Before I had any right to dismiss Twihards or criticize the psychologically unhealthy relationship model that Bella Swan and Edward Cullen present, I felt obliged to read the books. So I did. All four novels, one novella, and an incomplete document in portable format. The content lived down to my expectations, but I was unprepared for how poorly crafted the saga is. Contact:

25th September 2012

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Anonymous asked you: Okay, I am a teenage girl. I’m just thirteen. Like most of the girls of my age, I have read Twilight. I like it. It was the first book series I finished, and, after that, I discovered that I liked reading and that I’m pretty good at writing. Now, three years after I first picked up a Twilight book, I see that they’re bad written. I now know what a good book is. But I can’t help loving them. And I feel bad for that. What would you say to me?

Dearest Anya,

I would say: Don’t feel bad about that. I don’t want to sound like a condescending adult, but you were only ten! When I was ten, I thought a curly perm was a good idea.

Darling, you have a lifetime ahead of you with no shortage of hindsight revelations which will leave you cringing at your own dubious judgement. Give yourself a pass on this one.

Besides, sometimes these things can’t be helped. You loved it, and love has a tendency to linger regardless of logic. Your love persists because a couple of years ago you formed an attachment to Twilight. It’s just like how every time I see Tim Curry, I’m instinctively suspicious of him. I will always doubt the nobility of any character he portrays because the first movie I saw him in was Legend, in which he played The Lord of Darkness (actually).

On the bright side, you’re getting a head start on learning how to be in love with an asshole. At some point in your future, you might fall for a person who isn’t good enough for you and even possibly a girl or guy who is straight up bad for you. You will be able to draw upon this experience, acknowledging the lust but moving on to someone who deserves your attention. Think of it as jackass practice.

While Twilight is emphatically NOT an awesome book, it was a catalyst for your literary awakening, and that itself is quite awesome.

I think you’re going to be fine.

Reassuringly yours,

P.S. (Please read this correction in a Mary Poppins-esque nurturing-but-assertive tone.) In the future, use the adverb “badly” when modifying verbs. The books are badly written. See also: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

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23rd September 2012

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Why do you spend so much time reading something you hate?

I doubt the good people at the CDC love Ebola. I’m a literary epidemiologist.

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26th July 2012

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Anonymous asked you: I know you don’t like to speak about the HP/Twilight Wars, but one of the most frequent excuses I’ve seen of Reasoning with Vampires by Twihards is that “if Meyer did it, JK Rowling did it too!” Is there any accuracy in that?

I’m going to generalize my reply because I refuse to contribute to the literary Hatfield-McCoy feud. Feel free to apply my answer to other protestations of “…[choose your own literary masterpiece] did it, too!”

Also, when I use the pronoun “you” in this answer, I’m addressing the apologists, not Miss Annie Onymous.

  1. Are you sure you really want to use the “… but all of the other kids are allowed” argument? It didn’t work with your mom when you were a ten-year-old; it’s not going to work as a literary defense with me. Virginia Woolf jumped into a river — does that mean you should, too?

    When people point out, “You could do [what I’m doing on RwV] with any book,” I agree. I’m not sure what argument you think we’re having here. The conflict deflates like a flan in a cupboard. If you show me examples where [insert author’s name here] did the same thing Meyer did, I might be with you on that. I’m not going to give Meyer a pass on stupid sentences because Tolstoy also wrote stupid sentences. Raise your standards, people. Stop looking around for crap to facilitate lowering the bell curve.

  2. Suppose Catherine Earnshaw and Bella Swan took the same algebra test, and Catherine got an A because she filled in correct answers for all of the problems except number 34, and Bella only got 10% of the answers correct. Should Bella get the same grade because, Hey, they both got number 34 wrong? If Shakespeare were ticketed for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone, and Stephenie got pulled over for going 85 miles per hour along the same stretch of road, Stephenie’s fine would be more costly than Shakespeare’s because Stephenie’s violation was excessive.

    Yes, other novels contain annoying blips. The abundant problems in Meyer’s writing transcend mere irritation and achieve that special level of chafing usually isolated to the bleeding nipples of marathon runners.

  3. Superman looks a little silly wearing undies over his tights, but I would look like a damn fool wearing pink panties over my jeans. My point? The execution matters. Some authors can pull it off. The way E.E. Cummings “misused” commas is not the same as the way Stephenie Meyer abuses commas. This purposeful run-on sentence is not the same as Meyer’s minivans. So what if Shakespeare did it first? Stephenie Meyer is not Shakespeare.

    Yeah, I’m also looking at you people who argue about the artistic prerogative to use sentence fragments, conjunctions at the beginning of sentences, unconventional commas, et cetera. Yeah, these “mistakes” can have poetic value, but that doesn’t automagically mean they do have merit.

  4. Do you really care about the mistakes in other books? You don’t need to blame-shift red ink onto other novels. Let’s be honest: You think I’m being unfair about the technical aspects of Stephenie Meyer’s writing just because I don’t like it/her/Twilight, and you’re partially right. Got me there! If I liked the characters or the plot, I’d be more forgiving. Other books have redeeming elements to act as the spoonful of sugar helping the media go down in the most delightful way. Twilight does not.

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27th June 2012

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Hilmar asked (via email): Why do you call in the blog your boyfriend “boyfriend”? Doesn’t he want to be namely mentioned, or is it because you don’t want any disturbance because if you break up and if you have to mention your new boyfriend namely, it would probably cause unwanted reactions from your readers?

It’s just a functional name. I still get messages addressed to “Whomever You Are,” from readers who don’t know my name, so I use “Boyfriend” to identify him. As a bonus, it helps distinguish him from a character. This way unfamiliar readers won’t wonder, “Which one is Chris? Is he a vampire or a werewolf?”

In case you just missed it, my boyfriend’s name is Chris.

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15th June 2012

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15th May 2012

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VIDEO ANSWER — “Have you read / Are you going to read / What do you think of / Are you familiar with Fifty Shades of Grey?”

Related Quote: “Twilight at least has the benefit of being fascinating in its awfulness, like a car wreck where you can’t tell if the primary cause was one driver’s cataracts, another driver’s onset of peanut allergy, the rockslide, the sudden appearance of a horde of rabid badgers, or the mysterious solar eclipse. Fifty Shades of Grey is just a drunk driver. Both are hailed as automotive revolutions.” — Audreyii

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25th March 2012

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Anonymous Batch

NOTE FROM DANA: I haven’t been posting much this week because my laptop… well, I’m not going to tell you because I’m using it right now, and I don’t want to antagonize it. The problem should be resolved in a few days.

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24th March 2012

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Follow-up from this question.
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: I am placing a moratorium on answering any more Twilightian menstrual questions.

Follow-up from this question.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: I am placing a moratorium on answering any more Twilightian menstrual questions.

Tagged: DEAR-GOD-WHY questionsI didn't invent it. I just explain it.euphemismsquestionsenough. enough now.

8th March 2012

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Anonymous said: is that really you in the pictures you posted of "yourself" ?

Who “else” would it be? How about I take a picture of “myself” with my copy of the first book?

Tagged: Yes. I am mocking you with quotation marks.questions

26th February 2012

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Anonymous Batch

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17th February 2012

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Anonymous Batch 2

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9th February 2012

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Anonymous Batch

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28th January 2012

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31st October 2011

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28th October 2011

Question with 1,070 notes

Anonymous said: Does your mother know what a rude little bitch you are?

Boyfriend noted that you managed to sound really hostile and misogynistic in six words. It’s not an impressive sort of efficiency.

I’m going to answer your question with a story about my first encounter with road rage.

We lived out in the country, and my mom was driving me into town to buy new goggles before my swim meet the next day. We were on this little country road with one lane in each direction and corn everywhere else.

There wasn’t a lot of traffic, but somehow we got stuck behind a mid-60s Pontiac GTO going about 30 mph. Mom tried to pass the car a few times, but the car would drift to the left until it was straddling both lanes. Lather, rinse, repeat for about a mile. Then the car in front of us slowly rolled to a stop without leaving much room for Mom to go around, so we came to a stop, too.

The driver and his passenger got out and proceeded to yell at my mother for tailgating. My mother’s not a large woman, and I was eleven. We stayed in our vehicle, but Mom engaged in a charming conversation through her sunroof.

Eventually, the gentleman yelled at my mother, “KISS MY ASS!”

Mom replied, “PICK A SPOT. YOU’RE ALL ASS.”

The man slammed his hand down on the hood of our car. Mom tried to edge around him, but when he continued to bodily block her passage, she gently hit him with her car and drove away.

I filled out my first police report an hour later.

I learned two things from this experience:

  1. It’s okay to be a bitch when presented with jackasses.
  2. The all-time best response to being told to kiss someone’s ass is, “Pick a spot. You’re all ass.”

SHORT ANSWER: Where do you think I learned it?

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