Wednesday, March 30, 2011

BLOGGING BREAKING DAWN, pt. 28: You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby

As previously established, we've pretty much run out of conflict here. If you're the really curious type, maybe you're wondering what will happen with Sam and the wolf pack. Well, that gets answered for you in this chapter: nothing! That's right, that one gets wrapped up with a pretty little bow, too. So we're waiting for whatever arc S. Meyer is going to throw at us for this final third. Which feels pretty weird, right? The story, as we knew it, has ended. And yet there is still a bunch of book here! What is the meaning of this?

Glass half full (of blood): maybe this last little section will be great. Maybe something unexpected will happen. Maybe there will be a dragon!

Glass half empty (of blood): this is the beginning of a long, protracted conclusion that will continue to end for a few hundred pages like Return of the King.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Girlfriend Experience, A Review

Last night I couldn't sleep so I watched a Steven Soderbergh movie in the hopes that it would assist me to that end. I should have watched Eclipse instead, because I was not lulled to sleep as I expected to be. Instead, I really enjoyed this movie! I'm as divided on Steven Soderbergh as I am on experimental (and/or) art films in general; it always seems like a good idea and almost never is. And yet every time I get burned, I keep coming back. I watched the entirety of fucking Timecode, okay? That is how serious my problem is. And movies like Soderbergh's own Full Frontal and even Sex, Lies and Videotape never did anything for me even though I hoped they would. When I heard he was planning on retiring from directing after two more films, I was sort of relieved! But of course, there will always be other experimental directors to tempt me. I've been avoiding the Duplass Brothers like the plague, but I can feel my resolve weakening.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What We Agree About When We Talk About Twilight: No Homo

I've used Natalie Wilson's Twilight blog as a bit of a punching bag in the past, utilizing it to articulate some of my issues with academia. And Wilson is not really to blame for those. Not that I regret being occasionally harsh—one invites that when they use parenthetical asides like “as I argue in my forthcoming book.” But the more I read “Seduced By Twilight,” the more I am, uh, persuaded by it.

Part of the reason is that I think the world of Twilight fandom—if you would go so far as to lump this blog in with “fandom,” which maybe I would not do—is really divided into two camps: those who like it, and those who like it with a lot of reservations. The latter camp has a kind of grudging admiration for Twilight as an international sensation, the former camp is the reason it is one. People travel from group A into group B, but not the other way around unless they suffer a head injury. I'd like to think this blog has won the latter group a few converts from the former group, even. But ANYWAY what I'm saying is: Natalie Wilson gets it. Natalie Wilson has a lot of reservations about Twilight, and they are the right ones. I understand that some of MY objections are weirdly specific ones, and that I have carried my own, mostly invented narratives throughout these texts. But I'm not imagining most of this. By reading Wilson's blog I can get out of my own head a little, and clarify some basic stuff; I can see where we connect on the Venn diagram of outrage. And on that Venn diagram, the middle section is really big. That feels pretty good. We're not crazy.

Let's start, today, with the gay stuff. That's what he said.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BLOGGING BREAKING DAWN, pt. 27: Immaculate Exception

I'm continuing to feel like we're just re-calibrating. S. Meyer wanted Bella to be a vampire, but didn't want to really have to deal with the aftermath of such a thing. So she wrote it, and then wrote around all of the possible consequences. Now the same thing is happening with the baby. In this chapter, we learn about how Renesmee is not at all like those evil vampire babies we heard about early on. She's a little paranormal angel! OH GREAT. I'm fine with life as a vampire and parent being nothing but a good time, but SOMETHING needs to be difficult because otherwise why is this even a book? We've got nothing left except our characters, who are not just sitting around EXISTING, and we're waiting for new story elements to fall into their laps. In the final third of the final book of a series.

Previously: We talked Sexism and Sucker Punch, and if you're not going to see it out of protest you should watch Summer's Moon this weekend instead. Not that it's going to be less sexist, but Ashley Greene is in it!

Chapter 22: Promise

Still in the woods outside the Cullen house, Bella thinks about Renesmee (RNSM, hereafter, enough is enough) and feels her vampire brain auto-focus on the subject. She asks Edward about her, and hears the “religious devotion” in his voice when he says she's “like nothing else in the world.” Edward is so proud, like, LOOK WHAT I DID WITH MY SEMEN*!

(*Semen-like venom substance)

We hear that RNSM has a heartbeat that beats faster than a humans and runs a slightly higher body temperature. Like Jacob. She can sleep, and sleeps peacefully. How does Jacob sleep at night? Seriously, I'm asking. Edward points out the irony of the “only parents in the world who don't need sleep,” having a child who sleeps though the night. That's the second time in two pages Edward has invoked the “only ___ in the world.” Is he developing a complex or just listening to Rihanna too much?

(Admission that should be embarrassing but isn't, for some reason: I've been listening to Taylor Swift's “Love Story” almost nonstop for several days. I don't know if that has anything to do with this or not.)

RNSM drinks blood, but can also eat human food; Edward says Carlisle has been trying to persuade her to do so more often. That they are apparently negotiating gets Bella wise to the fact that apparently RNSM can be communicated with, which is weird since she is like three days old. Does the math check out on the speed of RNSM's growth? I'm saying: is the speed of her gestation proportional to the speed of her early development? Maybe it happens in random spurts, like punctuated equilibrium. Is it AT ALL possible that S. Meyer knows what punctuated equilibrium is? And also: when does the super-fast aging stop, or does it, even? Maybe this will be like that movie Jack. Is she going to die at her high school graduation?

(Did you know Francis Ford Coppola directed Jack? What in the actual fuck of all that is holy?)

Bella's also wondering why Jacob is still kicking around—she feels bad for him, thinking he must be suffering. Edward is maddeningly reluctant to tell Bella that Jacob has imprinted on her daughter—I mean, Bella has been mentioning Jacob non-stop for two chapters only to be greeted with absolute silence every single time—and he eventually explains that Jacob begged for the right to explain it to her himself. And he agreed to that? Edward's reaction is far too measured. I can't believe that he fervently loves his daughter on the one hand but didn't rip Jacob's balls off with the other. Be decisive, just this once, asshole! Edward is Barack Obama.

Edward gives Bella his shirt because—it is implied—her tits are hanging out of her dress, and they run home. Bella is surprised when Jacob comes out to meet them, well, more like ambushes them. It becomes clear that he is doing so in order to test Bella's self control before she touches RNSM. Our narrator is shocked by Jacob's selflessness, risking himself for her baby, for whom he ain't even care. I get the irony, but this is really boring irony, right? The other problem with this is that it has been firmly established since New Moon that vampires and werewolves are repulsed by each other. But WHATEVER, maybe newborns are less picky about their food. Of course, we just recently learned Bella is not like a newborn much at all, really, but I already said WHATEVER.

Bella resists killing Jacob, and pretty soon they're just trading insults and Bella is marveling at what a good guy Jacob is. You say that now! When Edward kisses Bella and tells her he loves her, Bella is astonished to see that there is no change in Jacob's expression, no brief reveal of inner anguish. She must be so disappointed.

“Wait, this isn't making Jacob feel horrible? Stop kissing me, Edward!”-Bella Cullen
“I can't orgasm unless it is at the expense of someone else.” Bella Cullen

Jacob is not the first person to look at Bella and remark that she barely looks like herself. (“You still look like you... sort of. Maybe it's not the look so much as... you are Bella. I didn't think it would feel like you were still here.”) Is this a detail that is going to be ignored by the films, or is Vampire Bella going to be played by Jena Malone or Kat Dennings or something?

The reveal about Jacob is delayed over and over again: Bella will ask an impertinent question or there will be a reference to RNSM and either Edward or Jacob will change the subject. The irritating part is that Bella POINTS OUT that they are changing the subject, but doesn't press the issue even after people have very obviously avoided discussing it with her LITERALLY a dozen times.

So then it is time to go see the baby. Recall that early in this book we heard about the immortal terror babies that once plagued the earth, forcing the Volturi to go on a world-wide abortion spree. Our first glimpse of RNSM suggested that maybe she'd be something similar: she did bite Bella's tit, after all. And wouldn't that have been an interesting way to go? The story of the horrors of being new, young parents amplified by supernatural elements. You think your kid was bad? Wait until you see RNSM hit the terrible twos (three days from now)!

But that would have been, you know, complex and interesting. And this is Twilight, and those two adjectives have no place here. RNSM is a perfect docile wonder child. Ho-hum.

Bella first sees her baby behind a protective wall of Cullens, and is entranced by her from the get-go. There is a protracted scene in which Bella wants to hold her baby but Jasper and Emmett won't let her, and then Jasper is shocked (and maybe kind of jealous?) over Bella's self control, and all the while Alice just stands off to the side urging Jasper and the rest of the Cullens to stop wasting time and just let Bella have her fucking baby already. In so many words. So does that mean Alice's powers have returned to her? There is no explanation yet.

There's a genuinely entertaining moment, though, when Edward seems to deliberately toy with his family, mentioning that they ran into a hiker on their hunting trip. Carlisle, Esme, and Jacob are immediately shocked and appalled, Emmett and Jasper seem unsurprised. As for Alice:

Alice's expression told me that she was not fooled. Her narrowed eyes, focused with burning intensity on my borrowed shirt, seemed more worried about what I'd done to my dress than anything else.

Or she's trying to see your nipples. Edward reveals what happened, that Bella didn't kill anybody, and most of the Cullens are pleased. But Jasper doesn't seem to be taking it well. Can I give S. Meyer a little credit? This is pretty cool, and is cooler for being underdeveloped. When Bella tries to press through the Cullens to get to her baby, Jasper won't let her.

“Jazz, this isn't anything you've seen before,” Alice said quietly. “Trust me.”

RNSM has caused problems for both Alice and Jasper, made them question their abilities, which is kind of a funny twist on what happens to childless couples when all of their friends have kids. Alice & Jasper are Pete & Trudy Campbell.

So everyone in the family is apparently pretty obsessed with RNSM, but mostly Jacob, Rose, Edward, and now Bella. All the people I hate the most, in other words. This scene approaches ridiculousness with the way at least two people seem to be holding on to RNSM at all times. When Bella finally gets her baby in her arms, Jacob is holding her too, their bodies practically pressed together.

When Bella holds her child she has a motherly moment of recognition, and suddenly holding her is perfectly “natural.” Does that include the pedophile werewolf crowding your space? But anyway, the big thing that happens is RNSM touches Bella's face, and projects an image into her mind. Like the Vulcan mind meld, basically. (Spock was a half-breed too, right?) Edward alluded to this earlier, that RNSM can communicate even though she doesn't speak. Carlisle remarks that it's like she has the opposite of Edward's power—he can pull thoughts from people's brains, she can put them there. Does that mean if Alice and Jasper had a kid, it would be like, a really good historian who could mellow him-or-herself out really easily? A history professor at Berkley, maybe? And if Rosalie and Emmett had a kid, it would be really nice and really smart? HEYYOOOO. Anyway, RNSM gives Bella an image of the birth scene, which is a really nice thing to remind your mother about.

Anyway, Jacob continues to nervously try to get RNSM out of Bella's arms, until finally she is like, WHAT THE HELL BUDDY. Then she sees the way Jacob is looking at her daughter, like “a blind man seeing the sun for the first time.” That is an appropriate metaphor, actually! Because a man with recently restored sight should really NOT be looking at the sun! This is such a bad idea, please stop, blind man!

“No!” I gasped.

This part is great, even though I know nothing is really going to come of it. We can pretend for now, right? Bella hands off the baby to Rose* and chases Jacob out of the house while he tries to explain himself. He defends it as “involuntary” and then tries to sell it to Bella as the way everything will work out. Like this is their happily ever after.

(*thanks, Anon)

“Because you're the one who told me this. Do you remember? You said we belonged in each other's lives, right? That we were family. You said that was how you and I were supposed to be. we are. It's what you wanted.”

In Jacob's mind, he and RNSM are already married. That's the interpretation I came away with, and Bella did too. “You think you'll be part of my family as my son-in-law?” she hisses. KILL HIM, BELLA!

(What's also upsetting is that Jacob's explanation is probably how S. Meyer feels, too. Bella comes to the conclusion the audience comes to, and then Jacob tells us why we are wrong. The structure of the dialog gives away S. Meyer's position.)

Jacob is appalled she would think of it that way, which once again illustrates the problematic ambiguity of this whole thing. If that isn't what he means, what could he mean? Does imprinting have this avuncular element to it first? Because, again: that transition is a fucking sketchy transition!

“It's not that weird! I will be like her uncle until I am her husband! What is the big deal?”-An Asshole

But it's not the psychosexual, heteronormative-to-a-scary-fault nature of the beast that sets Bella off. It's that Jacob refers to RNSM as “Nessie.” You have to admit, that is a step up. But still: get him, girl! She lunges for his throat, and the chapter ends. Good. Jacob is dead, right? She's going to tear his head off and drink his blood and spread his remains across the country, right? Please?

Monday, March 21, 2011

BLOGGING BREAKING DAWN, pt. 26: Easy, Lucky, Free

So first things first, Bella will eat some brains. Then she's going to start rocking gold teeth and fangs. Because, well, you know. Previously: we learned about how being a vampire is like watching Blu-Ray, and Jashley imploded suddenly and unexpectedly.

Chapter 21: First Hunt

So this chapter is a little one-off episode. New Vampire Bella goes hunting for the first time and discovers her new powers. The end. Very little carries over into this chapter, and it doesn't necessarily have any major implications for the future. It will be a (probably horribly edited) montage at the beginning of Breaking Dawn pt. 2 and would be a nice little read were it not for the total narrative cop-out S. Meyer pulls with regard to Bella's newborn-ness of which we caught a depressing glimmer last time. The short version: being a vampire is startlingly easy.

Before everything became about weddings and babies, Bella's primary fear was that as a vampire, her emotional makeup would (if only temporarily) change. She'd be a dangerous, cold-blooded murderer for months, years. In Eclipse, she asked herself what it would be like if she killed someone someday. The implication was that she would, that really there'd be no way around popping her murder cherry, and that that was the price of immortality.

And Bella's brand of immortality is a particularly selfish one, right? A very long time ago (as in almost exactly a year ago) we talked about how ultimately selfish ALL of the Cullens are, except Carlisle (but even he should really be at like, an ER in Baltimore, where he could do some real good). However, Edward and Alice have done a lot to prevent violence being visited on Forks at this point, and the other Cullens have protected Bella, at the very least. That should count for something (even if Bella is not really worth protecting). But Bella's whole intention was to be granted immortality just so she could be with Edward forever. There has never been any mention of her, you know, maybe effecting positive change in the world.

“With great power comes nothing, basically.”
-Vampire Uncle Ben

But that sort of base-level abdication of moral responsibility could have been okay, and possibly interesting, if Bella's power came at a price. If, say, she killed an innocent human and had to reconcile that. But it becomes clear, in this chapter, that such a complex thing will not happen. Nothing complex will happen.

The first sign of danger comes at the start, when Bella is nervous about exiting through the upstairs window. Edward is keen on doing so in part because “Renesmee and Jacob are downstairs.” In separate rooms, I hope. And by rooms I guess I mean I hope Renesmee is in a crib and Jacob's in a jail cell. “Is Renesmee...okay...with Jacob there?” Bella says, asking a more important question that she even knows.

Edward's lips tightened in an odd way. “Trust me, she is perfectly safe. I know exactly what Jacob is thinking.”

UGH. Fifty bucks says Edward's been researching trepanning in his spare time. Don't Google that. At some point Bella becomes aware that Alice must have dressed her during the transformation, she's in a “tightly fitted ice-blue silk” dress. What ELSE did Alice do when Bella was under the influence? I'm not saying Alice is a rapist—because it's consensual on some level, we all know that.

Anyway, Edward jumps out the window and Bella follows easily. Edward tells her it was “quite graceful—even for a vampire.” And there you have it. You couldn't at least have Bella land so hard she breaks one of her shoes (stilettos, natch), S. Meyer? Have her trample Esme's vegetable garden, at least! Am I the only one sick of everything turning out perfectly every single time?

They have to jump a river to progress beyond the Cullen backyard, and after some trepidation Bella thrills herself by leaping fifty-or-so yards in a single bound. There's a comical moment first, when she tears her skirt along the thigh while spreading her legs in preparation. For the leap, I mean. So she tears a matching rip on the other side and can hear Alice gritting her teeth back in the house (a comic beat only undercut by Bella's acknowledgment a paragraph earlier that Alice treats clothes as essentially disposable—so why should she care? But whatever).

The fractions are getting a little ridiculous: Bella jumps the river in “an eighty-fourth of a second.” I get that vampires brains are better than ours, but I'm picturing numbers and symbols floating around in Bella's peripheral vision like the fucking Terminator. She soars through the air, a bird, a plane, and lands high on a tree branch. “It was fabulous,” Bella says. If she derives that much pleasure from one eighty-fourth of second, maybe we should take her assertions of Edward's sexual prowess with a grain of salt.

Bella and Edward then run through the woods at lightning speed, and Bella says she understands how Edward's been managing it all along without hurting her. Well, first of all, I thought Bella's human memories were all muddled and VHS-y now, so it's weird that she can recall those occasions so easily, and second of all, she goes on to mention that the branches smashing into her don't even feel like anything, which explains how Edward does it, but not how he did it with vulnerable human Bella on his back.* But then we hear how they are running together, neither one leading or following, and the symbolic equality is enough to make you ignore that.

(*I wouldn't ordinarily even nitpick THIS much, but I've been working my way through the Eclipse DVD commentary track with Wyck Godfrey and Stephenie Meyer, and the latter alludes to getting very upset with the former over a scene in which Edward aggressively grabs Jake's shoulder. She says, according to the “mythology,” he would have crushed Jacob by doing that. So if the “mythology” is going to be this holy thing, I guess we'll have to start holding it to higher standards of consistency and coherence.)

So anyway, being a vampire feels GREAT! You never get winded! Cold air feels warm! If their bodies are so insensitive how do they ever reach orgasm? Edward stops their little fun run, and he teaches Bella to sense the elk nearby. But then the wind changes direction, and Bella catches a more delicious scent, which we quickly realize is a human. She takes off unthinkingly in that direction, and when she senses that she is being followed she turns around and involuntarily lets loose a “feral snarl.” But it's Edward who is following her, and that snaps her out of attack mode. She runs in the opposite direction of the human scent to get away from temptation.

See kids? Waiting for sex until marriage pays off! You get so used to denying yourself pleasure that you can do it easily whenever necessary! (How are you observant types doing with Lent?) Edward is astounded and pleased by Bella's self-control. I know, it makes everything so easy now!

“We can skip like ten potential chapters!”- Edward Meyer

There's a CLASSIC Bella and Edward moment in the woods after Bella stops running: Edward starts apologizing for not making sure the hunting grounds were clear of humans, and Bella starts apologizing for snarling at him. He's like: why are you apologizing to me? She's like: why are you apologizing to me? These two, eh? Always apologizing to the other and getting mad at the other for wanting to apologize! When Edward starts laughing, Bella has a CLASSIC Bella moment where she gets inappropriately offended by Edward's joy. Vampire power doesn't come with better interpretative skills? Or did the transformation only enhance her borderline autism?

“I'm not laughing at you, Bella. I'm laughing because I am in shock. And I am in shock because I am completely amazed.”

Uh, what? Anyway, the gist of this whole section is that being a newborn vampire actually ISN'T hard. The risks, originally, were that you'd lose your family, you wouldn't be able to start your own family, and you'd maybe kill someone else's family. Those were the dramatic counterweights for the last three books. And each threat has been made irrelevant rather than dealt with. Whoops, actually you can have it all! We we all worried for nothing. But at least it kept us reading, eh?

Luckily it's not all easy and clean, and in an act of contrition S. Meyer more or less closes this chapter with a fun scene in which Bella messily attacks a mountain lion. The start of the battle takes place high in the trees, so like most S. Meyer action scenes it's not something you can really visualize. But what you can visualize is Bella tearing open the neck of a giant cat on the forest floor while it mauls most of her clothes off, which is what happens. She tosses its corpse off of her body, and then there is this sentence:

I wrenched myself erect in one quick move.

Well, it's not going to get any better than that. Bella's still hungry, so as they run home they attack a group of deer. Bella admits that she's always feared really seeing Edward hunt, but it turns out to be a “surprisingly sensual” experience. Where does he bite them? Watching him manhandle the deer gets Bella's venom going, which is pretty weird, but far be it for me to judge what other people get off on. Whatever wrenches you erect, you know? So, Bella gets full but her throat still burns.

Then again, I'd known thirst was just an inescapable part of this life.
And worth it.

Why is that the one thing that comes true? Is that really supposed to be enough for us? “Oh she had to give up SO MUCH. Her throat will feel kinda weird forever.” Bella thinks over her afternoon. “I did feel pretty good about not killing someone today,” she says, and decides that she can be around her daughter after all. Well, that's fair enough. The only thing we ask of straight couples in this country is that they not be murderers, and then they can have all the kids they want. Gay couples though? Forget about it. ANYWAY, thinking of Renesmee brings on a case of sudden-onset postpartum depression.

It as so odd, so wrong to not have her inside me still. Abruptly, I felt empty and uneasy.

(Are you sure you're not referring to Alice?) Of course, thinking of pregnancy gets Bella horny, and she starts making out with Edward. “My lips no longer shaped themselves around his,” she says, trying to appease the feminists out there that—well—that probably stopped reading a long time ago. “They held their own.” And of course she segues immediately into wondering whether her power, the “part of me that I'd brought forward to be intensified in my new life,” is her ability to love Edward. Half a step forward, a fifty-yard leap back.

Maybe I would love Edward more than anyone in the history of the world ever loved anyone else.

If that's it, I'm going to be fucking pissed.

Holland 1945, Blogging Twilight: In Conclusion, We Are All Team Edward, Some Things Are Better Left Undead

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

BLOGGING BREAKING DAWN, pt. 25: All Deliberate Speed

Last time, Bella's evil heart finally exploded. Now she is actually a vampire. I never thought we'd get here! I mean, really! Meanwhile, the Twilight Tumblr continues to showcase the weirdest Twilight garbage I can manage to find on the Internet. If you come across something on your own, you can always submit it here.

Chapter 20: New

Bella opens her eyes and looks around, and her vision has improved along with her ability to hear. “Everything was so clear. Sharp. Defined,” Bella says. Later we'll read about how she can mentally process multiple situations and ideas at once. So she's in Blu-Ray now, basically. When she stares at the lightbulb overhead, she can see every color in the spectrum, including “an eighth color I had no name for.” You never heard of ultraviolet or infrared, Bella? God, Forks High really needs to shut down like, this instant.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

BLOGGING BREAKING DAWN, pt. 24: My My My Heart Like A Kick Drum

Previously: Bella returned to power, Ashley Greene's Skateland got delayed again, and an overzealous blogger tried to censor YA fiction.

Chapter 19 (cont'd): Burning

Bella is still recounting the experience of giving birth. It's all pain and blindness until she hears Edward say “Renesmee” and feels a “flood of warmth” for her daughter. Not to burst your bubble, that may just be the blood gushing out of the gaping hole in your body, Bella. Anyway, we get our first real description of Renesmee, and she sounds terrifying. [Now that we're no longer dealing with wolf-pack hive-minds, I'm reverting to setting block quotes off in italics.]

Renesmee did not cry, but she breathed in quick, startled pants. Her eyes were open, her expression so shocked it was almost funny. The little, perfectly round head was covered in a thick layer of matted, bloody curls...
Her tiny face was so absolutely perfect that it stunned me. She was even more beautiful than her father.

How many levels of impossible-to-attain beauty are we going to go through in this book? Edward is just so hot it's unbelievable. So is Rosalie. And now this fucking thing is even better. (Despite the blood-matted hair and everything, I guess. Or maybe because of it?) And then what? We need to peel S. Meyer's rhetoric off the ceiling a little. When you start at the top, you've got nowhere to go except to build a new top. And then another new top, and then another.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

BLOGGING BREAKING DAWN, pt. 23: Way Down In The Hole

Well, we've hit bottom. After a mostly tedious book 2, we got a gangbusters birthing scene that unfortunately gave way to the biggest outrage yet: Our narrator, Jacob Black, basically became Jacob Humbert. The promise made by the violent, crazy birth was dashed to bits in those final sentences. That scene was a fake out, like walking into a palace and falling through a trap door. Like discovering you have the ability to fly and then realizing it's just a lucid dream you're having in the moments after you got shot and before you just fucking DIE.

Book 3: Bella

Here we go again. We get another new “book” and a new epigraph and all that jazz. Sadly, we're not switching it up and hearing from Edward, or Alice, or even fucking Renesmee. I'd really take almost anybody over Bella. What's Billy Black up to? Mike Newton? I'd rather listen to Eric, who has been floating in some kind of existential nightmare cloud since New Moon, than go back to Bella. Hell, now is the time when we really SHOULD be hearing Jacob's thoughts more than anyone else's. As awful as most of Jacob's narration was, his thoughts are finally important now. So I'd even take him back.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On The Occasion Of Jacob Black Imprinting On A Newborn Child OR Forks, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down

Well, sure. It had to come to something like this, this ultimate perversion. We deserve it—we kept reading, after all. Edward and Bella walked away from mass slaughter, and we kept reading. Jacob's advances toward Bella became increasingly aggressive and intrusive and she loved it, and we kept reading. Sam Uley abused his fiance and it only strengthened their relationship, and we kept reading. Quil Ateara imprinted on a two-year-old, and we kept reading. We shouldn't have encouraged Stephenie Meyer, because now this has happened: Jacob has imprinted on a newborn baby. He has fallen deeply in love with a baby. A two-year-old wasn't young enough for Jacob's taste—he needs it straight out of the womb.

(That wasn't even fresh enough for him, really. A few chapters ago Jacob noted seemingly in passing the way Bella's increased girth had somehow increased her gravitational pull—language remarkably similar to what he earlier and later employs to describe the sensation of imprinting. In other words, he was attracted to the child before it was even born.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Twilight and Lolita, The Birth Scene and The GOP

So, uh, there is probably a Lolita reference in Twilight. Huh? We've been operating under the assumption that S. Meyer is relatively unaware of her own outrageousness, the case for that primarily being that outrages like Quil (and now Jacob) imprinting on a child go relatively unexplored: Bella gets angry then she and Jacob ride their bikes. That's it. When Quil and his imprint victim re-appear in Breaking Dawn, Quil's love for her is emphasized over the horror of the whole situation. The horror of the whole situation is not even addressed, as if S. Meyer thinks she has convinced us otherwise, that it is okay. So I'm not totally sure what to do with my realization this morning that Quil imprints on Claire and Humbert Humbert's chief rival pederast in Lolita is named Clare Quilty. That's a level of awareness I didn't really expect and don't otherwise see in this book. But anyway, there you are.

Meanwhile, a few days ago I published a brief essay expanding on my observation that Bella's birthing scene was like a "Republican wet dream." More on that thought is available at MOBFD.

Throw Me The Statue, "Lolita"

Sunday, March 6, 2011

BLOGGING BREAKING DAWN, pt. 22: From Here To Infirmary

When we last left the gang, Bella was vomiting a “fountain of blood.” Yowza! The chapter that follows is the fantastically grotesque birth scene, which is full of morbid and, for once, well-rendered imagery. It's vivid and energetic—the best thing S. Meyer has written by far—and I am absolutely certain this is the best version of it we will ever get. Sorry, but there is no way the film will come anywhere close to this fucking insanity; no one will vomit a fountain of blood, we won't have to look at Bella's twisted, bruised, naked body convulsing on a table. And that's too bad, really! This shit is bananas! Can Bill Condon hire like, Dario Argento or Roman Polanski as his second unit director? You have to admit, Polanski would be an appropriate uh, thematic choice. But anyway, enjoy this one. I did.

Chapter 18: There Are No Words For This

Bella—who is “streaming with red”—starts twitching around in Rosalie's arms. Her face is blank, and Jacob can hear her bones snapping, crackling, and popping and she thrashes and her baby bounces around inside her like a wrecking ball. Rosalie and Edward shoot up the stairs screaming for Alice to get Carlisle on the phone, and Jacob follows. There's a mini-operating room set up in Carlisle's office, and when Jacob gets there Bella's naked body is flopping around like “a fish on the sand” under sickeningly bright light. Fuck yes, right?

When Edward shouts that the baby is suffocating, Bella gets lucid enough to scream. “Get him OUT!” she shrieks, “Do it NOW!” Well, finally! The greatest detail is that Jacob sees the blood vessels in Bella's eyes burst as she screams. Holy shit, right? Her next scream is muffled by another explosion of blood from her mouth. Alice somewhat comically darts in to attach a Blue Tooth to Rosalie's ear and then bails; Alice won't even handle the PHONE CALL? (“I can't deal with this shit right now, you talk to him. I'll be in my room. Peace.”-Alice Cullen) It's particularly ridiculous because even though we are meant to assume it is Carlisle on the line, he never comes into play; in a moment the phone is smashed by accident before we ever hear what the good doctor is saying. Whatever! Just because this is the best thing S. Meyer has written still doesn't mean it is like, objectively good.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

BLOGGING BREAKING DAWN, pt. 21: Ocean Of Noise

Here we go. S. Meyer finally gives us a worthwhile chapter, and she's just in time; I don't know how much longer I would have been able to go on. All of this time I thought our author was going to kill me with some awful, amoral plot twist, or some over-obvious religious allusion. But she very nearly simply bored me to death! I thought I was going to throw my book across the room, not just slump and drop it to the floor! In this chapter, Jacob imagines himself about to endure a long period of suffering. Fittingly, I feel like we're already on the other side of it, looking back at him. So long, Jacob! (Did everybody make it out? Can we do a head count? Anybody get lost fifty pages back? Marco! Marco!)

Previously: What's In A Name?

Chapter 17: What Do I Look Like? The Wizard Of Oz? You Need A Brain? You Need A Heart? Go Ahead. Take Mine. Take Everything I Have.

And the award for most passive-aggressive chapter title goes to. God, I can't wait to get a new narrator. We're due for one, whether it's Edward or Bella or (fingers crossed!) Alice. The single charm of Jacob's narration, the nifty stuff involving the pack mind and Edward's ability hear it, is all but completely gone. There are a few moments in this chapter where it is referenced, like Jacob will say something aloud and then note that he didn't want to wait for Edward to pick it out of his thoughts. But the honeymoon is over, I'm ready to move on.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Officers Jacob “Wolf” Wolfe and Alice “Shortie” Cullen of the Seattle PD arrived at the scene of the crime at approximately 8:25am. It was freezing in the squad car, as both of them preferred it, and the hot damp air in the mostly-abandoned parking lot made them both curse as they sucked in their breath upon exiting.
“Where the hell have you guys been?” chirped Seth Clearwater, the forensics expert on-scene, as he greeted them. The bottom edge of his blue coat was brown, stained with careless blood from countless other scenes just like this one.