Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm A Vampire! That's Nice Dear

I'm still working my way through the four vampire books of Stephenie Meyer. Having just finished New Moon, I'm wondering if I'll make it. In this second volume, our heroine Bella continues to trip, fall and smash her way in pursuit of wild vampire love with her paramour, Edward. I wish I had kept count of the ripped flesh releasing blood lusts, concussions, and comas. And yet this clumsy high school girl from a small town in the Pacific Northwest is supposed to be an intellectual lure to the Volturi, the royalty of vampires: alive for over 3,000 years, living in the realm of the Vatican (the poor Vatican gets blamed for a lot lately.) Bella hits their radar and they think she'd be suitable to join them. And oh yes, her friend, the Indian Jacob, now running with a pack of teenage werewolves.

What we have are a group of people disaffected with their self image. Bella wants to be a vampire, the Volturi want Bella to be some kind of vampire princess, Jacob wants to be a werewolf, Bella doesn't want to get old. It's like some perversion on America's Top Model. Make me a star! Forever! Chastity Bono is in the news this week. She's undergoing sex change therapies to turn herself into a man. All news sources are calling her "him" now, and she wants to change her name to "Chaz." Somewhere in Cher's secret soul, she has to be asking herself, "Is this because I named my daughter after one of my movies?"

Then there is the return to Bella's life of Edward and how at the end of the book, Edward's little family is voting whether or not to honor Bella's wish to make her a vampire so she won't grow older than her love, and she will be bound in eternity with him and his family. I started thinking about this as I put the volume down the other morning. "Yes," Bella is in the full flush of teen love and thinks all of the passion she feels will remain forever. But I'm sure after a few hundred years, things have got to taper off a bit.

I'm not sure she's thought it out, in her posthaste to become living dead. I could just envision conversations like, "You never take me anywhere. We never go anywhere during the day," or Edward bringing home a vampire's version of fast food, some wino, and then who's turn is it to take out the leftovers to the trash. "I did it last time." Or "all you do is sleep," or having to hear his stories about how he died in the 1918 influenza epidemic at 18, for the 5,000th time. I mean "Flu schmoo. Get over it." One day, she'll be snapping out at Edward "I could have been something special....I could have been a Volturi!" Somehow, I don't think vampires escape the banality in eternity. Just remember. You once loved "My Little Pony" and lived in pink and purple. Life could be very long, Bella. Everyone wants a bite of you. Do you want to be a perpetual caregiver to bloodlusters? They'll suck the life right out of you.

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Blogger Cyndy said...

It must be pretty inconvenient to live the life of a vampire. And it must be pretty inconvenient to be a man trapped in a woman's body. I saw some of the childhood pictures yesterday and she/he looks pretty unhappy in most of them. Maybe it didn't feel right to have to wear all of those girly clothes even back then. And then there's that name...who the hell names their kid Chastity?

1:06 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Cyndy: I think being a vampire must be boring. I need blood? Oh really? Can you pick up some ice cream on your way back? As for Chastity...I wasn't joking. Cher really did name the kid after the movie. And who names their kid Chastity? Cher...and a few Pilgrims. ;)

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, Cube. This essay, coupled with your previous posting makes me think of Bette again. "When you kissed me, I used to wipe my mouth... WIPE MY MOUTH!"

-- K

1:45 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Kathy: Leslie Howard! Don't make me go there. There is a clip on You Tube "Of Human Bondage," with Bette at her flaming best.

1:55 PM  
Blogger carrie m said...

Best. Twilight. Post. Ever.

I'm still snorting with laughter in my office.

Just to warn you - Eclipse is a lotttttt of talking. And I happened to like Breaking Dawn, despite its many problems (of course, that didn't stop me with the first four books). There's a lot more action.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

The vampires of today must be looking around and saying "nobody wears tuxedos with capes anymore?".

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Twinkie said...

This is the most honest Twilight post EVERRRRR. I think you're dead on about love not lasting forever, BTW... But then maybe vampires are who invented the whole "swinger" thing. LOL

4:59 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Carrie: I'm reading Eclipse now..almost done, and they never shut UP! I'm also reading the most fascinating book about what books meant to Oscar Wilde.

Phil: It's vampires in flip flops, I tell ya.

Twinkie: Of course they did, hanging upside down in some cave somewhere, drunk.

Up next: Suzanne Somers and cocktails!

6:59 PM  
Blogger Ryane said...

I don't get the vampire thing. Or, should I say, I don't get the vampire thing that isn't George Hamilton in Love at First Bite. Now, that was a vampire...;-)

Teenagers are all angsty schmucks - it's part of the process. In my time, I think that was understood and even accepted. Anthony Michael Hall made a career out of being the schmuck, and we all related. Why teenagers today are supposed to have these absurdly adult outlooks on life I don't get. Great post.

As for Chaz, does she really think she's going to get away from the angst she was suffering as Cher's daughter Chastity by having one sewn on? Yeah, good luck with that.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Ryane: I don't get the popularity of the vampire thing now either (True Blood) other than the economy may have left us all in some twilight of the damned. I was talking to a friend the other day about how we all had jobs as teenagers. Since I'm not around teens, I don't know if they are working or not, but I think things have shifted in terms of now, you would probably have to be eighteen to work, whereas I started at 15, and I know many others who did, as well. Maybe if they had to fold tee shirts at Hechts, they wouldn't have time to be up all night biting people.

As for Chastity Bono, I think my overriding concern in terms of what she is doing is "why," and how much of it does harken back to her strange childhood. I remember reading stories about her as a very small little girl where she would march into Gucci on Rodeo Drive and charge up thousands in purchases. A mother who spent hours undergoing electrolysis after working all day; a lot of self absorption on the part of the parents. I have confusion in that she's in a longstanding lesbian relationship, and now she's a he, and so.....the woman she is with, who partnered with her because she was a woman and that was their now getting a man. From what I've read, once these alterations occur, things don't necessarily go swimmingly in the existing relationship, but...time will tell. I just hope whatever therapist she has been seeing prior to this dramatic choice has (pun) probed all of the recesses of her psyche looking at her rationale. I guess when you think "It's happening to a Hollywood child," you have to wonder about the legitimacy of it all: a true desire to fulfill her life as a man---or a Meg Ryan facelift gone terribly wrong.

Cher sang a song, "You'd Better Sit Down Kids." I think Chastity just got her mother plopping onto the sofa for some shocking news. "Guess what Mommy, You're a She, and I'm a He, But We are Family."

2:37 PM  
Blogger Johnny DC said...

isnt preteenz having sex called illegal (and immoral) in most parts, or is the undead just a technicality to make it legal.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Well, like a typical teenz, Johnny, she's sneaking the guy into her bedroom every night while Daddy snoozes in front of the tv with the remote frozen in his hand. Funny thing is, I know a guy who died that way--in front of tv holding the remote. I wonder if Pete is now the undead? I think what bugs me more than anything about these books is what a nimcompoop Bella is. Tripping through the tree roots of life. How is she going to survive eternity? Go in for the bite and miss the vein?

6:05 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Lots of people go through sex change operations. If they aren't famous, or the children of famous people, no one knows or cares. I feel for Chaz, I do. Good luck to him - hope that becoming a man makes him feel whole.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

I must confess I haven't really been paying much attention to this whole teenage vampire thing, but apparently it had been floating around in my brain because I suddenly found myself renting Twilight at the video store the other day. I really didn't know what you were talking about before.

What a cool movie - I thoroughly enjoyed it. And it is rather visually breathtaking as well. There was a color theme in the movie that kept causing me to have a really weird emotional reaction or attraction or something - that murky blue-green that was in about 90% of the scenes was disturbingly attractive to me, especially when the mist was always that color. It was totally taunting me. Coincidentally, my new kitchen cabinets are going to be that color. I hope that will be okay because I really don't want to think about vampires while I'm cooking!

11:42 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Cyndy: I'm sure once it hits television, I'll see it. I like to remain culturally aware. I would respond to the colors as you described them. I like film that factors that in.

3:13 AM  
Blogger carrie m said...

what's the name of the book you're reading? That sounds pretty interesting. I'm reading the so far hilarious How I Became A Famous Novelist, which calls shenanigans on most popular novelists.

As for the vampire phenomenon - we humans are stupid creatures. We see/hear something we like and we stick to it. I'm definitely a creature of habit. I've read more books about vampires in the last year and a half than 95% of the reading population has over the course of their reading lives. Actually, that stat may not be accurate (shocking), as so many of us have jumped on the vampire bandwagon. However, I can recommend an excellent quasi-vampire book, Let the Right One In.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Carrie: I always have huge stacks next to the bed. Partially, I am reading the last Stephenie Meyer's "Breaking Dawn." Given that Bella is now a teen Mrs. and heading for vampire eternity, I wish Meyer's had named it "Bust a Vein," or something equally snarky. I'm also wait listed at the library for her latest volume that is some kind of encyclopedic overview. I am not that interested in vampires. I did want to know what all the hoopla was about. Last night I was watching this God awful DVD called "King of the Zombies," which couldn't even override the amusing notion that the evil doctor was German and the zombies were Nazis. Also in the mix, an island and the actor that played "Rochester" on the Jack Benny Show with every bad black cliche of the 1940's and stops to eat fried chicken and pie while battling zombies.

Also on the tabletop:

The Poetry Home Repair Manual--Ted Kooser

Endpoint--John Updike

The Poet's Handbook--Judson Jerome

Payback (Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth)--Margaret Atwood

Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True--Elizabeth Berg

Hayden Carruth: Collected Shorter Poems

Built of Books: How Reading Defined the Life of Oscar Wilde--Thomas Wright

As you can see, I'm on a real poetry kick this week. Next week it could be nuclear dump sites.

I'm also going back to finish reading all of British mystery writer, Ruth Rendell. I don't even like her books that much, and she sure is prolific. I'm stubborn in that I'll read them all; like them or not. I probably have about twenty more to go.

There is other stuff. The Oscar Wilde is the only one I would recommend so far.

10:20 PM  
Blogger jessica said...

Hi...Nice pictures.

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5:09 AM  

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