Twilight

(May as well start with a big, controversial cultural touchpoint, right?)

I have much more to say on the subject of Twilight, but I will start here.

Top 10 Beneficent Lessons Anyone Can Learn from the Twilight Saga

  1. Reason champions nature. One need not act on one’s base desires, be they for blood or food or sex. We are not controlled by our animal impulses, but have agency for our own actions.
  2. Reason champions love. It is possible to be in love with someone and yet choose not to pursue a relationship with that person. (This is particularly valuable advice when it comes to guys like Jacob, who are, IMHO, creepy and abusive. Bella recognizes that just because she is in love with him does not mean that she should be with him.)
  3. It is possible to love more than one person concurrently, and to make the decision to embrace only one of those loves. (See also #2.)
  4. Storge and Phileo are as important as Agape and Eros, and should not be confused. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean it has to be eros. Family, perhaps especially the family of choice that we create for ourselves, gives us the strength and desire to better ourselves.
  5. Marriage is not the monster. Bella is initially more frightened of marrying Edward than she is of becoming a vampire.
  6. Suffering can be redemptive. Carlisle works as a doctor, surrounded by blood and weakened prey, causing him to suffer, in an effort to use his gifts for good. He does this in spite of his belief that, as a vampire, he is damned regardless.
  7. Immortality and magic powers don’t absolve you of the need to better yourself. Bella doesn’t see much point in going to college when she’s going to be a vampire; Edward knows better. (See also: vampires choosing to be moral)
  8. The is nothing inherently wrong with getting married young. If you intend to spend the rest of your life with someone, why wait? It’s your choice.
  9. Don’t let a poor self-image sabotage your relationships. Bella spends a lot of time refusing to believe that Edward could possibly love her as much as she loves him, sure that he’ll tired of her and leave her. This causes her to make some poor choices.
  10. Regardless of what you’ve done in the past, you can redeem yourself. Tattooed gang members have nothing on mass-murdering vampires. If Jasper can turn his life around, so can you.

And here’s another little morsel to consider:

The Cullen Clan are a celestial family consisting of three couples and Edward. The three couples are the family’s mother and father, Carlisle and Esme, the mystical duo of Alice and Jasper, and the gorgeous hunks Rosalie and Emmett. More obvious than the Trinitarian symbolism of these story ciphers or archetypes is the simple body-mind-spirit triptych obvious in the relationships: Carlisle and Esme are the otherworldly spirit figures of love and self-control to whom the family defers, Alice and Jasper have powers to sense the mental and emotional fabric of the world and the people in it, and Emmett and Rosalie are, well, center-fold portrayals of the body. How they work, live, and get along together is, as with all soul triptychs of this kind since The Brothers Karamazov, a snapshot of the soul’s faculties in its proper hierarchy and harmony, with which image the reader identifies, and, like Bella, wants to join.

from What Twilight Means

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