In this day and age, it simply won't do to hide who we are. In the past, perhaps, we could justify cowering in the shadows of Society's closet. "For the good of Civilization" we might say. But no longer. We have to stand tall. We have to fight the closed--indeed, the bigoted minds--that marginalize and belittle us. Merely admitting it will not suffice. We must proclaim it.
I'm coming out.
As a grown, educated, married, heterosexual man, who loves sports and drives a truck, I stand and say to the world: YES, I LOVE THE TWILIGHT SERIES.
I swam through a turbulent sea of dismissive critics and superior literati looking down their noses to see the movies. I fought past my own pre-judgements and my own well laid plan to mock, deride, and despise this teenage fantasy machine. And I ended up in love. Certainly not with the obsessive mobs of fans. Certainly not with the nuclear powered product mongering corporate interests. Certainly not with the books, which are so far down my reading list--I'm scheduled to read them, honestly, but--I just can't get to them until two years after I'm dead.
No, I'm taken with the concepts, the ideas, the mythos that beats at the heart of the Saga.
Much as you should accept, even embrace, what may very well have been born in me--thereby rendering any justification on my part superfluous--I think perhaps a brief treatise on why these movies are beautiful, and OK to love, will help you feel more at ease with me living the Twilight life.
1) Finally, I get why vampires are interesting. All my life, I've thought: So they suck blood, so they haunt the night, and have supernatural powers. Who cares? And, since Anne Rice made them dead sexy, I've been sort of turned off by their super hot sexlessness. I guess you could say I couldn't attribute any humanity to them. Somehow, until Twilight I missed the point: These are people, and they are bored. How horrible it must be to live forever on this earth. To pass through era after era of human history and never change. And see how nothing ever changes. After a few hundred years it must be a desperate and daily challenge to find something interesting on this planet. Through Edward Cullen, and through the Vulteri, this dilemma is explored with subtlety that borders on delicate. It gives one pause, as one translates the idea to the concept of living forever ANYWHERE. If you believe in God, or gods, you start to wonder how an eternal being makes life interesting once omnipotence and omniscience are achieved. You start to see why people cooked up this reincarnation idea. If all the series did was make vampires interesting to me, really for the first time, it may be enough. And there's more on that front . . .
2) While I hate updates to the vampire myth (the part about their skin sparkling in the sun was a groaner, almost a deal breaker), I kind of love the idea that there are vampires trying to do good in the world. Trying, against all odds, to live in peace and help people. I'm sure some lesser known work has more effectively explored the idea of Vampires actually using their powers to non-evil ends, but the idea of the Cullen family remains compelling to me. Why wouldn't a group of vampires evolve who refuse to drink human blood? Come to think of it, why couldn't a group of vampires evolve, after millions of years, for whom the sun is not lethal? (Maybe I don't hate this sparkling thing as much as I thought. Oh well. I still hated the baseball scene.) But you don't have to appreciate the vampires, because . . .
3) You can buy into the Twilight portrayal of what it means to have a soul mate. Believe me, I wish I could simply debunk the whole idea. And I think for a vast majority of the population, the idea IS the purest bunk. But for an unfortunate few, such a thing exists. And it isn't pretty. Every major work of art that attempts to legitimately explore the idea of "star crossed lovers," from Romeo & Juliette to Wuthering Heights, ends up revealing how destructive and dangerous the very idea is. And for all that, the reality of it is even worse. Living that intensely for a single other being is more often than not contrary to the needs and stipulations of Civilization at large. It makes you a freak. And it is beyond the will. You cannot choose your way out of it. It is misery of separation or the world's daily assault against the perfection it cannot permit to exist. Imagine having that load hoisted upon your shoulders as a teenager. I love that Twilight makes its lovers suffer through at least two books' worth of pain, inconvenience, destruction, chaos, separation, despair, societal alienation, family machinations, etc. I can't conceive of anything so miserably dangerous as finding out, at any age, but especially at a young age, that there is another person upon whom your happiness, perhaps your very existence, depends. Because of this, I don't mind the sullen behavior, nor the morose portrayals of the main characters. It thrills me in the same way (though certainly not to the same degree) as the above mentioned works of literary genius. And thankfully, Twilight doesn't stop there. The author wasn't afraid to show that there is a glorious side to that kind of love. If the people involved are willing to wager all and accept no substitutes.
I could go on. But the above points suffice. Hopefully. Look, I'm just asking you to give the movie, and the people who can't help but love it, a chance. Don't look down your nose at it just because bazillions of ditzy teenage girls are screaming themselves hoarse over it. Don't give up on it just because the whole thing seems, on the surface, to revolve around a buffed up teenage werewolf and a skinny, mopey vampire taking their shirts off.
Open your mind and heart to the possibility that people like me exist. And we just might be right.