It’s well established that thanks to Twilight, vampires are forever demoted to well below the status of leprechauns and rainbow unicorns as far as being taken seriously goes. But what else has Twilight destroyed in its long march through the institutions? More than a few things.
1. Classic Novels
If you’ve left the house and entered a bookstore recently, you might have caught sight of this:
That’s right: Emily Bronte’s classic 1847 novel has been repackaged in the now-classic Twilight font and red-black-and-white theme in an effort to con young women into reading it, despite the fact that the book contains not a single reference to vampires (well, not until the new edition comes out in 2011, anyway). At least Wuthering Heights is linked to Twilight somewhat, in that it’s meant to be Bella’s favorite book, and in that there is a single mention of blood drinking in it. But if this re-covering succeeds we can probably expect to see Twilight versions of 1984 and The Holy Bible soon.
Will the new cover work, and sell a lot of new copies of Wuthering Heights? Maybe. More likely, Twilight fans will be put off by the sheer lack of physical description in the novel. If Emily Bronte doesn’t tell us, how are we meant to know whether or not a character is beautiful enough to look like he’s made out of chiseled marble? And if we don’t know, how are we meant to care what happens to him?
These repackaging tentacles are finding their way into many other things as well, such as Kathryn Bigelow’s 1987 vampire western movie Near Dark.
This is despite the fact that there is not a single scene in Twilight in which Edward cuts someone’s throat open with a spur.
When we say ‘relationships’ we’re not just talking about the love lives of the Twilight stars, although admittedly we’re a bit concerned when the lead actress says this:
No, apparently Twilight has ruined the love lives of many of its fans, as well. The ‘MLIT’ (My Life Is Twilight) website, an FMyLife spinoff where girls talk about the extent of their obsession, lists quite a few of these breakups:
“Today, my ex-boyfriend threw my Twilight book across the room. He was still my boyfriend before that. MLIT”
“My boyfriend got so sick of me talking about how good the Twilight Saga was he decided to read it. He hated it, and then told me to choose him or my obsession. I said you know the answer, to which he replied “Thank God”. He didn’t get it until I told him to get out of my house. MLIT.”
This kind of thing isn’t isolated. And if the relationships don’t end completely, boyfriends and husbands can still find themselves ignored by their newly-Twilight-obsessed wife or girlfriend. But still, this isn’t the worst thing that could happen in a relationship after one of you starts liking sparkly vampire stories. You could end up like these couples, also from MLIT:
“Today my boyfriend touched my face, and for the fisrt time i didn’t flinch at how cold his hands were. He looked at me and said…………”your pretending i’m Edward aren’t you?” I blushed as we both knew it was true. I can offically say MLIT!!!!”
“Today I asked my boyfriend if he would hold ice to his lips for a minute before he kissed me, so I could pretend I was kissing Edward. He did. MLIT”
“Today me and my boyfriend Edward watched Twilight and whenever Edward Cullen’s lines came on he would repeat them line for line. While he did Edward’s I did Bella’s. It was fun especailly when we did the kissing scene he put an ice pack on his lips before we kissed and that was our first kiss too :D”
On the other hand, according to many Twilight fans, the books have improved their relationships. If you can call it that. One woman said: “I think my husband and I had more sex in those couple of weeks when I was reading Twilight than in the entire few months before.”So, if your partner likes Twilight and the relationship does survive, you have two options:
a) a future of frostbite in embarrassing places and an eventual death of hypothermia, culminating in EMTs forcibly pulling your arduous lover off your frozen, naked corpse
b) A raging sex life now consisting of her closing her eyes and pretending really really hard that you’re sparkly, followed by both of you softly crying yourselves to sleep on opposite sides of the bed.
3. Parental Respect
As most of us know by now, Twilight fandom has long since bust out of the series’ original Young Adult demographic. In fact, a word, ‘Twimoms’ has been coined for older, usually married women who also enjoy the books. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that – women of any age are free to enjoy whatever they want, no matter what age group it might be aimed at, just like adult men are free to enjoy Star Wars. But unfortunately, a lot of Twimoms seem to think that the fact that they like a book aimed at teenage girls means that they can finally go back to acting like teenage girls.
Look, there’s a reason that most older people don’t like hanging around with 16-year-old girls (and why we arrest those that do). Teenage girls are weird and obsessive, but at least they have hormones as an excuse. Once you’re older and a parent, you’re meant to know better. But something about vampire romance seems to make many people regress into the mental state of the average Jonas Brothers fan. Take this comment from Kellan Lutz, who plays Emmett Cullen in the Twilight movies:
“When we were shooting in LA actually, the craziest thing was like ‘Hey!” oh wait, what did they say…um, “hey if you bite my neck I’ll give you my baby!” And the mom had her baby there and she was like ‘take my baby! Take my baby! I want a vampire baby! Bite her neck!” It was just the cutest thing.”
Yes, very cute. We just hope that that woman doesn’t become a fan of Spiderman next. “Bite my baby, radioactive spider! I want a superhero baby!!” But hey, maybe she was joking. We probably can’t say that about the woman in this encounter, described by the actor who plays teen werewolf Jacob:
“”I had this 40-year-old woman trying to find a way to take her panties off for me to sign them. They had my name imprinted on them. So that was kind of strange. But you can’t expect anything from these ‘Twilight’ fans.”
Keep in mind that the man saying this was seventeen at the time of this occurrence. Also, note the resigned tone to his words. This guy is still several years away from being able to drink, and he’s already jaded to women over twice is age exposing their genitals to him in public. This wasn’t an isolated incident, either: other reports on the Internet report similar Twilight flashings done by mothers in front of their own children. Imagine if the sexes were reversed, and it was 40-year-old dudes doing this kind of thing. What we’re saying is, someone needs to go on the sex offender’s registry, now.
‘Edward’ is an Old English name meaning ‘blessed guard’. Eight kings of England have used it as a moniker, so it can be assumed that the general population thought it was pretty cool. Old English names which have become popular in other languages are rare, but Edward managed it, being found today in everything from Spanish to Lithuanian. And yet it’s been summarily ruined, along with many other names from Twilight. On the Facebook page ‘Twilight Has Ruined My Name’, men and women named ‘Edward’, ‘Bella’ and many other rare-ish names popularized by the series gather to commiserate over the destruction Stephenie Meyer has wrought:
Although, really woman, you named your daughter Twilight? You kind of deserve anything you get. You shouldn’t worry much about your daughter’s name because she’ll probably change it to ‘Jane Smith’ as soon as she’s eighteen and then never talk to you again.
If you’re a man, imagine an attractive woman in her underwear. There she is, standing there, close to naked. Nothing but underwear. Not too hard, right?
Now imagine that underwear consisting of these:
That’s right, what could be sexier than a frightening-yet-intimidating man staring at you from your lover’s crotch? (Note: If you’re a woman, the experiment will also work if you imagine a man wearing these as well. In fact, it might even work better.)
Now, these panties aren’t really disturbing until your imaginary underwear-clad paramour removes the panties to reveal, uh, this:
That’s right, the same man has had his – well, we’ll stop here before this article starts coming up on some weird Internet searches. But the one good thing about this underwear is that given the emotional unavailability of the average Twilight fan, our thought experiment will remain just that, and no one will ever, ever see it.
So what is the lovelorn Twilight fan to do? Well, there’s always this Twilight, uh, love toy, which comes in “a deathly pale flesh tone reminiscent of the moon’s soft glow” and even sparkles in the sunlight.
“Toss it in the fridge for that authentic experience!” the site says. Okay then. Well, it beats covering an ordinary vibrator in body glitter, I guess. That stuff can really irritate your skin. Or so I’ve been told.
6. Washington State
Washington State has historically been known for some unfortunate things. First there was grunge, which was perfectly acceptable in the early 90’s, but which got a bit old after the twentieth year of its fans not washing their clothes or hair. Then there was that awful movie, Sleepless in Seattle, which forced us to think about Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan potentially having sex for almost two hours. These things were the first items that outsiders associated with Washington, and if you didn’t like them, too bad for you, because you were in a conversation about them now.
But by the beginning of the 21st century, both of these things had mercifully faded from the public consciousness. Washington was finally free to be one of those states that no one really identifies with anything in pop culture, like Delaware.
Then Twilight came along.
Now, when Washingtonians speak to anyone who is female or knows someone female, there is a 60% chance that they will immediately identify their state with Twilight. This even extends to people who have never been to the US. Foreigners who before would have asked “Washington? That’s the capital, right?” now ask between squeals if you live anywhere near Forks.
Now, one thing that isn’t well known about Washington is that the state is so big that no matter where you are in it, you’re pretty much always 12 hours from Forks. Stephenie Meyer had never visited the place when she wrote Twilight, and didn’t take the time to do a Google Map search and find out that driving to Seattle takes far longer than the ‘2 hours’ she gave in the books, even if you drive like a vampire.
What do the poor people in Forks, WA, think about this? Well, when we drove 12 hours to go ask them they just rolled around a bit in a pile of gold bullions while whooping hysterically and throwing hundred dollar bills into the air, so we guess it that at least those guys don’t mind so much.
7. The Publishing Industry
The publishing industry has jumped on Twilight like Perez Hilton on a naked photo of a teenage girl. The ‘paranormal romance’ sector is booming, with books focusing on plots as varied as vampires that fall in love with human women, werewolves that fall in love with human women, shapeshifters that fall in love with human women, ghosts that fall in love with women, chupacabra that fall in love with human women, and human women that fall in love with human women, only to find out that they’re both vampires.
Meyer succeed in what she did not just by combining elements of the traditional romance novel with stories about the paranormal (others had done this beforehand) but in inexplicably bringing it all to the mainstream. A whole new generation of young women is being raised to enjoy romance novels, which is good for Harlequin. But in the process, most of the fantasy and Young Adult genre has been edged out.
Presumably, this will eventually die down, and young people will go back to watching reality shows about midgets like normal people. But not before these copycat Twilight series are all made into television shows. Avoid the CW for the next fifteen years, just in case.
8. Robert Pattinson’s Music Career
Robert Pattinson, who has shown no love for his role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight movies, recently expressed fear that his typecasting as a sparkly vampire will negatively affect on the career he really wants. “I’ll record a few tracks as soon as I finish the promotion for the movies,” Pattinson said, “but before I won’t to do anything. I don’t want to release an album which has a sticker on it saying, ‘By the vampire of Twilight’ on it. If the record is released one day there won’t be my name or my picture on the cover. Everyone would be biased. No one would listen to it.”
…you know what, this is actually probably a good thing. Thanks, Twilight.