From a reader:
I think Michael O’Brien’s new piece (12/19/09) on "Twilight" and its popularity is a much better analysis than the one written by Sophie Caldecott. I have both read and written a lot on Twilight and O’Brien’s piece is the most thought provoking, and, I fear, accurate analysis I have read yet.
Here is an interesting segment from O’Brien’s article:
"E. Michael Jones has written that at the root of the phenomenal rise of horror culture [I would add dystopia especially in movies.] is suppressed conscience.
Tracing the pattern from Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein (first published in 1818) through to Ridley Scott’s film Alien (1979) [The only that made me crawl the back of my chair.] and its sequels, Jones argues that the denial of moral law produces metaphorical monsters that arise from the subconscious of creative people and spread into society through their cultural works. The monster in the Alien films, for example, is a ghastly abomination of the feminine, and salvation is possible only through expulsion of the offspring it implants and incubates in humans—a subconscious eruption of internal conflicts (and guilt) over abortion. [!]
As Jones points out:
By following our illicit desires to their logical endpoint in death, [cf. John Paul II's discussion of a "culture of death".] we have created a nightmare culture, a horror-movie culture, one in which we are led back again and again to the source of our mysterious fears by forces over which we have no control.
Even though modern man denies the authority of moral conscience, he cannot escape it. He is created in the image and likeness of God, and deep within the natural law of his being the truth continues to speak to him, even as he adamantly denies the existence of God (in the case of atheists) or minimizes divine authority (in the case of nominally religious people, the practical atheists). In order to live with the inner fragmentation, which is the inevitable effect of violated conscience, he is driven to relieve his pain through three diverse ways:
a) He makes open war against conscience and all its moral restraints, and pursues with radical willfulness an aggressive consumption of sensual rewards—generally a plunge into various kinds of addictions and a life of sexual promiscuity;
b) More passively, he simply ignores the inner voice of conscience and distracts himself from it by sensual and emotional rewards—generally the search for love without responsibility and a restless striving for worldly success;
c) He tries to rationalize a self-made form of conscience for himself, based in values such as “tolerance” and “non-dogmatism.” Generally this produces a new kind of perverse moralism, a self-righteousness which is, paradoxically, quite intolerant of genuine righteousness. Its anti-dogmatism is its dogma. Here there is no absolute rejection of morality, but rather a rewriting of it according to subjective feelings.
None of the foregoing coping mechanisms need be conscious. Indeed they tend to be largely subconscious processes through which a person feels that he is finding his personal identity, is living out the principle of freedom, discovering his path in life, and getting from it a portion of happiness. Though he is afflicted from time to time by a sense of the inner void, he presumes that the remedy for these dark moments will be found by increasing the dose of the very drug that is killing him.
The Twilight series, it would appear, follows the third coping mechanism mentioned above in c), the one which appeals to the broadest possible audience."
Grist for the mill.