link love: our 7 links

by Stevie on August 29, 2011

We’re so thrilled to be nominated by Heavenly from donuts to delirium to participate in My 7 Links, an exciting chain-letter kind of thing for bloggers of all sorts. The rules are simple: you get nominated by someone; then you write a post with links to seven of your favorite published stories based on various categories; finally, you nominate up to five other bloggers who haven’t participated before to do the same. What a cool idea!

Since ours is a collaborative endeavor, Hegui, Jasmine and I met to ponder the possibilities over several glasses of wine the other day. I made some snacks as we debated the pros and cons of various posts. We laughed a lot together. At the end of this post I’ll announce the five bloggers that we’ve tagged to be next. There were many more of you than the measly five that we wanted to name, but them’s the rules. So here’s what we thought. Can’t wait to here your feedback about our choices.

Our most popular story has to be vegetarian Szechuan eggplant. The three of us all love this dish. There’s something so elegant about the Chinese eggplant, too, don’t you think? We published this one in 2009 and it has remained the most popular on our site since then.

Mireille Guiliano and me!

So really, this could be in the category of “success that surprised you,” though that one, we all agree, has to be Jasmine’s dinner and meeting with the celebrated lifestyle guru, Mireille Guiliano, of French Women Don’t Get Fat fame.

Portion, pleasure and planning was a wild success that almost wasn’t written. This dinner happened on the same night that the weirdcombo tasting crew had engaged to attend a South African wine tasting event. She couldn’t do both, so almost didn’t meet Mireille to hang with the guys instead.

We’re lucky to live in Northern California. Aside from the graceful benefits of San Francisco, we can easily travel to Wine Country. Sipping vino on balmy sunny days, having charming picnics and enjoying the company of friends and loved ones has to be one of our favorite past times. Inevitably these are beautiful experiences, whether or not we actually appreciate the wine. So for our most beautiful post, we’ve elected Rochioli Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma County.

obviously, this is how rosé got its name

obviously, this is how rosé got its name

The wines here are quite good, but more importantly for a wine country excursion, this place is stunning. The gardens are spectacular and the views of the Russian River Valley; sublime. This winery has already made a name for itself, and doesn’t really need our two cents. So in the category of “didn’t get the attention it deserved,” I immediately thought of spaghetti with Roman style tomato sauce.

spaghetti with Roman style tomato sauce

I know that every cook has a recipe for tomato sauce for pasta, and we all argue intensely for the merits of our own, but, listen, this one is kick-ass. It is not the tomato sauce of my childhood. This recipe was taught to me by a great friend, Kristen, who had the good fortune of living in Rome for three years with an Italian family that liked to cook. I have no idea if it is authentic or not, and really, I could care less. It is a snap to make and is really yummy. Truly, I make this every Friday for dinner at my house, I like it that well. Of course, nobody else seems to have noticed…

But that pasta “controversy” is minor compared with anything related to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series.

Right around the time we began weirdcombinations, I was completely obsessed with Twilight. If you care to know, I’m obviously “Team Edward.” I just love the series, and have read all four novels several times each. They’re not just for pre-teen girls. Anyway, I ended up writing a bunch of stories looking at various aspects of the books, movies and fan-frenzy connected to all things Bella-and-Edward. The most controversial, of course, has to be sex with Alice and Jasper, as adult themes are involved. When I was in the middle of writing these stories, by chance a met a woman at a party who lives in San Jose, CA. We had a long chat about Twilight and she gasped in pleasure and abruptly hugged me when she learned that I’d written these posts. I was incredibly flattered and a bit freaked out, truth be told. We were complete strangers.

Our nomination for most helpful post might freak you out a bit: edible fish bones. Most people associate these with stinky garbage or perhaps a snack for a tomcat.

edible fish bones

Well, live and learn. These tasty morsels get deep fried, which everyone knows makes all foods taste better. But there’s something delightful about their crunchy goodness that is impossible to resist.

So that just leaves the post of which we’re most proud. That is a toughie, since we’re proud of so many. But after some soul-searching, we’ve decided to end this trip down memory lane with something sweet.

Manjar de côco com ameixas AKA coconut & prune pudding has to be one of the most fabulous desserts ever. This Brazilian classic is gorgeous, incredibly tasty, and will leave you haunted, dreaming of the time when you can have another piece.

So now that we’ve arrived at the end, here are the five bloggers that we wish to nominate for My 7 Links: Devaki from Weave a Thousand Flavors, Karen from Gourmet Food Blog, Lisa from HamptonToes, Tom from Tall Clover Farm, and Wizzy the Stick from Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Punch. You folks are all great.


Some of the WC crew were lucky enough to be in Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival. Aside from all the movies, behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing in the movie industry, and movie gossip; the town is literally crawling with stars!!! We’re Twilight-obsessed here so it was completely thrilling to see Michael Sheen, who plays the fiendishly creepy Aro in the series, at the Metropolitan Hotel on the morning that we checked out. Sadly we didn’t get a shot of him. (Aside from the Twilight series, we really loved him in Frost/Nixon, though he’s been in lots of cool stuff and is always memorable.)

Jackson Rathbone at TIFF

Jackson Rathbone at TIFF

We had a lot more luck a few days earlier on our way to the 26th Annual Vegetarian Food Fair at Harbourfront Center right near beautiful Lake Ontario. Who do we “bump” into: Jasper star, Jackson Rathbone! OMG! WOW! He was gawking for the cameras and signing autographs for his legions of adoring fans right outside the new TIFF Bell Lightbox building Downtown. We took a gazillion pictures. It was amazing: like part of the Twilight dream come true!

look at that goofy grin on Jackson Rathbone's adorable face!

look at that goofy grin on Jackson Rathbone's adorable face!

I’ve had a secret crush on Jasper for ages and I think Rathbone hits the mark in the films for how I imagine him to be. In real life, the actor was startlingly young looking and a lot shorter than I’d expected. His hair was gorgeous! I’m really jealous about that. I liked it that he spent a lot of time with the mob of fans and thought that his funny faces for the camera were adorable!

more Jackson Rathbone

more Jackson Rathbone

I so wish that I had hair like Jackson Rathbone does!!!

I so wish that I had hair like Jackson Rathbone does!!!


I went to Eclipse for the second time the other day with a great friend, Jocelyn. It was her first time seeing the movie. We met for lunch then smuggled cocktails into the theater for the mid-afternoon showing on a Tuesday. Don’t tell. We both loved it. She wore her homemade “Team Jacob” T-shirt and I wore my “Team Edward” one that she made for me when “New Moon” hit the theatres last year. Except for the names, the shirts are matching. Nice.

Dupont Circle fountain, Washington, D.C.

I like Eclipse best of all the movies. All of that squishy romance between Eddie and Bella really pulls at my heart-strings. Plus the way the movie is filmed seems more interesting and exciting: lots of intensely close close-ups and dramatic wide-angle shots. Wow!

This time through, I was really struck by that small scene when Bells runs away from Eddie and school to hang with Jacob at his garage in La Push. Remember? She climbs onto his motorcycle just before class was to start, leaving Edward behind in the dust. It’s just afterward that shocked me, though I’d already seen it once before and read it several times in the novels. Bella reluctantly tells J. that she intends to become a vampire herself. Jacob’s angry and shouts something like “I’d rather you be dead than become one of them.”

I couldn’t help but remembering hearing that before, in many different ways. This is the cry of someone who cannot come to terms with having a gay/lesbian/trans or otherwise sexually different loved-one. Sure, sure, I know that Bella and Edward are heterosexual. But let’s face facts, he’s a vampire and she’s a human. That’s another kind of sexuality altogether than the “conventional” model: hence, it’s not straight. But really, whose business is that anyway? The couple, that’s who. The others should simply be glad that Bella and Edward found one another, period. So they’re a little different from the ordinary, so what?

The Eclipse film got me so psyched for the wedding scene at the start of Breaking Dawn, that I started re-reading it this week, too. I’d intended only to read the first “Bella” book, but you know how it goes. The story’s so engrossing that I can’t put the thing down. Now in the middle of “Jacob” with Bells just getting better after drinking the O-negative donated blood during her pregnancy, I don’t think that it’s only J. that’s hung up about the famous “differently-sexual” couple.

Initially, Sam is ready to uphold the treaty and even accepts that Bella made an “informed choice” to become a vampire, thus paving the way for an exception to the rule. Jacob can’t handle it and goes off against Sam’s wishes, with a plan to slaughter as many “blood sucker” Cullens as possible. (That “blood sucker” term is pretty loaded, isn’t it? Sounds a lot like that other problem term, “cock sucker,” to me.)

Of course, that whole plan derails when Jacob sees Bells in all her pregnant glory. But Sam and the Pack’s reactions are pretty telling here. Prepared to let Bella go, now they’re convinced that the only solution is to kill “the abomination” to protect themselves, their families and other humans. They recognize that the mother will die, too, but hey, them’s the breaks.

If you ask me, that’s a pretty extreme reaction, based on nothing but fear of difference and the unknown. Putting it more into perspective, this is the same pack of werewolves that successfully destroyed half an army of newborn vampires a mere few months before with only one injury and no casualties. Even had Rensemee turned out to be a ferocious uncontrolled blood-sucking demon child, I think that the wolves probably could have handled it just fine when they were sure about her nature. What’s the rush? There’s no easy way back from murder.

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, though it permanently severed Jacob from the Pack.

I don’t think that it’s just the hick werewolves that suffer from this myopic vision of permissible sexuality. The Cullens don’t look all that cool here, either. The idea that Edward, the father of the potential monster, immediately assumes that the only option is abortion without even consulting with Bella, and that Carlisle seems to agree speaks volumes. It’s the classic Right-to-Life versus Right-to-Choice debate in reverse: here “Life” becomes “abortion/death” to the fetus. Imagine it! Two guys chat and decide that they’re going to abort some pregnant lady’s kid without her permission. That’s way more than old fashioned; it’s messed up!

It all comes down to issues of choice, but real choices cannot occur without the power necessary to permit them. Should Bella be allowed to choose Edward? Should Edward be allowed to choose Bella? Should Bella be allowed to choose to become a vampire? Should Bella be allowed to choose Renesmee over her health? Turns out these are complex questions that preoccupy much of Breaking Dawn. I’m glad that everything works out in the end (except for poor Leah). But even if it hadn’t, it’s gratifying to believe that groups with power: werewolves, vampires, doctors, sheriffs, mothers and fathers, etc. can find ways of overcoming their personal biases, ignorance and stupidity to let those they care about take meaningful risks in an attempt to find their own paths through life.

Too bad that in the “real world” this doesn’t happen more. But alas, the Twilight Saga, Bella, Edward and Jacob aren’t real. It’s just a fairy tale… or perhaps a guide?


Bella, Edward and Jacob looking down on we mere mortals; Eclipse starts today!!!

It’s about time!!!

We love you , Stephenie Meyer!


I just finished the new The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner moments ago.

All of you in the Internet universe have probably already read it, too, by now. I did enjoy the story. Bree sounds like a sweet enough vampire. And it’s cute that she is afraid of sunlight and develops a huge crush on her BFF, Diego. That last part seems charmingly like the relationship between Bella and Edward. Didn’t you hear Eddie’s voice when Diego says to her “Trust, Bree” when he’s trying to get her to go into the sunshine? I sure did. Maybe teenagers all sound similar? Probably not, come to think of it. Perhaps it’s a style thing?

I wasn’t super comfortable with Bree feeding on an endless supply of humans without a second thought. Meyer’s vague rationale that these vampires come from the “dregs” of society and feed on the “dregs” did not really calm my nerves. I work with lots of poor and homeless people all the time. They want to be treated with respect, like everyone else. This kind of attitude is not helpful. Really, Steph, the classism is awfully repugnant.

Nevertheless, it is sad that Bree and her friends get mixed up in Victoria’s revenge scheme. You have the sense that they have a lot of potential. ‘course, had there been no Victoria, then Riley, Bree, Fred etc. would all have remained blissfully ignorant human beings going about their regular day-to-day lives, so we’d never have learned about them anyway.

The novella was good, though not quite what I’m craving for. The Bree character is such a trivial part of the Twilight series. I’m much more curious about Leah and Renseme. Though after this latest installment, I’m also wonderfully intrigued with the mysterious vampire, Fred.

I’ve read some comments here and there, Steph, that you’re thinking of a book about Leah and/or Renseme. I really hope so! Like I’ve written before, I really think that there’s something more there. And the increasingly sinister Volturi seem to offer an exciting literary opportunity. Don’t let your readers down, Ms. Meyer!


I’m embarrassed to admit that though I love science fiction writing (at least some of it) the bright, flashy, sexy, cheesy covers on most of the novels make me anxious and slightly uncomfortable. It’s true. On the one hand, I’m intrigued by the art. It’s often incredibly complex, visually stunning, etc. Sometimes I even fantasize about having the original painting used for a cover of a favorite novel for my personal art collection. That would be cool. Where can one acquire one, anyway?

which cover art looks most appealing to you?

Yet, I can’t shake the feeling that these wild covers are designed for children and teens. Should someone in his Forties really be reading books that look like that? Shouldn’t I be, you know, like, more mature?

When I compare the covers of Lords of the Middle Dark, Empires of Flux and Anchor, Quest for the Well of Souls or The Run to Chaos Keep, let’s say, with covers for de Bernières’ Corelli’s Mandolin, Lampedusa’s The Leopard or even Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife (admittedly, the last is in the sci-fi borderland), the Chalker books look so, I don’t know… un-serious. It’s not just their diminutive size compared to the other volumes, either.

whether the novel's funny or not, no one would guess that it's anything less then very adult by looking at this cover

I know it’s ridiculous and I blame this hang-up on my parents. My mother likes mysteries and doesn’t appreciate sci-fi. To me, mystery writing, like sci-fi, is merely another style of adventure story. But those novels always seem to have such somber covers that you’d never feel a moments qualm pulling one of them from your Gucci bag on a busy commuter train or while riding in an airplane to a medical symposium on new treatments for malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Dad secretly reads an occasional science fiction novel (I’m fairly certain he read Children of Dune a few years back) but only on the D-L as far as I can tell. I suppose that romance novels with their over-the-top shirtless heartthrob hunks embracing their super-sexy-but-tasteful heroines on those bright shiny covers struggle with much the same issues.

I do think that there’s a lot of serious stuff in science fiction. If you’ve been following this blog at all, then you know that I’ve been bending over backward to point out the meatier parts of Jack Chalker’s fiction. At the end of the day, though, this type of writing really does appeal in part because it is so fantastic, silly, exciting and not too serious.

say what you will about Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, it sure looks good!

I read in some sci-fi blog a few months back someone complaining that the garish covers prevent sci-fi writers from crossing over to the “mainstream” reader, whoever he or she might be. They cited the subdued covers of the aforementioned The Time Traveler’s Wife and the phenomenally successful Twilight series as sci-fi related novels without the baggage of the traditional sci-fi look, suggesting cover art significantly influenced their success. They also thought that these writers didn’t try to publish the books as science fiction. Rather they went for general fiction or perhaps teen fiction, assuming that if you avoided the sci-fi label, you’d be better off financially. Maybe there’s something to it? Though there shouldn’t be.

It’s the classic Freudian struggle between the id and the super-ego. And that’s before you’ve even read the first word! Fun things don’t necessarily mean bad-for-you. We should all snap out of it!


New Moon for the blue moon

by Stevie on December 22, 2009

Yep. I loved the film. Hegui and I went the first night that New Moon opened at the huge Cineplex in the new downtown San Francisco shopping center. It was the 9:30PM show so was mostly teen girls, adult women, a sprinkling of uncomfortable boyfriends and some hip gay guys. We were with the last group, of course. We waited in line for “good seats” for about an hour before showtime. There were maybe only about 200 people in front of us.

Unlike for the Twilight movie, our audience was quiet for most of New Moon; only gasping a few times, especially when Taylor Lautner pulled his shirt off the first time to show off his eight-pack while ostensibly helping Bella with her bleeding forehead. Do you think that B’s head injury was too severe for her to notice how smoking hot Jacob’s gotten? No, I don’t think so either. Taylor Lautner is a man now, not just a man-child. A friend from school went with a gay guy friend of hers to New Moon the other day. She claims he gasped and cried out “I want a puppy, too!” during that scene, making the whole audience crack up. I wish I’d thought of that, though I’ve already got a dog, and Clarence’s not good with playmates.

A bunch of my friends are still voting for “Team Jacob,” but I pity them. He’s so dull compared to Eddie and the Cullens. Just a pretty boy with a hot temper; I think that he has potential domestic violence perpetrator written all over his werewolf self. Look what happened to Emily and Sam! That’s a scary story. I’m still sweet on Edward/Robert Pattinson. I don’t believe any of the rumors that he smells or that he and Kristen Stewart are an item. (Let’s face it; she’s too sophisticated for him.) He was so funny on Ellen the week the movie hit theatres. He’s so dreamy. I still fantasize about having his hair and excellent bone structure, too.

Aside from the whole heartthrob angle, New Moon has a lot going for it. It made a fortune, apparently. Good for you, Steph! Now that you’re completely loaded, will you pay off my student loans?!? It looked better than the first movie. I still don’t get that. Twilight’s a love story yet the film’s so dark and gloomy. Edward and Bella look upset all the time or perhaps severely constipated. What’s that about? This time around, when the book’s a total downer, the movie was bright and playful. Jessica and Chief Swan were really funny and cute. I loved the way the vampire eyes almost glowed. And they finally dressed Edward up well! (Though there was a major blunder with Alice’s dress for the Italian adventure. Nobody looks good in horizontal stripes. Eew!) Victoria looked completely hot! Her hair was on fire. I even liked the cheeseball view of Christ the Redeemer outside Ed’s window in Rio. It looked like it was made of cheap plastic and lighted from inside like a Santa Clause lawn ornament. That’s taking the kitsch factor to a new level! Congratulations, New Moon!

I’ve seen the movie twice so far and have made a “Jacob v. Edward” movie date for the week between Christmas and New Years, sort of around the blue moon. You are so misguided Jocelyn!

Can’t wait for Eclipse the movie in June 2010! Viva Edward Cullen!

Check out these Twilight rants!


Lately I’ve been looking at some of the fun home videos of other Twilight ranters as well as some of the written comments that people have been making about the series. A lot of this stuff seems to be complaints about the crazy fans, complaints that Steph has totally cashed in on the whole series, moaning that the series doesn’t offer good advice for kids or that the writing has stylistic problems and therefore is not worth reading. I think that these other writers are funny, particularly for the last comment. How can you complain that all of the books after the first, “Twilight,” are badly written and boring and have any credibility when it’s obvious that you’ve read them all completely and in great detail?!?

sometimes Bella does seem hard to love

sometimes Bella does seem hard to love

I do agree with that one ranter, nuttymadam3575. She attacks some of the others who bash down “Breaking Dawn.” She’s right, the book is unexpected but it’s also pretty cool. As to issues related to sexism, appropriate messages for younger people and Steph’s financial empire, I’ve already written about those elsewhere. But in summary, I’ll say that I believe that these concerns are misplaced. About the other fans, I could care less what they’re doing, so long as they keep reading what I’m writing about the series.

One of these video ranters, Rachel, is very intriguing. She goes by basketcase23 on U-tube where she narrates a series of at least four videos called straightforwardly enough: Twilight Rant, New Moon Rant, Eclipse Rant and Breaking Dawn Rant. (Originally I had links to these videos but in March 2011 they were removed from U-tube. Sorry that you cannot seem them as they were classic.) Basically she tells the plot of each book over about ten minutes apiece while making a lot of commentary. It’s especially delightful in the “Eclipse” version when she uses little plastic action figures to represent the various characters. Rachel is like some of the other critics in that she trashes the books while showing acute awareness of their content and nuances. That makes me think that she’s just saying these things to be melodramatic. I have the feeling that she’s very into it, just like me.

My point in bringing this up though is that I noticed that throughout her comments, basketcase23 is persistently down on Bella though more erratic in her negativity towards other characters. Occasionally she’ll criticize Edward (objectifying him here with, “Edward’s sperm’s good. Makes good babies”) or Rosalie (“I don’t like Rosalie”) or maybe some of the others too (“Jacob puts the moves on Bella and that’s date rape and date rape is wrong”), but pretty much the whole time “it’s all about Bella.” “Well, that was ‘Twilight’ in a nutshell. It sucked, sucked, sucked. It did not swallow but it sucked.” “New Moon is worse because it’s all about Bella!” “Bella’s just not worth the trouble. Just punch her in the face and she’s done.” “Renesme is super intelligent which I don’t get because she’s Bella’s daughter.” What’s all of this Bella hating about?

Do people out there in the Twilight Universe really think that Bells is a pathetic wimp?

Well, she is a klutz. And compared to other kids, let alone the werewolves and the vamps, she’s not particularly athletic. I admire her for trying things, though. She did learn to ride a motorbike for instance. That takes some dexterity and strength. She also managed to successfully cliff dive, something that I’m sure that I would never do. What I like about her is that she’s so stoic in the face of constantly getting hurt. In every book, she either trips, breaks her bones, cuts herself, falls off stuff, gets attacked or what have you. For the most part, she hardly complains, is more concerned with others being upset and she even refuses more analgesia in the hospital. After the very painful transformation into a vampire, she cheerily tells Carlisle that it wasn’t that bad, clearly downplaying the sheer agony. Not everyone could be that tough.

I don’t have the feeling that Rachel is talking about the physical side when she calls Bella “stupid” and keeps having her Edward telling B to just “shut up!” It’s her emotional state that’s the “problem.” It is true that she’s head-over-heels for Edward and that probably does affect her judgment here and there. I get the sense that it’s mutual. Eddie seems to act like a fool in love a lot too. Naturally there’s a bunch of squishy feelings that get expressed throughout their romance. That seems kind of normal though could be tiresome to others, particularly if you’re inexperienced with these feelings yourselves, as I imagine a lot of the fan base might be because they’re very young.

Rachel seems more intent on bashing Bells down not so much for that, either, as for the ambivalence and inconstancy of her moods, expressions and decisions. In “Eclipse” Rachel’s Rosalie tells Bella, “You’re not pretty. You’re whiny; very, very whiny.” Bella is “so stupid” to get herself “in this situation” with James. When describing Bella’s anguish with the loss of Edward in book 2, Rachel rolls on the floor in mock despair, clearly dismissing the very idea that B could be upset. “Bella…she’s the paragon of self control in every aspect of the book…not!”

I get it that B’s changeable. But in her defense, look at her background. Her parents split up shortly after she was born. B must have heard endlessly from Renee about the dangers of romantic relationships as her mother licked her emotional wounds over her failed marriage to Charlie. And not only that: Bells was subjected to the ongoing chaos of her mother’s absurd life and regular dalliances. No wonder she skips town as soon as Renee is in the semblance of a stable relationship!

Her father is really not better though for the opposite reason: he’s too emotionally withdrawn. Charlie takes a radical hands-off approach to parenting possibly bordering on neglect. But look at it from his perspective for a moment. Bella is already 17 years old when she shows up on his doorstep, so virtually a woman; and he’s had no experience until just then of being a father aside from brief summertime visits which are more like vacations than parenting.

In any event, neither parent has properly prepared Bella for the emotional whirlwind that she enters in Forks. I’m not trying to blame them. They’ve tried their best. It’s simply that people learn from what they observe around them, and Bells has learned some unusual ways of coping with things. As a result, at times she can seem a bit wishy-washy. There are numerous examples of this but I‘ll just mention a few.

First, she recognizes right away that Jacob is more fond of her than she is of him, yet she seems to selectively tune into this and almost encourage his attachment with mixed messages until the final resolution in “Breaking Dawn.” This leads to the much talked about ‘Edward versus Jacob’ plotline in the novels. Why does she allow this very awkward state of affairs to continue? I think that it’s quite simple really. Bella is used to loving two very different people, with almost opposite temperaments, who have an intense though somewhat antagonistic relationship with one-another: her parents, Renee and Charlie. This Jacob/Edward thing is very similar.

I’ve wondered about Bella’s easy acceptance of Edward’s abrupt departure at the start of “New Moon” and her difficulty at the end of that novel in recognizing on the plane trip home from Italy that he was back in her life to stay. Rachel noticed this peculiarity as well. But why?!? Well, isn’t this sort of like her parents? Charlie is always off at work or fishing. Renee is always doing her various and sundry hobbies. Both abandon Bella on a whim and a moments notice. How could she expect Edward and his crew to be any different? And if experience is her guide, then just because he returns with her to Forks at the end doesn’t mean that he won’t up and vanish later.

The third somewhat persistent Bella criticism that comes up a lot throughout the series is her tendency to apologize to others, particularly Eddie and Jake, and focus on their feelings while ignoring her own when she’s placed in dangerous situations by them. Sometimes this can be quite witty: for example when Ed invites her to meet his family for the first time. Instead of being alarmed by entering a house of vampires, she’s more concerned about whether or not they’ll like her. More disturbingly, in “Eclipse” to hold onto Jacob just a bit longer, she consents to kiss him though it’s clear that he’s blackmailing her with his own threats of suicide via newborn murder. This certainly is risky business with a jealous vamp boyfriend hanging around the campsite. Shockingly, she feels bad that Jake’s upset. Instead she should probably be outraged by the whole thing. It happens everywhere in the series so two instances of it should suffice.

What does this pattern mean? Steph has already set the stage for the answer. Bells has been raised to be a parental figure to her wacky parents. Parents frequently take on the feelings and problems of their charges in an attempt to help instead of expressing their own anger and frustration with the problem situations. Of course, Bella takes on a parenting role with Edward and Jacob. That’s how she’s most comfortable. Maybe it’s not appropriate, but it does make sense. In fact, I would say that’s a very important role that Charlie, Renee, Carlisle and Esme could learn more about.

Finally, on-line critics seem outraged that Bella gets married, has sex and a child, all while quite young. Rachel even refers to B’s first sexual encounter with Edward on their honeymoon in Brazil as “date rape.” I really cannot agree. Bella and Edward were nervous it’s true. But both were consenting adults and married to one-another at the time. Neither of them had any sexual experience so of course it was hard to predict what would happen. That’s hardly rape in my book.

I touched on the saccharine yet satisfying series ‘happy ending’ last week but it seems relevant here. To me this criticism appears to be the opposite one of Bella as a spineless, dithering wet blanket like we were just saying. Bells pulls her shit together by the series close as all classic romantic heroines do. She becomes more decisive; she sticks to her decisions when tested; she rises above her circumstances and ultimately prevails. Bella achieves what few of us ever do: she moves beyond the limits imposed on her by her upbringing.

I think that B is made of tougher stuff than most folks give her credit for. Sure, she messes around for a while and she is a bit silly about some things. But she really manages well especially given her limited role models. I applaud her!

more “Twilight” rants

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“Twilight” rant 14: doesn’t Bella mean beautiful?

July 20, 2009

A friend recently sent me this funny U-tube video of Edward Cullen trying to court Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Naturally she’s completely turned off and ends up “slaying” him by the end. Apparently she didn’t like his stalker tendencies. I agree with the Multiply writers about that: Edward’s whole stalker business is pretty creepy. Bella […]

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“Twilight” rant 13: nobody eats well in Forks

July 13, 2009

I haven’t yet been to Forks, WA, though that’s a trip that I want to take soon. Just so that I don’t offend anyone from that real town, please remember that all of the following comments are related to Forks as described by Stephenie Meyer in the “Twilight” series. Now that that’s out of the […]

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