July 22, 2009

The Twilight Movie Review Your Boyfriend Doesn't Want You To Read

If you're watching it, it's for you.

It's not hard to see why Twilight is popular among teen girls.  The plot is a simple one-- teen girl falls in love with her teen classmate who is actually a 100 year old vampire named Edward Cullen, can they be together?  It captures the thrill of first time love, when every little gesture or word always had a magnificent subtext.  A caress of the face more stimulating than any orgasm. Etc.

The actress who plays the ambivalent Bella really nails the dazed, depressive vulnerability of this demo of teen girl, jerky head movements conveying emotional confusion, lips permanently parted trying to form words for feelings she can't sort out:


this is my face.jpg
and she has it right down to the borderline sleeve:

borderline sleeve.jpg
Personal aside: in my life, the borderline sleeve meant two things: the girl would like me, and I would regret it.

II.

Thing is, the movie might be for teen girls, but it was watched by a lot of other people.  Opening weekend, half the audience was women over 25.

Perhaps it reminded these older (?) jaded women of a more honest love, where a man was willing to devote himself entirely to the woman.  All of his history and all of his development are just prelude to this love, to this relationship.  And he's willing to be a man, he's going to be the strong one, he's going demand full devotion back, he's going to be jealous but never lay a hand on you; he's going to respect you, care for you, he's going to pay for all of the dinner and yes, he's going to drive, dammit.

Men are wusses.  Got it.

But let this movie serve also as a warning to the women who felt it touch them: if you actually meet an Edward Cullen in real life, quickly contaminate yourself with the AIDS virus-- because it is already too late to run.

III.

Here's the basic problem with the movie vis a vis the longing women in the audience: vampires don't exist.

Duh, you say, I don't want a vampire, I want an Edward Cullen.

Actually, you don't, here's why.

Take the movie and delete any scenes-- and there aren't that many anyway-- in which Edward shows supernatural powers.  You will think this an odd directoral maneuver, but I promise you it's quite revealing.

Doing this changes the movie to the story of a boy who says he's something, but the objective audience never gets to see any evidence for it.  He convinces this lonely, awkward, identity-less girl that he is a vampire, and he does this not with proof but by force of personality.  They then act out the rest of the same movie. 

Now what's the movie about? It's about a guy manipulating a vulnerable girl.

The movie then becomes exactly what it really is already, though confused by the distraction of vampirism.  She's looking for a boy to be a man for her, in the absence of a father for that role.  But it's 2009-- there aren't any such men, because the existing young men weren't raised to be men, they weren't raised to track accepted roles. Because the fathers checked out on them, too, emotionally if not physically.   So the best any boy can come up with-- lacking any model for identity-- is to make it up.

IV.

Edward seems always ambivalent: on the one hand he's a vampire, on the other hand he loves her.  "You don't know how much I want to kill you."  That's touching.  He spends the first third of the movie enraged/disgusted/infatuated with her. 

The explanation in the movie is that he's a vampire and she's an innocent.  The explanation in real life is that she's searching for something that gives her meaning, and he's faking it.  He never hated her, he was never disgusted by her.  You get distracted by the vampire photo on the cover, that part is irrelevant.

Here's an example.  In the early part of the movie, brooding/dangerous Edward tells Bella, "I don't think it's a good idea for us to be friends."  This is supposed to show his ambivalence towards her, which some also take as a sign of his disrespect of her.  Except that when he says this, at this point in the movie, they aren't actually friends.  In fact, she wasn't even talking to him-- he literally ran across the parking lot, came up behind her, and opened up with that statement. 

we shouldn't be friends.jpg
I know you weren't talking to me, but I have something to tell you



Anyone other than me ever been 15?  You only do that when you want to start being friends.  It's a move.   He has no ambivalence at all.

Here's another example: he (again) sneaks up behind her-- after eavesdropping, mind you--  and says all broody, "what's in Jacksonville?" and she says, "How did you find out about that?"  To which he responds, even more broody, "you didn't answer my question."

Most people's response to him would be to stab him in the eye, who does this jerk think he is?  And hence I can see why some audience might see him as a disrespectful misogynist.   However, I'm not sure girls are aware of this, but if there are any honest men reading this blog they'll know-- it's also a move.  He doesn't actually want to know what's in Jacksonville,-- he just wants to talk to her.  He's not annoyed she didn't answer his question; what he wants is to convey the impression of a deep, brooding intellect who doesn't have time for "games."  (Not having time for games is itself a game.)

She doesn't stab him in the eye because he knows she won't stab him in the eye.  He acts like that and says that because he knows she'll respond like that.  He's performing scripted dialogue, he's trying to get her to say her part that he wrote for her.

A few scenes later-- yup, sneaks up behind her again, ladies, if a guy comes up behind you and says, well, anything, then he wants to bone you-- he says some brooding/dark things and then says, "...it just means if you were smart, you'd stay away from me." Oooooh.   That statement is factually correct, as it stands.  But what he meant is, "I'm very mysterious, even though I'm not.  Can I touch your boobs now?"

"Your mood swings are giving me whiplash."  Ah, so you've been paying attention to me.

V.

Vampires don't exist, so there's little danger in 15 yo girls falling in love with them.  The real danger is a 15yo boy tries to emulate Edward.  You take a semi-lost 15yo boy, he looks around and perhaps he's written off the cheerleaders or the prom queen because he figures they're out of his league.  He has an instinctive pull towards someone like Bella, pretty but attainable, attainable because she's semi-lost herself.  And the boy says to himself, if I want to get a Bella, I guess I have to be an Edward.

In the movie Bella says to Edward, "I can see what you're trying to put off, it's to keep people away from you, it's a mask."  Adolescents love to talk about masks and fronts, "that's not the real you."  Because if the mask isn't the real you, then there is a real you after all.  Looked at this way, the real mask-- i.e. the fake identity-- is the one the boy is consciously putting off for her to discover, the brooding artist only she can see.

All of this is typical of adolescence and therefore normal.  But to you >25 year old women who liked the movie, the guy you met who seems a little Edward Culleny is a fraud, and a dangerous one.

Bella says to Edward: "this stuff doesn't exist, it isn't real."  He responds: "It does in my world."  Yeah.  That's the problem.


VI.

Here's a part of the movie no one else seemed to have any problem with: her acceptance into Edward's family.  Edward's family is "perfect"-- rich, loving artists who play baseball in the rain. Edward brings Bella home to meet them, and they welcome her warmly with no reservations. (Only one daughter objects.)

Edward's father says, "she's one of us now."  Well, of course, she's not, right?  On some level Bella must know she's not one of them, she's someone else, right?  For example, she already has a family, remember them? and she's not a vampire.

But if her identity isn't tied to these real things-- Bella is the main character of the story, but I'll bet you don't know her last name--  then it's not a big leap for her to become one of them.

It's not hard to see how a girl like this gets lost-- her parents either don't exist or are near perfect narcissists.  Her mom has decided to roam the country with her baseball player boyfriend.    On a phone call, the mom asks Bella if she has a boy in her life, and Bella says yes.  Here are the next three questions, word for word, that the mother-- 2000 miles away but still parenting!-- asks Bella to best characterize the relationship: "is he a jock? Indie?... Are you being safe?"  I almost expected her to ask if he voted for Obama.  Are these really the most illuminating questions you ask a 17yo with her first boyfriend?  If she said he was a jock, does that give the mom any real understanding into what that boy might be like, what he might mean to her?  Of course not, but the boy's not real to the mother, so she can't imagine him as a person with his own existence.  She can't really comprehend her own daughter's existence outside of her own.

Meanwhile, Dad is physically present in the way a quark is physically present, it's there, I guess, it does something but God only knows what.

So when a young girl's family is this hazy, it is natural that a teen might fantasize about hooking up with a more defined family-- even if it's made of vampires.

For you middle aged folks, the analogy is 80s sitcoms.  There was always a friend coming over the house, and that friend was almost an extension of the family.  Skippy could walk in  without knocking, and mom was always happy to cook  him breakfast.  She counseled him, hugged him; he'd open the refrigerator like it was his house and no one shot him.  I used to think, wow, doesn't Skippy's real mom mind he's never at home?  But I wasn't mature enough to understand that the fact that Skippy could be away all the time meant precisely that she didn't care.  The friend's real family was loose and uninvolved.  So he found a new one.

In the final act, bad vampires are trying to kill Bella, so Edward brings her to his family for protection.  Edward's father says, "I'll defend her like family."  That sounds awesome, but here's a bit of reality: any father who so readily admits a stranger to the family at the risk of death to the other actual family members is whacked. 

But that's not how a young girl might see things, because she's not just hiding out in her BF's house, she's becoming part of his family.  I sympathize with this kind of magical thinking in a teen with no strong family bonds of her own, I really do, I have no beef with your fantasies. My beef is with the boy who thinks nothing of putting his family at risk in order to save his girlfriend.  And even that's not as romantic as it sounds-- any guy who would do this is doing it for himself, not for the girl.  He's not doing it because he doesn't want her to die; he's doing it because he doesn't want to live without her.

The movie-- and the boy-- are already showing that established family bonds can be quickly restructured to suit the passions of the boy.  He's willing to alter reality and family for what he wants.  What if his passions change?  What if she gets fat?  What chance does this kind of a relationship have long term?   Zero.  Here's my point: we are raising those exact kids right now.

VII.

No one hands kids identities anymore, no one says, "this is who you are, now start acting like it."  You're a man, here's what men do; your last name is X, that's who you are.  Etc.

What we're teaching kids is to make it up as they go along.  So they do.  Or, they just morph into someone else's life.

The patterns will stay: she'll go on to have those kind of relationships, because that's the method she's learned to get that kind of passion.  And he'll go on to pretend he's somebody/something-- different each time, perhaps, but each time with conviction-- because that's how he's learned you score a chick.  And why would he learn anything different?  His parents aren't any kind of role model in this regard.  TV is death.  No one reads books-- except Twilight, apparently.  Even porn is infested with MILF nonsense, obviously directed towards middle aged adults.  Those narcissists are so focused on their own world that they only have the imagination to fantasize about people who are already exactly like their wives; but they are too disgusted by themselves to penetrate them.  Easier to fantasize that someone else is doing it.

Tell me, please, how can any teen boy respect or learn from an adult who not only bookmarks porn, but bookmarks MILF porn?

Twilight is an accurate depiction of the moves and sensations of first time love.  By second time love, by age 30, there should be some maturity.

This is what it looks like when you don't.

----

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych










Comments

"No one hands kids identiti... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2009 6:28 PM | Posted by neuroskeptic: | Reply

"No one hands kids identities anymore, no one says, "this is who you are, now start acting like it." You're a man, here's what men do; your last name is X, that's who you are. Etc."

Aren't we actually saying - who you are is someone who has to make it up as you go along. You're an individual. Now go and be like the all other individuals. Go and be "alternative" if you want, nay, you pretty much have to.

Which is, luckily, much less dangerous than actually depriving them of an identity.

?

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Wow, you don't have to be a... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2009 7:46 PM | Posted by Steve: | Reply

Wow, you don't have to be a psychiatrist to peg that woman as a narcissist. Her picture should be next to "narcissist" in the dictionary.

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But he called her borderlin... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2009 8:20 PM | Posted by spriteless: | Reply

But he called her borderline, the other half of a narcissist.

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I heard that they never hav... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2009 8:25 PM | Posted by Paula: | Reply

I heard that they never have sex but have chemistry- I knew only a women would come up with a story line like that. I tried to watch the movis, horrible- beyond horrible, had to turn it off. Give me "Interview...." anytime. Even Dracula with Gary Oldham is better. Never have to consumate the relationship.....please.

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for what its worth, I haven... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2009 8:51 PM | Posted by Carol : | Reply

for what its worth, I haven't seen the movie nor read the book - it sounds awful - but have you thought about the Buffy the Vampire Slayer vs Edward as cultural phenomena?

And are you saying that something like what used to happen is better than now? I certainly don't see that my father was particularly happy or good at being a man, although he certainly was one (in the traditional sense)

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- 'borderline sleeve'? I've... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2009 9:59 PM | Posted by Bob: | Reply

- 'borderline sleeve'? I've -never- heard of that before in my life. What does that -mean-? (google doesn't help, that search is interesting in itself)

- "any father who so readily admits a stranger to the family at the risk of death to the other actual family members is whacked" - Jews were hidden by non-Jews in the WWII Europe (surely not often). Depends on the situation.

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"TV is death"excel... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2009 10:14 PM | Posted by the0ther: | Reply

"TV is death"

excellent point.

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I don't get why a 25+ year ... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2009 10:22 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I don't get why a 25+ year old woman would want to see that movie. Based on your assessment it does sound stupid. But, even more perplexing is hearing of a male in his late 50's (I'm guessing here) psychiatrist seeing the movie.

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First, I'm glad to find a b... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2009 11:29 PM | Posted by WillSpirit: | Reply

First, I'm glad to find a blogger who writes posts as long as (actually, longer than) my own. The fact that I read your whole essay, start to finish, gives me hope that maybe more than an occasional person will read mine, too.

But my real reason for commenting is that my take on the movie differs from yours, though in the end I reach the same conclusion: the movie sucks as a message to young people. The flaws in Edward's behavior (which mostly come down to plain rudeness), and the weakness displayed by Bella are prominent, but did not seem all that different from the vapid relationships standard to Hollywood movies. As always, the girl's main attraction is (surprise) beauty mixed with vulnerability or need, and the guy's is power. Usually the hollywood hero gets his power from being a 'tough guy', like Edward, but sometimes he has other skills or proxies for machismo. In Twilight our hero gets extra macho points for superhuman powers, immortality, and cannabilistic tendencies. As for Edward's narcissism, it did not strike me as very far off the median for Hollywood film characters (or stars, for that matter).

Nor did I see Edward as a fraud, or only pursuing Bella for selfish ends, as if he did not truly care for her. What struck me instead was his voracious hunger for this young girl. What's more, the movie made it clear that his appetite was specific to Bella. He wasn't just interested in girls: he wantedher and only her. She was his 'heroin' (he actually said this!), and he craved her the way a junkie craves a fix. In fact, this young actor did not pull that ravenous hunger off; he seemed flat, passionless, and sullen. But the script was very clear: he wanted to devour the young woman, body and soul.

Now, I am a middle aged heterosexual man, but even I can see how exciting (and erotic) it must be for a girl to imagine someone wanting her that completely. It must be a delicious fantasy for an adolescent girl to imagine a boy not just being sexually attracted to her, but to actually want to consume her entire body as if it were the most delectable treat imaginable. Fact is, who would not be thrilled to be that desired by a gorgeous potential mate? Sure, it would get tedious and oppressive eventually, but at first? And how many teenage girls are going to care how irritating it might be ten years later when this guy still has orgasms every time she nicks her leg shaving? The story goes beyond the flutter of young love, and strikes to the core of what it feels like to be a sexually mature human: to hope that our lover will crave getting physical with us. And isn't adolescence ultimately about becoming sexually (if not emotionally) mature?

If there is a pernicious message here, it is that the path for a young woman to feel worthy is to attract another's affection, and that the more intense the other's need/love, the better she should feel. The idea that obsessive love is a good thing is not new, but it would be better to teach girls to seek a relationship with appropriate boundaries, mutual give and take, compatible personalities, and about more than 'mere' physical desire. But hey, this is a Hollywood vampire movie! Expecting the entertainment industry to provide proper messages to young people, especially in a film about cannibals, is like being shocked that internet porn caters to the sexual frustrations and misplaced fantasies of married men. Or that some men (even fathers) succumb to the dark genies of their libido.

Panning a film for promoting rotten morals is fine, but where does it get us? No female (whether fifteen or fifty) is going to stay away for that reason, anymore than the paunchy sex-starved husband will quit flagging naughty wife fantasies. A better approach is probably to educate kids to recognize the faulty value structure of the media they consume, and adopt a healthier set of ethics. If Mom pants after vampires, and Dad navigates to pictures of naked forty-year-olds on the sly, then the kid has his or her work to do. But some kids, at least, are up to the task.

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No one hands kids ... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2009 11:31 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

No one hands kids identities anymore, no one says, "this is who you are, now start acting like it." You're a man, here's what men do; your last name is X, that's who you are. Etc.

What a shame. My old man told me I was a loser and I'd best hold onto whatever job I could get because the world was a hostile place. He told me you never got what you wanted, you got what you got and were lucky to get that. He told me men act like men by avoiding feelings, the expression of feelings and by acting in manly ways (you dressed and looked a certain way)- oh yeah ... I was an "X" which meant I was a catholic, better than all those other pretenders, and we didn't ask for help from anyone. And don't think any other family is any different, we were just like everyone else. Well ... except for the physical and sexual abuse we were also taught.

Family values. Ya gotta wonder ... if there was this halcyon age where men were men ... how come they fucked up so bad they raised this entire generation you've judged over and over to be narcissistic? Sounds to me like these "real men" didn't have a clue and really missed the mark in tellin' the kiddos "this is who you are, now start acting like it," in order to save them from narcissism. If it were a job, they woulda been fired, right?

Hmmm. Should I chose clueless stupidity or narcissism? Such a hard choice. Or maybe the commentary is just like the movie ... cliche after cliche after cliche .... A simulacrum of analysis.

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Good thing TLP is there to ... (Below threshold)

July 23, 2009 12:59 AM | Posted by BS_caller: | Reply

Good thing TLP is there to warn all 25+ year old women away from predatory narcissistic men. There isn't much of a sophistication difference between a girl Bella's age and a 25+ year old woman anyway, other than perhaps waning attractiveness and increasing bitterness. Nuttin' misogynistic about that, nope...
In TLP's world only men are truly allowed to be narcissists; men are only allowed to become anything. Women are victims, or potential victims. Borderline sleeve, lol.
I assure you the majority of adult women watching this movie are fully aware Edward Cullen doesn't - and can't - exist in real life. It's a fantasy. We're supposed to ignore reality (that in real life, anyone who behaved as Edward Cullen would most likely be pathological in some way) and just take the movie as a story of an intense, passionate teen romance. Real life is boring. Vampires and brooding artists are sexy.

For women in their late 20s who have life on hold dreaming of Edward Cullen... well, there's not much I can say. There are also a lot of men in their late 20s who aren't much interested in relationships with real women because of internet porn. *shrug* .
I don't think it is as much about "narcissism" as it is the simple fact that there are a subset of individuals who are quite happy to live in an islanded fantasy world rather than step foot in the less glamorous and more difficult one IRL.

And I think the MILF phenomenon more relates to boredom with extreme youth that's been forced down our throats during economic high times of early 2000/late 90s. Long time ago, you couldn't escape tween media on the television because of all the disposable income parents were dishing out to their kids. Stars became extremely young. Times have changed. Kids have less money. Pop culture changes. Pop culture (porn too?) did a little bit of an about face with all the talk of MILFs and cougars and such... Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz/JTim . It's practical (targeting people who have money) and novel (thus interesting).

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Wow. Excellent post. I real... (Below threshold)

July 23, 2009 7:40 AM | Posted by Dolores: | Reply

Wow. Excellent post. I really like the posts on analyzing pop culture (Surveillance, The Hills) you've been writing lately.

First of all: what's a borderline sleeve? Google doesn't give me any answers and I really wonder what it means.

Being a 24-year old single female your posts definitely don't make me more optimistic about ever coming across someone who isn't a complete narcissist - maybe I should consider dating older men!

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Can't you just watch a movi... (Below threshold)

July 23, 2009 8:28 AM | Posted by Anon: | Reply

Can't you just watch a movie for what it is, a movie, without dissecting it into something it may or may not actually be? I could write about 10 different interpretations of the move aside from yours if I really wanted to. Spend enough time and you can turn the deeper meaning of a movie into anything you want.

Its a movie! Sit back, relax, and enjoy it.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar - just like a movie is sometimes just a movie.

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Do you have evidence that t... (Below threshold)

July 23, 2009 8:37 AM | Posted by Nancy Lebovitz: | Reply

Do you have evidence that things have gotten worse? Or of what proportion of young people are as you decribe them?

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my guess is the "borderline... (Below threshold)

July 23, 2009 9:04 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

my guess is the "borderline sleeve" refers to wearing sleeves so long that they come down to the middle of your hand (and usually have a hole for your thumb so that they stay down) to cover up all the cuts/burns you've made on your arms.

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After reading that Atlantic... (Below threshold)

July 23, 2009 9:32 AM | Posted by yonas: | Reply

After reading that Atlantic article I cancelled my subscription. I couldn't subscribe to the idea (and magazine) that mature intelligent adults should be so childish and self-congradulatory.

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Adolescents love to tal... (Below threshold)

July 23, 2009 9:34 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Adolescents love to talk about masks and fronts, "that's not the real you."

Is that true? That it is mostly just adolescents that like to talk about masks and fronts? I did see that in my experience as an adolescent. But, as an adolescent who spent a lot of time in mental health care, I also saw that encouraged by mental health care professionals. They sometimes told us to take off our masks and not pretend to be people we weren't for the sake of others. But at other times they told us "fake it 'til you make it", which I take to basically mean "wear a mask of being okay and not crazy and someday it will fuse to your face so it won't really be a mask anymore." Mask obsession is an adolescent trope, but in the hospital (I was 18 on my first admission, so I was always with adults or an adolescent/adult mix) the professionals apply it to everyone. Perhaps those professionals never really made it out of adolescence? Perhaps those professionals tried to work with adolescents using their own tropes but failed miserably?

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Adolescents love to talk... (Below threshold)

July 23, 2009 10:53 AM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

Adolescents love to talk about masks and fronts, "that's not the real you." J.D. Salinger made a whole career writing about teen Holden Caulfield and all the "phonys" Holden ran into in his world in "Catcher in the Rye".

Bella's father is a piece of work. When his daughter comes to live with him in Washington state, they have a [relatively long] conversation [for him]. At the end of it, Bella says to herself, "You don't hover". understatement of the year. Dad's concern with Edward is: (a) don't have sex with my daughter, and (b) don't physically hurt her. Beyond that, Dad's Dad skills and connection with his daughter appear close to zero.

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But, even more perplexin... (Below threshold)

July 23, 2009 3:45 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Jane: | Reply

But, even more perplexing is hearing of a male in his late 50's (I'm guessing here) psychiatrist seeing the movie.

Good point, but Alone gets a pass because he's analyzing narcissism in popular culture, not seeking entertainment. ;-)

Gen X, the generation scorned so frequently on this blog and in which the author claims membership, was born between 1961-1981. At most he's 48.

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The rant about identity con... (Below threshold)

July 24, 2009 2:55 AM | Posted by Andrew "Dman" Townsend: | Reply

The rant about identity construction really resonated for me.. I'm nearing 30 at the moment and well, the question of "who am I?" keeps coming up. The answer always seems to be to construct the man I want to become,.. I never had any "male role models" either..

Not complaining, but its kind of hard to learn to surf unless you're getting taught by a surfer, right?

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re:"Sometimes a cigar is ju... (Below threshold)

July 24, 2009 3:36 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

re:"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"

the last psychiatrist is talking from his thoughts and observations, they could be right, or they could be wrong interpretations. It is just spinoff entertainment from the movie.

I found the last psychiatrists "Here's the basic problem with the movie vis a vis the longing women in the audience: vampires don't exist."
Very amusing, as his profession of psychiatry creates/"finds" them.

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While I completely agree wi... (Below threshold)

July 24, 2009 8:33 AM | Posted by Richard: | Reply

While I completely agree with the blog post, I can't help but think it's a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. I imagine one would be hard-pressed to find any "chick-flick" Rom-com where the main male love interest would be a suitable guy in reality. Maybe that could be an interesting challenge? And to make it even harder, see if such a film exists where the (original) writer or director is female.

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borderline sleeves! that cr... (Below threshold)

July 24, 2009 5:08 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

borderline sleeves! that cracks me up! if the phrase gets used enough, it will get eligible for wikipedia. since the girl is an adolescent, a higher level of diagnostic criteria is needed. when i first started working in the psych field, self-cutting was truly rare, and meant something severe. then i figured out that the likelihood of self-cutting increased with the likelihood of a friend having done the same thing. so with a pt, you might ask: do you know of any other ppl who have done this? do you look at websites? etc. kind of like how you determine if it is normal / culturally common for a person to be talking / seeingdead relatives before you dx schizophrenia.


borderline sleeves! LOL.

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Way off topic, but... (Below threshold)

July 25, 2009 8:54 AM | Posted, in reply to medsvstherapy's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Way off topic, but

poster name, "medsvstherapy" ?

does that imply that meds do something different from actual therapy. Seems like your name should really be the lot longer medstherapyvsrealtherapy !

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I've been reading your blog... (Below threshold)

July 25, 2009 10:10 PM | Posted by rDigital: | Reply

I've been reading your blog for over a year now. Thank you for being brutally honest and telling it how it is (from your POV). I now see narcissism everywhere. Thanks for the paranoia. Happy Saturday.

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You can tell by the tone of... (Below threshold)

July 26, 2009 3:45 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

You can tell by the tone of the article that that woman is a self centered harlot...she mentions her extramarital affair as if it is nothing and plays down the damage her divorce will cause her children. "They will be ok, they're used to it." Well I guess no one cares about what happens to the supporting cast anyway. I bet her father thought the same thing when he came home and screamed at her every night. She is an example of a typical drama-queen/daddy issues girl.

Men, NEVER date a girl with daddy issues, she will never be happy with you, not because of you but because of herself.

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This was a really good, tho... (Below threshold)

July 27, 2009 8:15 AM | Posted by Jon Schnapp: | Reply

This was a really good, thoughtful review. The postmodernist-theory-educated fine artist in me enjoys the deconstrustion of pop culture.

You've maybe not seen it, but elements of this film remind me strongly of a recent Swedish vampire-romance film called "Let the Right One In." A compare/contrast between the two might be interesting.

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Being a 24-year old sing... (Below threshold)

July 29, 2009 1:57 AM | Posted, in reply to Dolores's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Being a 24-year old single female your posts definitely don't make me more optimistic about ever coming across someone who isn't a complete narcissist - maybe I should consider dating older men!

We're out there. But speaking frankly, it took a great deal of work to become a man. Accordingly, we expect a woman, not just a female. Are you prepared to hold up your end?

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Well, Anonymous who respond... (Below threshold)

July 29, 2009 9:55 AM | Posted by La BellaDonna: | Reply

Well, Anonymous who responded to Dolores, who at least provided a name, instead of posting a response guaranteed to make most women roll their eyes and keep looking, why don't you TELL Dolores what "Accordingly, we expect a woman, not just a female. Are you prepared to hold up your end?" means to you, so that she can actually respond? It could cause all kinds of confusion, after all, if Dolores were to think to herself, "Well, I already AM a woman, so - YES!" or, perhaps, "What ... does he mean I should respond as if I were forty-eight? Should I already own a house? Does that mean a 1950s kind of forty-eight? To hell with it, I'll get a cat!"

So, Anonymous, what end do you expect Dolores to hold up, and in what way should she hold it?

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What does the name matter? ... (Below threshold)

July 30, 2009 9:42 AM | Posted, in reply to La BellaDonna's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

What does the name matter? You cannot use it to come find me. Is my response measured by the quality of the name I assume?

A woman knows her own mind, and acts on it. Or, more accurately, refrains from acting. She does not wait to be told what archetype to act out in order to get her shot at someone acting out another archetype. The life you have chosen is irrelevant, so long as you have chosen it, and are content in it. If you cannot even do that, how can any relationship last? -unless you are so empty that we can fill you up ourselves. And I for one have better things to do.

In other words, we're waiting for someone a little more grown up than you.
La BellaDonna is too much name for you. La BellaFemmina suits you better. Enjoy your cat.

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I wrote 'female' instead of... (Below threshold)

July 31, 2009 5:51 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Dolores: | Reply

I wrote 'female' instead of 'girl' or 'woman' as I wanted to indentify myself as being female. Just because 24 is an age where 'girl' sounds too young and no longer right but 'woman' sounds too old. (Very Britney-esk maybe, but hey, according to Wikipedia she is the pop icon of my generation - Y, that is.)

And by the way Anonymous, your reply to LaBellaDonna definitely sets off all my alarm bells. Enjoy your cat? Seriously?

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I like the analysis. Anoth... (Below threshold)

August 3, 2009 2:46 PM | Posted by Thad: | Reply

I like the analysis. Another classic example of confusing *intensity* with intimacy and *control* with caring. You don't have to be a teenager to make this mistake though. I see plenty of grown women in my practice in abusive relationships because of this and lots of men addicted to sex because they haven't figured this out.

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"Tell me, please, how can a... (Below threshold)

August 7, 2009 12:24 PM | Posted by Rocket: | Reply

"Tell me, please, how can any teen boy respect or learn from an adult who not only bookmarks porn, but bookmarks MILF porn?"

Excuse me? Now a man is unsuitable to raise a child properly because he bookmarks porn? MEN WATCH PORN...end of story. It is as normal as breathing. I hope my sons do bookmark MILF porn because that would only indicate that they are aging human heterosexual males. The real question is, how can young women learn to be fun uncomplicated basket cases with mothers who are uptight about men watching porn?

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Before I say anything, I wo... (Below threshold)

August 14, 2009 4:08 AM | Posted by Adriana: | Reply

Before I say anything, I would like to say that the movie was not that great in my opinion, but the arguments made in this article are ridiculous.

First of all, The movie is not meant to be taken literally. If all movies were meant to be based in some form of reality then we would all be running around worrying that Darth Vader was going to take the world over. Of course vampires are not real. Movies like twilight, or star wars, or E.T., we are meant to suspend belief.

Second, if you take out the scenes where Edward has no supernatural powers I imagine it would change the movie quite a bit. But seeing how the movie is not about a boy pretending to be a vampire, but is one, what is the point in this?

Third, When girls/women (of any age) say they want an Edward Cullen...They are saying they want someone who loves them unconditionally, someone who is a perfect gentleman, and someone who will do anything for her. What woman wouldn't want that? Even if it almost impossible to find.

Adressing when he says we shouldnt be friends. It wasnt as if she has never talked to him before. The movie gives the appearance that this stems off an earlier conversation.

Adressing the whats in Jacksonville line. Watching the movie you dont really get to see that Edward is consumed with knowing Bella's thoughts. Hence, he wants to know why she turned down Mike Newtons invitation to prom saying she was going to Jacksonville.

I honestly dont feel like pointing out anything else in this flawed review of a movie. It is a movie aiming towards the female gender whether it be 15, 25 or 35.
So what if a grown woman wants to watch a movie about a love story and it just happens to be that the male in the relationship is a vampire. The very essence of twilight (wether represented well in the movie or not) is love. And since when does a movie with vampires in it have to be all about blood and guts?

Summing up my point, its just a movie. Come on people. 13 year old girls arent watching it thinking..."Oh gee, what does he really mean by that?"..."How is this going to affect me 10 years down the road?"

I understand worrying how hollywood effects the youth. But I do not believe twilight will cause any amount of damage to todays youth.

I would like to say that I have read the books and I would encourage that you not base your opinion of the book on the movie.


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X) Love the blog. Agree c... (Below threshold)

August 17, 2009 10:24 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

X) Love the blog. Agree completely. It's also a bit scary that a 100 yr old man would be attracted to and seek out a teenage girl..... and no one's bothered by that.

It's the comments that are hilarious. I'm a 39 yr old woman, happily married to a happily married husband (who doesn't look at porn ~ never has. lol). I'm healthy, attractive, & as UN-uptight as the get. I, occasionally, will watch "girl" movies because they're cute and make u feel good or a minute or two. Not everyone lives through the people on the screen. Some of us just watch and laugh. It's a shame so many grown people run away scared of real life (instead, burying themselves in fake substitutes ~ and porn. o.~ *note to Rocket*).

Recently read all 4 books to see what the deal was. Kept thinking there would be more later on (to justify all the hype). I was upset at the time I wasted.

People don't need to "get" lives. They already have them. They just waste THEIR lives mindlessly fascinated with other people's. I guess......more of us need to get into our own lives and stay out of everyone else's.

Just a thought. (^.^)b

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The movie sucks. The book i... (Below threshold)

August 19, 2009 9:03 PM | Posted by read the book!: | Reply

The movie sucks. The book is better and actually builds up to their love story. I think this analysis fails when the book is the focus, not the movie.

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coming to this late but...<... (Below threshold)

October 13, 2009 7:48 AM | Posted by seemoreglass: | Reply

coming to this late but...
aren't all these books/movies (twilight) simply Mormon propaganda?

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I have to say as a woman in... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2009 1:46 PM | Posted by Carolyn: | Reply

I have to say as a woman in my 30's, life sometimes is just life. Reading a fictional book or watching a movie is a welcome distraction from the hum drum of daily living. I happen to love the twilight series of books and enjoyed the movie as it did capture an intense yet unusual love story, who would in honesty snub that feeling of forbidden love, regardless of the circumstances??

For me it was those moments where he wanted to touch her and her, him but couldnt, fearing he would lose his self control..... I defy anyone not to relate to that, its dangerous and passionate. It does not make me, nor any woman (however old) whom I have spoken to, want to set off in the hopes of finding her very own Edward!!! Get a grip here....its a movie.

I could watch it without sound or even foreign subtitles! It's not about what's said, it's about what is not said....unsaid unspoken emotion that is very rarely captured or met..

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actually, what i found inte... (Below threshold)

October 26, 2009 10:16 PM | Posted by Amy: | Reply

actually, what i found interesting about the movie (i haven't read the books - there's a waiting list at the library and i don't feel like spending money on them) is how closely related Edward seems to other romance heroes. i don't mean like Rhett Butler or Carey Grant, but romance -novel- heroes, the penny books you can buy while waiting in line at the grocery store. there is something about those men that make them seem irresistible to women (and i'm not just talking 30+ years; i started reading them in highschool and am 21 myself). there is an unattainable quality (emphasis on 'unattainable') that draws women to read them.

Edward is, or seems to be at least, a watered-down version of Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome, the real-deal brooding hero that sweeps the ordinary and at times hapless heroine off her feet and makes her like it. it's interesting, i think, that so many modern women who claim to be hard-core feminists and liberal possibly to the extreme long for a man to be in control when it comes to a relationship. or anything, really.

Edward very quickly comes to control just about every aspect of Belle's life, from what she does after school to what she lies to her father about to whether she lives or dies. he controls what makes her happy and what keeps her up at night (both happen to be him). in the same way, Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome controls the heroine, though to a lesser extreme. Mr. TDaH says who works more for the relationship, who pays for dinner, when they'll have sex (though where is sometimes left up to the girl) and who can climb the ladder to paint the high spots on the walls. and he does it all without being a complete jerk about it or a cad to the woman he's trying to woo. only a select few men i know are actually like that, and not many of them are my age. and the ones my age who -are-, it isn't a front for them. they really do get mad if the girl opens the car door all by herself.

but yes - i'd have to agree that the younger generation of males are sadly lacking in the area of actually being men. i consider myself privileged to know real-life Men, and that title (capital 'M' and all) comes from personal experience rather then the example of The Unattainable Mr. TDaH. it's also sad to think of how many girls would be willing to settle for an Edward or even an Edward wanna-be, allowing the current generation of males get away with not actually being men... or Men.

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I look at twilight, and I s... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2009 10:14 PM | Posted by shane: | Reply

I look at twilight, and I see the disgusting lack of honesty in our society. I see the institutional effeminization (is that even a word?) of our next generation of men. Worst of all, I see a generation of women who desire that (or at least, are deluded into thinking they do).
Where does our society go when the women's tastes run towards the like of Edward, and the men are taught that being like Edward gets them tail?

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ssssssssssssso gay... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

ssssssssssssso gay

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Wow.....I watched Twilight ... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2009 2:41 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Wow.....I watched Twilight 3 times last weekend, only because when I watched it, I felt that Edward was a Narcissist. I was involved with a true Narcissist for over a year, and seriously they suck the life out of you. When Bella met Edward, is exactly how I felt when I met my Narcissist, absolutley drawn to him and couldn't stop thinking about him, they are cruel people and have no regard for your pain, they want to suck all your qualities out of you that they don't have.....Stay far away run for the hills.....

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Narcissism is a monkey-wren... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2009 4:18 PM | Posted by JonBonJovi: | Reply

Narcissism is a monkey-wrench and a track-switch term. Everyone is excessively self concerned - what so called narcissists are is trenchantly neglectful and welded to a pridefulness that won't admit it in any genuinely contrite or reformative fashion, except to get pity points inconstantly.

Someone can be there for another and also be quite vain and self-obsessed. The narcissus myth is of someone who so falls in love with his own image that he neglects those who love him AND his own survival needs. No so called "narcissist" does this. That's why its a fucking myth. The various addictions we slushfully label as "killing themselves slowly" are not - they are ways of surviving that rationalize the neglect of others.

The staggering disbelief that Mr Perfect doesn't care about you isn't from his narcissism, he's no more self-obssessed than anyone else; he just wants to play you until the Real Ms Perfect comes along. He's ENTRANCED into playing a different life-game, even if he's not getting any younger and not likely to get someone prettier than you or me. Its tiresomely conceited and muddleheaded to think these cats are hyper-selfish - our craving to figure them out isn't equal to them being abnormally super into themselves.

Let's call the HYPER-NEGLECTFUL. semantic confusion solved.

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Twilight = porn for Tween g... (Below threshold)

January 5, 2010 11:04 AM | Posted by e v i l e d d y: | Reply

Twilight = porn for Tween girls and frustrated housewives.

FIN

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Wow. I just found this blog... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 5:12 PM | Posted by Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles: | Reply

Wow. I just found this blog. What a brilliant analysis!

Ever since I was nearly coerced into watching this movie, which I never had an interest in, I've thought Edward was playing right into teen girls' narcissistic fantasies. He is the consummate narcissist, becoming enmeshed with Bella, dragging her through idealization/devaluation cycles, entrapping her in a role as his "psychic nurse," stalking her, manipulating and deceiving her when it suits him, blaming her for his abusive tendencies (i.e., if he loses control and hurts her, it's because SHE smells so good). Of course, the movie doesn't INTEND to communicate any of this, but these are the underlying messages that viewers subconsciously absorb.

This analysis is also SPOT ON about the fact that kids today aren't given adequate role models of masculinity, femininity, or adulthood. However, I'm not sure that the kids of yesterday weren't as constrained by gender roles as we are confused about them. It seems we traded a culture in which roles were too rigid for those who didn't fit the mold for one in which there aren't any roles at all. If only there were a compromise, some way to raise children with guidelines rather than inflexible rules, to clearly model behavior but with the knowledge that a child can modify it to suit his or her own personality.

The main problem, I think, is that none of us is exactly sure what masculinity and femininity are. Oh, we know the stereotypes, the cliches. But what does it REALLY mean to be masculine or feminine, and how do we reconcile generalities with individual differences? How do we honor the things that seem biologically innate, such as the masculine propensity for protective behavior and the feminine interest in nurturing, while rejecting ignorant conditioning that tries to shame men for having feelings (which are HUMAN, not "girly") or deny talented women the chance to contribute to society? These are difficult questions, and I'm not sure how we can progress until we answer them.

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Funny or symptomatic? Girl... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2010 3:35 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Funny or symptomatic? Girlfriend dumps man for Twilight hero. http://www.fmylife.com/love/9321

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Wow, all the way from Twili... (Below threshold)

May 8, 2010 4:40 PM | Posted by Litlbear: | Reply

Wow, all the way from Twilight to milf porn, you're an idiot.

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i love how people assume th... (Below threshold)

October 11, 2010 12:27 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

i love how people assume that because the title of this blog is "the last psychiatrist" they assume it is

a) a man
b) in his late 50s

let's talk about THAT ONE. for all we know this could be some bored teenager with an interest in psychology as a hobby...nothing about this post says degree to me - and "beef"? that has teenage written all over it

if you're a self-proclaimed psychiatrist, which i'm not even sure the author claims to be - don't waste your time with things you don't understand. (i.e. media psychology) perhaps if you went over some of the literature in the field, you'd realize that we cannot know the "messages" people receive from media because every interpretation is different. just like every critic will have a different review of a film. it's called hall's circuit model. look it up.

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I will recommend not to hol... (Below threshold)

August 8, 2011 5:41 PM | Posted by FaithRICH24: | Reply

I will recommend not to hold back until you earn big sum of money to buy all you need! You should just get the loans or just financial loan and feel free

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If you are willing to buy r... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2012 2:22 PM | Posted by credit loans: | Reply

If you are willing to buy real estate, you will have to get the credit loans. Furthermore, my sister all the time takes a short term loan, which is the most reliable.

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Dan Zukovic's "DARK ARC", a... (Below threshold)

March 6, 2013 12:43 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Dan Zukovic's "DARK ARC", a bizarre modern noir dark comedy called "Absolutely brilliant...truly and completely different..." in Film Threat, was recently released on DVD and Netflix through Vanguard Cinema (http://www.vanguardcinema.com/darkarc/darkarc.htm), and is currently
debuting on Cable Video On Demand. The film had it's World Premiere at the Montreal Festival, and it's US Premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival. Featuring Sarah Strange ("White Noise"), Kurt Max Runte ("X-Men", "Battlestar Gallactica",) and Dan Zukovic (director and star of the cult comedy "The Last Big Thing"). Featuring the glam/punk tunes "Dark Fruition", "Ire and Angst" and "F.ByronFitzBaudelaire", and a dark orchestral score by Neil Burnett.

TRAILER : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPeG4EFZ4ZM

***** (Five stars) "Absolutely brilliant...truly and completely different...something you've never tasted
before..." Film Threat
"A black comedy about a very strange love triangle" Seattle Times
"Consistently stunning images...a bizarre blend of art, sex, and opium, "Dark Arc" plays like a candy-coloured
version of David Lynch. " IFC News
"Sarah Strange is as decadent as Angelina Jolie thinks she is...Don't see this movie sober!" Metroactive Movies
"Equal parts film noir intrigue, pop culture send-up, brain teaser and visual feast. " American Cinematheque

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Make your own life easier t... (Below threshold)

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That is understandable that... (Below threshold)

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I don't think it is as m... (Below threshold)

February 16, 2014 8:48 AM | Posted, in reply to BS_caller's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I don't think it is as much about "narcissism" as it is the simple fact that there are a subset of individuals who are quite happy to live in an islanded fantasy world rather than step foot in the less glamorous and more difficult one IRL.

What, dearest BS_caller, is narcissism then, if not a staunch defence of a fantasy personality and hence, a fantasy world?

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