In the thirteenth chapter of Eclipse, Jasper elaborates to Bella on how he came to be a vampire, why the vampire world is so violent, and why he is the way he is. Instead of taking this opportunity to help create an interesting past for one of her characters, Stephenie Meyer instead chooses to make Jasper A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER and tell us all how all vampires who don't live in Europe or America are violent and insane. Also, if you weren't white before you became a vampire, vampirism actually makes you white. Intrigued? Then it's time for Mark to read Eclipse.
I've said this before, but this is the real shit. Sit down. Remove all blunt objects from your immediate grasp. Tell a family or friend that if you don't leave your seat that they might want to notify authorities.
My friends, you are absolutely not prepared for the amount of utter wankery I am about to send your way. And for that, I am sorry.
CHAPTER 13: NEWBORN
I spent the night sleeping on this chapter review and trying to think of a new, hilarious gimmick to express my disdain for the bullshit I had just read. But a night of sleep helped me to solidify how I initially felt about this nonsense and also helped me to realize that I needed to be utterly serious about this. Racism can (and is) deadly. Replace racism with homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and any number of terms, and you've got the recipe for discrimination.
- "Picture, for instance, a map of the western hemisphere. Picture on it every human life as small as a red dot. The thicker the red, the more easily we--well, those who exist this way--can feed without attracting notice."
Ok, I'm with you Jasper. Makes sense. Higher population density = less likely to attract attention for murder.
- "Not that the covens in the South care much for what the humans notice or do not. It's the Volturi that keep them in check. They are the only ones the southern covens fear. If not for the Volturi, the rest of us would be quickly exposed."
Wait, I'm lost. The South? Like here in America? I'm confused.
- "The North is, by comparison, very civilized. Mostly we are nomads here who enjoy the day as well as the night, who allow humans to interact with us unsuspectingly--anonymity is important to us all."
Wait a second. "Here"? As in...the United States? WHAT?
- "It's a different world in the South. The immortals there only come out at night. They spend the day plotting their next move, or anticipating their enemy's. Because it has been war in the South, constant war for centuries, with never one moment of truce. The covens there barely note the existence of humans, except as soldiers notice a herd of vows by the wayside--food for the taking. They only hide from the notice of the herd because of the Volturi."
Oh, this is getting bad. Real bad. So, people who live in the "South" surround themselves with darkness, are naturally violent, and...eat cows? Hold on. That is the worst analogy of all time. When do soldiers see cows and think, "OH SHIT, THERE'S MY DINNER"? Jesus, STOP WRITING.
- "You see, it occurred to someone once that, if he were the only vampire in, let's say Mexico City, well then, he could feed every night, twice, three times, and no one would ever notice."
And there we have it. "The South" isn't the southern part of the United States. It's south of America. Meaning all those "brown" people below us are naturally prone to murder, war, and extreme acts of violence.
Again, you are not prepared for the fuckery that's about to come. If you don't want your day to be ruined, I suggest you do the following:
I warned you.
- "Benito had created an army of newborn vampires. He was the first one to think of it, and, in the beginning, he was unstoppable. Very young vampires are volatile, wild, and almost impossible to control."
Let's first take a moment to laugh at my stupidity. When I first read this, I actually thought Jasper meant that Benito turned actual newborn children into vampires, instead of referring to people who just became a vampire. In fact, my chapter notes say this:
- p290 WHAT WHAT WHAT BABY VAMPIRES WHAT THE FUCK
Yeah, I'm dumb. It does provide a really awesome mental image, though.
- "It was enough that the fever for conquest did not spread from the South. The rest of the world stayed sane. We owe the Volturi for our present way of life."
Ingest that. Savor it. Chew on it a little bit before swallowing. Shall we?
Meyer is saying, in effect, that the only group of people who were capable of nearly ruining the world all lived underneath the United States. And that in order for things to become safe, the Volturi (WHO ARE, BY THE WAY, ENTIRELY CAUCASIAN) had to come exterminate all the brown vampires.
This is in a book. Published in the 21st century. And the best part? This isn't even the worst.
- "When I was human, I lived in Houston, Texas. I was almost seventeen years old when I joined the Confederate Army in 1861. I lied to the recruiters and told them I was twenty. I was tall enough to get away with it.
A little history lesson, if you're unfamiliar with the American Civil War. The Republican party of 1854 made the end of the expansion of slavery one of their platform positions. Their candidate was Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln won. Before he even took office, seven Southern states (eventually eleven) declared their secession from the United States in protest. This was viewed as an act of rebellion against the government and civil war broke out in the US.
Now, that's a greatly bastardized version of events, as I can't spend this whole review blabbing about the Civil War (WHICH YOU SHOULD RESEARCH BECAUSE IT'S FASCINATING), but it's generally considered an issue of states' rights versus the federal government. However, the real issue, at least to me, was that the Confederate position was largely based on one thing: blatant, unforgiving racism. Slaves weren't even considered a whole person in the US, which contributed to a deep hatred and ignorance surrounding anyone who was black.
Why does this matter? Well, our good ol' buddy Jasper here, who, by the way, is a white man, willingly joined the Confederate Army to fight for the right to own slaves. Not important because it's 140 years in the past? Keep this in mind as we trudge through even more wankery, as Jasper describes the only battle he was ever a part of: The Battle of Galveston.
- "I was placed in charge of evacuating the women and children from the city when the Union's mortar bombs reached the harbor. It took a day to prepare them, and then I left with the first column of civilians to convey them to Houston."
Are you ready? ARE YOU READY?
- "Just a mile outside the city, I found three women on foot. I assumed they were stragglers and dismounted at once to offer them my aid. But, when I could see their faces in the dim light of the moon, I was stunned into silence. They were, without question, the three most beautiful women I had ever seen.
UGH JUST WAIT FOR IT.
- "They had such pale skin, I remember marveling at it. Even the black-haired girl, whose features were clearly Mexican, was porcelain in the moonlight."
And now we've reached it. If you remember, I wondered aloud if there were any non-white vampires in Meyer's world. And here's the answer.
No. Even if you were any other ethnicity in your human life, once you're bit by a vampire, you become white.
I don't even know what to say at this point.
- "You'd better do it, Maria," the taller blonde spoke again.
OH OF COURSE THE MEXICAN GIRL IS NAMED MARIA. Thank you, Stpehenie Meyer, for that gripping bit of cultural understanding.
- "My instincts told me that there was danger, that the angel had meant it when she spoke of killing, but my judgment overruled my instincts. I had not been taught to fear women, but to protect them."
YOU SEXIST PIECE OF SHIT. You know why men have felt the need to "protect" women? BECAUSE OF MISOGYNIST ASSHOLES LIKE YOU. Women don't need to be protected. The assholes who keep violating their privacy, their right to their body, their right to say NO, and their right to live free of fear need to STOP DOING ALL OF THE ABOVE THINGS TO WOMEN.
Jesus FUCKING CHRIST. WHAT IS THIS FUCKING NONSENSE. WHO. WHO READS THIS AND THINKS IT IS OK.
- "And we were well trained. We did it [taking over the city of Monterrey] without attracting notice. The city changed hands without any human being aware."
If you don't see the horrifying subtext to that statement, think about out. The people who owned an entire city in Mexico? White people. Two white people using violence to control an entire city of Mexicans. WHAT THE FUCK.
- "Peter told me about his new life with Charlotte, told me about options I'd never dreamed I had. In five years, they'd never had a fight, thought they'd met many others in the north. Others who could co-exist without the constant mayhem."
As opposed to, of course, all the darkies down south, who change their skin to white but can't escape their inherently violent blood! SOMEONE SHOOT ME ALREADY.
What's the point of this story? Well, Jasper ends up meeting Alice because he travels to the land of sane, white people (AKA THE NORTH) and it's this story that makes the Cullens realize that all the murders in Seattle are due to Victoria (REMEMBER HER???!?!?) creating an army of newborn vampires. THAT'S IT. THAT'S IT. THAT'S THE WHOLE STORY.
Of course, though, in order to tell such a story, we have to be exposed to Meyer's racism, which, most likely, is due to her religion.
Let's consult Joseph Fielding Smith's (the Tenth LDS President) Doctrines of Salvation:
- There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient; more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there [pre-existence] received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less. . . . There were no neutrals in the war in Heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:61, 65-66)
How fun is that? Black people are born black because THEY CHOSE THE WRONG SIDE IN HEAVEN, THEREFORE THEY ARE BORN WITH A DISTINCT DISADVANTAGE HERE ON EARTH.
Sounds eerily familiar to vampires being born here on Earth and becoming inherently violent because they live in the South and aren't white?
We're not done, by the way. Let's take a look at Brigham Young's statements from his Journal of Discourses:
- You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. . . . Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which was the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another cursed is pronounced upon the same race--that they should be the "servants of servants;" and they will be until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. (Journal of Discourses, 7:290)
Kinda strikes you as odd, right? Considering that Jasper fought for the side in the American Civil War who actually believed that slaves "should be the 'servants of servants,'" right?
But I do have to admit that both those passages have a historical context that doesn't necessarily apply to modern day Mormonism. In fact, strangely, Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, in the eve of the Civil Rights movement:
- "No church or other organization is more insistent than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that the negroes should receive all the rights and privileges that can possibly be given to any other in the true sense of equality as declared in the Declaration of Independence."
(Funny thing: he wrote that in 1958 in his Answers to Gospel Questions. Strangely, his Journal of Discourses was written two to four years before that. Why the change of heart so suddenly?)
The official ruling in the church in 1978 (known as the 1978 Revelation on Priesthood) eliminated the restriction on race being a factor towards the priesthood. (But, still, to this day, you can't be a woman and a priest. Thanks, Mormons.)
Point being, even if most modern Mormons here in the States aren't racist, so much of what's in chapter 13 is deeply, deeply racist and frighteningly reminiscent of the LDS church's racist past. Remember, Meyer wants us to want to be vampires (as well as having her main female protagonist desire the conversion as well). In her world, vampires are distinctly white and, furthermore, actually become white if their ethnicity doesn't match up.
I'm not suggesting this is some sort of subconscious propaganda. Meyer is too stupid to pull off something like that. But, like all things in pop culture, there's a dire lack of critical thinking when it comes to literary tropes, stereotypes, and what passes as entertainment. And with something like the Twilight series, there's also something to be said for a "saga" that has so profoundly affected people around the world.
Do people of color (and especially women of color) not see this? Do they not notice the deeply damaging ideas put forth by (SURPRISE!) a rich white women? Do they not sense the amount of white privilege and entitlement dripping from the pages?
Face it, guys. At this point, Meyer's made it known that she thinks werewolves (who are all brown people in her book) are dirty, violent, impulsive, and smelly. All the "brown" vampires are inherently violent and destructive. Meanwhile, all the "white" vampires are dignified, live in the "North," are intelligent, reasoned, and have found a way to exist that isn't destructive to the world around them.
Stephenie Meyer is a racist.