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Archive for November, 2009

You would have to have been living on Mars for the last couple of years not to know about Bella and her sparkling vampire lover, Edward, from the Twilight books, written by Stephanie Meyers one summer between wiping noses, changing diapers and cooking for her Mormon husband. The works are flawed by Meyer’s total lack of experience and writerly skills. Add to that the haste in writing and the lack of a good editor and the books become painful to read for anyone with any understanding of the art of language.

But then the genre is teen romance. The books are not meant to be good. They are meant to be consumed by young readers who don’t know any better. Its like watching a porn movie. Nobody expects good dialogue or a coherent plot. Like porn, teen romance books are meant to manipulate the reader and satisfy the immature and barely formed sexual fantasies of the average hormonally challenged teenage girl. For what they are, the books are wildly successful. Girls love them. Older women, seduced by the fairy tale, have become extreme fan-atics.

Stephanie has explained the source of her inspiration. She had a dream in which she was eavesdropping on a couple, lovers perhaps, as the man told the woman he had an overwhelming urge to kill her and every moment was a struggle to overcome this urge. Classic hunter/prey sex fantasy. The man being the predator, the girl being food. The books came from Stephanie’s need to explain the paradoxical behavior that kept the hunter at bay.

Why does Edward love Bella? To quote a fan site: “A ridiculously potent scent to demand his attention, a silent mind to inflame his curiosity, a quiet beauty to hold his eyes and a selfless soul to earn his awe.”  Classic drivel from romance porn story plots. It seems that Stephanie, herself, never delved any deeper into this idea. The unformed and inexperience heart of the emotionally immature has no real understanding of love except as some unexplained magical attraction. Which is just fine. People need to mate. Babies need to get made. The human species needs to continue.

We know why Bella loves Edward. He is the classic unattainable guy. The prince in Cinderella and Snow White. Vaguely drawn, remote, powerful, a cartoon prop to sing about and dance around. Made brainless and mindless and without will because of….what? Beauty? Beauty tamed the beast. Pure fantasy ala Disney cartoons. Bella is a nobody. A wall flower. Neither talented, nor remarkably beautiful, nor athletic, nor smart. She is…what?…Good? Every girl’s fantasy is to be pulled out of the faceless crowd and  put on a pedestal just for being who she is. Every little girl wants to be adored as her father adored her. Every child needs to believe that innocence counts for something.

We also know why Bella should not love Edward. He is a vampire, conflicted by his nature, (he’s vegetarian fergawdsake!). To serve her fantasy, Stephanie created Edward and then emasculated him, that he might dance a ridiculous dance about Bella that is silly, offensive and utterly without logic.

You would have to have been living on Mars not to know that there are as many Twilight hater blogs as their are Twilight fan sites. The hater sites are fueled and run by the spouses and boyfriends forced to submit to reading the books and watching the movies by overly enthusiastic women. Men walk away angry. The unspoken message is that you, as a man, will never measure up until you tame the wild thing inside you, cut off your balls and deny your very nature. Twilight loathing is understandable.

But I think the hate goes deeper and touches things more visceral inside the human mind. Lets consider Edward. Here we have an 89 year old magical being who is more powerful than his human counterparts, who has managed to subdue his natural blood hunger, and like a recovering alcoholic, consume vegetables instead of blood. (Really? Dear Stephanie, could you not think of anything more original than that? Vampires are not real. If you intended to rewrite the genre, why not take it to a whole new level.  Convert the mythical aversion to sunlight into an undeveloped ability to manipulate its energy. Something. Anything.) Yet, with all that age, wisdom, ability and other worldliness, we find him hanging out in a public high school, stalking virginal idiot girls.

This is like the fox hanging out in the chicken coop. Or the alcoholic hanging out in a bar. One has to question the motives. Knowing foxes and alcoholics, one would have a hard time believing their motives innocent. One would even go so far as to question that individual’s sanity. Are they a masochist, that they require the torment of being so close to the very thing that is denied them?

The real problem, I think, is Stephanie’s misinterpretation of the dream and her confusion about power and powerful things.

The universe is in a perpetual dance that seeks balance. Love is like gravity. Objects in motion alter their path to accommodate other objects in motion. Powerful things, massive things catch bodies that fall into its area of gravitational influence. Those objects not massive enough and fast enough simply get drawn in and consumed. Stephanie assumes that a vaguely defined “goodness” can keep her heroine from getting sucked into the furnace of power. A classic virginal mistake tainted by too much Sunday school propaganda. Every patriarchal religion strives to keep their women ignorant and powerless. There is nothing scarier on God’s green earth, than an educated, self aware, powerful woman, apparently.

In interpreting the dream, one must ask: what power does the woman have that prevents the predator from devouring her? The predator nature is intrinsic and cannot be subverted as Stephanie would like to believe. She created Bella but forgot to give Bella power equal to Edward’s that he might be relieved of the crushing responsibility of reining in his natural instincts so that he might be free to enjoy the relationship as much as Bella.

Edward and Bella are like those publicity stunts pulled by zoos in the Orient. Throw a lamb or a piglet into the tiger’s cage to sell tickets. Those with a religious bent love crap like this. It somehow proves the existence of god. (???) Just keep the tiger well fed and plan on replacing the lamb frequently, because instinct, even in maternally inclined big cats, is a hard thing to keep at bay.

Ah, but immature and inexperienced women do not want to be reminded that relationships are a lot of work or that predators, in the end, will eat you and that you should not date outside your own species. Where is the fantasy in that? Where is the danger? Where is the romance? They all want to be Bella. They want to be powerless and dominated. They want to be relieved of the responsibility of their own stupidity. They want men to rescue them from said stupidity. They want life to happen to them, like some cosmic car wreck, and have it all turn out fine in the end. Nobody bothered to point out that virginal and innocent lasts about five minutes and is gone from the moment you wake up in your lover’s bed for the first time, stinking of sex and sweat.

Stephanie failed to give Bella a power (wisdom, deep spiritual knowing, her own internal sparkle to match Edward’s. Something. Anything). That made Edward a sick pervert who dates his food. We usually lock those people up and keep them away from our children. The Twilight hate is well deserved.

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Hedge fund managers and punters betting on the fall of the world (you guys who call yourselves bankers and money managers, you know who I am talking about, don’t pretend you don’t) should know better than to allow their existence to become public knowledge. That means no interviews, no publicity, no shining a light into the dark corner of the world where you live. No one likes you. Everyone hates you. You are pariah, the unclean, the class of bottom feeder that we know exist but would rather not think about.

Your status in society is right down there with garbage picker, sin eater, carpetbagger and executioner. We know you exist but polite people don’t talk about it.

You are like the Burakumin in Shinto societies. Outcast, unclean, tainted by your profession. If we put a sign on your forehead or hung a scarlet letter around your neck, people would cover their noses, avert their faces and cross the street to avoid coming in contact with you. There is a reason the executioner’s of old wore hoods. They could not afford to have their identity become common knowledge to the general population. It may have been a good paying job but it didn’t pay enough to insulate them from the village and the people they lived with every day. In kind, the people did not want to know who was under the hood. They did not want to know who of their friends and neighbors were reduced to killing for a living, who could remove their human soul long enough to chop off someone’s head.

In Japan, you became senmin (despised citizen) just by killing animals and processing their flesh. The “evil vapors” of your profession rose up from your work, clung to your skin and tainted your life. In traditional Jewish societies, the preparers and consumers of non-Kosher food had the same taint. In India, it is the garbage handlers.

The Romans, in their declining era, forgot that. They forgot that associating with the negative energies tainted you with its negative poison. Perhaps the truism that if one lives by the sword, one dies by the sword was invented by the Romans.

They stripped the world of entire species and threw them into the ring with humans to battle to the death and bet on the outcome. The handlers, hunters, fighters and executioners became notorious and admired. People flocked to the coliseums to bet upon the life or death of animals and humans alike. It became an integral part of their economic structure. Fortunes were made betting on death. I am sure they were placing bets on the outcome of their own demise as the barbarian hordes descended upon their cities.

In the world of money, where men work in glass and steel towers high above the street level, where the suffering of the world, the death of a planet, the evisceration of a society, the torture, agony and dying of millions is sanitized and cleaned and disconnected from the movement of numbers across a computer screen, where men make billions of dollars while not actually adding anything of value back into the system from which they feed, they have created their own closed senmin villages. Their wealth isolates them from the greater community. They have come to believe that the measure of their success is measured by the numbers in their banks accounts. (perhaps a perversion of the drive to become the best bower bird on the block by collecting a pile of useless blue things that they might attract the best mate, but somehow subverted so that their love of their numbers has derailed their connection to family and village and wife and children. How else could they do what they do and still sleep at night?)

Do not rest easy, oh men in your high towers. The Romans also thought themselves invincible. After all, had they not conquered a planet? Did not phalanxes of slaves and servants and sycophants buffer them from the barbaric outer world? Yet, in the end, all that wealth could not cleanse them of the taint of death and Death, impervious to bribery or seduction, came hunting them and gave them back in kind, what they had sown upon the world.

Perhaps they had forgotten, in their isolation from humans who actually still had souls, that to a majority of the planet, money, wealth and power are useless ideas. Perhaps they thought that the rules and laws and Patterns of the Oneverse could be overwritten if one could control everything.

But “everything” is a very large thing indeed and humans are very small and the Oneverse cannot be denied without consequence.

Perhaps that is why very wealthy men such as Carnegie, Hughes and Gates, in the fading end of their lives, took large chunks of their money and established foundations that have and will outlive their own notoriety. History is a funny thing. Nobody remembers you if you are filthy rich. They will remember what you built or what you destroyed. So if you give back a little of what you have taken, legends of your generosity will outlive your grandchildren.

See. No matter how black your heart has become, the Oneverse offers redemption.

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