Sunday, November 16, 2008

The real fans? or Twilight Poseurs

Everyone is talking about Twilight. Ah, duh. I keep awkwardly talking about it with other librarians and teenagers. At my first Teen Council meeting it was suggested that I do something "Twilight" themed. And, probably the next Twilight thing that gets released I will. It seems likely that more movies will come out. Based on this interview. Everyone has been talking about Twilight for years now and it doesn't seem like anyone is going to be stopping soon. I think I have plenty of time for a Twilight prom or party.
The phenomena first hit me while I was in Library School. In my kids' lit class no less than 6 students booktalked it as a part of our "booktalk two-three books to a selected audience" assignment. 6! Out of a class of maybe 15-20 people. I had to check these books out. So I put myself on the waiting list at my public library. And, I got swept up, because Jane Eyre was my favorite book at 13. Despite the fact that I think Bella needs to shut up about how not great she is already. Jane was the same way, and I grew up thinking that is what would attract the attention of broodingly handsome (and potentially insane)rich men. Guess what, self-esteem that low isn't attractive! It is cause for theraputic intervention to get to the root of self-loathing! Bella has issues! Jeez, you'd think at least Dr. Cullen would get that but he doesn't say a word. Maybe vampires just don't even notice whiny humans prattling on about how not good enough they are. Of, course I know (and it seems that most teens see through this as well) the device's purpose. It is to convince us all, no matter how not pretty and not special we feeel, that one day our brooding hot-as-icy hell vampire prince Rochester boyfriend will find us. Even those of us who are nearly 30 (or 40, or whatever) and already have perfectly stunning but normal relationships, get swept into this fantasy.
So I have to wonder about the director of the movie in an interview she did with MTV that went like this:

MTV: Did you enjoy taping "MTV Spoilers" the other night and doing the Q&A with all those die-hard Twilighters?

Catherine Hardwicke: Yeah, let's have the real fans! Those people were not faking it. They were into it.

I'm sorry, what? What do you mean "real fans" and "not faking it?" Is there a legion of teenaged "Twilight Poseurs" out there, pretending to love trashy vampire romance because their friends do? Because, I find that hard to believe. Not impossible, peer pressure is a powerful thing, but I find it hard to imagine it being powerful enough to generate this level of craziness. I'd like for other people to weigh in on this topic. Are thousands of people just pretending to love The Twilight Saga when secretly they think it is drek? Or is the idea behind the story and the tropes behind the characters so strong that all these fans are "real fans?" How are we even defining real fans? the ones who will buy into any promotion and marketing and merchandize that remotely stinks of vampire? The ones who love every second of the books and re-read them over and over again, but never buy another thing, never post to a forum, never engage in internet warfare over the Jacob/Edward debate? The ones who write involved fanfic but got the books from the library? I love fandom as particpatory culture, and I'm glad some fans got to meet the director and ask questions. But real fans versus fake fans seems alienating to me for any sort of fandom. And as a fan (and occasionally FAN) of many things, I resent the implications.

And thus ends my awkwardly long post about the nature of the fandom beast and the Twilight juggernaut.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you said all that so I didn't have to ;-) I've been a Twilight fan from the very beginning, but it seems the bigger and bigger it gets--the more obnoxious the whole series becomes.

    Does this make me a real fan? Or am I a poseur just because I didn't like Breaking Dawn? And why are we as librarians left pondering these questions?