In the seventeenth chapter of Twilight, confrontation is the theme of the day: Billy Black confronts Bella about dating a vampire, Charlie confronts Bella because he didn't even know she was dating anyone at all, and a new sect of vampires are set to confront the Cullens. Oh yeah, there's a little thing about vampires playing a superhuman round of baseball in a thunderstorm. Intrigued? Then it's time for Mark to read Twilight.
It's really important for me to do research while reading Twilight; at this point, I'm not worried about reading spoilers, mostly because Stephenie Meyer is obsessed with having her own characters ruin her own story for me. Thanks guys. But I do research for most things I write about on Buzznet. It helps give me context, provides me with relevancy, and also allows me to simply learn more about whatever I happen to be ranting/musing/wondering about.
I knew chapter 17 was going to be the "infamous" vampire baseball chapter that everyone, even Twilight haters, seem to enjoy. So, in the process of writing yesterday's review, I stumbled onto something pretty spectacular. (Hence why this took an extra day to get up.)
I don't know how familiar you are with baseball, but arguably one of the best sportscasters of our time is the great Vin Scully. I'm not much of a baseball freak these days and I haven't been to a game since I was 18, but as a kid, I loved the Dodgers. They were always my favorite team and Vin Scully's been an integral part of that.
Dana Scully from The X-Files was named after him too! Not that that's the most important fact of his life, but anyway, ON TO MY POINT.
So, as a great purveyor of baseball, Vin Scully was asked to read Twilight, which contains a large plot piece based solely around baseball. I discovered the transcript of the broadcast he gave to AM570 radio that day that was never aired, mostly due to...well, you'll see. It's at the end.
It's a fascinating moment in the sportscaster's life and a rare look at a man trying to comprehend how baseball was treated in Twilight. Enjoy!
CHAPTER 17: THE GAME
It's a wonderful Tuesday afternoon here in Los Angeles, perfect for a day of reading Twilight. Vin Scully here, your friendly baseball announcer, and we're set to begin our public reading of the 17th chapter of this book here. And this one's a doozy, folks, a real treat for you, because, for all you newbies out there, you get to experience the real joy that's America's favorite pasttime.
So let's get started shall we? If you've all got your Twilight books (preferably the paperback edition, of course), let's turn to page 348. Chapter 17: The Game. As you can tell, it's a real foreboding title. Meyer's real good at this, right? Very very good. Yeah, I've been reading this book all day just to get to the chapter. It was a lot of reading, so I'm a bit tired. Hang in there, folks, we'll get to the good stuff!
Anyway, the chapter opens with a bit of drama, you know? Meyer loves her small, childish, and petty drama to fuel characterizations for extended lengths of time. But we'll get to that in a second. So Billy Black, Jacob's father, has showed up at Bella's house and he most certainly has spotted Edward. So Bella and her newfound hubby vamp decide to let Bella handle the situation, even though Edward goes to great length to flat out tell Bella she's a child.1
This is important, folks, because this all plays into a wonderful game of vampire baseball to come. Really, guys, this is good stuff here. At least that's what they tell me. Anyway, it's right around this point, as Edward magically disappears as he always does, that you, the reader, should come to a wonderful realization that's unique to this precious book of ours. At this point, we're 350 pages into Twilight and it's right here that we realize that this book has no major character conflict.2
I mean, we're just here for the vampire baseball, right? That's why we're reading this book, right? Come on, folks, we love vampire baseball, so a little character conflict isn't important, right? That's right, we're here for the love of America's greatest pasttime!
So anyway, it might be a little weird that there's no real point to this story 3/4ths of the way through this book, but when we've got a sparkling vampire and a narcissistic woman without any self-respect, who needs a good story, right folks? [Mumbling away from the microphone.] I'm not doing this again, Jack, I swear.
Carrying on...Bella's interaction with Billy Black is electrifying, folks! You can just see the sparks shooting off the page! It's real funny that it takes a person being genuinely concerned about Bella for her to finally stand up for herself. So Billy Black here really doesn't want Bella hanging out with Edward Cullen. Of course, no one during the conversation is forward enough to just say what's unsaid. That's Meyer's special way of making this book longer than it needs to be. And if it wasn't this long, would we ever enjoy our vampire baseball?
No sir! Moving on, moving on...after this confrontation, Charlie conveniently comes home and Bella is actually honest with him, admitting that she's dating Edward Cullen. Riveting stuff, folks, riveting stuff. Then she surprises him: Edward is going to be there in just a couple minutes. Edge of your seat suspense, my friends. There's a wonderful bit of adjective fun here too, because we all know Meyer loves pulling out her thesaurus to describe the world she's imagined in her head. When Charlie is confused which Cullen Bella is dating, she thinks to herself, "The beautiful one, the godlike one..." So romantic, folks! Truly an innovation of fiction.
You know...let's just skip ahead because I don't know about you, but I'm itching to get to some baseball, aren't you? That's what were here for, folks, I'm excited for some baseball. Can we please get to some baseball? Like....now?
So...I've skipped to page 359, if you're still following along and you're not dead from boredom yet. It says....Edward has a jeep? Why does this man own a jeep? I'm too old to understand any of this.3
Now they're driving to somewhere. A distant baseball field? Why can't they just go to the local high school like normal people? Jack...[turns away from microphone again. Muffled speaking.] This is really what people are reading? Good God.
Folks, I promise we're going to get to baseball. My producers said there's a great segment of baseball in this book and we're all here for baseball, right?
Ok, so...Edward is currently smelling Bella. [Muffled speaking again.] Well, what the fuck Jack? I don't care if I'm on the air, who reads this shit? Smelling women? Have you read page 362? It's like Edward is a mere second away from raping this dumb woman.4 Why are you making me read this? Where is the baseball?
Sorry about that folks. We're moving on here, just moving along. So EDWARD and BELLA are now walking. They're walking in a forest. Bella is blaming herself YET AGAIN for something that is ENTIRELY OUT OF HER CONTROL.5 Ok, I don't care, I'm moving forward again. We're on page 369 and it looks like this game of vampire baseball is about to start!
So, we've got Alice pitching. It's sort of strange that there are only 5 players, but it's vampires playing baseball. I'll cut them some slack.
So....did Alice just pitch? Where's the actual baseball? Wait....these vampires can hit so hard that no one can see the ball? They can also run with lightning speed? Jack....Jack....where is the fun in this? If they're all superhuman-good, doesn't that make the playing level exactly the same?
Also, how does Bella not know what a strike is? We live in America, goddamnit, and everyone knows what baseball is.
Jack....Jack....excuse me folks, just talking to my producer...Jack...what the fuck is this shit? [Muffled talking] No, I will not calm down. You promised me that this book was about baseball and I have to read this shit? This is an abomination to the game. This is treason. Who is this fucking author? Does she have no idea how respectable and revered this game is? It's like it's just a pawn in her terrible fantasy.
Um...I'm sorry, folks, I just got a little carried away there. I just love baseball. Baseball is my life. I don't understand this. What does this have to do with anybody or anything? Why is this even here in the novel?
My producer is telling me to read the end of the chapter. Ok, Ok, here goes.
So it appears they play baseball during thunderstorms to mask the sound of each hit. Also....they're worried now? The vampires are freaking out? You're vampires. Why are you scared?
Oh. More vampires are showing up because they heard these vampires playing baseball. And these vampires also want to play baseball.
I can't do this anymore, folks. Baseball is THE American pasttime and this author is merely using it as a plot device to pass her uneventful novel. I'm done. Jack, I'm done. This is Vin Scully, signing off.
1) Exact quote: "That's probably best. Be careful, though. That child has no idea." I bridled a little at the world child. "Jacob is not that much younger than I am," I reminded him. He looked at me then, his anger abruptly fading. "Oh, I know," he assured me with a grin." SIGH WHY ARE YOU IN LOVE WITH THIS CREEP
2) I was willing to give Meyer the benefit of the doubt for a while, but after 350 pages of a dull, abysmal novel, there's no way this is "experimental fiction" or any such nonsense that would excuse the lack of any major conflict. For 350 pages, nothing has happened and there's no real plans for anything else to happen.
3) Pretty sure Meyer just gave Edward Cullen a Bromobile. No lie. Sigh.
4) I don't know how I can properly describe this nightmare, but I'll try: Bella doesn't want a super-fast piggyback ride because she's afraid of getting sick or smacking a tree. This is an understandable notion. So Edward proceeds to hit on her by pushing her against the car, preventing her from escaping (MEYER'S WORDS, NOT MINE). He then kisses her and uses his insane attraction to, quite literally, render Bella defenseless. Bella recognizes that Edward is using this weakness to control her and IT DOES NOT UPSET HER. ONE BIT.
5) Really. Exact quote: "...remembering the black moods that pulled him [Edward] away from me, that I'd always interpreted as well-justified frustration--frustration at my weakness, my slowness, my unruly human actions..." BELLA. NEWSFLASH: YOUR BOYFRIEND IS A MANIPULATIVE, CONTROLLING, VIOLENT PSYCHOPATH. THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Jesus, this is possibly the most misogynistic bullshit I've ever read.