You are viewing suburbanbeatnik

Instant Stalker Postcard


It's Valentine's Day, and nothing says romance like getting a special customized postcard from your very own stalker. My sister cut this out of a 'zine many, many years ago, and she has kept it on her fridge as long as I can remember. Of of curiosity, I did a google search for "instant stalker postcard," and couldn't find anything. So I knew there was a need to be filled, in our hectic twenty-first century, for such a delightfully old-fashioned piece of correspondence. After all, just think how useful this would be to Edward Cullen, of Twilight fame.

And here's an extra-large version, just in case anyone wants to print it out.

Just think-- you could be the Edward to the Bella of your dreams!

New Moon

Tonight I went out to the wonderfully retro Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, where I saw New Moon, the second installment in the Twilight "saga." I wrote a snide little blurb on my FB page, but I feel compelled to write a longer entry here.

When I heard last year that Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the first Twilight movie, had been fired by the Hollywood boy's club, and Chris Weitz, the hack responsible for foisting The Golden Compass upon the world, had been put in her place, I knew this meant the sequel would be crap. And I was right!

New Moon is a big snooze. It's superficially pretty, but there is nothing engaging about it. Even worse, it drags on for an ass-busting two hours and twenty minutes. Twilight wasn't a great movie, but it was entertaining, it had a certain liveliness and charm, and the actors were engaged. In New Moon all the performers struggle valiantly through the uninspiring material, but it's a losing battle. I felt sorry for Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart, who deserve better-- especially Stewart, whose character, Bella Swan, is so relentlessly self-absorbed, passive and navel-gazing that she becomes a gigantic black hole on the screen, draining the life from the audience.

Maybe I would have liked the movie better if it were, say, an hour shorter. It also would have been better if one of the side characters-- like Alice or Jacob-- were the focus of the movie, since they actually seemed to have a personality. Bella had no function except to be continuously rescued, to stare gloomily into space, or to gaze dreamily into her sweetie's eyes. Get the girl some Prozac already! The two most intriguing actors in the movie were the ones playing the villainous vampires-- like Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria, and Michael Sheen as Aro. However, they weren't given that much to do, which is a pity, since the only exciting moments in the movie came from Aro and Victoria being evil.

Even worse, the movie really lacked the right sensibility. Twilight had the right feeling of dreamy adolescent romance fantasy-- whereas New Moon just feels like big soulless Hollywood product. I refuse to see any more of these movies in the theater. It'll be interesting to see what they do with the horror show that is Breaking Dawn though. Vampire caesarean section-- how is Weitz going to make that palatable, I wonder?

Okay, I just read "The Queen's Lady" by Barbara Kyle... and my God, it was horrible. And deeply insulting. I actually kicked it like a football across the room. Trust me, it takes me a lot to get angry at a book. It was as if some untalented distaff Richard Dawkins tried to write a Tudor-era bodice ripper... one which rakes Sir Thomas More over the coals. Poor Sir Thomas More!

Here's a slightly extended version of the review I just posted to Amazon:
clickyCollapse )

Perhaps More was indeed a difficult fellow, but this kind of loathsome rubbish makes me want to pray a novena to him. I found a beautiful one here, on Anita Moore's blog. Sir Thomas deserves to be remembered for the great man he was, not as second string albino monk type from the Da Vinci Code.

So, I just read "Twilight"...


Okay, so I pride myself on being a hip, with-it Gen Xer. Then why did it take me so long to catch on to the phenomenon that is Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight"? For those of you even more out of touch than I am, it's a young adult series about a girl in high school who dates a hot vampire, also in high school. It's both a teenybopper romance and Gothic Lite, with heaping helpings of wangst and lots... and lots... of purple description. For example:

I was in danger of being distracted by his livid, glorious face. It was like trying to stare down a destroying angel.

It all sounds harmless enough, but unfortunately the sexual politics of "Twilight" are depressingly- even distressingly- regressive. In fact, it all reminds me of what you'd find in a 1970s Harlequin: you know, one of those early romances with the virile alpha hero who dominates and controls the too-stupid-to-live girly girl who at first foolishly defies him, because, you know, he's treating her like shit. Yet within the space of a few hundred pages she learns she can't fight fate, and that Captain Studly only wants the best for her, no matter how much he abuses her.

The heroine, Isabella "Bella" Swan, is a fainting damsel-in-distress Mary Sue, who finds herself both fascinated and subjugated by the bronze-haired, Volvo-driving undead Edward Cullen, who is described ad nauseum as having "golden eyes" and the looks of a supermodel. In addition to his pretty hair and eyes and designer preppy lifestyle, Edward also sparkles in sunlight. It's worth quoting this passage in its entirety:

Edward in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn't get used to it, though I'd been staring at him all afternoon. His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn't sleep. A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal.

Apparently, in Meyer's world, this is why Edward's vampire family lives in the little town of Forks, Washington. You see, the rain and overcast sky enables them to go out and live lives like normal people! People won't be able to see how they sparkle. And since they're good vampires who don't feed off people, they can go out and kill endangered species like grizzly bears and mountain lions in peace. Because, you know, people in the Northwest would never get upset by finding the corpses of big cats and bears with the blood drained from them. No, no, never. They don't care AT ALL about endangered animals.


So, Bella, the new girl in town, meets Edward, and they fall in love. Or something. She finds out he's a vampire and doesn't care. She also doesn't care that he's a violent stalker alpha male. He follows her on a shopping trip, which is lucky because, by golly, he saves her from a gang rape. He tells her that it takes him every ounce of control not to make her brunch, because her smell is just so dang yummy. He also follows her home so he can watch her sleep. Interestingly enough, she finds this comforting rather than alarming. They have endless conversations with each other, telling each other how awesome they are. This book is 260 pages long, and the bad guy vampires don't show up around page 200. They chase the heroine, but they are shortly dispatched in about 30 pages, leaving the hero and heroine to go to the prom. Yes, the prom. It's as banal as it sounds. Perhaps the book should have been called "Hanging out with my Creepy Vampire Boyfriend."

Let me emphasize that this book is huge. It's been made into a movie, and will be released nationwide this Christmas. "Twilight" tours have sprouted up in the Olympic pennisula. You've got cosplayers, fanfic writers, rock bands and the usual gang of fandom idiots. Also, "Twilight" has outsold Harry Potter. Why God... why!?

Interestingly enough, the writer of "Twilight," Ms. Meyer, is a Mormon, and was a stay-at-home housewife before she embarked on her writing career with the publication of "Twilight." Perhaps this explains the retro sexual politics of the story. Bella, the heroine, is not only completely subjugated to the hero, but lacks agency as well. She serves no purpose except to stare goggle-eyed at Edward, argue with him (naturally she's always proven wrong), and to be repeatedly rescued. After twenty years of increasingly strong YA heroines, of books by Madeleine L'Engle, Lois Duncan and Jane Yolen, it's sad to see how the publishing world- and countless teenage girls- are all agog at this neo-Victorian fantasy of what a woman's place should be.

You can read more in-depth snark at hernewshoes's journal, here, and at kadath's journal here.

The artwork is courtesy of Mary Behr, who I discovered through the always excellent Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Latest Month

March 2010


Books I'm reading

The Sand-Reckoner- Gillian Bradshaw
A Wizard of Earthsea- Ursula Le Guin
Turn Back the River- W.G. Hardy
The World Without Us- Alan Weisman
Your Movie Sucks- Roger Ebert
Game of Thrones- George R.R. Martin


RSS Atom
Powered by
Designed by chasethestars