The Late Afternoon: Or, My Time Before Twilight

Okay, I started to read the Julie/Julia Project and saw the movie, but other than that I have no experience with “stunt blogs” other than wanting to do one.  My thing is going to be reading Twilight.  Why?  Because I’ve avoided the actual books (and films) so far.  However, I have read summaries of it, criticism of it, I have discussed its “abstinence porn” quality and how it is “like crack.” I have friends who genuinely like it.  I have friends who have become addicted to it and they don’t know why.  I have friends whose philosophy rejects the “creepy” and “sexist” underpinnings of the saga but still admit its addictive property.  I am a little skeptical of Twilight, but I want to feel like I can really back my shit up.  And I want to be honest about my experience: maybe I will secretly swoon for Edward Cullen.  So, hello stunt blog.  Hello world fame?  Uh…yeah, no.

Not to mention I come from Colorado, which borders Utah, which means that I—more than many people across the country—have come into contact with a fair amount of Mormons: ex-Mormons, Jack Mormons, even a couple pretty devout Mormons.  Additionally, I have a lot of friends from Utah and I’ve read Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer and I’ve seen the South Park episode (but not Big Love), so frankly I know quite a bit about and talk about Mormons a lot.  Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon.  I have read Stoney321’s LiveJournal rundown of Twilight’s hidden Mormon messages and am interested to judge for myself.  For the record, I have never had a problem with individual Mormons.  As for the church, it depends, but I take issues with most churches anyway.

My relationship with vampires has always bordered on dislike.  I have never read Dracula; I hear it’s terrible.  I have read the Eyewitness Classics version as a kid (and was more interested in factoids about Roma culture and vampire folklore), and I have seen the terrible movie with Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder.  I read a little Anne Rice in middle school.  I remember a friend of mine explaining how Interview with a Vampire was essentially Anne Rice’s child, and I appreciated that while I was reading it but frankly don’t remember any of the book.  The Vampire Lestat officially made the investment in the box set of the first four Vampire Chronicle books a waste of my parents’ money.  Fifty pages in I was completely bored, and watching the Queen of the Damned was actually anti-motivation to continue with the franchise.  I’ve had no desire to read Laurel K. Hamilton ever.

I watched a little bit of Buffy throughout my teen years, and saw the first three seasons on Hulu this summer.  I didn’t love Buffy.  I do love Firefly, but Buffy actually turned my neutrality on vampires into kind of a dislike, and I was never sure why (though I do find the giant vampire prosthetic foreheads particularly cheesy).  I’m not sure what compelled me to watch all that Buffy, because I had a hard time forging a real emotional connection with it, the way I did with the crew of Serenity.  All the characters felt kind of dead to me.  Like the Gilmore Girls.

But then there was True Blood.

I don’t know what it was, but over Halloween weekend this past fall I started watching True Blood on Thursday night and by Sunday afternoon I was finished with the whole series.  I even re-watched most of it later.  It wasn’t necessarily the vampire bits, but I liked the political spin on vampires (which I have been told is what Laurel K. Hamilton does as well, so perhaps I judge without reason) and I really bought into the Southern Gothic hoodoo-y thing.  It’s like catnip to me. It really is.  Also the word “Sookeh.”  I got completely wrapped up in the series.  I cried at the death of a character, I got genuinely upset at varying events that occurred, I was frustrated when mysteries stayed unsolved.  And despite all this, I knew it was cheesy, I knew the acting could be subpar, I knew that a lot of the dialogue was just plain silly.

But True Blood got me thinking about Twilight, the worldwide phenomenon I had been trying to ignore for—what, like two years?  I either get really wrapped up in something that defies my cultural snob tendencies (True Blood, The Tudors, Desperate Housewives), or I’ll see it through just to decide it really is dumb (Buffy).  I want to see what will happen now that I’ve finally managed to borrow the books in “The Saga” after making endless fun of the “Team Edward” T-shirt.

So that’s my history of vampires.  I don’t think they’re that sexy.  In fact, I get a weird necrophilia vibe from it—even just slightly—and I wonder about how sanitary blood exchange can be when one party is dead and thrives off the blood of random strangers.  I guess we’ll find out.

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