December 16, 2012

Twilight: Psychic Surveillance

Twilight, pp. 171-178.

Bella, her hunger sated by the end of a breadstick she nibbled, is ready to get down to what's really important: What color Edward's eyes are.

"Usually you're in a better mood when your eyes are so light," I commented, trying to distract him from whatever thought had left him frowning and somber.

He stared at me, stunned. "What?"

"You're always crabbier when your eyes are black--I expect it then," I went on. "I have a theory about that."

"More theories?"

"Mm-hm." I chewed on a small bite of the bread, trying to look indifferent. 

"I hope you were more creative this time...or are you still stealing from comic books?" His faint smile was mocking; his eyes were still tight.

His eyes were still tight? Okay, help me out here, people. What the hell is Meyer talking about? I've been on this Earth a few decades, and English is my tool, and I've never once see or heard eyes described as "tight", probably because it makes no fucking sense. But at least this passage explains my earlier issues with how the Cullens can get away with living in Forks under their original names for generations (not continuously, perhaps, but often enough that plenty of people who knew them would still be living when they came back) without being noticed. The people of Forks are apparently so unobservant they don't notice the radical changes in Edward's eye color (from amber to black) and the accompanying radical changes in behavior. Even more hilarious is Edward's shock at someone's figuring this out. It ain't exactly brain surgery, there, Eddie. We're not talking about eyes that sometimes look green and sometimes look blue and sometimes look grey. Forks may be a town of dullards, but anyone with even half a brain could piece that together.

Of course, a meta-explanation is that Edward doesn't behave any differently no matter what color his eyes are. So far he's been the same smug, condescending asshole in every scene. You know, like Clooney.

The "stealing from comic books" line is of course a reference to Bella's earlier speculation that Edward might be Spider-Man or Superman (which he basically is, though since dumb ol' girls don't buy books about superheroes, Meyer made the book about vampires). Bella does have a theory, and baby, it's the stupidest moment in the book yet. And that's saying something.

I glared at him and continued slowly. "Let's say, hypothetically, that...someone...could know what people are thinking, read minds, you know--with a few exceptions."

That's...just...imPOSSIBLE. Where the hell did she get that? She hasn't had any reason to believe Edward can read minds. Come on! He has never once told her anything that anyone was thinking. As I noted last week, the film has Edward say in the car that he read the minds of the four gangers, and during the restaurant scene, he allegedly demonstrates this power by telling her what some of the other patrons are thinking. (I say "allegedly" because Bella makes no attempt to confirm that what he says is in fact what they're thinking, because of course she knows, because Meyer knows.) But at least the film threw us that bone. The novel doesn't even do that. Out of nowhere, Bella suddenly starts talking about mind-reading. That didn't even come up in her vampire Googling!

And what's with the exceptions? Why would there be any exceptions? Is that the way most people conceive of mind-reading powers? They work on everybody except Catholics, or people under 5'3", or redheads? How hard would it have been for Meyer to have Edward occasionally let slip that he "heard" something that someone didn't actually say? The answer is not at all since the film seemed to do it with no trouble. Stephenie [sic] Meyer is just that lazy.

Our leads play this game of "hypothetically" while they both know it isn't hypothetical and admire each other for figuring out their little game in the way that only annoying pretentious teenagers can. Bella outlines that she came up with the mind-reading thing to explain how Edward was there to rescue her from the criminal scum. (No attempt is made to explain where the exceptions idea came from.) Okay, that's the most plausible explanation? Not that he has some sort of danger sense (I mean, she already guessed he was Spider-Man), or clairvoyance, or psychic powers? How about this one, honey? He's stalking you. See? It explains everything and doesn't require an appeal to anything supernatural.

They go over the "I'm dangerous" thing yet again (still not buying it), and then Edward says that he was stalking her. (Bingo!) Okay, I'm paraphrasing. He says that he followed her to Port Angeles, for her own protection, of course, not because he's a creep who enjoys breaking into a young girl's house to watch her sleep. Then he reveals that he constantly reads Jessica's mind in order to keep tabs on Bella.

If you're reading this sentence, you didn't fully appreciate the last one. Go back and read it again until you get it. I'll wait.

Five. Star. Creepy. Edward constantly monitors a young girl's thoughts. It's the ultimate invasion of privacy, a gross violation of a person's most sacred space, and Jessica is subjected to it precisely because she's been nothing but friendly and welcoming to Bella, so how does Bella react to Edward's morally reprehensible act of psychic breaking and entering in the service of his constant surveillance of her whereabouts? Shock? Horror? Rage? Fear of who else he might be monitoring?

I hope you're sitting down for this, because I don't want to be responsible for giving anyone the vapors: Bella...doesn't react. At all. Edward continues speaking about how he found her after she left Jessica's awareness--by "randomly searching the thoughts of people on the street", natch--until he heard the thoughts of the go-gangers, and Bella lets it all pass without comment. Edward explains that he kept her with him instead of letting her go with her friends because otherwise he would've stalked and slain the miscreants. Finishing his story, Edward is ready to take Bella home. Her thoughts "incoherent", Bella is clear that she doesn't want to leave the presence of the ambulating cadaver who's been reading her best friend's most intimate thoughts for the past week without anyone's knowledge or consent.

Remember, girls: If he doesn't use invasive surveillance techniques to keep himself constantly informed of your whereabouts, it isn't True Love.

Aaaaaand...chapter! Yep, Edward gets the check, they get in the car about to start a conversation...and the chapter ends, right after the conversation's opening line. Were chapter breaks mandated every 20 pages or something?

So...yeah. We're done for the week, I guess. Don't look at me, I didn't insert a random chapter break. Anyhow, tune in next week for more hot talking-to-each-other-in-the-car action!


  1. Your loathing of everything Stevenie Meyeresque is entertaining to behold.

    1. Oh, I'm so stealing "Stevenie" from this point forward.