Twilight, the “Next Harry Potter”?
What irritated me most about Meyer’s attitude towards Native Americans is the way she perpetrates old stereotypes, stereotypes that are indicative of the general public’s complete ignorance of the reality of the Native American situation. How many books and films have portrayed Indians as wise and peaceful people with mystical powers and and a mysterious connection to the natural world? It irritates many Native Americans to no end, and I feel the same way.
In truth, the Native American situation is a sad one. Many live far below the poverty line, the quality of the education they receive is tragic, and the leading causes of death are generally alcohol related. They are a sad, sad people. Not only do they have to deal with extreme poverty and racism and identity crises of their own, but also with the white community telling them how Indians are supposed to behave. That is why it is such an insult to see all these New Age types assuming “Indian” names, claiming that they inherited “ancient Native American wisdom” and are now one with nature. (Sherman Alexie, a fantastic Native American writer, has a great deal to say on the subject.)
Unlike Schmidt, it really doesn’t bother me that the main character chose her white suitor over the Native American one, as I doubt this decision (while troubling) was based at all on race. What troubles me is how misinformed Meyer seems to be. Perhaps she does know the reality and has chosen to ignore it, which only adds to the offense. In any case, I simply don’t like it.
A "wise and peaceful" Indian doesn't necessarily contradict the idea of a bestial werewolf. Consider the lion, for instance. The "best" animals are supposed to be pure and innocent, even if they're predators. They're "noble" until they have to kill out of necessity.
A good comparison would be with the denizens of the TV series Wolf Lake. The show offered a range of wolf-people: good, bad, and conflicted. But deep down, they were all wolves. Their instinct was to run in packs, not to soar like angels.
In other words, a noble savage is still a savage when you strip away his nobility. To coin a phrase, you can take the Indian out of the wolf, but you can't take the wolf out of the Indian.
Jacob not a typical werewolf?
One commenter in the above thread seemed to take offense when I said werewolves such as Jacob are "hairy, snarling, and savage." Is Jacob not a typical werewolf? Is he like Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London": "drinkin' a pina colada at Trader Vic's/And his hair was perfect"?
Apparently not. According to the TwilightSaga wiki:
Despite this description, perhaps Jacob is an exception. Perhaps he's like the Geico caveman: erudite and sophisticated beneath his rough exterior. I still haven't read the books, so if Jacob never bares his fangs or claws, I apologize for misunderstanding him.
Yes, I'm looking forward to reading about Jacob consuming tea and crumpets...perusing the Wall Street Journal or the Economist...expounding on commodity prices or the Mideast situation. Because it would be a stupid stereotype if he were merely a howling beast-boy with no depth or substance. Twilight readers, please show me that Jacob is an intellectual as well as a physical giant. Send me descriptions of the worldly wunderkind so I can correct my misapprehensions.
While we're waiting, read the thread for some critiques of my previous Twilight postings. The die-hard fans have dared to diss me. Will they get away with it?