Thursday, November 19, 2009

Behind the Eight Ball, but Needed to Weigh in on New Moon Concerns

The film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's New Moon comes out at midnight, and the country seems to be abuzz with concerns. I'd noticed the latest vocalization about a series I make no secret of being exhausted with, but I hadn't realized the scope of the chatter this time around until reading an excellent post on Zelda Lily on the theory of Twilight as pro-abstinence.

Since then, I've noticed a lot of people talking about Meyer's characters in a less-than-complimentary light. One of my Journalism students actually mentioned a news report talking about how Bella and Edward are the very epitome of an unhealthy relationship. On my way back from the teachers' room at lunchtime today, I came upon a group of eighth grade girls reading The New York Times (yes, you read that correctly) and discussing--intelligently!--the merits and shortcomings of concerns raised in an article.

I'd never really thought of the Twilight saga as more than a collection that was marginally entertaining the first time around. Now, people are talking about why America is putting an emotionally twisted relationship on a pedestal ... about the sexual repercussions of the books ... about Bella's inability to have any sort of individual identity beyond the men in her life (Edward, Jacob, even her father Charlie) ... about the coyly ambiguous relationship between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart ...

And I like to think of myself as one who finds philosophy everywhere! Geez Louise ...

My thoughts, in a nutshell:
1. Any books that lead to children reading cannot be all bad.
2. It really pisses me off when there are film adaptations made of books that kids actually read and enjoy (Holes is a great example ... the Harry Potter films are exceptions)
3. Bella and Edward are not good for each other. You do not need another person to make you whole, and their emotional obsession with each other is really pretty creepy.
4. The idea that these books are pro-abstinence is laughable. I mean, there are some pretty hot scenes throughout the course of the series. Although Bella and Edward do (because of circumstances and timing) hold off from actually having sex until they are married, I somehow don't see the pro-abstinence groups embracing the sort of intense foreplay both implied and stated in the books.
5. Bella is a pathetic "leading lady" in that her actions and choices are dictated by men (or her mother, whose life revolves around her new husband).
5a. I think it's kind of ironic that Bella names her baby daughter Renesmee after two women in her life--two mothers, if you will--when neither played what could be called a pivotal role in the saga.
6. Pattinson and Stewart are probably dating (or something ... but were told to keep it on the DL so as not to spoil that "pro-abstinence thing")

While I have read the entire series, I did not see Twilight and I do not intend to see New Moon (much to Addie's chagrin). My thoughts are based entirely on the books.

What are your thoughts on the bizarre phenomena of suddenly coming up with all of these concerns about a series that has been in the public eye for years?