Our Site Vision, A.K.A. our mission statement or manifesto

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PEL
Helping Mike to Get a Clue
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Post by PEL »

J.S. Asher wrote:Because I could post it no where else:
A Letter To Stephanie and Her Readers

Note to Mods and Admins: Finish this'"all of this'"and then decide what to do with me. I mean you no harm and I will not post again after this. Think of it as an attempt to make a civil reply to your earlier mission statement and consider it as you will.

Dear Ms. Meyer and fans,

I am afraid to establish where I stand among the readers of this publicly acclaimed series so early in my letter, for the knowledge may corrupt your thinking before I have had my chance to speak. So, with much courage, I will admit to you that I am not a fan of your books. I will not elaborate, yet again out of fear of persecution, but I can assure you that I do not condone to character bashing, name calling, or any other form of common rudeness expected of my kind, and, although I do not share your love for Bella, Edward, or their romanticized anaxiphilia, this does not alter my opinions of you, and I believe that you are all capable of civil reasoning and kindness even towards a critic like myself.
So why are you here? you ask. If you don't like the books, why bother posting on forums dedicated to them? Call it a masochistic weakness; call it a personal war; call it bitter research. I am fascinated and horrified with what commercialism and marketing has done to the world of art and recent generations' perspective of it. The New York Times Bestseller List has its name tacked across the front of millions of books, good or bad, like a purple heart to a soldier's sickbed. Many wear the title with pride, but it is not difficult to achieve; you just have to shoot yourself in the foot. Mind you, this does not imply that the Twilight series is to be condemned for it's reputation, but a book should not be prejudged by its financial status if the author wants it to be appreciated (or scorned) as it is. Every year I test my species' intelligence by investigating the most recent book I have seen clutched in the hands of my peers or stuffed in their backpacks among textbooks. Two years ago, I experienced torment at the pages of Eragon and its sequels. Now my inner conflict lies with Twilight. I will not explain why, being the coward that I am, but do not take offense so easily; the opinions of one critic should not matter to you as you stand with thousands of loyal and sufficiently armed supporters at your back and I with my meager company and wooden dagger. So curse me, accuse me, burn me like a heretic; I am not one to be pitied'"I am your love's enemy'"but allow me to give you a last word of warning for your benefit before the guillotine splits my neck: am I, and all of my kind, the so-called 'antis' , really the ones you should fear?
I understand why you and Ms. Meyer in particular should be so sensitive about a world that you have come to love and dream about as you take refuge from the tyranny of reality. I am a dreamer and a writer too, and although I am not published or critically renowned, I hope you do not choose to judge me by such things. I know what a character is to his author. Ray Bradbury once described his characters as his children, and he was more than four-thirds right. You come to love them despite their imperfect existence as prototypes of humanity, because a part of the humanity from which they are inspired is taken from the depths of your own psyche; to insult them is to indirectly insult the deeper portions of your soul. God fashioned Adam from His own rib and a writer creates a character from a piece of his own heart. I do not know, Ms. Meyer, if your fans and supporters understand this odd and often irrational form of affection entirely, but I believe that you understand what I am talking about. I also understand the struggle and effort involved with the production of a book; the agony of self-doubt, the increased beating of your heart as you relinquish your work to foreign hands for a critical eye to survey. Do not think that I intend to cause you pain, for I have felt it myself.
So, having bared myself as a sworn enemy, a coward, a sympathizer, and a fellow writer with precious brainchildren of her own, what do I mean to tell you? Who else could you possibly be wary of other than the anti-fans of the books you all love? Look around you. We may attack you and your beloved characters with vulgar insults and vicious threats, but there are many among your ranks that are just as unruly. Several of us have been unjustly accused on our own sites of being lesbians and 'retards' . The site that I speak of, by the way, is an actual attempt to give your books an honest critique. I realize that we anti-fans have said and done some horrible things over a simple book that has somehow wound its way through all our minds and caught them in a crushing grip, spurring us into tearing throats out over people and events that never existed except in our imaginations, but your side is as guilty as ours. Both sides fail to recognize its own faults beside the faults of its opposition, and that makes us all hypocrites in the end. Let us end this portion of our conflicts with an agreement and a truce: we are all, fans and anti-fans alike, the culprits.
My second complaint, however, rests entirely on your side. My first encounter with such as happenstance did not occur with Twilight, but with the briefly and enthusiastically popular Eragon. I do not know if you have read or even heard of Christopher Paolini's novel, but the book was known for its close resemblance in both setting and plot to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. This was not any reason for alarm in my mind; I was naïve and I believed that fans of the book would catch on to its derivative nature and naturally turn to the classics from which Eragon's structure was clumsily gleaned. I was later horrified when I found out months later that the fans of the book were actually replacing The Lord of the Rings on the classics shelves with copies of Eragon! I understand, Ms. Meyer, that you, as well as your main character, are a lover of classics, so such news should enrage you as much as it did me. Not only that, but Eragon was suddenly everywhere: on posters across cities and shopping malls, at special conventions not unlike your Twilight Proms, and on CNN where the author, being nineteen at the time of the book's release, was declared a prodigy. And where was poor Tolkien; the author whose ground-breaking novels have been so abused by copycats looking for prestige and a buck or two? Ah, commercialism at its best! Behold as marketing rapes the last dredges of dignity left to the artistic world! But that is a subject for another time. Twilight, I realize, was not written by its author with the intention of becoming anything more than a pleasant excursion, but the same sin that condemned Eragon has befallen your novel as well. You have said that Twilight was strongly inspired, even based off of, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which is more than Paolini was able to say as he merely listed The Lord of the Rings among his favorite books and then pushed the subject aside. There are differences between basing a story off of another work and writing a story that is derivative of another work, the first being that an author who bases their story off of a famous piece of literature actually admits to it. In that, I am destroying any possible misunderstandings that might involve me accusing you of writing derivatively. I am not. But what I am concerned about is the fact that some Twilight fans are now replacing Romeo and Juliet with copies of your novel and declaring it better than Shakespeare. Is this merely a juvenile form of flattery or are we surrounded by philistines? What do you think, Ms. Meyer? I am jabbing you in the shoulder with this information, but it is up to you to decide whether they are right to do this to a classic that you claim to love. Like Paolini, you are also tumbling toward the realm of franchise as well: how can you take your characters seriously when people impersonate them like they would celebrities, when upon the release of the upcoming movie their faces and names are posted on the billboards of shopping malls, and when they are personified in comic strips as beady-eyed animals chirruping puns? (I know you may be thinking of the Harry Potter franchise as you read this, and I assure you that I would think far more of Rowling and her story if she had not shrouded it in marketing.) From the outside, there is something damningly ignoble about such treatment of one's characters and they lose a part of what makes them precious and real as a result. If I am coming across as worn out and long- winded it is because I feel as though I cannot describe the true crime that is being committed here. I am merely shouting into the wind, attempting to reach out to a group of people who may or may not find my opinions worth regarding. I am sorry if I am becoming unclear.
Twilight Lexicon's recent mission statement has also put me at unease as it duplicates what happened on the official forums for the Eragon franchise: our opinions have been silenced by decree and must be whitewashed to your approval. I understand your initial reasons for it, but such a maneuver will prove unsustainable and self destructive in time as it did on the other forum. You cannot keep the trolls out for long and former debate threads will be reduced to pages of, as my fellows put it, 'fan worshipping' which will undoubtedly bore and disgust existing and potential users. I assure you that you are not the only ones with problems such as these: freedom of speech can be a tricky thing and some people will abuse it. I also believe that you are probably embarrassed by your users' conduct and comments when the author of the very book your forum is built around frequents the site herself! I have looked over your arguments with trolls and critics alike, and although I have my own replies to them, I urge you not to be so surprised and horrified that someone does not share your thoughts or your love for certain aspects of the series. There is no way to convey your folly without pointing out that, yes; you are 'limiting free speech' , but your control over the actions of your users will eventually dwindle. If the masses could be controlled and informed in such a way, I would not be an active anti-fan of Twilight.
In a stroke of short-lived boldness, I had planned to add a list of common criticisms against Twilight and provide explanations and counter arguments using quotes from the people who have said them (including Ms. Meyer), personal experience, and quotes taken directly from the books, considering all sides of the argument so that, if any unintended fight were to break out in a thread despite your statements, you could refer them to an educated response to their arguments. However, taking this action would seal my fate on this site. You did not ask for an opposing opinion, or even a highly mixed one, and you have established that such thoughts are unwelcome on your site, so I will back down with less than a glare.
Now, my points made, what do I wish you to do? Nothing. I expect no favor from my fellow readers or Ms. Meyer. I am here to inform and to prod. Maybe you will consider what I have written here, or maybe you will scoff at it as a futile argument and destroy it. I no longer care. If annihilation is my fate, so be it, but maybe you will learn something from me, and maybe some phrase, some word from this letter will trail after you like a reminding omen. If I had more to say when this letter began, I have forgotten it in my realization that this novel and its fandom will fade and vanish like so many others before it. I no longer worry because such frivolous things, for all their popularity, do not pass the test of time except in the faint memories of those who once read them, but have lost the vehemence that drove them to fight for them. In a few years, the storm will calm and dissipate and the two warring sides will move on to other things of more importance if you do not break each other over nothing. And so I say: 'A plague o' both your houses!'


Response from a site owner who hasn't seen such a bombastic and and overly-dramatic post filled with logical fallacy since the most recent presidential debates.

1. You do realize that this site is not owned, and operated by Stephenie Meyer? As was stated in the beginning of our manifesto (our meaning Alphie, Pel, and Imogen) it has a policy based upon the personal preference of the owners of this fan site. This site is envisioned as a place where fans can kick back and enjoy. Stephenie Meyer does not sanction our posting and forums. If you want the official forums that are sponsored by Little Brown I would suggest visiting the Twilight Saga forums.

2. Last I checked there was no mass psychosis causing schools, students, and fans everywhere to replace Romeo and Juliet with Twilight. Surely if this were taking place the the National Council of English teachers would be up in arms, and that's just for starters. Unless, Stephenie performed some sort of hypnotic spell when she spoke to them in November 2006 as their invited guest, I believe that you have little to fear.

3. Twilight has many fans, as you cite book sales support this. This site has approximately 11,000 members. Clearly significantly more than 11,000 people have bought these books for it to have the success that it does. Not all of these people post here. You cite the abusive behavior of these fans. This site can and is only about what happens on this site. If you are having an issue with people in another forum, I suggest that you take it up with the moderator of that forum. We are gifted with many things around here, the ability to to control behavior off our site is not one of those items nor should it be. This brings me to my next point.

4. At the same time you ask that we control fan behavior that you personally don't like, yet you criticize us for regulating the content of our site. I classify this by stating your position is inconstant, though I am sorely temped to use the "H-word". Some of this regulation is character based, a.k.a. the manifesto, and some of it is plain old "The avatar that advocates in jest shooting people is not appropriate here. Please remove it from your signature."

5. Stephenie's books have loosely, very loosely been inspired by themes in classic novels and plays such as Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet (incidentally it inspired New Moon and not Twilight as you previously stated), Wuthering Heights, and A Midsummer Nights Dream. These themes being the following amongst others: jumping to conclusions at a first meeting, abandoning all reason and dying for love, making choices that are not selfless thereby showing your darker side, etc. If anything, I think people are now more interested to explore the originals, not shuffle them to the back burner. In no case have readers ever been encouraged by this site or by Stephenie Meyer to discard these books.


6. Lastly, I need to wrap this up. Were I to go fallacy by fallacy, bombastic leap in logic by bombastic leap in logic, pseudo-intellectual argument by pseudo-intellectual argument, I'd exacerbate my carpal tunnel syndrome, and moreover I'd want that hour of my life back. I think our fans, and for that matter the general population far more discerning than you, or in general, what society gives them credit for. I think they can judge if they want to associate with this site and its rules. My signature quote by Abraham Lincoln sums up our site's feelings along with another classic Lincoln statement that I paraphrase here: you can please some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time. If we are not people's cup of tea, they can move on. In its simplest terms we cannot be everything to everybody.
Last edited by PEL on Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lomesir22
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Post by Lomesir22 »

Well, that was...interesting. I have many thoughts on this letter, but the first and foremost is simply, if you don't like the series or the fans, then why waste your time caring enough to analyze the whole situation and write such a letter? Just ignore us.

Criticism such as this, no matter how eloquently it's delivered, is flamewar-baiting. You come here, to one of the biggest Twilight fansites in existence, and ridicule and disparage us for our adoring behavior. You condemn us for praising Twilight for being what it is to us: a wonderful book.

If Twilight is popular and people are exaggerating it's good points, SO WHAT? It doesn't change the truth, whatever the truth happens to be. It's a fad, and it will blow over some day. And in the end, Shakespeare and Austen will still be there.

What this boils down to is that you don't like Twilight, and you don't want anyone else to like it, either. You don't think much of Twilight, so you look down on people who do.

I've been in and out of many fandoms and I've seen these people before. So-called "anti-fans" aren't anything special. They're people who think too highly of their own opinion.
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lunarsoul
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Post by lunarsoul »

Replace Romeo and Juliet?
That's a hilarious thought. Shakespeare has been around for several hundred years. Even the best of writers could not possibly replace that with a book that was published merely a few years ago, no matter how great the book is.

And what is it with slamming these books? Does anyone honestly expect that JRR Tolkien wasn't criticized either? And you can't categorize Eragon fans as people who shun the classics in favor of a new book. You can't do that to Twilight fans either, or anyone else, for that matter.

Everyone does have their own opinion, you know.

All I really have to say is: It's just a book. It's a wonderful book, but I don't think it's really worth your time to go to such lengths to insult it. You don't like it? Move on.

I have to say that I was a little more than irritated when I was reading that. XD
danobanano
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Post by danobanano »

Incredible...and I thought I spent a lot of time of the internet. W-O-W!

I believe that everything has it's opposite and that has so ....intensely...been shown here. Considering this is my first fandom I've taken an active role in and therefore have nothing to compare such ...differences... of opinion against, I marvel that the same force/compulsion/drive that drove me to the internet to connect with others suffering from the same desire to converse with those who share my love/zest/zeal, also brings those with the opposite need to argue about why we all want to be here in the first place.

We live in a world with rules, boundaries, and regulations, a manifesto is just a definition of such and there is nothing wrong with that. Even nature has it's rules that must be followed.

I applaud the moderators and owners of this website to hold to their standards and not let chaos run a muck. For the lack of rules and common sense would kill this forum faster than any rule imaginable.

I want to shout praises and thanks and adulation to those wonderful people that have provided this site for me to come and meet some of my dearest friends. There is something amazingly magical about finding those you have connections with which never would have been possible in any other context. I'm so grateful that the rules are in place to seperate the wheat from the tares so that goodness and joy may flourish.

Now I need to go cook dinner, do the laundry, and live in the real world for awhile.
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epona
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Post by epona »

In response to J.B.Asher

To J.B. Asher and her followers,

Note: Though I am a fan of Twilight, and of Stephenie Meyer and am bombarded by commercials and marketing which takes away my own choices and thoughts, I hope you will take the time, to lower yourself from that high perch from where you sit and take time to read this response with as much consideration as was lent to yours.

I, a member of the marketing and commercialising influenced generation, shall perhaps be allowed to say a few words in response to your letter. You ask a number of questions such as why you are here and why you are even bothering to post on fan forums dedicated to twilight.
Of course in your own polite way you are fighting a 'personal war' . You fight for Freedom of speech, the abolishment of marketing and commercialism and the hypocrisy of The New York Bestsellers list.
Indeed, proclaiming your own manifesto here shall certainly accomplish these important goals!!
I have to say I found your argument to say the least entertaining as you firstly proclaim the easiness of getting (by first having to shot yourself in the foot) on the Best Seller list and then in the next paragraph comment strongly that 'Mind you, this does not imply that the Twilight series is to be condemned for it's reputation, but a book should not be prejudged by its financial status if the author wants it to be appreciated (or scorned) as it is.'
Interesting argument, not at all hypocritical!!
I find the analysis of your 'own species' choice of book as a worthwhile activity of your precious time, and of course I sympathise with your blight, as I know myself that the youthful generation are if nothing completely enthralled and obsessed with the world of the written word. Forget movies, music and celebrity gossip, the true crime of our generation is reading! You are only right to encourage those around you to put down those hideously modern books, whose ability to inspire excitement, creativity and imagination in their readers is a true crime!

How you survived being smothered by the presence of Eragon books is quite the miracle.

You are indeed the lone soldier '" fighting for the right of those who cannot fight for themselves '" who do not verbalise their dislike of things on fandoms as you do but instead use the power of the customer and just do not buy the book.
Ah perhaps you should use the heretic fires (which of course you seem to think you shall be thrown on) to burn those books which you do not approve of, or think are not worth 'your species' time. As of course, we as a species do not have individual thoughts, opinions and likes. We should only conform and read those which have been approved by the test of time!
I find it interesting, that though you are the righteous soldier of free speech, yet you do not tell us why you are in conflict with Twilight due to fear (of what I'm not sure?). Twilight, you may be surprised to hear is not a recent phenomenon; it actually has been in circulation since 2005. Isn't it odd then, that you only now speak of Twilight with such dislike, when its sequel has just reached the top best sellers list and has gotten some publicity??
.
As Pel has pointed out, your information seems mistaken in places (oddly when actually concerned with Twilight and not Eragon), so my suggestion is perhaps to read twilight first.

The sequel's names are actually New Moon and Eclipse, and yes there are sequels.


Perhaps it is due to the large number of posts you have contributed to this site arguing your point or maybe it is your lengthy membership that allows you to so clearly point out the flaws of this website, its members and Stephenie Meyer.
You talk of insults and arguments concerning twilight, and the lack of critique and debate over certain issues. Perhaps you mean philosophy? Morality? Twilights similarities to the classics? Characters flaws? Actions? And Thoughts? The sequels comparisons and contrasts with the classics?
If you can take some time from examining your species intelligence, might I advise you take a glance through the Quench Your Thirst forum '" I think you will find yourself pleasantly surprised that even a fandom (and a twilight one at that) can have civil conversations and discussions without fear of insult, due mostly to the moderators.
You speak of marketing and publicity raping the world of arts '" of classics being destroyed and copied. I hate to break it to you, but even Shakespeare borrowed from those before him. Stephenie admits she was inspired by her favourite writers, which author is not?
In response to your unfounded allegation that Twilight fans are abandoning the classics, I again redirect you to the forums, perhaps to the midsummer nights thread or the Robert frost thread?? My, indeed what a crime, Stephenie has committed, by drawing inspiration from those before her and highlighting her love of them, she has inspired her fans to go and read the classics!!! Not to actually put them to one side!

'I have looked over your arguments with trolls and critics alike, and although I have my own replies to them, I urge you not to be so surprised and horrified that someone does not share your thoughts or your love for certain aspects of the series. There is no way to convey your folly without pointing out that, yes; you are 'limiting free speech' , but your control over the actions of your users will eventually dwindle.'

You speak of the limiting of speech, yet you also speak of the bombardment of CNN and marketing (oddly free speech as well). What is your actually stance or point?
And once again, I find I'm telling you to go to the forums '" I Urge you not to be surprised when you find people debating on this site, concerning aspects of characters and the series, such as Is Edward Manipulative? Thread.

'If I had more to say when this letter began, I have forgotten it in my realization that this novel and its fandom will fade and vanish like so many others before it. I no longer worry because such frivolous things, for all their popularity, do not pass the test of time except in the faint memories of those who once read them, but have lost the vehemence that drove them to fight for them!'

My only response it this; As Charles Churchill said concerning critics: 'Though by whim, envy, or resentment led, they damn those authors they never read'

Kind Regards,
A Twilight fan and Lexiconer
Epona
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The Green Queen
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Re: Our Site Vision, A.K.A. our mission statement or manifes

Post by The Green Queen »

I agree with this whole thing. Its so interesting how some people just love to trash the site and ruin everyone elses fun. A lot of people love this book with a passion (including me ;) ) so don't ruin it for the rest of us.


I also agree with :::

PEL wrote:Pel freely admits..... and that she wasn't that into the Eclipse chapter featuring the werewolf history.
Though I lovvee Stephenie's series. I'm even begging for the Bella bracelet.

Thanks again for making this site so great!
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puprlepenguin
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Post by puprlepenguin »

Wow Epona your reply was put down very thoughtfully, how long did that take you to write?

I agree with the manifesto and am thankful for the time you put into keeping this forum organized and working. I would imagine it takes quite a bit of work.
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Post by J.B »

Eloquently put everyone.
I will not restate what had already been said and waste space though many of you said well thought out points, in which I fully agree.
Happy Posting everyone, on this wonderful site
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iwantanedward
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Post by iwantanedward »

OK. That is a very long letter so I didn't read the whole thing, but there is one thing I can say for sure, in regards to the whole "Twilight replacing Romeo and Juliet/other classics" arguement.

Basically, I love how Stephenie connected each book to a classic, and I went out and bought Romeo and Juliet right away to read it, so that I could understand and appreciate the connection better. I still want to read all the other books she refered to. If Eragon fans didn't read The Lord of The Rings, that's their loss anyway, isn't it?

So, my big point is, reading Twilight has enriched my life in SO MANY ways. I listen to more genres of music thanks to Stephenie's playlists, I have/want to read the classics that the books parallel, I'm more proud of my piano playing... what's the harm in that? The author of this letter really seems to look down on us Twilight fans. It's really unfair to be judged by one book. Yeah, I adore Twilight and Edward, but that doesn't make me immature or unintelligent. Sometimes I just want a break from all the heavy stuff. That's what fantasy is for.

I'm really proud to be a member of the Twilight Lexicon, and I think that the manifesto is fabulous. What I got from it is not that the wonderful creators of the Lex are trying to crush our freedom of speech and keep us from expressing opinions... just to keep the boards free of random hatred for the characters. This is a fansite, so it's a place where we talk about what we LIKE about Twilight. Yeah, I don't really like Jacob as a character, but I'd rather spend my time posting about how much I love Edward than getting myself all worked up and negative about Jacob. Get it?

Anyway, that's what I have to say. I think everyone else did an excellent job covering the whole thing.
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Post by Sarah S. »

love this site and look forward to exploring it and discussing the series!
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