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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Anatomy of a Twilight quote

This week, a friend posted this quote on FB, comparing Harry Potter to Twilight.  (Another friend had posted the same quote about a year ago, and I got quite incensed, because I think it's rather misogynistic to dismiss a popular book just because the target audience is girls - see entry from July 17, 2010).  Here's the quote:

"Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend." 

This quote is widely attributed to Stephen King, and I sort of wondered about that, so I looked it up.  Turns out that Stephen King did not say this.  He's certainly on record criticizing Twilight, but this quote comes from a woman named Robin Browne.  Her rant about Twilight was quoted on Tumblr by a music critic named Anthony Futral.  Through the magic of the internets, and as so often happens, the quote has come to be associated with a much more famous person.

I liked this response on the Snopes discussion thread, by a poster named RivkehChaya (nice Jewish girl!) - I couldn't have said it better myself:

Regarding the [original] quote, which is more along the lines of social commentary than literary criticism . . . well, so? Unless Twilight was supposed to be about all the things the critic claims that Harry Potter is about, but failed, and ended up just being about boyfriends, it really isn't a fair criticism. We can debate the worthiness of writing books for adolescent girls that are about the importance of boyfriends, but that doesn't matter. If the book is supposed to be a romance, and it is a romance, and people enjoy it as such, then it is successful.

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