Thursday, November 19, 2009
Social Hyperbole--The Worst Thing Ever
Recently, I've noticed a lot of social hyperbole in both pop culture and (big surprise) politics.
I find the most nauseating source of social hyperbole in commentary on Twilight. It's consistently compared to Harry Potter, and today I even read a comparison to the Beatles in my university's newspaper. Twilight is NOT the new Harry Potter. For one thing, the last Harry Potter book had the largest first printing of any book in the history of ever. New Moon may have broken a record for Fandango's opening day pre-sales, but that might say more about the growing trend to purchase tickets online than it does about wide-spread excitement. Also, how well a movie does on its opening day has everything to do with marketing, and actually very little to do with the film itself, and how well it will do as time goes on. Look at Napoleon Dynamite.
Furthermore, the Twilight series does not approach Rowling's works in terms of quality. The latter explores and expands the monomyth, asks and answers serious questions about society, prejudice, morality and the human experience.
Stephenie Meyer writes about hormones. Her books are an entirely physical experience, and to further that argument, I call her as my witness. In a recent interview, she said that the biggest problem in adapting her books to film was casting Edward. Why was that such a problem? Because, what human could possibly look that good? Yeah, that's the depth of your book right there. Nobody is as hot as my vampire.
It really reminds me of Faulkner's Nobel Acceptance Speech. He expressed his fear of what the future author would become:
"He writes not of love but of lust....Not of the heart, but of the glands."
Change the pronouns to "she," and you've got yourself a rather eloquent and concise indictment against the Complete Works of Stephenie Meyer.
I predict that in no more than ten years from now, the pop-culture consciousness will wake up with a headache, chuckle and say, "Man, can you believe we took those books seriously?"
Harry Potter, on the other hand, will last for centuries.
And the Beatles? Really? I mean, Twilight definitely has a fan base, but come on.
Another social hyperbole that (like the Beatles comparison) hardly requires refutation, is the constant comparison of this recession to The Great Depression. Sorry kids. That's a no contest.
Twilight (The Twilight Saga)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)