Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What has my life become: a walk with Virgil. I think this might be somewhere between the sixth and seventh circle of Hell.

So a few days ago, I registered on in an attempt to find an online community in which I could participate (it gets frustrating reading the comments of tweens and knowing that you can't tell them to get a goddamn brain). As I added books I've read and surfed the site a bit, I came across a few lists. One was Best Young Adult Books Ever or something like that, and being the children's lit nut that I am, I clicked myself on over to see what was up. Imagine my horror when I saw Twilight was at the top of the list, above A Wrinkle in Time, The Giver, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Holes, and various other great and timeless children's novels. I wrote a comment about Twilight being up there. This sealed my fate.

I soon got an e-mail alert that someone named Sara had replied to the thread. Her response: "=0 you mean you don't like twilight????"

I responded that yes, that is what I meant. As if I hadn't been clear enough.

This soon led to a debate between me, Sara, and a kid named Carter about the merits and/or enormous flaws in the series. Of course, I was the one who was the opposition. And so this argument went on for a few days (I'm ashamed to admit it's still going on -- I just posted another response), with Sara telling me that "SHE LOOOOVVVES HIMM" and that they were meant for each other and that she loves him more than her own life blah blah blah blah. Yeah, that's a GREAT thing to be teaching young girls. "It's okay to COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN when your boyfriend leaves you." Outstanding job, Stephenie Meyer.

Yesterday night was my realization that Twilight has completely taken over my life, in a totally different way from how it takes over the obsessed tweens that frequent I can't escape it. I saw the movie last night for educational purposes (I had expected more than what I got to be honest, wasn't too fond of it; I did a lot of eye-rolling and if the theater had been empty I would have fake-vomited at some parts), as the movie ties in with two of my jobs (BSG and B&N). I can't get through five posts at without encountering a fanatic 12-year-old (or younger) foaming at the mouth about how Edward Cullen is "sooooo hot" (by the way I have to edit "hot" to read "cute" too many times to count) and how Twilight is the best book in the entire world (this makes me sick -- what would Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and Sophocles and the Bronte sisters say to that?). And now, here I am, arguing with two kids about it. I found out last night that Sara is 11 freaking years old. What the hell. What am I doing??? I'm going completely insane, that's what. God help me and my independent study on teen vampire fiction next semester.


Molloy said...

I could start my own diatribe about Twilight, but that would only waste time. However, I think I might have you beat. My only saving grace is that I have extricated myself from the maelstrom of madness in which I was once entrapped.

As you know, I write fan fiction for Kim Possible--a cartoon show for tweens. (Yes, a creative writing degree from Florida State is apparently worth a great deal.)

However, that is not the issue. The issue is that my fan fiction writing led me to an online forum for others of my ilk. This is where the madness begins.

I had, let’s say, ‘creative differences’ with some of the other writers on the forum. And, from time to time, I got, well, very passionate about these differences. Too passionate. As in, it was making me miserable. It became impossible for me to go to the forum without getting angry or even depressed about something someone had posted.

Things came to a head early last year when I got into an online scuffle with an individual who had written what I thought was a willfully perverse and repugnant story (I’ll spare you any details). Now, I didn’t go looking for the fight. When I first heard about the story, I knew to keep my distance from both the story and its author. Some time later, however, I discovered that the author of the aforementioned story had listed a story of mine as one of his favorites on his home page. This greatly disturbed me. I didn’t want any link between my stuff and something so reptilian. I emailed him and politely asked him to remove my story from his list. His response was less than polite, and things escalated from there.

Over the next couple of days things got pretty heated. Much like your Twilight fight, it started to take over my life. My wife finally had to step in and tell me to stop responding to the guy. I did. And he continued to email me and even placed another one of my stories on his favorites list. However, I stood firm and he finally stopped trying to goad me. In fact, I took the initiative and quit going to that forum at all—haven’t been back for at least half a year. And I have been much, much happier ever since.

Hmm, I wish I had some good advice to give other than ‘just quit.’ However, I do know how infuriating things can get. Children’s lit is something you care about, and it hurts when you see enriching novels and stories get displaced by junk that only panders to and, ultimately, denigrates its readers.

Tahleen said...

Eh, I've gotten over mine by now. I think I was just really angry because I had to deal with it so often. I've found much better vampire series to read and can only hope the girls realize their folly after they've grown up a bit.