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August 9, 2010

The problem with vampires


Parenting for Dummies: Rule #22: Do not let your daughter date a vampire, ever.

This is one of those practical parenting rules that you just can’t go wrong by following. In the past, if you found your daughter was interested in a vampire, you could have used a stake through the heart, or perhaps some garlic and a crucifix — the traditional ways to rid oneself of a pesky vampire. However, in “modern times,” vampires are different and do not play by the same rules.

— By Milicent Fairweather for Envoy Magazine

There seems to be no way to get rid of them; in fact, there seem to be more of them all the time appearing in books, movies, TV shows, and so on. Since we cannot get rid of them and they keep coming, we have to bar the door and not let them in to begin with. It’s common sense, and other than heavenly protection, it is the only defense you have.

Let’s take a typical situation these days and pretend it applies to your daughter. What if you knew that your daughter was dating a young man who wanted to kill her? He has killed others and now has to struggle with his desires night and day to prevent himself from attacking and killing her? And your daughter, knowing about his murderous tendencies, is willing to do anything for him, including giving up her eternal soul. . . . (continue reading in PDF).

8 comments:

  1. It gives me pause that she says "These stories have romance and are the moral sort where noble characters are rewarded, and dreadful, immoral people end badly."
    Why is a story moral only if noble characters are rewarded?
    It seems like that's WAY out of touch with how life works.
    I think it's very important to learn that being a good person won't always get you rewards in this life. In fact, if Our Lord is to be believed, it often results in suffering for us. Of course there is an eternal reward and an eternal loss, but let's face facts here. We should not be subjecting literature to the Hays Code, wherein criminals must always be punished. Villains DON'T always get caught and punished in this life. Many of them die in their luxurious bed, their only regret that they can't read the praise-filled obituaries the next day.
    I'm disappointed in the article because I do think that the Twilight series is morally dangerous. So I hate to see the argument get off track.
    And if the author thinks that authors don't get vivid images that inspire stories in flashes of inspiration or ideas from dreams, well, just because SHE doesn't create that way doesn't mean it's necessarily from Satan. Seriously! C. S. Lewis famously got the inspiration for Narnia that way. I've gotten the inspiration for stories from dreams myself.
    Personally, I think rather than forbid your teen daughter from reading Twilight if she expresses an interest in it... read it with her and talk about it with her. Train her in the way she should go, don't just tell her she shouldn't think about mortal sin and corral her off. When she becomes an adult, she'll need critical thinking skills to discern moral danger. I think Twilight would be a great opportunity to help her with that. Sure, it's more difficult and time consuming for you as the parent than to just say "No, you are forbidden to read it" but I think it's worth it.

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  2. Shakespeare's Iago, Prospero, one was evil, one used magic. . .Should we not read Othello or the Tempest? Mary Shelley's Frankenstein created a sympathetic character. Shall we shelve Shelley? Christopher Marlowe was a practicing sodomite. . .should we abandon Dr. Faustus? Hemingway committed suicide and embraced nihilism. Shall we throw the Old man into the Sea? If we only read literature based upon moral characters written by devout Christians the Western Canon would be very boring indeed. The Greeks weren't Christians and they believed in creatures that could be more beautiful than the most debonaire vampire and the minotaur could take down a Indian-Werewolf. Last time I checked some very Christian messages could be gleaned from the Greek canon and some not so Christian messages could be gleaned from modern clap-trap spewed out of the mouths of so-called post Vatican II theologians. . .Stephanie Meyer wrote a piece of fiction. If some believe it to be true. . .that's their mental health issue. . .Where are all these critics of twilight when a Star Trek convention rolls into town.

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  3. Comment on the comments (especially Regina"s):
    "There are none so blind as those who will not see. None so deaf as those who will not hear"

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  4. As an horror fan, both in literature as in movies, the 'Twilight Vampires' are not 'vampires'. They like more Dracula's androgynous twice-removed cousins....

    Dracula in the original novel (as many other 'vampires in XIX century romantic literature) was a symbol of a man corrupted by his own pride and hatred... a symbol of how far a man can sink when he gives in to evil.

    However since the 90's became more 'sex symbols' than 'evil creatures' (let's think of Buffy and Angel... however there vampires were still evil... at least in the first season)



    ===
    "Where are all these critics of twilight when a Star Trek convention rolls into town. "

    I think that already many people make fun of "Trekkies" and "Trekkers"... they have become the poster child of 'geekness' and 'nerdom'.

    Also I think Star Trek is also not very moral. It's more about 'Political Correctness' than doing the right thing... I never like ST much.


    ===

    "If we only read literature based upon moral characters written by devout Christians the Western Canon would be very boring indeed."

    Too bad that comparing Twilight to Frankestein or Othello is like comparing moldy bread with Lobster Thermidor.

    "If we only read literature based upon moral characters written by devout Christians the Western Canon would be very boring indeed."

    That's not the point at all.

    Also you call upon the Greek... in Greek stories and myths there is a lot of strong moral value and clarity.

    The minotaur for example was an abomination that resulted from Minos trespasses.

    Even heroes did not escape the consequences of their acts:
    Theseus and Pirithous were condemned to sit on the chairs of oblivion forever for offending Hades in asking Persephone to be Pirithous' wife (Persephone was already Hades wife and a goddess).

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  5. I had heard that the vampire movie was listed on USCCB website as "not morally offensive".... SORRY, not at my house! One of my daughters came home with a copy of one of the books. I didn't recognize it, so I quickly skimmed over it and came to the conclusion that this was a book which would encourage one to "think" with their emotions rather than their heads and was laced with plenty of suggestive and outright sinful and disrespectful behaviors.
    I threw my daughter's copy away and made it clear that I won't tollerate trash in my house. There are WAY too many GOOD books available to waste the time God gives us reading crap like that.
    ~Unimpressed mom

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  6. Great article, but I take issue with the author's comment that:

    "if you know writers, or have read about writers, you know it is a hard profession. Characters and books do not just appear."

    Writing is indeed a difficult task, but ideas which are based on an author's interests or experiences can easily come together "fully formed". Much of the book reads like a romance novel. The morality, as the author states, is in line with Meyers' faith.

    My point is that we should not ascribe "supernatural creepiness" to the mystery of how the creative imagination works. Paul McCartney claimed that the entire song "let it be" came to him in a dream, but no one considers this creepy. Our reality shapes our imaginations in ways that we don't necessarily perceive until they are "fully formed".

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  7. islandpurls: What does that have to do with my comment? (You say it's a comment on the comments, and there were only two, mine and Regina's, when you made your comment, so obviously you are also responding to me.)

    Did you not see the line "I do think that the Twilight series is morally dangerous."? I'm bolding it in case you missed it the first time.

    I'm not sure what you think I'm refusing to see. It isn't very charitable to write me off as close-minded, unteachable and ignorant without even making an attempt to respond even once to my points.

    To reiterate:
    1. I disagree with the author that what makes Pride and Prejudice moral and Twilight immoral is that good characters have good ends and bad characters have bad ends. (As an aside, the bad characters in P&P didn't get what they deserved... Wickham got 10,000 pounds, a young and beautiful wife, and a new job in a new regiment where one imagines he will continue his con man activities.)
    2. I do agree that Twilight is morally dangerous, and for many of the points she makes--Edward is a murderer, she does deceive her parents so that he could get away with her murder, she revolves her whole world around him, etc etc. The big problem is that it makes Eros a god, as C. S. Lewis would say.

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  8. I hate all the merchandising that has come with these books. I see t-shirts that declare "Only a vampire can love you forever." I want to argue with them every time. Only God can love you forever, and the Communion of Saints. I taught 7th grade for 9 years, and the dangers found ine YA literature now are rampant. I wouldn't even put HP at the top of the list. Many, many series and books show fornication, deceiving parents, and hold up selfishness, cowardice and betrayl as vituous, or at least okay if you have a really good reason. Revenge is the common and lauded motive, with justice nowhere to be found.

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