defining opportunism

09.21.09 • comment (1) • trackback

Picture it. A Barnes and Noble, 2009. There I am, on my way to the fiction section to purchase a copy of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked for October’s book club meeting (we wanted something seasonally appropriate). I read the story about three years ago thanks to a loaner copy from my old boss, Loyal (actual name). I could’ve gotten through this month’s meeting without reading the book again, but it’s a great novel and I wanted to own a copy.

I had come to the book store with this single purpose in mind. This trip was to be handled exactly the way my dad handles them; go in, get what you came for, and get out. The one time I ever saw him break from this pattern we ended up getting a dog from the humane society. True story. But back to the plan. Get the book, pay, and leave, without any meandering, loitering, or, God help me, browsing.

And then there it was, laying (or is it lying?) on one of the display tables near the front of the store. I saw it out of the corner of my eye and it stopped me in my tracks. The book was called Defining Twilight. It was clearly designed to evoke the Stephenie Meyer series, a collection of books so awful that I would start believing in Jesus if only he would promise to wipe them from Creation before he got the whole Rapture thing underway. I couldn’t tell if the cover was parody or perfection: a bone white hand proffering an ancient key against a dark background. “Great,” I thought, “one of those ‘Philosophy Of…” books that wants to tell you that this trashy, anti-feminist, undead romance novel is actually deep and complex and real, full of essences and archetypes and cores. ”

But no. That’s not what Defining Twilight is about. It’s even worse.

It’s an SAT prep book. As in, to learn from. I suppose that given the overwhelming quantity of adjectives that Meyer throws at her audience in an attempt to sound like a writer, it’s not a terrible idea. Not a good idea, mind you, but not the worst. Is your mind blown? If your brain is still in one piece, try out this special Twilight themed analogy exercise I made up (and yes, I’m aware that the SAT does not present analogies with this exact formatting, but you’ll live):

Bella is to Self-Respect as

  1. Edward is to Jasper
  2. Werewolves are to Silver
  3. Volvos are to Climate Change
  4. Paperback is to Hardcover

Have you made your choice? Hah! Trick question! Bella and self-respect have no relationship to each other whatsoever!

Good night!


  1. Grant
    09.23.09 #

    “Oh, Jon, I love it when you use topical humor. It’s just like watching Murphy Brown!”

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