in a way which just means "not a wussy" or something like that. But "not a wussy" doesn't equal "bad-boy".

Jason said...

No commentary about the way that this _much_ older man is running around in high school hooking up with adolescent girls?

Kinda creepifying to my lights.

tommy said...

Our modern elites might be dubbed "The Politically Correct Plantation Class." They're entirely divorced from the realities about them.

tommy said...

In fact, "Politically Correct Plantation Class" makes for a nice acronym: "PCPC" or, if you prefer, "PC^2!"

Like the stereotypical plantation owners of old, the PC-Squares possess an imperious contempt for whites beneath their own station, they are unforgiving of breaches in etiquette and philosophy, and their perspective on NAMs is notable for its paternalism.

tommy said...

Sorry, I clicked on the wrong post. It's getting very late. Time for bed.

Jason said...

Mormons are WASPs with one important difference: they've been selected for gullibility.

Nice, yes. Smart, yes. Uncritical? Extremely. It's not that they can't think. They just choose not to, and it doesn't bother them. Most people have an intellectual conscience, a critical voice that questions decisions and challenges thoughts. In some cases, it gets out of hand, leading to "analysis paralysis", depression, emo kids, and Jewish guilt. At the other end of the spectrum you get Mormons.

Napoleon Dynamite is a dork who doesn't know he's a dork. He really has no concept of the way other people view him, and as a result he takes chances and does things that other people would be afraid to do. His handicap is an advantage. That's why the movie appeals on two levels: overly-critical emo kids see a hero who doesn't suffer from their own malady, while other uncritical people just see a "gentle" movie, without all the "mean spirited" - ie. critical - humor of other movies.

The lack of critical thought in Twilight is harder for me to swallow because it's not played for laughs. Bella never questions her relationship with a guy who's a century old. That's just creepy. And as far as I can tell, that's the whole series. Her steadfastly uncritical faith in him wins the day time after time. His doubts and objections are the antagonist.

This plays right into tweenage dreams of eternal true love, unshakable certainty, and rescuing the bad boy. But you gotta' remember, this was written by an adult.

Jimmy Crackedcorn said...

Steve and a couple of commenters hit upon the one genuinely interesting issue here-- why is it that the Mormons are producing art and culture that (whatever you think of it) resonates with a wider audience, while white evangelicals largely aren't.

Try The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.

Laugh said...

Mormon, Baptist,Jehovah's Witness, Catholic....WHATEVER!!!!

The books bored me to tears(was reading them with my nieces) and the movie made me what to slit my wrist.

The most hideously awful film ever!!!!!! ever!!!!!

They had numerous opportunities to make it interesting and they decided not to!!!

Anonymous said...

65 Comments and no one mentions Glenn Beck?

Anyway. I spent my college winters in Logan Utah and my college summers as the only Mormon working at a summer camp for rich kids in New England.

It seemed to me at the time that Mormon humor is different. I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that is tends to be less mean, and more self deprecating.

It also has to be funny if when everyone is sober, which was very noticeable when I went out with friends who got drank. They would laugh at things that just weren't that funny.

Mormon humor, in my mind anyway, tends to be very dry. Take something totally absurd, and treat it like its absolutely normal. That is the set up and the pay off of Nappy D. Napoleon almost smiles one time, when he sees Kip and Lafawnda about to get on the bus. Every thing else is serious, like suggesting gold bracelets to make them look all official, like they got all the answers.

David said...

Would she remain attracted to him if he didn't drink blood?

Would you?

Isn't the reason vampires are involved precisely to insert the element of terror and danger into the main relationship ... which makes it so very, very enjoyable? She's risking her life for her love!

(As an older cynical man, I am laughing and laughing, but with affection.)

Lost in all this female talk is something else in these movies. And this is that they're about a young elite of bloodsuckers. The vampires are a relatively small number of flawed (parasitical and dangerous) princesses and princes, trying to cope with their impossibly difficult existence and with their great power over their numerically larger though weaker (Bella) and less talented hosts, with a strong concern around interbreeding. Is Mormonism the first cultural analogue that occurs to you when reading the source books by Stephenie Meyer or watching the flicks?

Was "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its spinoff produced by Mormons?

greenrivervalleyman said...

The Atlantic Monthly review of the series mentioned by a previous poster is a DEAD-ON corroboration of Game, or bad-boy theory, or what those of us of an older bent simply understood in our bones to be the fundamental differences between man and woman. The fact that the author of the piece is a self-proclaimed specialist on the "emotional life of pubescent girls" makes her obliviousness to the true nature of her subjects' subterranean stirrings (despite all her heartbreakingly sensitive powers of staggering observation as both a writer and a woman) hilarious to the point of absurdity.


But Edward demonstrates none of the pickup-artist smoothness of his kind.


(eyeroll) And yet their relationship is a Christmas catalog of standard PUA techniques such as negging, push-pull, etc.:


As she glances shyly at him before sitting down, he meets her eyes “with the strangest expression on his face—it was hostile, furious.” As she takes the seat beside him, he leans away from her, “sitting on the extreme edge of his chair and averting his face like he smelled something bad.”

In short, Edward treats Bella not as Count Dracula treated the objects of his desire, but as Mr. Rochester treated Jane Eyre. He evinces the most profound disdain and distaste for this girl. Even after they have confessed their love for each other, he will still occasionally glare at and speak sharply to her.


Mr. Rochester was a Gothic-literary silverback!


And yet they are such kindred spirits! They share a dim view of the many young men who would be Bella’s suitors if only she would take an interest in them.


All of them nice beta-boys who know no better than to approach the girls they like with straightforward displays of kindness, interest, and affection.


(This poignant aspect of the female heart proves once again a theory advanced by a high-school chum of mine, an improbable lothario who replied when I demanded that he explain his freakish success with the ladies: “Chicks thrive on rejection.”)


You don't say!


Bella, despite all of her courage and competence, manages to end up in scrape after scrape: finding herself in the path of a runaway car, fainting at school, going shopping in a nearby city and getting cornered by a group of malevolent, taunting men. And over and over, out of nowhere, shoving the speeding car out of her way, or lifting her up in his arms, or scaring the bejesus out of the men who would harm her, is Edward. And at last, while she is recuperating from the near-rape...


The heroine's rescue from a gang of threatening men is such a standard trope of fictional romance that normally I'd let a "cigar be just a cigar". But the scene is so artificial (this ain't some rough logging town with double digit unemployment she's "almost raped" in; it's SWPL to the point of having a Native-American bookstore!) that I have to go with Whiskey on this one: this is merely sublimation of female repulsion at the unwanted advances of beta males. When Stephanie Meyer concocted this scene I wonder if she put the faces of the nice band and yearbook boys she turned down for junior prom on the faces of Bella's attackers ;-)


As I write this, I am sitting on the guest-room bed of a close friend, and down the hall from me is the bedroom of the daughter of the house, a 12-year-old reader extraordinaire... Posted on this girl’s door... to the right of an oval-shaped decal bearing the single, angry imperative STOP GLOBAL WARMING—is a small, black, square-shaped sticker that reads My Heart Belongs to Edward.


As Roissy might say, in 13 years this reader extraordinaire will sign legally-binding paperwork stating that half her Manhattan loft belongs to the environmentally-aware American Studies major she met at Brandeis. Yet her loins will be given to the first reformed biker/SoHo furniture maker that crosses her path.

Lost Pilgrim said...

Okay,
Gotta post on the whole Roman Polanski thing here with Edward. It is deeply beyond creepy.

Why try to fit in at a high school when you could be doing something worthwhile like composing music or finding a cure for cancer?

I was not all that fond of high school girls when I was in high school. I mostly dated college girls.

Edward is a creepy pedophile corpse. Jacob on the other hand is just so dreamy...I mean according to my wife and daughter.

Steve Setzer said...

Mormons have made some inroads in science fiction and fantasy over the past two decades, and sf&f has become more popular over the same time period, so I think that explains some of the Meyer phenomenon. I don't think it's a long term trend. There are just too few of us (2% of Americans), and we don't dominate any particularly powerful industries or regions. The great "Mormon cultural dominance" is, I think, a mirage.

James Kabala said...

I find it interesting as a non-reader of the books to follow this debate and try to see if I can puzzle together the truth. Anthony seems to have the most actual knowledge of the book, so he is probably right.

It seems as if Meyer is trying to have it both ways - Edward's being a vampire gives him the danger assosciated with bad boys, but there is no actual badness in his deeds. His level of intelligence and sophistication certainly seems to have very little in common with a "reformed biker!"

"this ain't some rough logging town with double digit unemployment she's 'almost raped' in; it's SWPL to the point of having a Native-American bookstore!"

More likely than the elaborate fantasia GRVM spins based on this anomaly is that Meyer is a mediocre writer who cannot put across a convincing sense of place.

"I wonder if she put the faces of the nice band and yearbook boys she turned down for junior prom on the faces of Bella's attackers"

I would bet dollars to doughnuts that if asked, Meyer would claim (truthfully or not) to have been a wallflower who was not invited to junior prom by anyone (except maybe by her future husband, who according to Wikipedia did know her in childhood and is now - wait for it - an accountant turned stay-at-home dad).

Uncle Peregrine said...

"Here's another thing I've been wondering about for a few years: At what point do the Anabaptists reach such numbers that they move from being surreal figures on a different plane to actually affecting the culture?"

Amish romances are hugely popular among the women who want romance novels without sex. Some Amish women are secretly reading them, too. Of course the writers are not themselves Amish, although some do have family connections. I did see two German-speaking Amish girls looking at the Twilight table in a bookstore.

Anonymous said...

The Housewife who wrote the Twilight saga may have been Mormon, but the wh'ole thing is a total REJECTION of Mormon standards.

The blogger Jonathan Green over at the mormon Times and Seasons sites did a good job of explaining the Mormon elements in this piece of trash--the book is all about rejecting ordinary (read 'gentile' i.e. 'non-mormon') mortal relationships in favor of eternal, vampiric relationships. And also about men controlling their strong desires and channeling them into marriage.

Anonymous said...

"The CIA is full of Mormons because they have foreign language and overseas experience."

Speaking as a Mormon myself, maybe this explains why the CIA is crap these days. Mormons are awesome, but innovative and amoral risktakers we ain't.

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

"This plays right into tweenage dreams of eternal true love, unshakable certainty, and rescuing the bad boy. But you gotta' remember, this was written by an adult."

Who's been reading Roissy, maybe, and got an awful, wonderful idea for a "novel" that would appeal to females' hypergamous fantasies, become a bestseller and make her a bazillionaire.

Artistic integrity? What's that?

James Kabala said...

"Who's been reading Roissy, maybe"

The first book was begun in 2003 and published in 2005, says Wikipedia. Roissy's archives (I just checked) only go back to 2007, and as far as I know he did not have a previous site. Think before you write and don't assume everyone(or anyone) has heard of your obscure guru.

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

"Who's been reading Roissy, maybe"

The first book was begun in 2003 and published in 2005, says Wikipedia. Roissy's archives (I just checked) only go back to 2007, and as far as I know he did not have a previous site. Think before you write and don't assume everyone(or anyone) has heard of your obscure guru."

You're right. No need to refer to Roissy. That girls are attracted to good-looking, powerful bad boys was something my great-grandma could have told you.

It was intended to be a smart aleck remark. Fell flat, I guess. But, doodness, why are you so cranky?

Anonymous said...

I would hardly call napoleon dynamite "Mormon" humor.

It was merely form of high school humor; ironic and purposefully awkward. Most adults I knew did not understand the movie, most high schoolers did. It was essentially a movie that was an inside joke among youth.

Just because something does not have blatent vulgarity does not mean it's some new form of cultural humor. It was merely a form that has existed for quite a while and happened to be brought to a spotlight by mormans.

I think you're reading too much into things.

And twilight is merely a romance novel without explicit sex. All the author did was remove a normally critical element so that it would be marketable to a wider audience.