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)
Twilight (The Twilight Saga)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)

10 comments:

  1. I completely don't understand why everyone hates on the Twilight series. I really, truly don't. I am completely with you on the fact that Harry Potter is definitely the superior series - it's got much more background than Twilight and it's infinitely more complex. But that doesn't make Twilight suck. It's a fun, light romance story that doesn't require much thought. SM's goal wasn't to sabatoge JKR or to compete with Harry Potter. It's on an entirely different level. Just because something has a large fan base doesn't mean it's trying to prove something. Look at Stephen King. Anne Rice. Shakespeare. Dan Brown. Dr. Seuss. All people with huge followings, and no one's comparing Edward Cullen to Cujo or Jesus. Or Tom Hanks.

    I'm just saying, it's not a big deal. Both series are popular. And..? Where's the point? Live and let live. ^_^

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  2. Personally, my beef with the series is that it is terrible and shouldn't be read. Not only is it artistically lacking, but it is a BAD (in the moral sense) story.

    Bella does not like humans. If Edward were human, she wouldn't like him either. She copes with her misanthropy by fantasizing about and then sexing up with a demon. She further seals the deal by becoming a demon.

    I am genuinely shocked that we haven't seen a huge indignant upheaval like we did about the Harry Potter books. You remember that? When people were freaking out about the series where the protagonist sacrifices his life so that he can come back from the dead and redeem his world from death and terror? Yeah, can't let our kids get their hands on that.

    What is wrong with the world?

    What's more, my beef with the Harry Potter/Twilight comparison is that "Twi-hards'" conclusions are wholly fallacious. The first Harry Potter movie made WELL more than double what the first Twilight movie made.

    People read Twilight. People also read Harry Potter. That's where the comparison should end, for Stephenie Meyer's sake, if for nothing else.

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  3. I love Harry and J.K. Rowling, and at one point I did like Twilight. But even though I'm still a fan of Potter, I like the Vampire Diaries and the Night World series better. I turned because after noticing some similsrities between the characters Bella and Elena, along with Edward and Stefan, I did some comparing. My results? Elena, even though she is very pretty and is the queen of her school, is a quicker witted girl than Bella. I have nothing against Ms. Swan, just that she really didn't think things through enough at points. Stefan, I say, is also a bit better, because he did try to fight for his girl, and resigned when he knew she would be happier. Edward just left, and abandoned his lady over some little thing, and both Bella and Edward were too melodramatic and just a bit awkward for my liking. And the Night World books, because they just handle the whole 'creatures of the night' things a bit more delicately. Also, in both books, THE VAMPIRES DON'T SPARKLE. Honestly, that factor was a major turn-away for me. Sorry for any offense, but I just felt the need to state the facts.

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  4. I don't like Twilight because of many things stated above. I would like to say that Twilight is horrible for the age group it targets, mostly because of the way looks are so important to the characters, and because of what happens in the fourth book. Bella becomes a victom of teen pregnancy when she has unprotected sex with her demonic, abusive 'husband'. And to add salt to tha already stinging wound, he tries to force her into an abortion! I mean, seriously! And the pathetic thing is, LITTLE FIRST GRADERS READ THESE! They are influensed by these books, which their teenage siblings read. That's just sick.
    I agree. What IS wrong with the world?

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  5. I've heard the Harry Potter hyperbole comparisons, which ticked me off enough, as I've loved that series since I started reading them in the second grade, and without a doubt, they've made a huge impact on my life, five or six years later- but REALLY, Twiturds?
    The BEATLES?
    First my favorite series and now my favorite and probably one of the most REVOLUTIONARY, band of all time?

    No.
    This settles it. Someone needs to be seriously UN-brainwashed.

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  6. Twilight isn't worth the passive voice, comma splices, and overuse of the word "smoldering."
    Just throwing that out there.

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  7. Harry Potter is a far better series, full stop.
    --> (THE FULL STOP) -> .
    There.

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