libraries | play | information | media | policy | culture


The Twilight of Our Attention Span

The publishing phenomenon that is Stephenie Meyer's Twilight is now apparently becoming a film phenomenon. I have not read the books nor seen the film. As a follower of pop culture, I remain open to the possibility of consuming either, or both. Meanwhile, I follow the press coverage.

The reviews of the movie are rolling in, and I was struck in particular by this passage from Kenneth Turan's take:

The Oscar-winning "Ghost" of several years back had one lover living, the other deceased, and "Twilight's" notion that he's undead and she's not is just as good, maybe better. Connecting this to the extreme emotions of the young teenage world, where every moment is a crisis and the chaste romance of passionate soul mates is more attractive than dubious sexual shenanigans, was the masterstroke that created a phenomenon.
Has our media memory as a society grown so short that Turan—who, as a film reviewer for the Los Angeles Times and NPR, is among our most visible critics—is seemingly unaware that the very fictional "masterstroke" he ascribes to Meyer and Twilight was already thoroughly explored from 1997 to 2003 on television?


porpentine11 said...

To answer your question: Yes.

And as Bloom would surely say, there is too much to read besides Twilight. I know, there isn't any real reason to accept Bloom's dictates on what, why, and how to read, and I guess, despite Bloom's intelligence, it wouldn't be wise to act like he's the God of taste. But there really is a lot to read--and to reread--and a bunch of other stuff to do as well. We have to eat, after all.

Mike said...

Grrrr. You nailed it, Playful Librarian Person. As annoying as it is for us to read about how brilliant Stephanie Meyers is, imagine being Joss Whedon right about now.

librarian@play said...

Of course, Whedon himself is playing with the well-worn trope of the pangs of adolescence made that much worse by supernatural circumstances, dating back at least to Spiderman and I Was a Teenage Werewolf. But the fact that his successful TV show ended less than five years ago and continues to generate a small library's worth of books about it (more than 500, according to cursory search of the Library of Congress) yet has passed so soon from the memory of a media critic is baffling.