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Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
I'm supposed to be writing up something for crowdfunding's turn in the LJ Spotlight about my experiences in serializing Tin Man and The Current Whatever The Hell This Is, but it's not actually "due" until some time tomorrow, which means Muse is sitting here going "...Idunno, what do you wanna do?" and will be until either midnight tonight or possibly midnight tomorrow night, I shouldn't wonder. It would probably help if I felt like I ever knew what I was actually doing when I write and post these things...

So, I will instead entertain the Masses with the revelation that I checked Twilight out of the library last week and actually found the experience of reading it entertaining enough that I traded it in for book #2 this afternoon.

Note, I did not say anything about whether or not I "liked" the book.

The precedent that kept coming to mind as I was reading it was Showgirls, which as I mentioned here baffled me as to its artistic intent; that something can be such a dead-on parody of a genre, and yet not appear to have any awareness of that fact, is an impressive achievement in and of itself. They're both played absolutely dead straight as if they're making perfect sense, which they are according to their internal logic -- it's just that the whole thing falls apart if the audience steps back to examine the picture from even a halfway-reasonable-person's perspective.

The problem with Twilight isn't that it's a "bad" book, I've read far worse for both prose styling and Unfortunate Implications. The problem is that Bella is actually in the right regarding an argument from a skewed premise. If one grants the conditions that the book sets up for its worldbuilding, IE paranormal romance where this is THE ONE and refusing would suck forever for both parties, then Pascal's Wager says she's crazy not to want the things that she states she wants.

The trouble is that this is the perspective, reasonable in the context and quite accurately rendered, of an adolescent who hasn't had the experiences under their belt to see the downside of the overall situation -- and the narrative itself is endorsing her perspective rather than attempting to question or deconstruct it.

It's a tough play for a writer, granted; most tend to fail to the side of making the teenagers too rational and adult, and then everybody goes, Dude, did you GO to high school?. But, hey, that weird, impulsive, not-quite-cooked-brain thing can be done, first-person and all, without the narrative going along with it. (Catcher In The Rye, anyone? Holden Caulfield may be self-absorbed, but he's not actually right about what's going on in his life.)

So, anyway. Just started book #2, and may will eventually have Things To Say about that, I imagine. It's probably helping that thanks to the internet as cultural-osmosis machine I know how all of this comes out more or less, and so I'm starting out from a meta "Oh, you can't do that with a ping-pong ball" sort of horrified-bystander analytical position for how the writing is creating the effects it's creating, rather than particularly giving a damn about the story. But I'd worry about someone going into this cold, because I can see where the hooks are and why this has been so successful and effective as a literary phenomenon...

Also, the guy in front of me at the library was checking out one of those fishing poles. You just know Inner Trevor is having an argument with Muse over this right about now.

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green_knight From: green_knight Date: July 21st, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
The problem is that Bella is actually in the right regarding an argument from a skewed premise.

'validating a skewed premise' is such a wonderful way of summing up the book and all that is wrong with it that I shall adopt it in the future. (And, y'know, it sums up so may problematic books, including the lone gunman who is right: all strangers must be met with violence etc etc.

Bella was believable as a teenager, she has agenda (she decides to move in with her father etc), _but_ she wants to live her life in a completely unhealthy fashion, and the author encourages her.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: July 22nd, 2011 01:07 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
and the author encourages her

And that's the problem, exactly. Bella is a Mary Sue by the technical definition of the universe being in alignment with her perceptions rather than a neutral setting, and I think that's the element that's offending readers who aren't in agreement with that sort of a setup and delighting the ones who do see it as a validating experience...
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