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Archive for November, 2009

So much has been written about the cultural implications of Twilight. Most of this has been written by intellectuals, culture aficionados, who often admit that they just don’t really get it.

Some of it is incredibly pointed and interesting, enlightening perhaps:

Indeed, Twilight’s wild popularity is a testament to the power of fairytale stories—to the “true-loveism” that Salon’s Laura Miller has called “the secular religion of America.” It’s more than a little depressing that after decades of novels for girls in which authors have used magic as a powerful tool to expand the scope of fairytale heroines’ adventures beyond mere romance fantasies, it is Bella Swann—a modified princess in a tower – that’s succeeded in thoroughly captivating a generation of teenagers.

I agree with a lot of what’s been said. I find it borderline off-putting that this incredibly popular example of pop culture subscribes to such traditional gender values. As Girls’ Camp Director at camp last summer, I found myself constantly trying to navigate around the belief that many tween girls seem to hold as true—that their value as a human being is tied to the value that men place upon them, loving oneself means being loved by another—in trying to teach girl power and independence and self-reliance.

However, this doesn’t explain the Twilight phenomenon as experienced by my friends toward the end of our senior year. It was like everyone had caught some weird disease.

I wouldn’t say my friends and I are culture snobs, but we sure do come close. As far as Colby College goes, we were pretty close to Bohemia. Our late night dance parties featured Sly and the Family Stone and the Velvet Underground. We were the kids in bands (or good friends with them). We were music and art  majors.

We loved Twilight.

How did it happen? I don’t know. But I soon found myself lying around on couches and watching showing after showing of the first Twilight movie. We anticipated our favorite lines—”You’re my own personal brand of heroin.” “Hang on, spider monkey.” “Sex, money, sex, money…cat.”— and then quoted them back to each other with delight.

Something about Twilight was forbidden…it innately wasn’t cool. So to revel in it, to publicly declare our love for such a guilty pleasure was perhaps perversely hip. You could be so confident in your taste that to enjoy Twilight for what it is maybe wasn’t the end of the world.

I know I have good taste in music. But my running playlist lately looks more like that of a 14-year old teenybopper and not a 22-year old NPR employee (in the broad sense of the word). I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve listened to “Party in the USA.”

I still can’t get enough.

I’m buying tickets for tomorrow.

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My New Year’s Resolution is to blog at least three times a week. Clearly, this is an area I could improve in tremendously.

My Thursday mornings usually consist of a long run (I don’t have work until 12), but I’m pretty sure I have the swine flu. Or maybe I’m a giant hypochondriac? I sometimes believe that half of being sick with things like the flu is totally in my head. So here, I am, laying in bed and blogging.

For perhaps the first time ever, the Texas state legislature and I might be on the same page when it comes to gay marriage. That is, if gay people can’t get married, I shouldn’t be able to either.

Apparently, this might be true for all Texans:

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state.

The amendment, approved by the Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that “marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

“This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

I’m a big fan of ironic errors by agenda-driven people that end up proving the exact opposite of their point. Especially when those people’s beliefs oppose my own.

But really, this illustrates how ridiculous it is to limit civil rights when our country has a proud and long history of extending them. The Texas legislature also shows the danger of rhetoric and thorny language. I was incredibly disappointed when Proposition 1 passed in Maine (where I’ve voted the past four years), striking down gay marriage. It was heartbreaking, but did anyone actually read the language of the proposition:

Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?

Counterintuitive. Confusing. Unfair?

I’m not saying Prop 1 passed because of language. The efforts of activist groups in Maine seemed largely successful in getting people to understand the basics of the law. But shouldn’t marriage law—something that affects most of us—be a little easier to understand?

On a personal level, I’ve struggled with the concept of marriage, especially after taking a class on the anthropology of gender and sexuality in college. Is it a declaration of love? A patriarchical and patronizing entrapment? An effective and economical way of sharing assets and raising children? Increasingly obsolete?

I’m not sure myself. I am sure that right now–as an idealistic, borderline self-righteous (and single) 22 year old–I don’t believe in enjoying the legal and economic benefits of marriage if others cannot. Unfortunately, after last election day, it seems that ideal might be further into the future than the 10 years or so that would make things convenient for me.

But I do know, if I do change my mind, I’m not moving to Texas.

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