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8 Opinion 11/6/09

Is Twilight Worth All the Hype?

On Oct. 5, 2005 the first novel of a four-part saga was released upon the unsuspecting public. Now a hit series with over 42 million copies sold by February 2009, the Twilight saga, made up of Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, has hugely impacted pop culture. In the novels, author Stephanie Meyer writes from the point of view of high school senior Bella Swan as she falls head over heels for an eternally 17-year-old vampire, Edward Cullen. While fans revere the series and the excitement surrounding them, others are disgusted and perturbed by the obsession surrounding Twilight.

CON:

PRO:

by Katrina Kovalik

Photo: D. Louie

For those of us who read the first Twilight book back in 2005 before the emergence of all of the “Twilighters,” or the even more insane “Twihards,” we were able to judge the novel for what it is: a very entertaining, occasionally emotional, and often addictive young adult fantasy. The small fan base eventually grew to encompass large numbers of teenagers who could claim a common interest through which they could all relate. Unfortunately, with fans come haters, which in the Twilight world are deemed “Twihaters.” These “Twi-haters” have made it their mission to denounce the novels and the fans with adjectives such as “obsessive,” “over-rated,” “annoying,” “erroneous,” (Did I mention the book is a “fantasy?”) and other words that aren’t suitable for print. Although it is often difficult for most of the non-targeted audience to understand (*cough, cough, males, cough*), the Twilight saga is successful not for being a mastery of literature but for captivating young emotions. In addition, due to the casual writing style as well as its compelling plot, Twilight has gotten many previously reluctant teens to start reading books outside of those assigned for school. Of course, a huge draw to the Twilight saga can be identified in two words: Edward Cullen. Edward is the main love interest of the series and also happens to be a very attractive and sensitive vampire. (Take some notes boys, sensitivity is a good thing.) We all know that guys have their own little crushes on celebrities such as Jessica Alba or Megan Fox. For those of you “men” out there who criticize us for falling in love with a fictional character, let me put it this way: we have just as much of a chance with Edward as you have with the two women mentioned above. Last November, Summit released their production of Twilight onto the big screen, attracting viewers who hadn’t even read the book. However, many people who skip out on the book and go straight to the movie also skip out on the essence of Twilight, and then think they have the authority to criticize the novel. The merits of a book should not be concluded from its cinematic interpretation. Yes, the movie was incredibly successful. However, this wasn’t due to it being a spectacular film, but to the fan base of the novels. In regards to predictions that Twilight will fade into oblivion, yes, it is true that the Twilight frenzy will probably lessen, but the books will continue to attract readers to their pages. Everyone has the right to indulge in a bit of fantasy once in a while.

Photo: D. Louie

by Jeremy Unger

One of the most annoying things in the world can be listening to people rave about the Twilight series and the whole obsession with vampires. Here is the summary from the book jacket for all of you who have never heard of the series: “About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him - and I didn’t know how potent that part might be-that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” The Twilight books are a poorly written series with an unoriginal plot, that are not deserving of the attention they receive in any way. But I’m not one to blindly say something is terrible, so I decided to subject myself to viewing the movie version of Twilight. I will never get those two hours of my life back. The movie was stale and boring with little plot; it felt like a reptetitive explanation of how much the main characters, Edward and Bella, love each other. But it’s not the actors’ fault; it’s the novels from which the script is based. I can’t even imagine having to read over 500 pages of Twilight. I’m not the only critic to lament the poor writing of the Twilight novels. Roger Ebert in his review of Twilight for the Chicago Sun-Times said, “If there were no vampires in Twilight it would be a thin-blooded teenage romance, about two good-looking kids who want each other.” Some of the most prestigious writing institutions in the country don’t approve of the Twilight books either. Prairie Lights Bookstore, the independent book retailer for The Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa, doesn’t carry the Twilight books. The Writers Workshop is the most selective Master of Fine Arts program in the nation for writers, accepting only two percent of its applicants. What this book series is really doing is cheapening the expectations of young adults looking for “literature.” Twilight is one of the most requested books at the Miramonte Library, as students forgo famous novels for this quick, unintelligent enjoyment. No more are people asking for interesting and meaningful fantasy novels like the Lord of the Rings or the Chronicles of Narnia, but instead they will be satisfied with a simple love story that a middle school student could come up with. What’s next? A girl falling in love with Bigfoot? All you need for a successful tween book are a couple Twilight quotes like “If I could dream at all, it would be about you,” and you’re set. Beyond the mask of vampires, the Twilight books are just a series of poor teenage romance novels that belong in the bargain bin of a bookstore instead of on the big screen.

Obama’s Momentum Replaces His Mojo

by Caroline Cook

The term “mojo” originated in 1926 with regard to the African medicine man, Fulani. In addition, “mojo” has also been linked to the famous blues guitarist, Muddy Waters, and has been associated with everything from song lyrics by The Doors to a popular energy drink. During President Barack Obama’s campaign, his supporters coined the phrase “Obama’s mojo” after witnessing the power of his speeches, and ability to grab the attention of voters across the nation. Despite recent doubts, Obama’s still got it. On Oct. 9, 2009, just a few days after a CNN debate, Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This event sparked immediate reaction from all political quarters. Some believe that Obama hasn’t accomplished enough to deserve the award, while others believe that he couldn’t be more deserving. Currently, critics and supporters alike are asking, “What has Obama accomplished?” In reality, Obama’s mojo is really momentum; moving his plan forward. Although he is struggling to get his programs adopted by the Senate and the House of Representatives, he has succeeded in improving international diplomacy, and implementing his economic stimulus. According to the Nobel Peace Prize committee, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international

diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” During the first nine months of his presidency Obama visited 16 countries with four more visits slated for this month. Regarding international diplomacy, Obama is focused on building international partnerships and has taken steps to rebuild foreign support for the United States by communicating with the Muslim world. To advance understanding, foster peace, and reduce anti-American sentiment, Obama visited Egypt and delivered a passionate speech to address common interests and goals with Muslim peoples. In September, Obama chaired the meeting of world leaders at the G-20 Economic Summit in Pittsburgh. This summit discussed further actions to guarantee a sound and sustainable recovery from the global financial and economic crisis. In April 2009, Obama attended a NATO Summit in France, focusing on the elimination of nuclear weapons and United States’ commitment to climate change efforts. Next, on the domestic front, Obama’s economic stimulus plan bailed out banks by giving them billions of dollars in loans so that they would not flounder and lose investors. His economic stimulus saved thousands of teaching jobs across the country. In California, the stimulus spared 62,000 jobs in public schools and state universities. The novice African-American senator from Chicago galvanized his audience by activating large groups of Democratic voters with positive politics, including

his slogan, “change we can believe in.” He utilized the Internet as a motivational vehicle, and managed to knock the established Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, out of the running. Such intensity hadn’t been seen from a Democrat in over 20 years according to Bloomberg News. Obama also signed into law “Cash for Clunkers 2009” which encouraged consumers to trade in older, less fuel-efficient cars for new vehicles with better fuel economy by providing a credit of $3,500-$4,500. Although Obama is currently working on ensuring that all Americans have health care and insurance, he still faces much opposition from Republicans. Wholesale changes to the existing health care system frighten people who believe that they will not receive the same amount of coverage under the new plan that they receive under their current plan. Overall, Obama has made great progress in many areas even if he hasn’t yet ended all of the United States’ problems. “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” said the Nobel Peace Prize committee. “His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.” The prize recognizes that Barack Obama’s mojo is more akin to momentum and calls upon him to move his aspirations forward for the global good.


p. 8 Opinion