Twilight Confessionals

Because all other vampire angles are exhausted on this, the eve of the second Twilight movie‘s release, today’s hot topic is old and/or smart people who like Twilight in spite of themselves.

The Washington Post writes that “good, smart, literary women” have succumbed with shame-faced lust to the wiles of Stephenie Meyer:

“Twilight” came for the tweens, then for the moms of tweens, then for the co-workers who started wearing those ridiculous Team Jacob shirts, and the resisters said nothing, because they thought “Twilight” could not come for them. They were too literary. They didn’t do vampires. They were feminists. . . .

“Prior to ‘Twilight,’ my favorite books were by Anthony Burgess” and Ayn Rand, says Jenny West, 32, who had never heard of the series until she saw ads for the movie last year. “I bought ‘Twilight’ [the book] with the full intention of ripping it apart.” Then she read it. In one night. Bought “New Moon” the next day. “I was kind of horrified with myself, and I had to keep going.” When she finished the last book, she reopened the first one and started again.

Bracketing the question of Ayn Rand’s literary merit, the story casts West as the avatar of a larger phenomenon–dignified non-14-year-olds reading young-adult novels, a demographic last remarked upon in the context of Pottermania.

The Times solicits reader testimonials–“Readers confess: I Was an Adult Twihard”–and readers deliver:

“I am ‘that woman.’ It was a dreary Saturday, and having exhausted anything interested on our movie channels, I went to InDemand, and thought, well, maybe I should see this movie, Twilight, and see what all the fuss is about. I can make fun of it, and laugh. I am 33 years old. I like comedy and indie films.”

But this idea of Twilight-shame is disingenuous, I think. People–especially self-consciously clever literary people–love an excuse to see themselves as many-layered and unpredictable. An apparently incongruous love of Twilight is perfect for this.

Last winter a friend and I debated the relative merits of Twilight and 2666 as Christmas break reading. The Bolano, we decided, was too heavy–physically, too heavy. But Twilight! It would be “pop-culture edification,” my friend declared.

We were pleased with ourselves for having this conversation, and anticipated being still more pleased upon actually reading the book.

But no: mine is the true shame. I am a “good, smart, literary” girl who tried to like Twilight–tried!–and failed.

Twilight Confessionals