Thursday, December 03, 2009
Whatever tickle's your fancy
I'm going to write about something that happened at my sister's school today and how it shows my utter disdain for some of today's pop culture and the sheer gullibility of children these days.
My sister is in 7th grade, but her school runs from 1-12. She has a class or two with some 6th graders, music classes mostly. Today one of the girls had cuts on her arms and one of my sister's friends asked what had happened and the girl replied that she had cut herself. Alarmed, they asked her why she had done that.
After talking about it for a while it came out that a boy, who is a known troublemaker, told several 6th grade girls that he was a half-vampire. Of course these girls, being tweens and teens, were obsessed with the Twilight series, the popular vampire novels by Stephenie Meyer, and became very agitated and excited by what he said. These girls then cut their arms with rocks in an attempt to get him to change them into Vampires.
Feel free to read that sentence again.
Yes, I just said that a group of 11, 12 and 13 year old girls were so obsessed and in love with the idea of vampires that they inflicted self harm because of it.
This is unhealthy, I've always disliked the books because of the sheer awful writing, but this takes my dislike into pure hatred of the books.
Of course, maybe it isn't Meyer's fault. Maybe we should blame the school system for allowing children to have such easily swayed minds and an inability to think rationally. These girls believed vampires existed and something is wrong with the way schools are teaching if this is something that people can believe is real. Someone, somewhere, failed to instill an ability to be skeptical in these children's minds.
Now I don't advocate censoring books, that goes too far and who is to say where the line should be drawn. Who has the right to deem something "appropriate" or not? That would not work and should never be the case, I believe in freedom of speech and the ability to publish what you want to publish is part of that. However, I do advocate schools, teachers and parents being aware of what is popular with their students and what their children are reading and going to extra mile to read what they read or at least know what it's about and then taking the time to explain to them what is and is not real in those books and that they should not emulate everything these characters do.
These girls obviously idolize the characters and fantasy of these books. I hate to think what sort of relationships they will end up in, in the future, if they decide to emulate the actions of the main character, Bella. The books are horrible misogynistic, surprising as they were written by a woman, and more or less say that you should stay with a man even if he hurts and abuses you. You should love him anyway and never leave, not even for your own good.
The books are trite, the characters 2-dimensional at best, the writing poor and the plot over-used. It may hurt to read them, but for the sake of the kids around you at least try. Even if you can't finish them, read a synopsis and remind kids that Vampires are not real, women should not be chattle and harming themselves is not a smart thing to do. Meyer needs a wake up call if she thinks the books she wrote are good for kids and I don't know when that wake up call will come. I hope it is not in the form of a tragedy.
Ms. Meyer, you are not a credit to the writers of the 21st century. You make me ashamed to call myself a reader or writer of Fantasy, a fan of Vampire novels of any type, a writer of young adult fiction or a member any other group you may happen to associate with.