Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In Defense of Twilight

Unless you're a teen girl,
this is NOT an endorsement

I’ve taken up lost causes before.  I’ve argued in favor of Jar Jar Binks.

I would still argue for him.  I have no illusions of ever persuading anyone, but a boy can dream.

It is with that same enterprising spirit of hope that I take up the banner to defend Stephanie Meyers and her Twilight series.

Not that Ms. Meyers needs defending.  She pays people who pay people to laugh at the people who attempt to give her a hard time.  If she even for a moment is hurt by the commentary of others, she can buy her own planet, hire tech companies on that planet to develop a virtual reality, then walk inside and close the door.

The biggest sin that Stephanie Meyers and her Twilight series have committed is the sin of success.  If not for the viral swooning of fangirls and fanboys everywhere, others, less like-minded, wouldn’t have peered at the genre through their squinted eyes and wondered, “What’s going on here?”

I, for example, would not have been a member of Team Jacob.

That is not to say that Meyers’ work is of great of even good quality.  But she had a very good idea,
Now, THIS is an endorsement!
and like any author, she ran with it.  Her reach certainly did not exceed her grasp, but literary ideas aren’t like technological ones: you don’t come up with the prototype and then sell it to a company who can manufacture a quality product and pay you royalties.  You either write it yourself, or it’s lost to the ether.

So Meyers wrote her little heart out and hoped for a miracle.

Because it is literally (haha) easier to do just about anything than to even make a living writing.  John Scalzi, who by most standards is a successful writer, documents how much he made in a blog posthere.  It points out just how frustrating it can be to try your hand at writing, not to mention writing for a living.  It took him years after he initially published to actually make the kind of money we consider “successful”, and there are very few people who take the time to flame Mr. Scalzi the same way they’ll gladly and gleefully build a pyre for Ms. Meyers.

Definitely NOT photoshopped.
The reality is that Meyers is an easy read.  She strings together words into sentences competently, turns sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into chapters, and obeys the rule of having a beginning, a middle and an end to her story.  Her characters are generally believable, and she doesn’t violate too many storytelling rules such that the willing suspension of disbelief is broken.  She has heroes and villains and humor and drama and conflict and resolution.

Still, she gets slapped with labels that make it seem like she’s not only a terrible author, but that she’s actually reversing literacy rates, causing cancer, and torturing Han just so Luke will rush off and fall into a carbonite freezing chamber.

I mean so evil that it deserves a capital letter and elongation: Eeeevil.

I’d like to say it’s not fair, but someone with more money than God can afford a little unfairness in their life.  Also, I'm still mad about the whole Team Jacob thing.  So . . . pass me a torch someone, and let’s light this candle!

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