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Saturday, March 5, 2011

MLIT: Mr. Cullen Goes To Washington

Sooner or later, someone is going to have the good sense to read Breaking Dawn chapter 18 on the floor of the House of Representatives.

BD chapter 18 is the chapter in which (SPOILER ALERT) a hugely pregnant and dying Bella Cullen (nee Swan) gives birth to a healthy paranormal baby. It is a grotesquely gory scene, full of vomited blood and broken bones (a full breakdown of which will be posted on my blog in a day or two). Bella's body is crushed and torn to rags and in the end, she dies. She comes back as a vampire, but for a while she's just a dead pile of skin and blood and splintered bones.

In this sense, Bella is exactly the kind of wife Republicans seem to want; they so actively devalue the life of the mother over the lives of children that this scene, in which Edward bites open his wife's stomach to save the life of his child, should represent some kind of twisted Platonic ideal. Before this, Bella rather nobly eschews her own health for the sake of the baby at every turn, and prepares to die in order for it to live. This is outrageous to Jacob who is, obviously, a minority.

Earlier, Bella gamely goes along with Edward's request that they marry before having sex, which he explicitly tells her is to ensure the heavenly protection of her mortal soul. And indeed they only have sex twice on their honeymoon, because Bella gets instantly pregnant. As it should be, right? In the world of Twilight, sex is only something married people do, and even then only to make babies.

The celebrated kinkiness of the aforementioned sex scene is only kinky in the minds of Twilight's readers, who all must go through a bizarre, collective delusion of a bargaining process when they read this stuff in order to come to the conclusions they come to; most of them have very little basis in the text itself, which is another reason this book should endear itself to such fans of the Bible.

 Plus, the entire series is a prolonged sexual tease, which in the words of James Franco, "just builds and builds." It does not build to a cathartic, explicit sex scene, but rather to this bloody violent spectacle of a birthing scene. Go figure.

 There are moments that do not jibe with the Republican worldview. Edward, as you (may) know, can read minds. A chapter or so before the birthing scene he suddenly starts hearing the child's thoughts within the womb. By then, Bella is obviously extremely pregnant. S. Meyer thus inadvertently suggests that life does NOT begin at the precise moment of conception. Oh dear.

 But that part isn't in chapter 18, which is basically the conservative fantasy birth. A healthy baby, a dead mother.

Sure, there will be no one to raise the baby, but the current Republican legislative thrust doesn't take that into account anyway; their view on life is quantity over quality. Someone will take care of the kid, or it will just disappear like babies do on sitcoms. This is a fantasy, after all.

I've been stupidly reading Twilight as a work of literature. It isn't one. A few weeks ago when I was chastising it for perpetuating gender stereotypes, I wrote that literature is supposed to gently correct society's problems, not accidentally reflect them. But again: Twilight is not literature. Twilight is a mirror, throwing all of our psychosexual issues right back at us.

So, yeah, somebody should really read this to the 112th congress. They'd dig it.


  1. Obviously, a woman's responsibility is subservience in all things: to her husband, to her rapist, and to the wise council of old white guys who totally understand the psychological implications of carrying a rape baby and how its not that big of a deal. Besides, if you die giving birth, no one's upset about the rape anymore! Win-win!

  2. UGH, so dark, and so true daffyphack.

  3. Damn, nice job on the post, I really liked it.