Tag Archives: Twilight

The REAL serpent in the garden


 

C'mon, you know you want to.

C'mon, you know you want to.

So the holidays are (sort of) over, and my 12-year-old and I are the only ones up and around, clunking about, kicking around holiday debris, enjoying some quality(?) time together, here, on this Saturday morning, around 10-ish, after Christmas.

 

I’m losing a little bit of patience, however, because I kind of thought we were past the baby-talk stage. Never did I talk to my kids in baby talk. I wanted them to learn to actually say “bottle,” not “bah-bah,” so that’s what I would say to them.

Therefore, they learned to speak, not babble, except for my youngest, who persisted in calling her older sister “Bluh-luh” for the longest time – a sound which doesn’t remotely resemble her true name, which begins with a vowel. Still, it helped – and I felt far less like a fool as I chatted endlessly and hopefully at strollers with belted-in droolers. Yeah, I’m really not a baby person. I just had them, and as I tell them both, I like them better and better the older they get.

I take my duty seriously, though, to teach them. Them, at least – not the whole world. The rest of the world, I simply catalog as stupid, smart or somewhere in between, and I tolerate both with equanimity and relative good humor. The stupid make good fodder for this blog. The smart entertain and teach me – though as I often remind my kids, anyone, however stupid, can teach you something.

Today, however, I felt obligated to teach my 12-year-old.

“Mom, where does ‘I’m not my brother’s keeper’ come from?”

Aghast at my own failing to instill any kind of background in the study of religion, however comparative, I was momentarily speechless. Doesn’t EVERYONE know that? Doesn’t everyone somehow assimilate the story of Cain and Abel?

Apparently not.

Having yanked the poor child out of religious education after she attempted to throw herself from a moving car, rather than endure the misery of Roman Catholic Confession, I realized my child was suffering from large gaps in her education.

“Honey, I’ll tell you what one of my favorite professors in college told me. No educated person has NOT read the entire Bible.”

“WHAT?” she gasped. “The whole THING?”

“Not at a single sitting, goof,” I laughed. “But fear not. It’s just a clump of small books, strung together. You don’t even have to read it in order.”

“Moooom…”

I turned stern. “It’s shorter than ‘Twilight.’ ”  Then I softened. “Come on. I’ll read some to you.”

We read the story of Cain and Abel, and then, for background, we started on the Creation story, which led to some trouble before I even cracked the first “Let there be light.”

I began to mutter something about “Creationists” equaling “lunatics,” forgetting completely that I was talking to someone I’d indoctrinated to have tolerance for all beliefs.

My lack of kindness for folks who ignore the colossal body of fossil records and massive scientific evidence in favor of a version of an earth being created that has trees springing up “bing-bing-bing” in a day really pissed her off.

That is, until I started reading it.

“Wait, Mom – a dome? God created the sky as a dome? So, what is that saying about the earth?”

“That it’s FLAT, honey.”

“So, how big is it supposed to be? And what’s beyond the dome?”

I pointed to the first paragraph. “The abyss, honey.”

We went on.

“A basin? Wait, Mom – the sea is a basin? Like a big bowl?”

I nodded.

“Wait, Mom – sea monsters?”

I nodded.

“Wait, Mom – Adam named all the animals? What, in English?”

“Well, no, wait, I don’t know. Maybe Aramaic.”

“What’s Aramaic?”

“An ancient language.”

She did get excited when the geography part started – when the river in Eden is described, and the Tigris and Euphrates are named. (She’s good at geography.)

The temptation of Eve, however, was unsettling. You see, a lot of misconceptions abound regarding that little tale – but if you read the book, as we did this morning, you learn a lot about who the snake really is.

Sure, it’s Eve who does the talking with the serpent – but it says right there in the book, Adam is with her the whole time. Does he speak up? Say anything like: “Eve – babe – is this really the best idea? Didn’t God say cheese it on that tree?” Does Adam step in front of her and say, “No thanks, leave my wife alone?”

No. The wuss does nothing except grab the apple and munch when it’s his turn.

It gets worse. When God, like an angry dad, comes strolling through the garden, where Adam and Eve are hiding behind a plant (literally), and says: “Hey! You kids, get out here. Who told you that you were naked?”

(At which point my daughter inserted: “Our EYES.”)

Adam, the rat, the snitch, the stoolie, the coward, puts his weak-ass little hand on his wife’s back and shoves her right under the bus. “SHE did it. She ate the apple, and SHE gave it to ME.”

So the Old Testament God, who is, if you notice, a rather moody thing, short-tempered and VERY big on vengeance, doles out THIS punishment:

You: woman – childbirth is going to SUCK.

You: man – no more plucking from the trees. Now you have to sweat and farm.

You: serpent – crawl on your belly, and everyone is going to hate you.

And He locks up the garden of Eden – because there’s one tree left He wants to make sure NOBODY gets a hold of: the Tree of Life. Eat that, and you’ll live forever.

God puts a revolving fiery sword and a band of cherubim at the gate. Nice. Keep in mind, when you hear cherubim, don’t think sweet little cherubs. Every single time an angel appears in sacred texts, the first thing they say isn’t what you see on the Lifetime Channel: “Hey, let me solve your problems.”

It’s: “Be not afraid.”

You think Twilight vampires are scary, exciting reading? Try the Bible. Whether you’re a believer or not, it’s a real page turner, that’s for sure.

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No Wonder Vampires Live Forever.


Bella and Edward, human and vampire

 

 

Bella and Edward, human and vampire

 

 

You really have to have eternity stretching before you, and not much to fill the empty days and sleepless nights with (vampires, it turns out, don’t sleep), if you want to have the kind of disposable time on your hands to read a series of books like Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight.

It starts out with a kicky kind of narrative drive. The first-person narrator is in Penelope Pitstop peril for her life. Promising, for sure. How does she get out of this one?

That she gets out, I assumed, since my 12-year-old was panting down my neck with the other three weighty tomes at the ready for me to digest once I’d swallowed the first – although I supposed there was always the possibility, given the supernatural nature of the theme, that she didn’t.

 

But right after that kick-start beginning, things slow to a crawl. Okay, I thought, perhaps Meyers is doing this to give us a sense of how crawlingly boring it is in the town Our Hero Bella has found herself in: Forks, Washington, land of perpetual cloud cover, Smallville to secret superheroes.

Nope. Just plain crawling after that.

Like the diaries of turn-of-the-century housewives, we are thereafter treated not only to every single thought in Bella’s head – something her lucky telepathic vampire boyfriend can’t do – as well as every single detail of Bella’s existence. We learn exactly what Bella wears every day, what she cooks her father for dinner, every time she cleans the house, how her car sounds when it starts, what the weather is like EVERY SINGLE DAY, and what she has for every single meal.

Every frustratingly innocent stroke of the cheek is painstakingly narrated between Bella and Edward, the teenaged lovers.

Well, technically Edward is not a teenager, although the book insists he is. Turned vamp at 17, he is referred to as perpetually 17, but he was born in 1901, making him 107 years old. Call me a stickler, but your age is your age, no matter how well-preserved you are. I mean, my mom looks awesome for being in her 60s, and is often mistaken for being far younger than her years.

Doesn’t make her actually 50. Although don’t tell HER that.

So it’s really sort of a May-December romance. Or, January-December romance. Either way, the age difference is nominal, because they’re both extremely immature, which is fine, because it’s sweet to see two people – er, one people and a supernatural creature – so well-suited for each other.

They’re suited for each other, because as one newspaper review so aptly put it: “They want each other so badly because they want each other so badly.”

That’s about it. There’s no deep, getting-to-know-you period. There’s no real reason these two fall in love – unless you count the fact that Ed really digs the way Bella smells, and wants more than anything, especially in the beginning, to literally eat her up.

They just really, really, crush hard on each other, and decide, “that’s it, we’re done” with the familiar old teenage intensity, which just goes to show how very little one can learn in 100 years if one tries very hard to avoid maturity.

Most amazing of all?

There is, apparently, some deep cultural thirst – if you’ll excuse the pun – for this uncritical, “I love you because I love you, now let’s gaze into each other’s eyes soulfully for the next 7,000 pages” in American life.

Cause everybody’s reading it.

Theaters are packed.

Are you Team Edward? Team Jacob? Team Switzerland?

Are you?

Have you caught Twilight Fever? Or are you going to go ahead and live a life of your own? However short?

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