December 22, 2008

Twilight fan dislikes negative comments

In the comments section of Noble Savages in Twilight (and elsewhere), a Twilight fan wrote the following:I don't like negative comments on her books.I don't like negative stereotypes in Meyer's books, Anonymous. If you don't like my negative comments, there's a simple solution. Don't read them.We have to remember just like Anne Rice she created a fictional book with mythical creatures that do not exist nor ever existed.The Quileute Indians in her books aren't "mythical creatures." They're a real tribe of Indians. Since Meyer chose to portray an aspect of reality, we have a right to judge how well she did it. If she didn't want that kind of scrutiny, she should've invented a fictional tribe.

If you're referring to the Quileutes' lupine origin, the Quileutes might say your assertion was false. In other words, that their ancestors really did come from a wolf. Are you claiming they're fibbing about this? Are Christians fibbing when they say God created Adam and Eve?

Criticism correct but unimportant?As far as getting a legend correct or down to its roots is not the importance of the story.Then you agree that my criticism is correct, but don't think it's that important? Then repeat after me: "Rob's criticism is correct." After you concede that I was right, we can move on to more important topics.It's a fictional story about two combatting foes and a romance between a girl and a vampire. She made up her own story and that is all that matters.Meyer didn't just "make up her own story." She explicitly said her version of Quileute history used "genuine" or "actual" Quileute legends. Since she made the claim, I'm calling her on it. She fibbed to her fans and I've documented it.

If you don't think this is an important point, again, go ahead and admit she fibbed. Then we can move on.She probably did not want to take the time to go over every last detail of a Native american legend.In other words, she didn't know and she didn't care. No surprise there. These are the usual reasons for misrepresenting and stereotyping Indians.Because the story is not aimed totally on this myth. The story she is aiming at is the vampires and the love story. She probably just used the native american just add to more appeal to the story.Whatever you think her goals were, she falsified the Quileutes' spiritual beliefs. If you disagree with this claim, say so and explain why. Otherwise, admit I was right.

Natives don't care?It is obvious that the native american's do not take offense to this movie or the few that played in it would not have offered a facial appearance.That's not at all obvious. In fact, several Natives have expressed dismay or disgust with Twilight's Indians here.

Besides, you can't be sure what a Native actor like Gil Birmingham was thinking. We've discussed this issue before. Actors may be hungry for a job. The "good" Native scenes in the script may be cut while the "bad" (stereotypical) scenes make it into the movie. Actors may believe they can influence the writers or director during the pre-production process.

In any case, I don't blame actors for playing questionable roles. And from what I've read, Twilight's Indians aren't that bad. I'd blame the actors only if the roles were truly vile. (For instance, I don't blame Adam Beach for playing Charles Eastman in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, but I do question him for playing the rapacious Blue Duck in Comanche Moon.)

No, the blame goes to the writers, directors, and producers. They control the Native portrayals and determine if they're good or bad. If one actor doesn't play a stereotypical role, someone else will play it instead. Either way, the movie will get made and it'll affect the public's perceptions.

If you don't think fictional stories affect the public's perceptions...well, we've discussed that before, too. For more on the subject, see The Influence of Movies and Why People Believe Movies. Read 'em and weep.

All clear, Anonymous? Thanks for your comments, and better luck next time.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

Below:  "I'm a hottie, so who cares if I'm an Indian?"

10 comments:

dmarks said...

@anon: "She probably did not want to take the time to go over every last detail of a Native american legend."

It took me about 5 minutes of Googling to find out what was more true about Quileute legends than what is presented in "Twilight". Also, if I were writing such a novel myself, I'd at least send email or make a phone call to someone of authority in the Quileute tribe to see that what I was doing was OK, not offensive.

Anonymous said...

Rob: 1, Twihards: 0

Genevieve Lopez said...

"She probably just used the native american just add to more appeal to the story."

...because that's not patronizing in the least.

Anonymous said...

She picked the forks first because the location applied to the story. Then after discovering there was an indian reservation there she included a character from La Push to inform bella of the vampires. He also metions that the quileutes were descended from wolves and that they tied canoes to trees on a mountain to survive a flood. This is all that shes claimed to be true. Therefore she did not falsify anything. Learn your facts.
Later she decided to introduce the idea of Jacob becoming a wolf. Not claiming anything about the real tribe as this is only in the presence of vampires. For all we know anyone could become a werewolf if a vampire was near.
The other made up legend was clearly i place to explain things she already had decided about the characters that wasnt covered by real legends. Would anyone find it offensive if she made up a legend about a white man? I dont think so.
I'm offended by all of your pro-racism, Rob. How will anyone be able to see past race when people like you are constantly pointing out how they are different? There were no stereotypes used. Get over yourself and actually read the series before complaining abut things you don;t understand

Anonymous said...

Once again, kudos to South Park for making fun of Twilight when this phenomenon began. Go, goth kids!

What I don't get is why they can't get Indians to play the Indians. I mean, I can name five Indians who would be perfect for the role. Some of them are hot (no homo, as these tweens annoyingly say).

Rob said...

See Twilight Wolf Pack Announced for the latest news, Jon.

Pointing out other people's racism isn't racism, Anonymous. Look up the word "racism" if you don't know what it means.

The "descended from wolves" legends are the same ones in Twilight and Eclipse. Meyer refers to them briefly in the first book and discusses them at length in the third book.

Nowhere in or out of the books has she claimed that some of her legends are true and others are false. Her only claim is that the legends are "all actual Quileute legends."

Twilight reader DMarks responds further:

This Anonymous Twihard's "For all we know anyone could become a werewolf if a vampire was near" statement is clearly false in the context of the series. There are two kinds of werewolves in the series. One is the traditional kind: full moon, can become one when bitten by another werewolf, etc. These are only mentioned in passing. The others, the main werewolves of the series, are the Quileute wolf-man shapeshifters. These are the only ones mentioned where someone can become a wolf if vampires are near. Nothing implies that anyone in the whole world does this except for these Quileutes.

Anonymous Twihard's "real legends" point attempts to make a distinction between Meyer's references to actual Quileute folklore and her own made up wolf shapeshifter material. In fact, there is no distinction whatsoever between these at all in the series. She treats it all as authentic in the context of her series.

Rob said...

Anonymous said...

"Nowhere in or out of the books has she claimed that some of her legends are true and others are false. Her only claim is that the legends are 'all actual Quileute legends.'"

I agree. I am fan of the books but I do agree this is not right. She should not have first of all used a tribe's legends without permission and then changed them or used them in part to support her story without checking if this was offensive to them. Never should claim them all to be true of the tribe's beliefs.

Also if she was going to use the the legends in whole or in part there should have been disclaimer that the legends were changed or used partially so people would know the Twilight version is not the exact version of the tribe's beliefs.

You know Catholics were upset and up in arms over the the Da Vinci Code because of the poor portrayal of their beliefs and faith. As a Christian I didn't get upset--it was a story but I could see why Catholics were offended by their portrayal.

Books like Twilight and Da Vinci will always offend some people because you are taking a particular group of people--whether a Native tribe or Catholics and using the spiritual beliefs as a backdrop in a story.

However at least in Twilight the Natives are NOT portrayed as a villains as the Catholic sect was in Da Vinci. The Twilight Indians other then the wolf issues which you take offense to are actually heroic. I do wish you would read the series with all the posts you have done on it.

Rob said...

Good point about using the Quileute legends without permission, Anonymous. That's a huge violation of Native ethics.

I addressed the issue of the werewolves' heroism in Noble Savages in Twilight and Are Good Native Werewolves Okay? Check 'em out if you're interested.

If y'all don't want to address the question of whether Meyer fibbed, feel free to address the broader point I made in The Problem with Quileute Werewolves. Namely:

Non-Natives have a long history of borrowing Native legends, stories, concepts, beliefs, and practices. And then simplifying them, changing them, sometimes bastardizing them beyond recognition. The result is a mishmash of mistakes and stereotypes amid nuggets of actual information.

No wonder people don't understand Indians. Their primary source is popular media such as the Twilight books. Which are based on "genuine Quileute stories," according to Meyer.

Anonymous said...

It's so pathetic to see all the Twihard fanbrats whining every time you write a blog about Meyer's fake Quileute legends. That's the thing about these guys, they can't take ANY criticism. Twilight is such a horrid series to begin with, and most of the fanbase is full of crazies who worship it and lash out at anyone who makes even slightly negative comments about it.

Anonymous said...

Just because the actors portraying the Native Americans are portraying the Native Americans doesn't mean they don't see something wrong for the part. Both Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart can be quoted as stating that they HATE their characters in Twilight.