slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Twilight would have been infinitely improved if Isabella Swan had decided, instead of Bella, to go by Izzy, y/y/mfy?

Oh, Also

Jan. 29th, 2010 02:43 pm
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
If Edward were really supposed to be this old-fashioned gentleman, would he not have stood up when Bella came to his table? I think so. THERE WAS A LADY PRESENT.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
When last I got so disgusted with this tripe that I had to take, like, a two-and-a-half-month break from it, Edward was being an abusive douchebag, Bella had no personality and did not seem like she was attracted to him at all, and incidentally she was also casually ablist. Shall we see if anything changes in chapter 5? (No, I don't think it will either, but I have to get through this shit: I said I would.)

In the beginning of chapter 5, Bella is so distracted by Edward's bullshit PUA-like I-like-you-I-hate-you routine that she doesn't realize she's late to class. Then she feels guilty about turning down the lesser, not-Edward boys for the dance and seems relieved that they have "forgiven" her.

I tell you, these books are toxic shit. Not wanting to date someone: not actually a transgression that requires forgiveness. Dating every boy who shows interest in her: not actually the duty of any girl. This kind of crap is the bread and butter of the rape culture. It denies girls' and women's human right to decide for themselves with whom they will become romantically involved. The feeling that we did something wrong when we didn't agree to date whatever unappealing boy very easily turns into our agreement to date boys we don't want to because we would feel bad refusing. And everyone and everything around us tells us this is right and just: oh, he's such a nice guy, why don't you like him, you're making a mistake, he'd treat you like gold, you should give him a chance, maybe you'd come to be attracted to him later, blah blah blah. And the men reinforce this with their stubborn belief that they are entitled to argue with us when we say we're not interested or that it's not working out and we want to break up. Because if my reasons for not wanting to be with you are not good enough for you, you can convince me to do what you want.

No. Fail.

Anyway, these other characters don't even have any reason to be that upset that Bella turned them down, considering she made enough excuses that each one kind of thinks she still wants to date him, it's just that she had other plans that day.

Now, I am not about to blame and shame a female character for "leading guys on" or whatever.

But this portrayal is bad, bad news, because it just plays into the stereotype of women as wishy-washy and being unable to say what we mean and/or give anyone a clear signal about whether we're interested or not, like, "oh I don't want to go to the dance I am doing other shit that day" is Hot Girl Code for "I don't like you". Now, I don't expect there to be a lot of guys reading these books, don't get me wrong. Guys aren't taught to be interested in these kinds of stories the way girls are. But: girls are reading the shit and girls are being taught that giving boys completely unclear signals totally works. Which it doesn't. Even giving boys clear signals doesn't work sometimes, they will still hear whatever they want to hear.

I gave a boy unclear signals in the summer of 1999. I went on a couple pretty unsuccessful dates with him, told him I had a great time even though it was meh and I was meh about him. Came back from Australia and he showed up on my doorstep with welcome-back balloons and flowers. I had to tell him I was in a relationship with someone else.

I'm glad he wasn't the kind of dude who hears what he wants to hear even when you're emphatically not saying it, because the truth is, I did feel bad about hurting his feelings, but he didn't start stalking me. Which some guys would have done, and you don't know until it's too late.

But then, I don't know, sometimes giving them the clear negative right off the bat will just mean the stalking starts then instead of a little later; you can't win.

Wow, that was a pretty big tangent. Anyway.

Okay, let's talk about the rain thing. I can't remember if I've done this yet or not; everyone else has, so I'll just give you the basics.

It does not actually rain constantly in the Pacific Northwest. It's not even constantly overcast.

What it is, to my understanding, is that the region is basically a temperate rainforest, which means there are little frequent bursts of light rain. It will rain pretty much every day, but not all day. I think they do have more overcast days than, like, the global average, or the national average, or something, but I'm fairly sure I remember reading somewhere that we have more overcast days in Michigan than they do in Washington. And it is not remotely always overcast in Michigan.

Anyway, if these people are used to it raining all the time--why wouldn't they just go to the beach in the rain? Kids, I have been to the beach in the rain, and it is not that bad.

What month is this taking place in? That's what I can't remember. Are we ever told? It's 75 degrees in Phoenix when Bella leaves, which sounds like spring or fall to me, but she's on about how it's sunny all the time there--well, Stephenie Meyer, I have the Weather Channel website open in front of me right now, and it is actually not sunny all the time in Phoenix. 11-13 sunny days on average in March, when the average high temp is 76. In November, when the average high is 75, 14-15 sunny days which means it is less than fully sunny half the time.

Now, in November and March in Seattle, I'll grant you, during those particular months it is usually cloudy. The average highs are 52 and 55 respectively, though, not "the high 40s", although I will buy that it's extra cold that week; that happens. But! It only rains about half the days in both those months. And it's ridiculous for Meyer to write these characters wanting to go to the beach to swim, or whatever, during these months while living at that latitude. Going to the beach in late fall and early spring is fun, okay, I've done it, but unless you're close to the tropics, you don't actually think you're going to be doing traditional beach activities with bathing suits and stuff. You put on a sweater and a windbreaker and you build a bonfire.

Bella, it's admirable that you want to be polite about Mike's beach trip, okay, the polite thing to do is to be excited about an engagement you have agreed to, but you do it either because you are excited or because it's polite, not to make up for not accepting another invitation. Because guess what? You had no obligation to accept that other invitation, so there's nothing to make up for. You certainly don't have to make up for "disappointing" some boy because, as I have already explained, it's not your duty to live up to his romantic expecations.

Gah.

I can tell I'm not going to get very far in the book this time. I am literally four paragraphs into the chapter.

Oh, now she's doing the insecure I'm-not-sure-if-he-likes-me-he's-acting-like-he-likes-me-but-that's-impossible-I-suck thing. Now, this is realistic, I'll give you that. But the way Meyer writes it, again, makes Bella sound like a poorly-programmed teenage-girl-emulating robot. "Maybe it was just a very convincing dream that I'd confused with reality. That seemed more probable than that I really appealed to him on any level."

No. Actual teenage girl sounds like: "I wasn't sure what to think. Had he been acting like he liked me? Or was I just imagining it? Maybe I was projecting a tone that wasn't there. Was there a tone? Was he really looking at me the way I thought he was looking at me or was it wishful thinking? I didn't know. I was hoping this trip to Seattle was supposed to be a date, but maybe it was just a friend thing. But then he kept saying he didn't want to be my friend. Was that supposed to be his subtle way of saying he wanted to be more than friends? No. No. I couldn't get my hopes up, that was a sure way to guarantee he was just going to stand me up and laugh at me."

Although, to be perfectly honest, that's what you sound like when you're thinking about a boy who isn't deliberately jerking you around to keep you off-balance and compliant.

Edward does the finger-beckon thing. I think we are supposed to find it cute and/or sexy; I find it nauseating. If you want to sit with someone at lunch, YOU ASK THEM TO SIT WITH YOU, you don't just finger-beckon them out of the line and expect them to jump to obey.

Which Bella does.

And then Edward, completely unnecessarily, when she gets there, is all, "Why don't you sit with me today?"

THANKS, EDWARD, IT WAS ALREADY BLATANTLY OBVIOUS WHAT YOU WANTED. Unless! Are we actually supposed to believe it would have been reasonable to do the finger-beckon and then be like, "I want to talk to you about this quick thing--okay, go away now"? That would have been even MORE bullshit; if you have a quick thing to talk to someone about, YOU go to THEM.

Also, the way he says it? RUDE. "Would you like to sit with me," "Won't you sit down," "Please have a seat," "Won't you join me," not smugly "Why don't you sit with me today?" Like, "I'm doing you an enormous favor picking you out of the screaming throngs of fangirls, let me pat you on the head and expect you to be pathetically grateful for my attention."

Which Bella is.

Hey, by the way, Edward is inhumanly beautiful. In case you forgot.

He is also a smarmy douchebag who likes to make incomprehensible comments, smugly refuse to clarify them, and pretend this is polite behavior.

Then he jokes about isolating her from her friends and not letting her hang out with them anymore. I'm not even kidding. Kids, if someone wants to keep you away from your friends, that is abusive behavior. Even if someone romantically interested in you doesn't like or get along with your friends, the reasonable thing to do is still to respect your right to have time with them without hir. Even if they do get along, you still get to have time with your friends without hir. That is the respectful thing to do and how someone who trusts you and does not want to control you will behave.

Now he's doing the I'm-warning-you-stay-away-I'm-bad-news-hey-come-over-here thing again. Guys who are not actually vampires do this in real life. They do it so they can treat you like absolute shit and then contend that you don't "get" to get angry about it because they warned you it would happen.

It is a huge red flag. I do not expect a, what, seventeen-year-old to necessarily know that, especially in this culture, but I do expect an author not to write it as a sign of True Love or something. You don't romanticize abusive douchebag behavior in your writing. It's irresponsible. It contributes to the culture's normalization of that behavior, which in turn contributes to the horrible physical and psychological violence men perpetrate against their intimate partners every day.

At least Bella calls him on the smug-mysterious-pronouncements thing.

You know, let me talk about the whole Edward-can't-read-Bella's-mind thing. I could get behind that as a reason to be attracted to someone, if you were constantly bombarded by all these thought-voices and you found this one person who was a little bit of peace from that. But that's not how it's presented at all. Edward loves being able to read people's minds. He has spent most of the book so far using it to his own advantage and for his own amusement. He's fascinated by Bella because he can't read her mind, but it also seems to really piss him off. It seems to me that it's a manifestation of the whole men-don't-understand-you-crazy-incomprehensible-wimmins thing. Bella is the only girl he has ever met who is actually "feminine" in that way, and he hates it about her but he names it "love" instead.

Dudes are always doing this. They complain and complain and complain about all the stereotypical shit they hate about women, and then they say "oh but I love women" when what they mean is they love controlling us and being able to fuck us.

Meanwhile Edward both wants and doesn't want Bella to figure out that he's a vampire. This is actually kind of poignant, or could have been if it was handled better: he wants to be able to tell her what he is, so there can be no secrets between them, and he wants to be accepted and loved for who and what he is, but he also wants her to know so she can run away and he won't have to worry that he will accidentally hurt her or bring danger to her that she would avoid by not being around him; and he doesn't want her to find out because he's afraid she won't accept it.

Poignant. But still abusive. If you think you're bad for someone, and that you're only going to wind up hurting them, what you don't do if you're a decent person is keep pulling them in and pushing them away until they are utterly dependent on you, the better to play your sick little game of Russian roulette and see how long you can go without doing something completely unforgivable.

Meanwhile, RPattz is absolutely right. Edward totally hates himself. He is extremely messed up. And Bella is doing the oh-you-poor-hurt-thing routine, as we the readers are also expected to; let's fix this poor broken fucked-up abusive man with the power of Love!

And we are learning that "anxious, on edge... and, more than anything else, fascinated" is how you feel when you meet the person you're destined to be with. When in real life it's usually a sign you should run far, far away. "This guys makes my stomach drop into my toes and gives me fear-adrenaline but he's so hot" is not actually good news.

There is nervous excitement when a healthy attraction is new. That is a pretty standard thing. But it doesn't manifest as anxiety and edginess. It manifests as tingly butterflies and the inability to stop grinning and hugging yourself. It doesn't ever cross your mind to worry that you might not be safe with this person. You feel comfortable together, despite the nervous butterflies, and when you're together you can't stop laughing.

Meyer tries to give us the safe thing here. She tries to make us believe Bella feels safe with Edward, but she fails. You don't feel anxious and on edge around someone who makes you feel safe. Anxious and on edge is the opposite of feeling safe. And you can't tell me that Bella is anxious but not afraid. Anxiety is fear. It's fear you can't name, and that you can't see what it's pointing at. But it's still fear.

What Bella actually thinks, the way I read it, is not that Edward would never hurt her, but that he would never hurt her on purpose. But he might not be able to help it. Because he's dangerous.

And I mean physically hurt her, not emotionally. It is true that even in healthy relationships people accidentally hurt each other emotionally, and there are apologies and forgiveness and the relationship can recover.

And it's possible to accidentally physically hurt someone: I once tried to throw a magazine to Nigel while he was sitting on the couch and it hit him in the balls. That was an accident, and accidents happen. Sometimes he sits on my hair. It's not a big deal.

But what's not okay: knowing you might hurt someone, believing you are not in control of your own behavior and that you will not be able to help hurting somone, and sticking around them anyway, waiting for it to happen. Explaining to them that if they know what's good for them, they will stay away, and placing the responsibility for not getting hurt on their shoulders instead of making sure you don't hurt anybody. Trying to claim that you don't intend to hurt them but not actually taking any steps against it.

If you actually don't intend to do something, and you know it's a possibility? You take steps against it. Like: I don't intend to sleep through my alarm. So I set two of them.

Meanwhile Bella and Edward are sitting in awkward silence in the cafeteria for the entire rest of the period. Then he tries to get her to cut class with him. To do what, exactly? It is just never explained. For all we know, he spends the class period sitting at that table spinning Bella's Snapple lid. (We are not told the lemonade is Snapple. What other lemonade comes in the kind of container that has a screw-on lid?)

Now the kids are testing their own blood in biology class. NO. THIS WOULD NOT HAPPEN. Do you know how paranoid the public school system is about AIDS? Seriously. Anyone even scrapes a knee in gym class, they break out the biohazard stuff. AIDS being the stated reason. This has been going on at least since I was in middle school.

And the whole "oh you should know your blood type in case you want to donate blood"--no, okay, fail. First of all, they put your blood type on your birth certificate, and second of all, when you donate blood they tell you what it is anyway.

Also I cannot, just cannot, deal with Bella being a teenage girl who can't handle the sight of blood. No. Hell no. No way. I would buy it from a younger girl; I would buy it from a boy. But women? Women cannot get through puberty without getting tough about blood. HELLO WE BLEED FROM OUR CUNTS ON A REGULAR BASIS.

If the problem was the needles, that I would believe. Blood? No.

The nurse wants to put ice on Bella's forehead? What the hell for? Someone explain this to me. Ice is to bring down swelling; Bella hasn't hit her head (today). She doesn't have a fever or anything, but you don't put ice on the forehead for a fever anyway. Is this just "vaguely medical-sounding task so Bella and Edward can be alone"? Because I'm sure with a little tiny bit of research SMeyer could have found something actually plausible. Maybe Edward could have said, she didn't eat anything at lunch, and the nurse could have gone to get her an apple or something.

Anyway are there schools that actually have nurses? Is this a real thing in the world or just something that happens in books and on TV? No school I have ever attended had a school nurse. If you didn't feel good, the office might let you call a parent, and if the parent agreed to come and get you, you went home. Any medical attention you might require was your family's responsibility, unless something happened that required the school to call an ambulance.

Now Edward saying Mike "loathes" him is supposed to be another indication that Edward can read minds. Hi, bad foreshadowing! Bella professes not to believe that Edward could know that, but then she thinks, oh, maybe he does. MAYBE? YOU THINK? POSSIBLY HE ACTUALLY KNOWS THE KIDS HE GOES TO SCHOOL WITH BETTER THAN THE NEW KID IN TOWN DOES?

Yes, context suggests that Mike hates Edward because of Bella. But Bella is assuming that. How do we know the loathing wasn't already there?

Meanwhile Edward likes to run down his car battery in the school parking lot. Hey, SMeyer, most kids that go hang out in their cars during class aren't there to listen to music. It's called a clambake. Look it up.

Now Edward contends that people can't smell blood, which is a total lie. OF COURSE WE CAN. Dear Bella, blood doesn't smell like rust and salt, it smells like BLOOD.

I'm starting to dislike this Mike guy. You don't talk about a party in front of someone who isn't invited, that's just rude. And I'm pretty sure he's doing it on purpose to be rude, like, nyah, Edward, I have a date with her and you don't.

Dudes take note: women do not actually find it flattering when you treat us as commodities to compete over and show off.

Now Edward is helping Bella without being asked, then mocking her for needing his help. Well, not actually mocking her, but looking at her sarcastically for being sick.

Meanwhile, hey, as far as I know, the school receptionist can't legally excuse you from class. Maybe the nurse could, but I would still think parents would have to be called. It's certainly not cool to be sending a weakened high school girl off campus with some boy without letting parents know about it and having some way to be sure that, say, he's not taking her off into the woods somewhere to rape her.

What would have happened in real life: Bella goes to gym class, explains that she is not feeling well, sits on bleachers for entire period. If Edward tried to say, can I take this more-vulnerable-than-usual girl away in my car to parts unknown, receptionist's response would have been, I DON'T THINK SO MISTER DON'T THINK I DON'T SEE THROUGH YOUR LITTLE GAME.

Oh now Bella is going to invite Edward to SOMEONE ELSE'S PARTY even though she knows the host doesn't want him there! Not cool, Bella.

If Edward was really this old-fashioned gentleman from the time period he grew up in, he'd be like, "Oh no I couldn't possibly impose, I haven't been invited." I mean, he does eventually say he wasn't invited, but he should have gently corrected Bella when she assumes she can invite him TO SOMEONE ELSE'S PARTY. "Oh dear, I meant to say I haven't been invited by the host," possibly.

OH HERE IT IS. HERE IS THE SCENE THAT PISSES ME OFF SO MUCH. HERE COME THE TRIGGERS.

She turns toward her truck and he GRABS HER JACKET TO HOLD HER BACK and gets OUTRAGED that she dared not to go the direction he was expecting omfg! I can't let you DRIVE, you silly little woman, you're coming with ME.

PULLS HER BY HER JACKET TO HIS CAR. WHILE SHE STRUGGLES TO GET AWAY.

Too much to hope, I suppose, that the receptionist sees this out the window and goes HOLY SHIT THIS IS BAD BAD BADNESS and at least calls the cops or something?

Now Bella is trying to figure out: can I get away from this situation, or is it safer to just comply? Edward confirms: I will just drag you back if you try to run. There is no escape.

She gets in the car.

Do not expect the books to ever acknowledge that this was FUCKING SCARY ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR on Edward's part, or that in fact THIS BEHAVIOR HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE AND IT'S NOT BECAUSE HE WANTS TO PROTECT YOU. Because I know women who have been dragged places against their will by men, who have realized there was no way out of the situation and decided not to make it worse for themselves. They did not get a nice ride home listening to Clair de Lune. They got sexually assaulted.

And in this scene? Edward has not sexually assaulted Bella, BUT HE HAS ASSAULTED HER.

Listen: if you're physically stronger than someone else to a huge degree and you know and they know you could force them to do anything you wanted, and you're a decent person, you are very careful about making sure that you don't do anything or ask them to do anything they don't want to do. Because a decent person knows it's not okay to coerce people into things.

Anyway. I think that's a good place to stop this time. I was trying to get through a whole chapter, but it just keeps going on and on.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
..."for which to stay tuned", I know. Shut up.

So I am working up a couple of things to post about over the coming week. There'll definitely be another ADD Blogging soon; I want to talk about "I'm not ADHD", "I didn't know you were ADHD", that whole thing.

Thing #2: moar Twilight blogging. I think I am sufficiently recovered from the last time I did it, y'all. I'm gonna wade back in again.

And speaking of problematic books I'm reading, when I finish Homeland I'm going to have to post about the drow. Because y'all, as interesting as this book is, and as much as I'm enjoying it on one level--on another, the whole thing is an MRA fantasy. So stay tuned for that.

Finally, at some point in the future, expect to see the definitive post on The Slytherin Case For Social Justice. (Yes, there is one.) I am tired of people giving me shit about being an activist and identifying with Slytherin when any fool can see--well, all the stuff I'm going to put in the post.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Picking up on page 33 of the PDF, right where I left off. Bella and Edward are arguing about did he or didn't he zip across the parking lot like the Flash to save her from the van, and also why.

So okay, I was going to take exception to the use of "livid" to describe Edward's face, because it was my understanding that it meant that red-faced, flushed look you get when you're really pissed off, but it turns out it can also mean deathly pale. Well played, Stephenie Meyer. Well played indeed.

Bella is fucking pissed off at Edward in this scene. And she has reason to be. He continues to be an enormous douchebag for no fucking reason. Dear Edward, it's obvious Bella sees through your little "I was standing right there the whole time" story (seriously, that's the best you could come up with?); she already told you she's not going to tell anybody about your breaking the laws of physics. You seem to believe her. So tell her what the fuck is going on and stop being a dick.

Edward is constitutionally incapable of stopping being a dick.

Bella, however, is also a douchebag her own self.

Sure, half the kids at school are in the waiting room, and you're pissed that they might care whether you're okay or not. I don't...really get that, but I'm not a complete asshole: I like it when my friends and loved ones show evidence of caring about me. But here's the thing, Bella.

The other kid? The one that was driving the van? He's still in that emergency room. And they've known him a lot longer than they've known you. Did it ever occur to you that they might have come up to you to ask if he was okay? Nooooo, it's all about you.

And there are people who contend in all seriousness that this character is not a Mary Sue.

Meanwhile Bella is shocked! shocked and appalled! that her father would dare to call her mother and let her know that her daughter has been hit by a car. Fuck you, Bella. They're your parents. And also, what the fuck kind of person goes on and on about how close she is to her mom, how they're like best friends, and then she is almost killed by a speeding van and her first thought isn't immediately "I want my mommy"?

A character is either close to her mother or she is not. Do not tell us one thing and show us another. That kind of thing is bullshit.

Meanwhile, why is her mom insisting she come home? What, because there are no vans with bad drivers in Phoenix? Fail.

Also, how are teenage girls actually relating to this protagonist? Seriously, I want to know. How do they not read this and get fucking pissed off at her for being such an entitled asshole? I have been a teenage girl, okay, and I know how I would have reacted to anyone who complained that every boy whose name she knew was in love with her.

Actually--and I'm not proud of this, but there it is--the girls who had all the boys in love with them? I hated them just for that.

I am finding very little to say about the whiny Bella-and-Edward-avoid-one-another period. It's just boring. What I am definitely not getting from this is any chemistry between the characters. They haven't had that from the beginning. Possibly it's because the POV character has no personality; I don't know. But, fucking, I'm hard-pressed to figure out why the hell Bella is attracted to Edward in the first place. He's beautiful, or whatever, okay, we get it, that's all we hear about. But so what? I mean--no, yeah, so what. It's possible to see beautiful people without being immediately attracted to them. And I'm having a difficult time believing Bella is attracted to him because she doesn't seem to feel anything for him other than this kind of detatched curiosity. It's got to be the no-personality thing: she keeps talking about how deeply obsessed she is but I kind of have to take her word for it? She doesn't feel like a character that's obsessed with another character. And Edward doesn't seem to make her horny. She doesn't get the tingles, the butterflies, that hot sweet frisson of awareness that flashes over your skin when you have any contact with or thoughts of someone you like, especially when it's new. Edward doesn't make the ends of her fingers ache. He doesn't make her feel hot-cold-hot all over. And he doesn't make her panties sweat.

In short, I have trouble believing Bella is attracted to Edward because I have been a horny teenage girl and I have felt attraction to teenage boys and you don't sit there thinking about talking to them. You sit behind them, for instance, in Mr. Stewart's U.S. History class and vividly imagine running your tongue around the edge of their ear. Through the whole class period. Because the boy in question happened to have his hair in a ponytail that day.

(That was a great semester. Heh.)

Okay, so--the thing with the dance. Bella, sack up and tell Mike you don't like him that way. You know he likes you, he knows you know. If you don't actually have the friends talk with him you're stringing him along, and that's mean.

The part right after that I might buy Bella as a teenage girl who has a crush on somebody with her "rush of emotion" if she didn't immediately sound like I don't even know what right afterwards--it's unhealthy to let him have this influence over you? Teenage girls with crushes do not think that way!

OH MY GOD, Edward is a DICK. No, you're not actually speaking to her? Fuck that noise, Bella, flip him the bird and walk away. That is some bullshit right there.

Kids, if a boy wants you to be available for him to interact with whenever he feels like it and expects you to cloister yourself in your bedroom when he doesn't, he is an abusive douchebag. Run far, run fast.

Also, omfg, fuck off, Edward, with your "What, you think I hate you? How could you possibly have come to that conclusion with me glaring at you and clenching my fists and refusing to talk to you for a month?" He is actually pissed off that she can't just magically read his mind when he refuses to communicate. Douchebag!

GOD DAMMIT BELLA IF YOU DO NOT WANT A BOY TO TAKE IT LITERALLY WHEN YOU LITERALLY AGREE TO GO TO THE NEXT DANCE WITH HIM, DO NOT AGREE. D:<

Ack Edward is one of those people who casually cuts off other vehicles in the parking lot for his own convenience. Could I hate this dude any more than I do? I don't think I could.

I still can't get over the fact that Edward drives a Volvo. This is the hot sexy vampire all the girls go crazy for? Really? Seriously? You're...kidding me, right? No? Holy shit.

Okay and while we're here can I just say how fucking stupid I find the concept of a "girls ask the boys" dance? Is this the 21st century or am I hallucinating? I mean, Jesus fuck. Last I heard girls could ask boys to the regular dances. Do schools actually still do this shit? They didn't when I was in high school (ten years ago). I am trying to wrap my head around this shit, for real. It perpetuates the idea that the default is for boys to ask girls out, and never the other way around, unless we are in Topsy Turvy Sadie Hawkins World where everything is craaaaaaaaazy! Also, the idea that it's called the "girls' choice" dance skeeves me out, I mean, it is always a girl's choice whether she wants to go to the dance with any given boy; there is some fucked up shit about consent going on here. Is there a tacit assumption that girls go to dances with boys they don't even like just because they were asked? And if so, do we as a culture harbor any delusions that boys might behave likewise when the tables are turned, when they have not spent their entire lives being conditioned that it isn't nice to be mean to the nice man, that you bite your tongue and be polite and obliging and say "yes" because the fact that you just aren't attracted to someone isn't a good enough reason?

Anyway.

Also, by the way, Bella, enchiladas don't actually take that long to make, FYI. Also also, I am skeeved out anew by the concept that she has moved in with her dad and become The Woman of the House who cooks and cleans for him. WTF.

Oh my fucking god, poor Jessica. Poor Jessica who will never know she was second best and that Mike doesn't actually want to go to the dance with her! This would never happen. Boys do not go to the dance with the girl they don't really like just so they can go. Boys stay home from the dance unless there is a girl they like enough that spending time with her is its own argument for going. At least, that has been my experience.

If Bella is so clumsy, why does she cook at all? Couldn't she drop a cast iron skillet on her foot and/or spill a bunch of burning hot enchilada sauce all over herself?

Just FYI? When I was a teenage girl my dad was totally willing to come to the mall with me and hold my purse while I tried on clothes. Although let's be honest, the two of us would have wound up happily ensconced in a bookstore within an hour anyway.

OH MY GOD, EDWARD IS RUDE AND CREEPY. You do not spring up behind a woman in a parking lot and grab her key before she can get to it! That kind of shit makes us think we are about to be abducted and raped, okay? NOT COOL.

Bella can't think of a bad enough word to call Edward. She does not hang out with the right people, obviously. She could call him a douchebag as I continue to do; douchenozzle, douchecanoe, other forms of douche are also fun. Dickblister is a perennial favorite. Fuckwad, oldie but a goodie. Asshole is appropriate to any occasion, but has been rendered kind of mild through constant use. She could call him a wankstain; that one is fun. Asshat is nice but kind of plain; it's more fun when using it to describe behavior as, for instance, assmillinery or asshaberdashery. Assclown is due for a resurgence but, again, not that bad a word, really. If you can say it on basic cable, I don't think it's really bad enough in this instance, which pretty much leaves us with permutations of "fuck", or words that are inherently misogynist. (As far as I know, you can say most homophobic and transphobic things on basic cable. Isn't that sad?) She could call him a grab-asstic piece of amphibian shit, if she wanted to. Various prefixes for "-fucker" that imply he rapes animals; those are fairly universally insulting. She could call him Rush Limbaugh.

I think she should call him all these things, actually, in quick succession. Why? He is one of those dudes who gets more and more amused the more they piss you off. I hate that shit. That shit is just infuriating, it is the most belittling and insulting thing--! Ha ha, the little lady is angry, isn't that cute and funny. NO, IT IS NOT, DOUCHEBAG, I SWEAR TO GOD, I WILL RIP YOUR BALLS OFF AND FEED THEM TO YOU.

Hey, Edward? When a girl tells you to leave her alone, if you're a decent person, YOU LEAVE HER ALONE. And by the way? Stop warning her to stay away from you WHEN YOU HAVE NO INTENTION OF LETTING HER. "Stay away, I'll see you in class"? Seriously?

Okay, I made it to chapter 5. I think that's the best I can do for now.

I haven't been saying anything about Bella's casual ablism throughout this book. I don't even know what to say about it, really. If the character had more of a personality, and the author were a much better writer, I might be able to believe that this is the character, and forgive that, because a decent writer who was also not an ablist herself would be able to show me that it's the character who thinks this shit and also not write it uncritically. And I would buy that, honestly, because? Most people are pretty ablist. It's a very realistic character trait. But I get the feeling it's Meyer who has a problem with the "mentally handicapped" and people with multiple personality disorder*, among other bullshit ablist things. And I don't even know where to go with that. That's part of why I need to stop for now; I don't have enough anger to encompass all the bullshit in this book. It has pissed me off so much that now? I'm just kind of tired. And that is no mean feat, believe me.

*I didn't put quotes around this, although it is the phrase that appears in the book, because it's also the DSM diagnosis. I don't know that I agree that being a multiple is a "disorder". I have known multiples whose multiple-ness doesn't fuck up their lives, and I think it's kind of ablist to decide that there must be something wrong just because someone has more than one personality. Which is not the best way to explain it, necessarily--"someone" implies one person where in the case of a multiple we are talking about a group of people who happen to share a body--but I don't have a better one right now. Anyway. Most multiples' problems seem to come from the fact that other people think it is fucked up and scary that they're multiples, from what I've seen.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I promise. But: more Twilight fail!

If your protagonist is in an accident, especially one where she thought she was going to die, she will be in shock. You have to write her being in shock. It is unrealistic otherwise.

Now, Wolfie, I hear the masses cry, isn't it a little silly to expect realism in a vampire book?

Not at all, I reply. This is the thing: when you write speculative fiction, it's even more important than in mainstream contemporary fiction to make sure the stuff that isn't imaginary--magic, futuristic pseudoscience, whatever--is believable. Or you kill the reader's suspension of disbelief.

So that if I am reading a vampire book, the humans had better be human. I don't even know what percentage of the population has been in accidents and whatever-all that would cause shock, but it's got to be pretty high. I myself was in a car accident when I was 19--totaled my Cavalier, but the worst I got was a cut ear and whiplash--and I was in shock afterward.

When you actually almost die? You're gonna be in shock.

Now, I know why Meyer did this. Bella being able to understand and remember what was going on around her was a plot point. I call bullshit, though: you can float that in later--when you're in shock, you're not thinking clearly, you're not going to be making those connections, but there's no reason, for instance, that you don't go on to make them the next day.

I think it would have been a lot more realistic, not to mention make her more likeable, if Bella had been confused about it--were you really standing next to me the whole time? I don't remember you being there--am I losing it? It would have been better than Miss Sanctimonious No You Weren't You Were Over There I SAW You.

And I should also mention, having been in shock and had people think I might have a concussion when I didn't, that it's not actually annoying, in that situation, to be put on the gurney and whatever all. It's kind of soothing. Flat surface, low motion. People talking to you telling you in no-nonsense voices that everything is going to be okay. It's almost like meditating.

When I was in shock, I couldn't remember if I had hit my head or not. I couldn't remember whether there had still been cars going by when I got out of my wrecked Cavalier and walked across the highway to sit down on the shoulder. The major thing I remember about the situation was the asshole cop serving me the ticket on the bed in the emergency room while I still had the neck brace on.

Bella actually did hit her head on asphalt pretty hard. If the van was going to kill her, the impact of Edward knocking her over should have, but we have established that and that it didn't because this book fails at physics: okay. But she would have had at least a concussion. And they don't check for that by X-raying your head. They look at your eyes, they ask you questions--someone should have been asking her, are you seeing double, how many fingers am I holding up, what day is it, who's the President? And I don't know what answers you give if you have a concussion, but she should have given some of them, because she should have had a concussion after cracking her head like that. And they shouldn't have needed Edward to tell them she had hit her head because it should have been bleeding.

This is basic stuff. This is the kind of research you can do with Google and then if you need something more specific you head to [livejournal.com profile] little_details and they hook you up. If you're not willing to do the research, don't try to write the scene.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I saw several things simultaneously. Nothing was moving in slow motion, the way it does in the movies. Instead, the adrenaline rush seemed to make my brain work much faster, and I was able to absorb in clear detail several things at once.


Hi, welcome to WHAT PEOPLE MEAN WHEN THEY SAY "IT WAS LIKE IT WAS HAPPENING IN SLOW MOTION", population: you! Face. Palm. In fact, headdesk!

Also, do you see what I mean about Bella not sounding anything like a teenage girl? Or even a human being. This is not a story she's telling us. She is dispassionately relating a series of events. She sounds like a robot, is what it is. She sounds like a computer.

Are we supposed to be in that moment with Bella? Because I for one am not. In that moment, nobody thinks to hirself, the adrenaline is making my brain work much faster than usual and I am absorbng several things at once in clear detail. Writing like this sucks the excitement out of the protagonist almost being hit by a careening van. This should be an exciting moment: it's not.

Also that should have some commas in it. the Wolf inserts them Myah: "I was able to absorb, in clear detail, several things at once."

Also? Physics fail! If Edward is hitting Bella faster than the van is going (which he has to be to get there before it), even if that impact doesn't kill her, hitting her head on the pavement will. Dead Bella! We can all go home now.

Oh! And!

Oct. 27th, 2009 01:43 pm
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Bella lived in a "low-income" neighborhood in Phoenix. That's great. I don't believe you, Bella, you atrocious liar. If you lived in a low-income neighborhood, how the hell is it you and your dad could afford to take a two-week vacation in California every year? Small town police chiefs don't make enough to cover that kind of thing; also, if they did, he would be paying a lot of child support and you and your mom would have been middle class.

Unless the chief of police is ducking his child support. Which I highly doubt.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So I torrented the Twilight books, because I wanted to read them for myself but I didn't want to actually pay for them.

And what gets me is not the bad writing, it's not that Bella has no personality and the voice of I don't even know what (but definitely not a teenage girl). It's the little things.

Like: she spent a month every summer with her dad until she was 14, after which she spent 2 weeks on vacation with him every summer instead. But she is afraid to be in a car with him for an hour because she thinks it might be awkward.

And she "discovers"--as if you wouldn't already have known--that he doesn't really know how to cook.

And it's possible that that might be the case, some guys never really do learn how to cook anything but eggs and toast, but most of them will figure it out after having been divorced and living alone for more than a decade, and if not, in a town that size? The neighbors would be bringing him food all the time. In a city you can get by with not cooking because there is takeout everywhere. In a small town the neighbor ladies bring you stuff.

There is an ice storm and the school doesn't get closed. We even close schools for that shit in Michigan.

Meanwhile her dad puts chains on her tires for less than an inch of snow, I mean, what? Again, I live in Michigan, okay, I know from snow: Bella has a four-wheel-drive beast of a truck, which I never, ever had, I always had little two-wheel-drive compact cars, and I never used chains, and I never slid into anything. Go slow and pump the brakes, it's not that difficult. Deep slush is worse than ice in my experience anyway.

And okay, let's talk about Edward: Edward is an obnoxious douchebag.

"You put on a good show," he said slowly. "But I'd be willing to bet that you're suffering more than you let anyone see."


WHAT A DICK. Seriously? You just met this person and you're going to pry into her private life, tell her how she's feeling about things when you actually have no way of knowing, what the fuck!

Meanwhile he spends the first day they're in school giving her the biggest neg ever--this is PUA bullshit, is what it is, ew, you're stanky, I can't stand to be in the same class as you, then the next week he comes back and is all "tell me everything about yourself! and I will tell you how you really think and feel! even though it is none of my business!" and is what definitely comes off as fake-polite, he is using the classic PUA/abuser tactic of making her feel insecure about herself around him and keeping her off balance so she will want to prove she is worthy of him.

Whether the character is actually consciously doing this does not matter. He is an asshole and should be regarded as such. The fact that people find this attractive and/or romantic--now, I hear people all over the place saying that there's a difference between fantasy and reality, and that teenage girls know that, and they're not necessarily going to get into an abusive relationship because they dig Edward Cullen. But you know what? I think those people are wrong. I think if you romanticize douchebag behavior you're going to be attracted to douchebags. I think there is something wrong with romanticizing douchebag behavior. I worry for everyone who can read this book and not come away thinking that here is an asshole of epic proportions, someone to stay the hell away from or at the very least tell off at the top of one's voice.

And I think that if your fantasy is to have some dude treat you like absolute shit, you don't feel too great about yourself. And that's not something that makes me angry at the girls and women who are in love with Edward Cullen. It makes me sad for them.

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slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
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