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The "Twilight" Snare (Revised)
Ever since the novel Twilight was published in 2005, and especially after the movie adaptation was released in 2008, the media has fallen into the “Twilight snare”. At this point in time, Twilight is inescapable; it pops up everywhere whether we’re looking for it or not. Entire shelves are full of the Twilight novels in bookstores; giant posters stare at us as we pass cinemas or billboards. Action figures of the characters are sold right next to Star Wars and Lego in the toy aisles. Just about every form of Twilight is appearing everywhere: dozens of different editions for the books and movies, T-shirts, posters, music boxes, hairpins, rings, even candy bars, to name a few off the bat. No one can argue that Twilight’s hold on the media was compelling for the first year or so, but by now, especially for us Twilight-haters, it’s getting real old and sickening.
But no need to worry; Twilight will probably lose its fame in no time, maybe even before the movie adaptation of Breaking Dawn comes out in 2011. Look at what happened to Harry Potter (I apologize to all Harry Potter fans for saying this); it was really picking up popularity in 2007 when Order of the Phoenix was released. But as soon as Twilight took over, Harry Potter was no longer a media icon, nor the hot topic on the Internet. Even though the last HP film is yet to come out, there is no mistaking that HP is dying, and eventually will die, a slow death in the media, and a painful one for the fans. And Twilight will sooner or later suffer the same fate. (Again I apologize for saying this) No one can argue that neither Twilight nor even HP will carry on such a strong legacy as did Star Wars for example, which has remained popular and famous for 33 years and counting, even though the final official film was released in 2005.
So if this is true, why is Twilight so, so popular today? Why is it such in high demand? Why are the Twilight soundtracks the first thing I see when I walk into the CD aisle, and the “Ultimate Fan Edition” of New Moon when I’m in the DVD/Blu-ray aisle?
Well, here’s why. And it’ll hurt to hear, especially if you’re a Twilight fan. If you’d rather not know, you can stop reading. Or if you think you have the guts, tighten up your sphincter and read on.
First of all, take the main theme Twilight centers on: vampires. Did you know that ancient cultures, like the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Greeks, believed that vampires were the descendants of demons and evil spirits? Even the Devil was associated with vampires. To them, vampires were about as romantic as the Green Goblin. And did you also know that vampires were considered revenants of evil beings, suicide victims, or witches? Back then, belief in such legends became so pervasive that sometimes people were executed because they were believed to be a vampire. Yes, executed. In the old days, people did not think vampires were all that romantic. Words like “evil”, “death”, “heretic”, and “Devil” were linked to vampires.
And how are vampires perceived today? Sparkly skin, blood red lips, dazzling bronze hair, lots of money, and glorious immortality. Now the media is in love with vampires. Ever heard of the novel First Bite? The online advertisement reads: “Fall in love with your own Edward…a vampire novel where you are the star”. And to think that half a millennia ago, anyone considered a vampire was burned at the stake. Now we have teens screaming, “Bite me, Edward! I want to be a vampire like you!”
So what’s my point? My point is that western culture’s principles are slipping. We accept dark-related things (like vampires) because they’re cool. They’re cool because the alternative is positive-related things, like Christianity, for example. And when most people think of Christianity, they think of having to go to church, tithing every week, reading their Bible, and not doing ‘questionable’ things. That’s what western culture has made Christianity out to be, and why? Because western culture is about independence, about no one controlling you. After all, our country was founded on a declaration of independence, right? And nowadays, Christianity is viewed as something that blocks independence and the pursuit of happiness; we can’t get what we want anymore, because it’s not about us.
But we want it to be all about ourselves, don’t we? We don’t want God, or any positive-related belief or objective, deciding what’s best for us; we want what we want now. And so we choose to give into things that are opposite of positive-related things to be sure they don’t touch us. Like maybe something that was associated with evil a long time ago? Like vampires?
In a word, western culture has chosen dark over light. Fictitious immortality over radiant morality. Now instead of later. Death over life. Evil over good. Don’t try to prove I’m wrong; look around you. Television commercials tell us we’re not “good enough”; fashion ads are becoming flirtier every day; and, of course, vampire-themed entertainment like Twilight, Vampires Diaries, and House of Night makes millions of dollars globally and counting.
I’m not picking on Stephanie Meyer or her books. I’m not jabbing at pop culture, or western culture itself. I’m not trying to hurt you Twilight fans, either. I just want you to be aware of what’s happening. This culture is like the Titanic; it began as a beautiful, “unsinkable” vessel that was founded on courage and nobility by 55 men risking their lives by signing the Declaration of Independence. We set sail on a voyage hoping to the change the world. But somewhere along the way we struck an iceberg. That iceberg was when we stopped viewing our country’s independence as a gift, a way to help poor and oppressed countries. Instead, we saw our liberty as a privilege, as an excuse to be lazy and self-centered, focusing only on ourselves. That’s the danger of an independent and prosperous nation like the United States; the people can so easily use that freedom for their own good instead of others’, which is exactly what happened. But when we hit that iceberg, very few knew it had happened at all. The vast majority is inside partying or napping, unaware of the danger around them. Like the Titanic, we are sinking, and it won’t be long before the entire ship will be underwater. And anyone who doesn’t get into a lifeboat will go down with it.
But perhaps, this time, there’s a way the ship can be saved. It would take everyone on board to understand the situation, and donate all the spare metal they have in order to patch up the holes in the ship. So far, however, it seems that no one is willing to make that sacrifice. And if that scenario doesn’t change in the next five to ten years, the United States will suffer the same fate as the Titanic did on April 15, 1912.