Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Response to SMUTS

It will not have gone unnoticed among loyal readers of my blog (both of them, if you count my wife) that my recent ruminations about women and vampires injured the tender sensibilities of a group of women (all three of them, if you count two of my daughters). A recent blog entry, available at:

was posted in response, and made several cogent observations:

  1. I am a big fat idiot.
  2. I obviously haven't read the book(s)
  3. I should read the book(s).
  4. Far from being an old-fashioned "evil" vampire, Edward is a new breed of vampire, who is willing to fight for what's right, and who apparently is the moral center of the whole book series; he could probably give Obama a run for his money if he made a bid for president. (Note: He wouldn't run for president, of course. No, he would prefer to be free of political obligations in order to save the life of young women who wouldn't need their lives saved in the first place if he hadn't impregnated them. But I digress.)
  5. I sure am a big fat idiot.
  6. I'm probably compensating for something.
  7. Wow, am I a big fat idiot, or what?!?

I want to offer some responses to these observations.

First, about not reading the book(s): Ms. Mommy-Very-A-Musing suggested I had no right to critique the books unless I had read them. I could trot out a classic if somewhat cliched argument here, of course:
I also have not smeared Vaseline on my tonsils, or spent time in a South American prison. However, even without first-hand experiences in these two matters, I feel relatively safe in proclaiming that I would not enjoy them, and further, in venturing a guess as to how others might react to them as well.
Now I happen to believe this is a pretty good (even if cliched) argument, but I will leave it alone for now, because somehow it sounds too much like "If all your friends jumped of a bridge, would you do it too?"

In fact, I have not read the books. But in my defense I want to point out that, among the arguments given against my blog was the claim that women don't love Edward because he's a "bad boy," as I implied; they love him because he's gorgeous. Well. That certainly gives me motivation to read the books. Throw in Fabio and a few bodice-rippings and I'm there, I tell you what.

Also, I see now that I way over-analyzed the matter. I thought that instead of mere physical attraction there was a deeper, perhaps socioculturally-based reason for women falling in love with an overgrown mosquito. But no. It all comes down to physical attraction (or, as the Vampire Defense League would have it, being "hot"). Sorry. I'll try to keep it more shallow next time. I am gratified, at least, that there was an open admission of the importance of hotness in this case, rather than the usual cover-ups about "personality" and "sense of humor" and "no really, I think bald men are sexy."

It was also suggested by Ms. SMUTS that Edward was not an evil blood-sucking tick in human form but was in fact a very moral character, practically a Saint. This was offered in the spirit of genuine literary analysis, which I can certainly respect. The problem I have with it is that the teen-age girls who read this stuff do not sit around at night and discuss the Twilight series based on its literary merits: "Well, of course, Bella represents the primal subconsciousness's rebellion against the hegemony of the Every Woman. . ." etc. etc. as English teachers are wont to do. No, it is much more like something out of Tiger Beat: "OMG, OMG, he's so cute!" or "I have E.C.D. -- Edward Cullen Disorder! (followed by several squeals from friends). " So if you were to put questions about the characters in the books to the average 14 year old girl, it would go something like this:

Question: Who was the absolutely hottest character ever?
Answer: Duh! Edward!
Question: Who is the luckiest girl in the world despite the fact that giving birth was much more like something out of Alien than otherwise?
Answer: Bella. Duh, again!
Question: Who was the character best representing morality and a sense of duty?
Answer: Huh?

So, to sum up: No, I haven't read the books. But I don't think literary analysis is the critical issue here. Rather, the critical issue is the juxtaposition of 1) the single most important fact that all the women who read these books seem to agree about, which is that they are just all tingly for Edward, and 2) a fact that I think anyone would have to agree with, whether they've read the books or not, which is that Edward is a freakin' vampire.

Next, I would like to address the not-so-subtle implication that I am a big fat idiot, or as Ms. EDWARDLUV would have it, a "Nintendo-playing couch potato" (after extensive literary analysis involving the search function on my Web browser, I was able to conclude that she used that exact phrase three times). Of course I can quickly dispense with this by arguing that it has no material merit: 1) Neither I nor anyone in my household has ever owned a Nintendo, 2) there are no video game consoles of any brand in my house now, and 3) I couldn't possibly be a couch potato because the couch is always already covered with between 2 and 5 cats, and I never get to sit there, let alone vegetate on it.

Now it could be that some would claim that they have seen me in my house, reclining in my La-Z-Boy with my eyes closed and making noises that could be misinterpreted as snoring (if no one can really claim that, then forget I said anything, and skip to the next paragraph. Otherwise, read on). But I would assert that such people cannot distinguish between my snoring while asleep and my repeating the nasal manta of a little known type of deep meditation which I use to relieve the stresses of working so hard, especially around the house. This is a technique I learned under an oath of secrecy and unfortunately I cannot divulge even the name of the technique, especially since then you would try to look it up on Wikipedia. So you see that this accusation is wholly without merit and is simply an attempt to cloud the issue with personal attacks. Besides, you can't believe everything my wife tells you. So there you are; you see the couch-potato accusations are totally fallacious. And taking care of that only leaves one last issue.

There seemed to be a subtle implication that somehow I'm only mad about this because I'm not as hot as Edward is portrayed to be, and perhaps I have a history of being spurned by members of the fairer gender. On this point I realize I may not succeed in convincing the Sisterhood of the Traveling Vampire. But I will say this: although it is true that I didn't have a date to my own junior prom, it is also true that I pretty much hit the pinnacle of coolness as a senior in high school and my white '63 Impala and I did all right for a few years. But I have no proof for my coolness other than pictures in my high school yearbook, and I'm not about to publish any of those in public. So you'll just have to take my word for it: my picture with the rest of the debate team shows me with a very sexy sneer on my face.

So that's it; the arguments go down 1 - 2 - 3. I think there is only one thing left to say, and that is: How many vampires does it take to screw in a light bulb? Two. One to screw it in, and the other to stand around and look hot, apparently.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

He's a Freakin' Vampire, You Idiot!

Someone has to take a stand here, and I'm willing to do it. With this blog I formally announce the founding of the Guys Against Vampires, Elves, and Leprechauns (GAVEL). OK, I really don't have anything against Leprechauns (unless and until Stephanie Meyer announces the publication of "Irish Spring," the first book in her new series, in which I assume the heroine, Brunhilde, will be torn between her love of Brian, the Leprechaun, and the love that Brian's arch-rival, George the Griffin, has for her). I just needed the L because GAVEL sounds better than GAVE.

Why Elves? One word: Legolas. Hmmm. Maybe I should've used that L and avoided the whole Leprechaun thing.

Anyway, you guys know what I'm talking about here. It is no secret that a lot of women are attracted to "bad boys." Of course, they won't admit that.  They ask, "Where have all the nice guys gone?" while they are busy staring at the Sopranos on TV. They say what they really want is a sense of humor, but they spend a lot more time watching Johnny Depp than they do Drew Carey. They say they want someone kind and thoughtful and caring, just before they leave with Killer to go watch the cage fights. (Ladies:  before you dismiss me here, ask yourselves:  Who do I really like to watch: Dr. Gregory House, or Dr. James Wilson?  Case closed.)

Sure, most of us guys have learned to deal with that. Dealing with it usually involves playing Nintendo until, eventually,  the women come to their senses and realize you can make more money programming computers than you can riding motorcycles. So we can handle real, flesh-and-blood bad boys. Wait long enough, and most of them end up on an episode of Cops anyway.

But now Edward Cullen comes along and ups the ante by a factor of 10. This takes the concept of "bad boy" to a whole new level, and I think it's gone way too far.  See, a few years ago it was just pirates: Captain Jack Sparrow may have given us guys some heartburn, but at least he wore eye-liner. Also, pirates seemed to drink a lot and never shower, which, from a guy perspective, is a step in the right direction. But a vampire?!? I remember when many women thought it was a genuinely BAD thing to be a vampire. Now it's "well, yes, he may hunt humans and drink blood, but at least he dabs his ruby lips with a napkin afterward." The napkin, by the way, matches his bronze hair and sets off his ivory skin. Gimme a break.

So I say, to heck with vampires and the women who love them. I am turning my unofficial boycott of the Twilight Series into an official boycott.  And the movies too.  Although I have to admit, I was a little surprised when I found out Kristen Stewart was cast as Bella.  I would have assumed that only Paris Hilton could project the depth of thought and moral strivings that characterize a woman who falls in love with, and then becomes, a freakin' Vampire.

Buffy, come back!  We need you!!