Jorge Luis Borges
“A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.”
I find most Twilight fanfic simply piggy-backing off Stephenie Meyer, and then degenerating into banal and boring genre because the writer is just not a good enough writer - not well read and going for the cliched ending. Like Sarah Gruen in Water For Elephants just offing people at the end because she didn't know what else to do.
BUT Hide and Drink is a challenge thrown in the face of Meyer! And this is what makes it so intriguing to me. When Edward first smells Bella in the biology classroom the monster appears. That is, the Double appears. The Double always appears with Death (Cosmopolis) and takes the person or character into Symbolic Exchange and Death: reversibility, Destiny, seduction,surprise, risk, challenge, duel, pact, out of the Order of Production: irreversibility, accumulation, reproduction, contract, denial of death, simulation, and survival. This moves the person and/or story into the Order of Seduction and out of the Order of Production (plot). It is clear that Stephenie has Edward willing himself to deny himself Bella's blood. Good old-fashioned capitalistic moral self-control. Hide and Drink surprises by exploring the monster Double, what the acting out of the fantasy Edward has in the classroom in Twilight might lead to. Edward's dangerousness appears that Pattinson saw and wanted to portray, but that frightened Catherine Hardwicke, Scummit and all the rest of them.
The great Herzog in Nosferatu confronts the erotic vampire head-on in consummate artistic brilliance. In Hide and Drink Edward initially gives his will over to instinct and then to Bella, letting her decide. This is Jean Baudrillard and cutting edge post modern theory. Turning and offloading your will on to another is part of many cultures, historically and in the present, (Canetti The Human Province). Relying on your own autonomy, good old-fashioned rugged individualism, is a denial of the Order of Seduction and Destiny.
Hide and Drink explores the complicity of the captive/abductor dyad so wonderfully elucidated for us by Baudrillard, (and denounced for) and, in its beginning is a frightening and bravely erotic parallel to Jaycee Dugard's captivity, resonating with all of the Marquis de Sade's work. It is quite simply, Beauty and the Beast. The Master/Slave concept so beautifully clarified by Baudrillard is presented fictionally in Hide and Drink and astonishes, as it parallels and exemplifies Baudrillardian theory, following in the shadow of Barthes.
Hide and Drink is not plot driven except in an internal mythological way. The other extraordinary aspect of Hide and Drink is the avoidance of relying on external superficial occurrences and characters to move the story onward. It just does not deteriorate into plot occurrences, normality (marriage and family in BD) and become ho-hum what else is new Happy Ending. Hide and Drink has an ambiguous ending, certainly an ending in Death with Bella's change that reveals and conceals a secret meaning. Edward's descent into madness is classical, and Savage does not fall into the interpretive psychological swamp of either pop clinical psychology or psychoanalytic theory, another amazing surprise. And since it is full of clinical case study referents it would be so easy to slide into that way of thinking about this Edward. Edward's slow movement into madness is not hysterically portrayed with only some wild actions and gestures, but perceptually, and even more important, linguistically, resonating with the subtle and prevailing influence of Lacanian theory, and Antonin Artaud's own linguistic descent so excruciatingly quoted in Deleuze's TheLogic of Sense.
The new invention of Meyer's sign ambiguous masculine figure of Edward is extended in Hide and Drink and Baudrillard's doubts as to the counterpart of the femme fatale feminine being imagined in a new and modern archetype of the masculine emerges more fully in Hide and Drink's Edward and disappears Baudrillard's objections to the male's inability to satisfy the woman endlessly. Women can offer themselves and receive the male endlessly, but the male is limited by his ability to sustain an erection over and over and over and over. Baudrillard's observation has been overcome fictionally by Hide and Drink's vampire Edward, but Edward's hands, fingers and mouth speak to the non-vampire male.
And so this does exactly what Baudrillard wishes, it disappears his doubting theoretical meditations. Just as Eric Packer in Cosmopolis sees the chink in Vija Kinski's theoretical oral musings - following Baudrilard - and commits an act of intellectual terrorism, imploding the global currency market, thus disappearing Kinski's Baudrillardian observations to Packer in his moment of self-transcendence. DeLillo believes in the transcendence of the narrative and differs from Baudrillard, who does not accept transcendence following Foucault. In Cosmopolis DeLillo has thrown the challenge fictionally to Baudrillard, and in Hide and Drink Savage has thrown the challenge of darkness, dangerousness, lust and perversion to Meyer.
Of course the underlying structure of Twilight and all the fanfic seduction part in the beginnings is based on Time and resonates with Proust's In Search of Lost Time. As soon as plot takes over, and the pace increases, thus accelerating Time, all the fanfic stories lose it. They just come undone, every single one of them and every time Meyer succumbs the same thing occurs in the Twilight Saga. It is the difference between the Meadow Scene imaginatively written by Meyer and the jump cuts CH made out of it to destroy contemplation. Savage in Hide and Drink does not make that mistake.
Edward and Bella in Twilight are Tristan and Iseult but Bella and Edward in Hide and Drink and the captive Jaycee Dugard/Phillip Garrido are Beauty and the Beast.
I have discussed many of these concepts elsewhere on other of my blogs.
One of the foremost tasks of art has always been the creation of a demand which could not be fully satisfied only later.... The Dadaists attached much less importance to the sales value of their work than to its uselessness for contemplative immersion. (Illuminations 237)
.... Dadaists became an instrument of ballistics. It hit the spectator like a bullet, it happened to him, thus acquiring a tactile quality. It promoted a demand for the film, the distracting element of which is also primarily tactile, being based on changes of place and focus which periodically assail the spectator. Let us compare the screen on which a film unfolds with the canvas of a painting. The painting invites the spectator to contemplation; before it the spectator can abandon himself to his associations. Before the movie frame he cannot do so. No sooner has his eye grasped a scene than it is already changed. It cannot be arrested. Duhamel, who detests the film and knows nothing of its significance, though something of its structure, notes this circumstance as follows: "I can no longer think what I want to think. My thoughts have been replaced by moving images." (Duhamel, Scenes la vie future, 1930 p. 52) The spectator's process of association in view of these images is indeed interrupted by their constant, sudden change. This constitutes the shock effect of the film, which, like all shocks, should be cushioned by heightened presence of mind. (I p. 238)
Benjamin does not note here that the destruction of memory is a consequence. Memory requires time for contemplation, a quality of time not too slow and not too fast. Just right as Goldilocks would say.
In the decline of middle class society, contemplation became a school for asocial behavior; it was countered by distraction as a variant of social conduct. (I p. 238)
Distraction and contemplation form polar opposites. (I p.239) And we are aware how Meyer has used the concept distraction any number of times in Twilight. Vampires are easily distracted. Bella is not. Until she is a vampire.
What might all this have to say about ADHD or ADD if there is a difference? Are we reinforcing and provoking shifting attention spans?
The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick is pure contemplation. It is also true that his films have not been blockbusters, although they all have been critical successes in one way or another. Malick is an artist first. He makes the films he wants to make.
He is far more than an auteur director. He is a consummate artist of film in our time. He is preserving contemplation as a way of thinking and he is introducing it to those who have not experienced it before: The distractible ones, the ones who tend to walk out on this film. The ones who find it excruciatingly
The Tree of Life Terrence Malick
boring. The ones who hate it. The ones who would have hated the Meadow Scene as Meyer wrote it. The ones who have probably never watched a Bergman film. And what Rob Pattinson's fans love about him without knowing is his intensity in contemplation, his way of gazing at a person and really seeing them, not a distracted flicking of the eyes. And by consuming every single banal image floating globally the fans are destroying their ability to contemplate him. They are just flicking their eyes down and across a myriad of images on a screen.
He stood a while longer, watching a single gull lift and ripple in a furl of air, admiring the bird, thinking into it, trying to know the bird, feeling the sturdy earnest beat of its scavenger's ravenous heart. (C p. 7)
Didi: Don't you see yourself in every picture you love? You feel a radiance wash through you. It's something you can't analyze or speak about clearly. What are you doing at that moment? You're looking at a picture on a wall. That's all. But it makes you feel alive in the world. It tells you yes, you're here. And yes, you have a range of being that's deeper and sweeter than you knew. ( p.30)
He watched her. He didn't think he wanted to be surprised, even by a woman, this woman, who'd taught him how to look, how to feel enchantment damp on his face, the melt of pleasure inside a brushstroke or band of color. (C p. 3)
Rob Pattinson as Eric Packer
My mood shifts and bends. But when I'm alive and heightened, I'm super-acute. Do you know what I see when I look at you? I see a woman who wants to live shamelessly in her body. Tell me this is not the truth. You want to follow your body into idleness and fleshiness. .... Tell me I'm making it up. You can't do that. It's there in your face, all of it, the way it rarely shows in any face. (C 49)
Jane Melman:Pull back. I am advising you in this matter not only as your chief of finance but as a woman who would still be married to her husbands if they had looked at her the way you have looked at me here today. (C 34)
Eclipse Meadow Scene Too Little Too Late and All Wrong
This is for all the Twihards who have taken so much shit over their opinions and criticisms. Let me start off by telling you that you have been correct all along. Stephenie Meyer wrote Twilight, and especially the Meadow Scene, as a novel about seduction. Not sex, not PC feminism, but the seduction of Courtly Love from the 12th century. What you imagined it from the novel was not what you got in the film by Catherine Blabbermouth Hardwicke. You got the PC feminist version not the secret heart of the story by Meyer.
Now imagine if Twilight, or even just the Meadow Scene had been shot by an artist director like Terrence Malick. Forget the fact that he wouldn't have done it with all the baggage accompanying it. It would have looked, sounded and felt like The Tree of Life, all long slow shots allowing contemplation and associations to develop in your mind.( Click on the link to get the flavor if you haven't seen it and then go to my other blog focusfree for more if you so desire.) I haven't finished with Tree of Life but I'll say here that it is a film experience not to be missed in a lifetime. It is that wonderful. Now what I am going to say is from Walter Benjamin's 1936 essay The Work of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction. Read it as if your life depended on it as it does.
In 1936 he foresaw the fate of film in our time. This fate is exactly why Twilight was fucked up good by the Scummit film merchants and the PC feminists. Twihards have been right from the beginning as they are the only ones who really knew how it should be. But alas they were fighting the wall of what Foucault calls the Dominating Discourse both of film theory and criticism and the PC feminist domination and censorship of all things girly and feminine.