Monday, March 23, 2009

In the Twilight Zone

This editorial originally ran in the Feb. 13 Standard-Examiner.

Twilight! Twilight! Twilight! Bad! Bad! Bad!

Move over, all you evangelicals in the deep South; some Utahns have another bone to pick with children's literature, and it sure ain't "Harry Potter"!

It's the "Twilight" series they are in a snit over.

That's nonsense, of course, but given that today is Friday the 13th and Valentine's Day is just around the corner, we thought vampires, shape-shifters and love an appropriate topic.

To the uninitiated, "Twilight" is Arizona author Stephenie Meyer's clever series of chastity and love between a human girl and a gorgeous, "vegetarian" creature of the undead. We kind of like "Twilight" and its sequels, in which Bella and Edward meet, fall in love, get married and live forever. (There's a lot more to it than just that, but we'll let you read the books.)

Apparently the marriage between Bella and Edward in "Breaking Dawn," the final book in "Twilight," has rankled the folks at Covenant Communications Inc., a Utah publisher. In a news release it pitched to journalists this week, Covenant used some of its writers to attack "Twilight."
Here are some gripes:

"... I am convinced it is none other than pornography for women ..."

* "The book is ... is illicit because the protagonists are of different species."

* "I've asked them (my kids) not to read the 'Twilight' series and had them consider what my husband and I have taught them ..."

OK, time for a chill pill here. First, we have no problem if parents tell their kids no to "Twilight." That's their right as caretakers of their kids. But the idea that the series is pornography or promotes sex between different species is just nuts.

You want to read pornography? Check out the lyrics of a song from Eminem; you won't find pornography in "Breaking Dawn."

The "Twilight" series, including "Breaking Dawn," is full of passion, but they are chaste tales, in which Edward and Bella, in love, regard the after-marriage honeymoon as the appropriate time for sexual intercourse. Despite being inherent opposites, characters in "Twilight" -- beyond just Bella and Edward -- reconcile their differences and resolve long-standing disputes.

And as for that ridiculous claim of "illicit" sex between "different species," only the foggiest mind would read "Breaking Dawn" and compare Bella and Edward's child, Renesmee, to something akin to the growling, bloodthirsty, man/beast Minotaur of Greek mythology.

We've kept our tongue planted in our cheek through much of this editorial, and this may be the last time we respond to a booksellers' pitch, but we think there's a lesson here: All of us -- adults and teenagers -- are going to fantasize about romance. "Twilight" -- in its own passionate manner -- keeps our brains stimulated as well.

No comments: