“Brain Porn” implies that the brain is engaged

Actually, I’m not going to get into this article by yet another confused male on why Twilight appeals to so many women. I understand his confusion though — women confuse me and I’m one of them. I haven’t actually read any of the books (the gods forbid!), but I’ve read lots of commentary on them, because the tastes of the masses being so much at odds with mine is a subject that always fascinates me.

Anyway, some thoughts. For example, the author of these tomes is apparently a devout Mormon. She has declared that she refuses to see horror movies because they are “too violent.” But then she writes this thing about vampires — horror movie staples even when they are supposed to be good characters (for a better-acted example, Gary Oldman’s Dracula in the Coppola movie transformed from hideous old man to blood-and-sex-thirsty werewolf to lovelorn undead prince and back again and basically was the hero/anti-hero of the movie, where in the original novel he was just a ravening demon). Not only that, this horror-and-violence hating woman writes (in whichever of the books this happens) a scene where the heroine’s half-vampire baby is not only devouring her from inside the womb, but when she does start giving birth, it’s a scene reminiscent of the bloodiest horror movie, involving her spine breaking and her husband tearing open her uterus with his teeth.

Yeah. You’d think women, who like to play the shrinking violets when it comes to “all that violence” and blame it on men yadda-yadda, would have tossed this book in the trash and converged on Meyers’ home with torches and pitchforks. But no, they gobble this stuff up like… like their heroine’s baby gobbles up her mother’s blood. Why??? came the anguished screams of many people (like this guy), who just don’t get it. But I think I do. Meyers had no trouble with this scene because, like a lot of mothers, she doesn’t equate the birthing process with violence.

Let me explain: this is probably not true of every women who has given birth (at least, I hope not), but every one that I have known have not had the slightest trouble going into icky, disgusting, intimate detail about every one of their childrens’ births. I’ve heard a lot: about the way the doctor tossed my friend’s intestines up on her chest so he could get to her womb and take out her baby; about how she started crapping mid-birth and the nurse would just scoop up the poo with her hands and… Okay okay! I’ll stop, I’m making myself ill. So glad I never had kids, yuck. Anyway, Meyers obviously doesn’t see anything wrong with describing what basically sounds like a violent home caesarian, because she doesn’t think of the scene as being a “violent horror movie scene” because it’s birthing a baby and how can that be horrible?

Another thing that puzzles readers is why the main character, heroine Bella Swan, is such a pill whenever people are nice to her. Especially if they give her stuff: Edwards’ rich family is always doing things for her like throwing parties and giving her posh cars. And actually she bitches when her father gives her a dumpy old truck. Also, she expects to be mistreated when she starts her new school, but when everyone instead seems to love her and want to be her best friend, she seems to hate that even more. The reason for this just escapes this guy, but I think I’ve figured it out. The author wanted her heroine to be a “good” person so people would admire her, but she (the author) is neither a good writer or a person with more than the shallowest insight into human relations. Thus, she thinks that the way to show the goodness of her character is to make Bella “humble” and “unpretentious” and that the way to do that is to show how much Bella hates shallow, ostentatious things like parties, expensive cars, and people being nice to her. Really. Of course, the author wants it both ways, so she has the heroine take these things anyway, but makes sure that the heroine is not happy to receive them. This is how too many Americans handle being materialistic. We need to stop that shit.

PS: by the way, Bella demanding to be made an immortal vampire not somehow being a sick and wrong desire is explained by the author’s Mormonism. She does not seem to be a very introspective or (as I’ve pointed out) insightful person, so she doesn’t seem to realize that she’s merely translated her religious beliefs into vampirism. Or maybe she is and doesn’t care; maybe she wanted originally to write a pure Mormon romance but knew it wouldn’t sell outside of LDS circles, so she just changed all the Mormon stuff into vampire stuff and her Mormon heroes into vampires. It could be true. People are very strange.

7 thoughts on ““Brain Porn” implies that the brain is engaged

  1. Pingback: dustbury.com » You have to work so hard to be good

    1. Andrea Harris Post author

      Well, I’m not exactly a Twilight fan (or a “Twitard” as the non-fans like to call them) so I’m not sure what you mean. As long as you keep it on topic.

  2. SPQR

    I just meant that the topic seemed dangerous for me …

    However, the whole Twilight phenomena is beyond my ken as well. I can’t create a coherent explanation for why anyone would buy a ticket for the vapid stories, bad acting etc.

  3. Anne B.

    “…I think I’ve figured it out. The author wanted her heroine to be a “good” person so people would admire her…”

    I think you’ve nailed it. Creating “good” characters is a tough job even for talented writers, because if you set out to establish their moral uprightness and scrub them of any obvious faults, then you’ve just got dull people whom it’s hard to get interested in (Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars, to name two.) With a not-so-talented writer, well, because you end up with grotesques who aren’t even believable, let alone likable.

    1. Andrea Harris Post author

      I had to look those characters up because I’d forgotten who they were. Full disclosure: I haven’t actually read Sense and Sensibility, just seen the movie version with Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant, and I thought the characters likable enough with realistic flaws (mostly being too uptight and reticent, as I recall). Are they duller in the book? Of Austen, I’ve read Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey.

    2. Anne B.

      Yes, they are duller in the book – Emma Thompson actually improved on the characters in her screenplay. (She also gave little sister Margaret a bit of personality and something to do – in the novel she’s just *there*, and might as well not be.)

      P & P bears multiple re-readings, and Northanger Abbey is fun, but in the case of Sense & Sensibility, you might as well stick with the Emma Thompson movie. Really.

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