Wednesday 3 March 2010

Why Twilight is a Really Good Thing

Sure, you may not like Stephenie Meyer’s The Twilight Saga. Maybe you’re not into Dawson’s Creek Vampires, terrible dialogue, paper thin characters and glittery undead. Like it or not, though, it’s popular. And it will continue to haunt you for the rest of your life. Five years from now, you’ll be watching I Remember the 00’s on Channel Four (actually that show’s probably shooting right now), and they’ll talk about Twilight. Ten years from now, your daughter or gay son will be reading it at school. Fifteen years from now, they’ll be reading it because it’s on the school syllabus. Every Christmas the movies will be on TV. You won’t be able to escape. Twilight is here, it’s simultaneously overrated and underrated, get used to it.

Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to slip into a mindset of unbridled hatred. The Twilight Saga is, or is going to be, responsible for some pretty awesome stuff.


If The Daily Mail is to be believed (and I think it’s a pretty unbiased news-source, myself) then getting teenagers to do anything besides binge-drink, knife each other, listen to emo, play violent video games and get pregnant is an uphill struggle of Sisyphean proportions. So it’s impressive that teenagers are reading. Sure, it’s not the most brain-stimulating material in the world; but nor is Harry Potter, Goosebumps or The Chronicles of Narnia, and no-one minded when kids were reading that.

Worst case scenario, they read Twilight, and never read another book again. What were the alternatives? Watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians (which I still believe is a herb used in Indian food), or playing Infernal: Hell’s Vengeance. Yeah, I’d rather they were reading Salinger, Dickens, Orwell or Ennis myself, but frankly, I’ll take what I can get.

If it’s anything but a “worst case scenario”, which we would hope would be the majority of instances, then it’s even better. Maybe they actually like reading, and read some good stuff. Or, maybe they think it’s a crock of shit and could do better themselves.


Twilight didn’t start the “Paranormal Romance” genre. It just popularised it so that it was worth Waterstones and WH Smith dedicating a whole shelf to it. By the time that Twilight was published in 2005, the genre had been around since at least the late-eighties. A good sized chunk of the books on the “Paranormal Romance” shelf will pre-date Twilight.

Authors like Keri Arthur, Jayne Ann Krentz and Kelly Armstrong had been writing and publishing Paranormal Romance for anywhere up to fifteen years before Twilight first arrived. What Twilight has done, however, has brought them to the fore again – and some of them, Armstrong in particular, are actually pretty good writers. If it hadn’t been for Twilight bringing them to the fore, they would have been forgotten about by all but a small cult of followers; much like Evanescence made Nightwish popular.

Mix into this the rising popularity of the much more hardcore (in terms of violence, sexual content and credibility) Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series and The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, and Twilight has proven to be not just good for the Paranormal Romance genre, but the Horror genre in general. A rising river floats all boats.


It’s something that we’ve seen a hundred times before. Everytime something really namby-pamby comes along, there’s an awesome cultural backlash a few years down the line, when creative geniuses literally explode, and blow away all the bumpf of before. When prog-rock became too bumbling and disco too cute: BOOM, the Pistols blew it away. When hair-metal became too wimpy and wet: BOOM, thrash and death metal blew it away. I’m not saying that prog-rock or hair-metal are bad things – I like both – but history has shown it’s only so long before something gets blown away by something more “hardcore”.

So, if Twilight’s the big wimpy thing, we can expect all those kids reading it now and seething to grow up and write some seriously fucked up shit. Maybe it’s time cyberpunk came back...just saying.


The past ten years have been the Decade of the Geek. We live in an era where it is socially acceptable to play World of Warcraft – what basically amounts to Dungeons and Dragons for people who can’t do maths, or real world relationships. We live in an era where Hollywood will spend millions and millions of pounds on a three movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. Doctor Who is back on telly. Geeks have never had it so good.

Goth is really big right, now. It may call itself “emo” now, but the moping, bad hairdos, tight trousers and jangly guitar music say “Goth” to me. Anyone who pretends otherwise is deluded. If you don’t believe me, wait until 30 Seconds to Mars do a cover of "This Corrosion". It will happen.

Twilight is what happens when those two cultures get big, and want to throw money at something. The funny thing is, it’s the Goth and Geek subcultures who are most likely to shout Twilight down, despite all the awesome things that it has caused, and will cause in the not too distant future.

You can say you don’t like it, but you can’t dislike what it has done. The fact remains that in terms of investment of money and cultural interest, Twilight is one of the best things to have happened to the Emotionally Fourteen in a long time. Also, if you bloody-mindedly hate whatever’s popular, you don’t look clever. You just look old.


  1. Insightful cultural comment? Either I've stumbled into a phishing exercise, or someone's replaced Brad with a clone whose function is to bring the whole EMOTIONALLY FOURTEEN empire crashing to the ground... oops, what a giveaway! ;)

  2. This isn't "Dylan goes electric". This isn't even "Wade hates fat people"...

  3. I know, I know... I mean, I even (quite) like 'Twilight', but I still found something about this article that I couldn't quite put my finger on to be deeply disturbing.