Twilight: Gaslighting 101

Twilight Recap: Bella has been taken to the hospital where she has met with the movie-star-good-looks Dr. Cullen. Carlisle has assured her that she's safe to go home, and has managed to be as suspicious as possible when confronted with Edward's lie that he was right next to Bella at the time of the accident.

Twilight, Chapter 3: Phenomenon

I want you to imagine something with me for a minute. Imagine that you are a sparkly Twilight vampire. Imagine that you've spent almost one-hundred years on the run, moving from place to place, picking up and then shedding an identity each time. Each time you move, it becomes just a little harder; each time you pick up roots and put down somewhere new, you vow to try your hardest to blend in for as long as possible this time -- even if it means having to live through the boredom that is junior high school in order to maximize your potential time at the latest address.

Imagine also that everything about you is a secret. Your name, because you can't keep using the same one each time you move. Where you were born, for the same reason. Your strength. Your speed. Your ability to read minds or see the future or control emotions or be extra-super snarky to everyone. Your sparkly-pretty, marble-hard, extra-cold skin.

Wouldn't you think that -- after a hundred years of practice -- you'd become something of a consummate liar? Wouldn't you imagine that almost every possible slip-up would have an accompanying well-rehearsed lie? The speed... you were a track star at your last school. The strength... you went through a weight lifting phase a few months back. The skin... you have an unusual condition that is marked by low circulation and intense sun sensitivity. The eyes... you have colored contacts that you switch on occasion. The mind reading... you're a naturally gifted reader of body language.

Each and every one of these lies are just within the realm of plausibility, and it seems almost a given that dispensing these lies would become second nature. After 100 years of running and hiding and lying, you should have the world's best poker face.

   "Lucky Edward happened to be standing next to me," I amended with a hard glance at the subject of my statement.
   "Oh, well, yes," Dr. Cullen agreed, suddenly occupied with the papers in front of him. Then he looked away, at Tyler, and walked to the next bed. My intuition flickered; the doctor was in on it.
   "I'm afraid that you'll have to stay with us just a little bit longer," he said to Tyler, and began checking his cuts.

What you would probably not do is neglect a patient who is actively bleeding from a multitude of facial cuts -- some of which may still have glass fragments embedded in them -- in order to beeline conspicuously over to the Girl Who Could Blow Your Cover just so that the head doctor on duty can tell her that her boo-boo is fine and just needs some Tylenol. (Or, to paraphrase Mike Nelson from the RiffTrax of the movie, the minor characters can wait their goddamn turn.)

Really, I'm terribly disappointed that Carlisle isn't willing to abuse his authority more. He's already been filled in by Edward that in the panic of the situation, Ed dropped a really crummy alibi and Bella in her stubbornness is not buying it. Now seems like the perfect time to whip up a nice concussion, and who besides Bella is in a position to argue? The Forks hospital staff is going to have more pressing matters to attend to (what with the icy roads and no one cancelling work or school) than to check for falsification of records on a case where it would be a minor miracle for the patient to not be hurt in the first place.

So it seems like the first point of order here would be to take Mr. Swan aside and gently explain that his daughter has a mild concussion and needs plenty of rest and clear fluids for a few days, and oh-by-the-way her memories of the accident are going to be severely foggy and she'll probably experience some spacial distortion, but that's perfectly normal, mmkay? And the next stop after that will be to go say the same things, very convincingly, to Ms. Swan. Will she believe you? Probably not right away. But that's the beauty of gaslighting -- it works through self-doubt over time. The key here -- the one rule that cannot be broken -- is to never, ever provide the victim any validation. Ever.

The next step is to start cleaning up the mess that Edward has made with his obviously false lie. Carlisle should clap his hand on the boy's back and proudly announce that all those years in track have paid off, and by gum they should put his son's name in the paper because he's a gorram hero. (Edward can blush and beg off later. The important thing is the show for Bella, right now.)

Edward's job is to patiently and steadfastly morph the old lie into the new lie: "I told you, Bella, I was right next to you. Just two cars down," thereby implying that Edward's "right next to you" and Bella's "right next to you" have different definitions and thus the disconnect in stories. This has the benefit of repeating the old lie (and therefore not changing his story) while morphing it into something more reasonable and very close to the truth. Bella remembers Edward several cars down from her. Four cars is impossible, but two cars would be impressive-but-plausible. Convincing Bella that her memory is flat-out wrong is impossible, but convincing her that a detail -- like the number of cars between them -- was exaggerated is very doable.

   "I'd like to speak with you alone, if you don't mind," I pressed.
   He glared, and then turned his back and strode down the long room. I nearly had to run to keep up. As soon as we turned the corner into a short hallway, he spun around to face me.
   "What do you want?" he asked, sounding annoyed. His eyes were cold.
   His unfriendliness intimidated me. My words came out with less severity than I'd intended. "You owe me an explanation," I reminded him.
   "I saved your life -- I don't owe you anything."
   I flinched back from the resentment in his voice. "You promised."

There's another key to gaslighting, and it involves not acting like a complete jerk. The key here is kindness and patience. Humans are socially conditioned from birth to respond certain ways in social situations. If someone keeps gently and patiently repeating the same "truth", we tend to feel uncomfortable with arguing with Such A Nice Person. Furthermore, if Edward can seem to truly believe his version of events, further arguing becomes even more uncomfortable: Bella is either calling him a liar, or telling that she knows better than he where he was when he saved her life. Neither of these accusations are easy to make against a kind, sincere person.

On the other hand, an openly hostile and clearly stone-walling person has the opposite effect: even if the other person started on your side, they're going to feel like they're in opposition to you because that's where your behavior and attitude is placing them. If they were already in opposition to you, then nothing you say is going to speak more loudly than your tone, and your nasty tone is screaming YOU ARE RIGHT NOT TO TRUST ME. Someone with mind reading powers and a hundred years of experience should know this by now.

   He glared back. "What do you want from me, Bella?"
   "I want to know the truth," I said. "I want to know why I'm lying for you."
   "What do you think happened?" he snapped.
   It came out in a rush.
   "All I know is that you weren't anywhere near me -- Tyler didn't see you, either, so don't tell me I hit my head too hard. That van was going to crush us both -- and it didn't, and your hands left dents in the side of it -- and you left a dent in the other car, and you're not hurt at all -- and the van should have smashed my legs, but you were holding it up. . . ." I could hear how crazy it sounded, and I couldn't continue. I was so mad I could feel the tears coming; I tried to force them back by grinding my teeth together.
   He was staring at me incredulously. But his face was tense, defensive.
   "You think I lifted a van off you?" His tone questioned my sanity, but it only made me more suspicious. It was like a perfectly delivered line by a skilled actor.

And this isn't even a good try. The problem here isn't Edward's unnatural, rehearsed tone, but rather the fact that he's taking her story seriously. The correct body language here isn't stiff-backed, eyebrow-raised, backing-away-for-the-nurses-with-the-straightjackets, sanity-questioning. No, the correct response is relaxed body language and a laugh-and-a-smile for the funny story that Bella is telling. "Haha, I wish I could lift vans off of people! What, like Superman? Hah, no, I just know from Advanced Calculus that when a heavy object is in motion, you can use its kinetic energy to force a rebound with a small counter-force. Never thought I'd use it outside of the classroom, though. Whew."

Argue with that, Bella Swan.

Pleasant laughter + technobabble wins every time. Is his technobabble right? Of course not. Does it cover every little aspect of her story? No, it glosses right over them. Edward shouldn't take those details seriously, should not even register them, because they're impossible and Bella imagined them. He can't be expected to remember every little detail of her made-up dream story, can he? But by glossing over them confidently, they become harder for Bella to hold on to -- "Did he address the point about the car dents? He seemed so confident, but I can't remember..."

   I merely nodded once, jaw tight.
   "Nobody will believe that, you know." His voice held an edge of derision now.

No, no, no. Here Edward has his books mixed up. "Nobody will believe you" is the line from the Abusive Boyfriend handbook. The line implicitly confirms what the victim is saying while still pointing out how helpless they are to do anything about it. You can't do that with gaslighting -- you've now broken the one rule about never validating the subject.

The Cullens should have it hammered into them that you never, ever, implicitly admit to their natures. What if Bella has a tape recorder on her that she grabbed out of her purse while she was in the E.R. waiting on Edward and his father? (We call them "smart phones" nowadays.) What if there was someone else listening in to their conversation? What if a million things. By saying this, Edward isn't just telling Bella she's right, he's saying out loud that she's right. This should be anathema to the last one hundred years of careful practice.

   "I'm not going to tell anybody." I said each word slowly, carefully controlling my anger.
   Surprise flitted across his face. "Then why does it matter?"
   "It matters to me," I insisted. "I don't like to lie -- so there'd better be a good reason why I'm doing it."

Ahahahahaha.

   "Can't you just thank me and get over it?"
   "Thank you." I waited, fuming and expectant.
   "You're not going to let it go, are you?"
   "No."
   "In that case . . . I hope you enjoy disappointment."

AHAHAHAHAHA.

OK, *ahem*, I promised to be professional about this.

We can all agree that Edward has royally screwed up the gaslighting attempt, but this situation is still salvageable. The ship has sailed for convincing Bella that she's wrong, but there's still a good chance to convince her not to talk. Trusting to her vague "I don't want to tattle on you" is not something that the Cullens can take to the bank, and Edward needs to understand that.

The next step on the list -- and this should be a step that the Cullens are familiar with, because it's not possible that no one has ever accidentally seen them sparkling in the sunlight -- will be securing Bella's silence. The obvious way is to arrange an accident, of course, but I'm not going to blame the Cullens for not wanting to be murderers. They're good people, and they just don't want to be discovered (and then executed by the Italian vampires); I get that.

But there are more options between Kill The Witness and Ignore Her And Hope For The Best, and these are options that need exploring now that Edward has utterly failed at not being a suspicious, argumentative jerk.

One option would be to buy Bella off. The Cullens appear to have an infinite amount of wealth; they could easily spread some of that around into padding Charlie's salary (maybe via a well-meaning "donation" to the Forks police charity drive?) or helping Bella pay for her secondary schooling. This would have to be handled gently so as not to be suspicious (so obviously Edward the Diplomat wouldn't be involved in this process), but Carlisle could take a special liking to the sweet patient that his son saved and she just seemed like such a promising young lady, and did the Swans know that the Cullens sponsor one kid every year to the college of their choice?

The goal here would be not to buy Bella's silence, but rather to put her in a position where rocking the boat would not be in her best interest. The situation couldn't continue indefinitely, but distance from The Parking Lot Incident would drastically weaken Bella's case if she ever decided to come forward, and the time bought would give the Cullens a chance to leave town quietly and naturally.

Another option would be to embroil Bella emotionally. The Cullens have three astonishingly attractive boys and two stunningly gorgeous girls in their family. At least one of those young people is likely to be able to snag Bella's interest, particularly the one who is capable of manipulating emotions with his mind. (Yes, his power works on Bella, and no, I don't understand why if she's a psychic shield or whatever. Presumably the Emotional Manipulation isn't ranked as a direct attack in the same way Mind Reading is, although who wrote that homebrew rule I can't even imagine.)

Emotional manipulation is probably a better bet than financial manipulation, because emotional manipulation can be extremely powerful. Bella could enter a romantic relationship with a Cullen from a position of superiority -- she's got damaging goods on them, after all -- but then slowly come to accept a more vulnerable position as she becomes more emotionally attached to her partner. She's a teenager, with the emotional and physical turmoil that frequently accompanies teenage growth, and it's very likely that she could become extremely attached very quickly to a beautiful and powerful being who lavishes attention on her. She could be made to believe that she's special, and that no one else on earth is quite like her -- who doesn't want to hear that from time to time?

Of course, there always exists the chance that she might betray them and tell their secret anyway, but if her relationship with a Cullen has been a matter of public knowledge, she's less likely to be believed: the Cullens can just say that the romance turned sour and that Bella is spreading outrageous stories out of bitterness. Indeed, the stories will be so outrageous -- Vampires? But she's still alive to complain about them? -- that she'll be a laughingstock in town.

So I really do think that the best way to shut her up would be to assign someone -- possibly Jasper -- to pretend to fall desperately in love with Bella, his one true soul mate. It will be inconvenient, but as long as he can keep making moony eyes at her, they'll have a chance to walk away from this massive screw-up that Edward landed them in.

   We scowled at each other in silence. I was the first to speak, trying to keep myself focused. I was in danger of being distracted by his livid, glorious face. It was like trying to stare down a destroying angel.
   "Why did you even bother?" I asked frigidly.
   He paused, and for a brief moment his stunning face was unexpectedly vulnerable.
   "I don't know," he whispered.
   And then he turned his back on me and walked away.

Oh, wait, I see Edward has decided to fall on that particular sword himself. Good start there, Romeo.

132 comments:

Nathaniel said...

"Yes, his power works on Bella, and no, I don't understand why if she's a psychic shield or whatever. Presumably the Emotional Manipulation isn't ranked as a direct attack in the same way Mind Reading is, although who wrote that homebrew rule I can't even imagine."

I'd say stuff working as the plot demands, but that doesn't even really apply here. Jasper's ability working on her doesn't even serve a useful purpose. Its just kinda... there.

The future reading vamp's ability works on her too, so it seems to me more of a case of subtle retconning. In the first book, Edward's ability is the only one that doesn't work on her. This is to make oh so mysterious and more special. Its only in the later books where it conveniently also means she's immune to other vamp's abilities as well. Such is inconsistent with aspects of this book, but when has such niceties ever stopped Ms. Myers?

Ana Mardoll said...

I'm inclined to agree with you here. Writing tends to get away from you if you didn't have everything planned out well in advance (which can be a luxury an author sometimes can't afford -- if you plan a one-off novel and your publisher demands a 4-series, who are you to refuse the money? :P)

Turning Bella into a Psychic Shield had the *bonus* of making her romance with Edward less contrived, but the drawback is that the Jasper/Alice abilities seem inconsistent.

Good for us, though, because it fits with the D&D rule settings -- clearly the Mind Reading is a Charisma roll, and the Emotional Manipulation is, ah, Wisdom save? And Future Sight has already been theorized as a Wisdom save to explain Alice's frequent fumbles.

Brin Bellway said...

I was in danger of being distracted by his livid, glorious face.
[...]
He paused, and for a brief moment his stunning face was unexpectedly vulnerable.


You didn't purple-ify "glorious" and "stunning"?

Ana Mardoll said...

You didn't purple-ify "glorious" and "stunning"?

I thought about it, but it made me unaccountably sad to point out that Edward is sexy WHILE being an angry jerk. :( I probably *should*, though, just to continue the theme.

hapax said...

Edward can blush and beg off later

Well, no. It's already been established that vampires can't blush. [/nitpick]

He *could* hang his head and shuffle his feet adorably, I suppose.

Oh wait. This is Edward. No, he couldn't do that, either.

But actually, I'm inclined to give the Cullens a pass on this one. Yes, they should be more accomplished at lying; but iirc MIDNIGHT SUN establishes that actually saving someone (as opposed to merely heroically not killing them) is a pretty new experience for all of them, and throws them off their game.

And both Carlisle and Edward are currently in an emergency room, surrounded by tasty, tasty juice boxes patients, and probably have enough problems maintaining control.

Once again, I seem to remember Edward receiving a Stern Talking-To once he gets home.

jp said...

**"It matters to me," I insisted. "I don't like to lie -- so there'd better be a good reason why I'm doing it."***

BWAAAHAAAAA!!!!

Ok, sorry, I'm supposed to be acting like a grown-up too.

Bella lies constantly, explicitly, implicitly, and often for what seems like no reason at all. She lies to her mother and Phil, to Charlie, to the barely characterized extras who irritate her at school. She embodies that moment in *Madam Bovary* where the narrator informs that reader that deception had become such a habit with the heroine that if she had walked down the left side of the street, when asked, she would say she had walked down the right.

Even this early in the books, there have to be some 4-5 examples of the **"How is everything going, Bella?" "Oh, great, " I lied** exchange.

Her reflexive dishonesty is one of the things that makes her, to me, so unappealing as a character, especially since the little lies lead to bigger ones, which are often emotionally manipulative to boot.

In a better book, the discrepancy between what Bella thinks and says about herself ("I don't like to lie") and the constant stream of falsehoods that flow from her lips would lead to a crucial and dramatic moment of self-realization. In this one, unfortunately, it looks as if Meyers hasn't noticed the discrepancy is there.

Ana Mardoll said...

Well, no. It's already been established that vampires can't blush. [/nitpick]

Heh. Will you believe I noticed that on the proof-read-through and decided to leave it in? Never let it be said that I don't shamelessly fish for comments. :D

And both Carlisle and Edward are currently in an emergency room

There's a point. I had assumed that Carlisle had an office or something and they had a Serious Talk when Ed got to the hospital. Do surgeons have offices? I honestly don't know.

Ana Mardoll said...

How about Charlize? :D

I really love Edith way more than I should for a fictional character. I really like how she pointed out that HER secret wasn't JUST "her" secret and that she needed to talk to some others first. It's very cool, partly because it's truthful and upfront, but also partly because it's a great stalling tactic. You don't even have to think "vampire" at this part -- I'd be thinking that Caroline is doping the kids with performance enhancers or something out of a sports competition mentality.

Bella: You do realize that, right here right now, I'm already on your side keeping you secret for you and the only thing that you could possibly do to threaten your situation is to convince me that's a bad idea.

This. Just irks me so much. Bella is *already* openly using Edward's cover story in public (albeit in the sulkiest way possible). Now is the time for honey, not vinegar.

Rainicorn said...

Reading this, all I could think was, I stopped the van - the remote control was in my hand! [/nerdout]

(Longtime lurker, first-time commenter, btw. Love these analyses, and Narnia too.)

Ana Mardoll said...

Welcome, Rainicorn! I love it when lurkers post for the first time! :D

Lunch Meat said...

Reading this, all I could think was, I stopped the van - the remote control was in my hand! [/nerdout]

Now this would be interesting--what if Jacob was actually the one who stopped the van? (Bearing in mind that I have no idea what the capabilities of the Twiwolves are) What if Jacob was behind the van or under it, pulling at it and digging his claws into the ice to stop it (which might have made the screeching noise?), and all he intended to do was get it to stop right before it reached Bella and look like it naturally ran out of momentum. And all Edward could have done on his own was use his super-speed to get Bella out of the way, which might have looked natural if everyone forgot where he was standing. But because the van also stopped, which looked more impossible, Bella is now more suspicious of Edward, which puts her in more danger. How would this make Jacob feel, knowing a) that his actions might have actually harmed Bella (because 1. now they'll have to silence her, and 2. worse, she'll form a relationship with Edward), b) that he put his life at risk unnecessarily, and c) that Edward looks like a hero because he did it in a flashier way?

Ana Mardoll said...

Furthermore, because of her biology as a female werewolf, she’s menopausal and infertile.

Wait, what? Werewolves are infertile? I know that vampires are infertile, but werewolves too?

I........... so.... in a cast of supernatural girls -- Alice, Victoria, Leah, Rosalie, Amanda Seyfried, etc. -- Bella The Chosen One is the ONLY fertile girl?

I..... I'm not sure what to think about that.

Inquisitive Raven said...

Female werewolves are infertile. The male werewolves are apparently normally fertile. At least, that's what I've gathered. This doesn't seem to be unusual in werewolf fiction. I've run across a couple of other examples, both written by women. The idea is that even if a female werewolf conceives, the fetus doesn't survive the rigors of the change. Those two examples though are using the traditional "werewolves have to change at the full moon" trope. I gather that this is not the case with Meyer, so really, if a female werewolf conceives in this series, she should be able to refrain from changing for nine months. But, noooo, Leah is intruding on male territory, so she has to be punished.

Ana Mardoll said...

The idea is that even if a female werewolf conceives, the fetus doesn't survive the rigors of the change.

.......
.......
.......
.......

That... seems like an incredibly arbitrary use of "realism" in a novel about people turning into human-wolf hybrids because the moon is a certain phase. o.O

But who am I to throw stones?

Ana Mardoll said...

Carlisle: I don't know, do you really think Charlie is up to the task? I've been dangling hints in front of him since we first moved here and it's always the same: nothing.
Edward: Alice did say that this town would be harder than the last one.

The object is to see how far they can go before they're found out and, naturally, how much fun they can have in the process. Edward's siblings were unhappy with how he saved Bella because they feel he skipped over several levels of escalation. If they use blatant superpowers to early then it takes all the fun out of it. (Unless they're playing a quick free for all.)


This interpretation made me so happy. It actually explains so much: the sibling-dating, the conspicuous buying-cafeteria-food-and-throwing-it-away, the impossibly expensive flashy cars, Edward's blatant use of mind reading in school (coming later! stay tuned!).

hapax said...

I have a sorta-werewolf story in which one character changes from male to female at the full moon. (It's complicated).

The whole fertility issue is handwaved away with "it doesn't work like that." I do lampshade it, though, by having several female characters royally pissed that zie doesn't have to experience menses...

Karen Nilsen said...

The Cullens should go to Vegas and sparkle there. With their incredible luck, they'd do great at the slot machines. Poker, though, not so much--you actually have to be able to bluff to play poker. Incredible luck is the only explanation I can devise for how they've managed to lie and manipulate so badly for so long and yet somehow, have escaped detection until our intrepid heroine trips and stumbles her way on to the scene.

Ana Mardoll said...

LUCK! *That* was the stat we were forgetting when we were theorizing the character sheets for everyone.

I have a sorta-werewolf story in which one character changes from male to female at the full moon. (It's complicated).

That actually sounds like a really cool story.

chris the cynic said...

twilightsaga.wikia is where I go for random Twilight info. Mostly because it came up first on Google when I searched for something and now my computer knows the address so if I type in "tw" it fills in the rest. I have no idea if it is accurate, but it is convenient.

It says that her menstrual cycle shut down when she became a wolf*. (It also says that they're not werewolves so much as shape-shifters that take the shape of wolves, with actual werewolves being nearly extinct.) So if she had somehow managed to never transition into wolf mode she would have remained fertile but now that she has her fertility is apparently destroyed. It isn't clear whether this is true of all female shapeshifty wolfthings, mostly because the wiki seems to indicate that she is the only one ever shown. (Though the phrasing is sloppily ambiguous.)

It also says many other things that make me want to comfort this character I've never heard of before.

Ana Mardoll said...

It also says many other things that make me want to comfort this character I've never heard of before.

(Seriously, I'm reading that myself right now. Her dad died from the shock of her being the shifter instead of her brother, and she can't have kids, and her boyfriend ran off with her cousin -- I think -- and everybody is an absolute asshole to her. I can't tell yet if I'm going to have a field-day deconstructing this character or if it's just going to make me want to curl into a fetal position under my desk.)

I CAN tell you I'm going to have some issues with the tribe-as-depicted-by-Meyer. Oh dear. :(

hapax said...

Popular lore has it that only the alpha female of a wolfpack will breed, and the estrus cycles of the subordinate females will be shut down. So maybe that's what S. Meyer was thinking of*.

Of course, five minutes on Teh Intertubez reveals that this complicated hierarchy of "alpha" "beta" "omega" and so forth is based on research of captive (= pathological) wolves, and that in the wild, most wolf pack consist of one breeding pair, their yearling offspring, and the current year's litter of pups.

So much for the extensive effort shifter novels put into "pack dynamics".


*"Thinking"? "Thinking"? I'm giving her too much credit here, aren't I?

Ana Mardoll said...

really? Pack dynamics are an artificial by-product of captivity? If that's true, that's just all kinds of hilarious. (For books, I mean, not for the animals. That part is sad. :(

chris the cynic said...

I forgot one point, in a world where people can change into animals I really have no problems with the ability to bear children causing by disbelief to return from suspension. Also, given that we know, as of series ending, that male vampires are fertile while females are not I have a feeling that the same holding true has less to do with werewolf biology and more to do with Meyer's rules of supernatural fertility which appear to transcend species lines.

-

I think I'd like to read a (well written) book in which Leah overcomes the world that is clearly against her and gets a happy ending of some kind. I definitely got a sense she was treated like shit by more or less everyone. Everyone deserves better.

hapax said...

Pack dynamics are an artificial by-product of captivity?

So saith the mighty Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_Wolf#Social_structure

Chris the cynic: I found Leah to be one of the most interesting, and saddest, characters in the entire series. I could have sworn there was a short story about Leah running away from the pack -- or maybe it was a side chapter in BREAKING DAWN (ewww, I don't want to re-read it to find out) -- that deal with her whole conflict of pack loyalty vs. autonomy in a fairly interesting way.

Hmm. That "fairly interesting way" seems to hint at me that this must have been fanfiction.

I shall try to track it down when my google-fu is stronger.

Brin Bellway said...

So if she had somehow managed to never transition into wolf mode she would have remained fertile but now that she has her fertility is apparently destroyed. It isn't clear whether this is true of all female shapeshifty wolfthings, mostly because the wiki seems to indicate that she is the only one ever shown.

It seems (and this might just be because I don't know enough) that it would make more sense if Leah had complete androgen insensitivity. They could say shapeshifting is Y-linked; Leah is a werewolf because she has a Y chromosome with a werewolf gene. Finding out she's genetically male and has testicles in her abdomen ought to be plenty of reason for angst, though lacking the relevant organs she would never have menstruated. Androgen-insensitive!Leah might have to be de-aged a bit: by age twenty she should have noticed something was wrong and had it checked out. (Then again, are the Clearwaters poor? Maybe with America's screwed-up healthcare she couldn't afford a gynecologist and just let it be and hoped for the best.)

There might still be holes in this story I don't see, but at least it's superficially-sound technobabble.

Inquisitive Raven said...

Well, if you think about it, captive wolves are a perfectly viable model for shapechanger pack dynamics. You're not typically looking at a family group in those circumstances. if shapechanging is transmitted by biting, the pack is likely to be composed of unrelated people, hence the alpha, beta, etc. hierarchy is to be expected.

If you're looking at the World of Darkness, therianthropy is inherited, but a child of two therianthropes is sterile, and the offspring of a therianthrope and a human or a therianthrope and the non-human species it changes into are therianthropes only 1/6 to 1/10 of the time depending on the species, with werewolves being at the one tenth end of the spectrum. In that case, the pack may be composed of relatives, but they're more likely to be cousins than parents and offspring, and many packs have unrelated members even if they're majority family. Once again, the alpha, beta, etc. hierarchy would be an expected result, but you do get some of the family dynamic going in that even if the pack leaders aren't among the elders, they're expected to listen to them. Note: I'm talking about the Old World of Darkness here. In the New World of Darkness, I think shapechangers have to breed with humans, and I have no idea what the ratios of human to shapechanger offspring are.

Ana Mardoll said...

I cannot express how much I love the complex biology lessons and RPG discussions that these posts are spawning. My life really *is* an xkcd strip, and that's just so wonderful.

Now all I need is Jeremy Irons to follow me around and narrate my life story as it plays out and I'll be content.

chris the cynic said...

And this is the point where I bash my head into a wall because my very nice post disappeared into the aether. Not in a "Disqus ate it; Ana can save it" kind of a way, more of a, "This is why I often compose posts in word processors" kind of way.

Um, so what was I going to say? Probably something like this:

First off I don't know what I'm talking about any more than you do. I have all of one book from the Twilight series, that being Twilight, and it does not have werewolves in it, as near as I can tell. Oh, it has Jacob, but from everything I've heard Jacob is pretty much a one time use human character who was retroactively werewolfified for the sequel.

So when it comes to werewolves pretty much anyone can know as much as me simply by looking at the wiki I've mentioned. That also means that even if my reasoning is perfect (and it probably won't be) it could still turn out to be completely wrong if the wiki is less than accurate.

So, with those disclaimers out there, here goes. The wiki says that shifting stopped her menstrual cycle which to me implies that it was going before first shift, that rules out a number of otherwise sound theories.

There is speculation on the wiki that werewolfiness might be tied to the y chromosome in the way you describe which would mean that Leah would have to either be be some form of XY female or have had some kind of mutation involving some genetic material being carried from the y chromosome to somewhere else (I feel as though I should write the word transposons here followed by an exclamation point, but I'm not sure that all mutations of that type actually involved transposons.)

A problem, though not a fatal flaw, with this is that apparently shapeshifters have an extra pair of chromosomes which, you would guess, play some kind of a role in their ability to turn into bear sized wolves. (Though I still hold out hope for Magic! as the explanation that makes the most sense.) In that case it couldn't simply be genetic code on the y chromosome.

It could still, however, be controlled by code on the y chromosome.

I think there was more I was going to say, and I think that the lost post (which I swear was better) somehow managed to be shorter even though it included whatever that more was.

Ana Mardoll said...

*headdesk*

And this is why (imho) fantasy writers shouldn't be scientific. I knew Meyer tried to do that with the vampires; I didn't realize she'd trotted out the "More Chromosomes Equals More Awesome" canard. In Real Life, extra chromosomes are not especially conducive to survival; I'm not a biologist by any means, but I distinctly recall that --

Crud. This probably needs a Trigger Warning: Infertility on it.

Uhfonaq naq V jrag guebhtu VIS gjvpr naq gur rzoelbf jrer noabezny rnpu gvzr. Gurl nyy unq "neerfgrq qrirybczrag" juvpu zrnaf gurl whfg fgbccrq tebjvat. Gur nanylfvf fubjrq gung nyy bs gurz unq gbb znal puebzbfbzrf -- juvpu pna zrna Gevfbzl 18, Gevfbzl 13, Qbja Flaqebzr, naq n srj bgure guvatf. Abar bs gurfr guvatf cebivqr hore-jrerjbys njrfbzr cbjref naq jrer, cerfhznoyl jul gur rzoelbf qvqa'g znxr vg cnfg gur svsgu qnl.

Inquisitive Raven said...

Okay, now that I've written a lengthy comment about World of Darkness werewolves, I want to recast Twilight in terms of Vampire the Masquerade. Hmm, Carlisle is a thirteenth Generation Tzimice with a remarkably human aesthetic sense, and the rest of the Cullens are his pack of thin bloods. Fourteenth and fifteenth Generation vampires are capable of inventing new Disciplines, and some of them are supposed to be seers. This is the only explanation I can come up with for Alice whose abilities do not match any of the standard Discplines. Jasper is a caitiff or Pander (I don't think Carlisle turned him) who has put almost all of his points into Presence and Auspex (to account for his sensing emotions; he's actually reading people's auras), and Edward's abilities seem to be a weirdly specialized Auspex, but maybe this too is a unique Discipline that he invented.

Nobody in town seems to notice them because a) they're blood bound or b) they're part of a small group of revenants of the Grimaldi family that Carlisle is hiding from the Sabbat. Carlisle and his brood have their own reasons to hide from the Sabbat who would undoubtedly consider the thin bloods to be too weak to be proper vampires, and would try to eat them if they ever found them. That seems like a good reason to hide out in the remote town of Forks. As a Tzimice, Carlisle doesn't dare go to the Camarilla for help, and besides, who knows how much of the Sabbat propaganda he's bought into.

Ana Mardoll said...

Jasper is a caitiff or Pander (I don't think Carlisle turned him) who has put almost all of his points into Presence and Auspex (to account for his sensing emotions;

You recall correctly; neither Alice nor Jasper are Carlisle-turned.

Inquisitive Raven said...

I think for something like this, I'd start with some real life pseudoscience like "12 strand DNA activation." Let someone else come up with the nonsensical blither; blither that's already a proven moneymaker, even.

Ana Mardoll said...

Nice. :D

Either that or go the True Blood route -- keep insisting there's a super-scientific reason until HAHA, NO THERE ISN'T. I liked that part.

chris the cynic said...

Highest known chromosome count of any living thing is had by... a fern.

This goes pretty far into not expert territory. I don't think that werewolves would necessarily have extra chromosome problems (they would have all the same ones as human beings though.) You know, there isn't a way to say that that can't be read two ways. I don't think they would have problems relating to chromosome number beyond those of ordinary human beings, with the possible exception of the fact that there was one more pair and thus one more chance for things to go wrong.

If the child of a werewolf and a human being didn't have the right number of chromosomes, say they had one more than a human and one less than a werewolf, that puts them in an interesting case where human beings never are. They've got one more than necessary to be one type of viable life form and one less than necessary to be another. That simply cannot happen for human beings. But it can happen for horses.

In the case of horses (64 chromosomes) and donkeys (62 chromosomes) the result is a hybrid (63 chromosomes) which is sterile. If werewolf-human children were like that then, given that werewolves can't breed amongst themselves, they'd die out in a generation. On the other hand horses (64) and wild horses (66) can create non-sterile offspring (65) if werewolf human hybrids were like that then there might be hope.

I would guess that in that case the hybrid breeding with a human would have a 50-50 chance of making a human or a hybrid, a hybrid breeding with a werewolf would have a 50-50 chance of making a hybrid or a werewolf. A hybrid breeding with a hybrid has a 50 percent chance of producing a hybrid, a 25 percent chance of producing a human, and a 25 percent chance of producing a werewolf.

An important question would be: what is a hybrid? Is it a werewolf, a human, something in between? If a hybrid appears to be human (if the additional chromosome is somehow dormant in the absence of it's pair) then you have the possibility of two apparent humans having a werewolf for a child. If a hybrid is essentially a werewolf then ... actually there's not much interesting to say here.

No wait, there is. If hybrid appears to be a werewolf then, since female werewolves are infertile, pure werewolves would be nearly impossible. I was going to say they'd be impossible, but they could be created in much the same way some people end up with an extra chromosome. Hybrid no longer makes sense as a term in this case. The ones with an even number of chromosomes are the exception, not the species.

At any moment someone who knows stuff about genetics is going to waltz into this thread and tell me I'm an idiot.

-

Ana, the rot13 stuff you said seemed deeply personal and very sad. I don't know what, if anything, to say in response. On the one hand offering sympathies if you don't need them could be opening old wounds, which I may have already done at this point, on the other hand if sympathy is wanted... I'd like to give it.

Ana Mardoll said...

At any moment someone who knows stuff about genetics is going to waltz into this thread and tell me I'm an idiot.

Well, it sounded impressive to ME. I'm a little dizzy now. :P

As for the rest, *internet hugs* to anyone who wants to give and receive them. I can never remember how much I've shared with everyone on the blog, but it's *definitely* going to come up down the line with Twilight -- I've known that going in with the whole Rosalie/Esme/Renesmee thing. :)

Like a lot of things, it's kind of a painful subject in the "gee, I wish that hadn't happened" sense, but it doesn't bother me to talk about it and share because -- well, if nothing else, if anyone else is having similar problems, I hope they can draw some strength from looking at me and seeing that life does go on past something like that. :)

I really only use the ROT13 because I don't want to traumatize someone who isn't prepared to get hit in the face with that on a nice Saturday night. :)

So what I'm saying is: thank you so much for the very welcome empathies and sympathies, but don't let me shut the conversation down because that's the LAST thing I want. :D

Karen Nilsen said...

*Internet hugs* back. For some reason, the ROT13 stuff won't come up on my browser as anything but unreadable code (probably something I either don't know how to do or something to do with my dial-up connection), but I got the gist from your other comments. Anyway, I'm very sorry.

One of the things that I find fascinating--and infuriating--about Twilight and its sequels is how often Meyer seems to want the reader to feel one way about a situation, character, what have you, and then the reader (at least this reader) ends up feeling the complete opposite of what Meyer seemingly intended. Leah is one of these characters for me--not only do the other characters treat her badly but Meyer herself seems to treat Leah badly in her portrayal of her. It just makes me that much more sympathetic to Leah.

Brin Bellway said...

For some reason, the ROT13 stuff won't come up on my browser as anything but unreadable code (probably something I either don't know how to do or something to do with my dial-up connection)

I can't tell from this what you've already tried. The usual means of decoding is copy-pasting the text into the box on the ROT13 website, then pressing "Cypher" (the cyphering works both ways). (The first time I saw ROT13 I didn't know about this and attempted to decode it by hand. Not really worth the effort for the vast majority of things.)

Randy Owens said...

I can vouch for the validity of a concussion excuse here. Once, back in high school, I was sucker-punched in the mouth. My memory told me that there was a big, drawn-out fight, down to the ground, kicking with legs entangled, etc. But the witnesses say it was just one punch out of nowhere, and I was down and bleeding.

Gaslight spoiler warning!

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One thing that disappointed me when, after learning of the origin of the term 'gaslighting', I went and watched one of the movies to see how it was done there, is that the titular & eponymous gaslight effect isn't really part of what we consider 'gaslighting' at all. It wasn't something done to mess with her head and convince her she must be crazy; it was just a side-effect of the other activities that he was covering up by convincing her she was crazy. And yet, that's the word we have for it now. Oh well.

Amarie said...

*Comes back from pre-birthday outing and 'ogles' at what mention of Leah has spawned* :O

Oh dear...I completely took it from gaslighting. Ana, do you still love me? D:

But...I just felt that I had to mention Leah. It's almost like she's the female pariah in Meyer's eyes because she simply doesn't fit the role(s) that Meyer feels women should be relegated to: men can and *should* openly vocalize and express their suffering...even as fabricated and/or self-inflicted as it may be. Women, on the other hand, should all but internalize and stay quiet in their suffering. Leah never did that, and I felt that Meyer punished her for that endlessly. It's one of the main aspects of Breaking Dawn that almost made me cry. Bella, the rest of the Cullens, and Jacob got their happy ending...why not Leah? Okay...maybe her biology won't allow her to have a baby. Maybe her personality doesn't quite fit in with an obedient and docile housewife. Maybe she's much, much too independent and strong to ever be paired with a man of Meyer's ideal choosing. But...how about going outside that Mormon housewife box? Why *can't* a woman be happy with college, a career, and commercial sucess? Why *cant'* a woman be happy because she's free from the daily stresses of children and laundry and cooking and scrubbing and husbands, etc.?
I'm not saying that a woman can't/shouldn't be happy as a housewife; if that's what she *truly* wants to do, then GREAT! There is *no* shame in being a housewife (*ahem*...on a side note, stay-at-home dads get me hot...no lie). I think statistics say that a stay-at-home mom works the equivalent of two full time jobs? Plus, her work is *valuable* and *needed*.
But, I *am* saying that I wish Stephenie Meyer would get out of her own [anti-feminist] head. I think that Leah *could* find fulfillment in a college diploma, career, etc. I think that she should invest all that fire and determination in a field of her choosing. I think that she should leave Forks and La Push behind to branch out and find her own network that supports and accepts her as she is. I think she *should* bring forth work/creations of her own that teach her that-as long as she chooses to see so-her infertility has nothing to do with her value as a person. She owes it to herself, more than anything.

*rant over*

But, while we're on the subject...imprinting anyone? *wants to hear what everyone has to say before I chip in*

Karen Nilsen said...

Thank you so much. That worked--albeit slowly with the dial-up--but it worked.

Kit Whitfield said...

Bella lies constantly, explicitly, implicitly, and often for what seems like no reason at all.

True, but that's usually to benefit herself: if nothing else, lying conceals her real opinions from people, which seems to be something she's invested in. Lying to benefit someone else is a new experience for her.

--

Where's Kit when we need her? Kit, can your werewolves have babies?

Yes. Furring up (which is my phrase for it) is a higher-risk time, and women who seem likely to have a tendency to miscarry are, in the modern world, booked on round-the-world aeroplane flights during pregnancy so they can stay in one shape and improve their chances. But for the most part, pregnancies are sustainable without intervention.
Since lycanthropy isn't heritable in my book - everyone does it unless they incur damage at birth; anmorphism is a kind of disability - foetuses are probably more resistant to that kind of thing than they'd be in the real world.

Also, menstrual cycles can complicate things: if you fur up during your fertile period, you can go on heat. Lola's sister (Lola is the narrator) has been left by her husband because, during such a moment, she was stuck and unable to get home on moon night, got locked up with a man she didn't know, had sex with him, and hence has a baby whose paternity is in question. Lola remarks that had her sister confided in her about this problem earlier, she could have advised her to go on the Pill long enough to knock her cycle back a week or two, but the tensions between lycos and barebacks have gotten into their family and Becca never mentioned it.


But having said all that, I never saw it as a very important part of the story. It was more like tidying away questions as they came up; the main point of the story lies elsewhere. So I really don't have any problem with someone providing a vague or biologically implausible explanation for such things; we're in the realm of fantasy anyway. The main thing, as I see it, is to make sure that the knock-on consequences of whatever fantasy you come up with are psychologically plausible: since the story is about people, and how they think and feel, and what they do because of that, it's the thoughts, feelings and actions that have to make sense.

Cupcakedoll said...

I only know of Leah from MarkReads-- he was quite incensed about her treatment and posted a lot of quotes and a lot of profanity. My understanding from that was that Leah is the only female shapeshifter. The other women of the tribe can’t change. They stay home and keep house while the menfolk get to transform and run around the forest. Leah’s physical difference allows her to shapeshift but not have babies. I’d prefer to shapeshift and adopt, but that’s just me-- and SMeyer doesn’t seem to consider adoption an appropriate way of having children. Surely Rosalie would have considered it by now.

(And internet hugs to Ana, since this conversation is leading to areas that make her sad but are interesting to the discussion.)

I could’ve misread from MarkReads though. Come Wednesday I’ll ask my Twihard co-worker for the full story. She knows it all and is nice enough to still tell me even though I giggle a lot and say things like, “this plot is silly!“

...hang on, should we be jumping ahead? Shouldn’t we save some for later? On the other hand if we talk about it all now, then if Ana found Breaking Dawn was breaking her sanity, she could flee with a clear conscience.

Other thought: Do the Tribe have any connection to real wolves? Can they communicate with them? They’re much larger aren’t they? That sucks. It spoils so many “our tie to the natural world” type possibilities, like the chance to go wolf completely and abandon one’s human side which I feel is a great plot option for werewolves.

Imprinting: my only thought was, “Holy ElfQuest plagiarism, Batman!” and while I’m sure SMeyer never really read EQ the idea of it will not leave my brain.

And I always wanted to play a Nosferatu. You tormented sexy vampires got nuthin on my hideously ugly vampire!

Kit Whitfield said...

Trigger warning: emotional/verbal abuse

There's another key to gaslighting, and it involves not acting like a complete jerk. The key here is kindness and patience. Humans are socially conditioned from birth to respond certain ways in social situations. If someone keeps gently and patiently repeating the same "truth", we tend to feel uncomfortable with arguing with Such A Nice Person.

There is another method, which is to show aggressive impatience with the victim for their 'faulty' memory. Hide the keys and then start snapping, 'Come on, hurry up! Jeez, can't you ever get yourself organised?', so they're constantly on the back foot and any attempt to insist that they know what they know can be chalked off as excuse-making: 'Well obviously you didn't leave them on the table because they aren't there. For Pete's sake, are you going to stand there whining or are you going to find the bloody things? You really are the Queen of Priorities.' If they make any suggestion that you might not be telling the complete truth, turn it round immediately: 'Don't take it out on me just because you can't keep track of your own stuff. I'm sick of being your punchbag.'

If you take that tack, not only do you get them doubting their sanity, you get them doubting their character as well, and thinking 'Maybe I'm just being selfish' every time they get the urge to stand up for themselves.

It's not the best way to get someone into a relationship, but it can be a way of keeping them in a bad one.

DarcyPennell said...

Randy:

Gaslight spoiler alert, and it's a truly fantastic movie so please don't read if you have any desire to see it!
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I think you're being too hard on the movie Gaslight. He was trying to convince her she was crazy for two reasons: in the long term to get her institutionalized so he'd have complete freedom to search the house, and in the short term to convince her that the dimming gas lights were all in her head, so she wouldn't try to find out what he was doing. He was trying to make her doubt herself so much she disbelieved her own perceptions. (Just like Edward would have tried to do to Bella, if he had half the brains of Charles Boyer.) The gas lights weren't just a side effect, they were the (or at least, a) purpose of the manipulation. So it seems to me that "gaslight" is a sensible name for the technique.

Ana Mardoll said...

Oh dear...I completely took it from gaslighting. Ana, do you still love me? D:

Haha, always. Never worry about derailing, as far as I'm concerned. That's how we got a lovely Twilight conversation in a Narnia thread! :D

Lying to benefit someone else is a new experience for her.

That's a great point, and I don't mean that in a snarky way. It can be unpleasant to lie for someone else, because you're putting your reputation on the hope that they don't mess it up -- they can potentially reveal you as a liar, deliberately or by accident. So I can see how a habitual liar might still balk at lying-on-behalf of someone, let alone someone whose behavior is shouting I AM ACTING SUSPICIOUS.

Since lycanthropy isn't heritable in my book - everyone does it unless they incur damage at birth; anmorphism is a kind of disability - foetuses are probably more resistant to that kind of thing than they'd be in the real world.

That's kind of what I figured -- thanks! :)

My understanding from that was that Leah is the only female shapeshifter. The other women of the tribe can’t change. They stay home and keep house while the menfolk get to transform and run around the forest.

The wiki seems to confirm this. This was actually something I *didn't* know about Twilight -- so it's nice to see there's Gender Fail here that I hadn't even realized yet. And by "nice" I mean "really sad".

There is another method, which is to show aggressive impatience with the victim for their 'faulty' memory.

This is another good point, but all I could do while reading was think "but how would we be able to tell Gaslighting Edward apart from regular smug impatient Edward?" I am a terrible person this morning. :D

I am not entirely opposed to a soulmate type setup, but I do object to the lack of complications it brings up. If I fell in love with an child, even if my sexual attraction was latent, I would need Therapy Forever. Seriously. Even if it was a cultural norm amongst my kind, it would bring up a host of legal, ethical, moral, financial, psychological, and social nightmares.

Thank you for so succinctly articulating why child-imprinting is squick even without sexuality coming into the mix. I tip my hat to you.

chris the cynic said...

all I could do while reading was think "but how would we be able to tell Gaslighting Edward apart from regular smug impatient Edward?"

Perhaps he's jammed in gaslighting mode. His whiplash educing mood swings in themselves got Bella to briefly doubt her sanity:

My mind was spinning with confusion. Had I made up the whole thing? He was perfectly polite now.

In that same class he showed up with a completely different eye color and responded to being asked about it by acting as if everything was the same. Though I have not actually read 1984 I have a strong urge to write the words, "We've always been at war with Eastasia," here. As you can see, I gave in to that urge.

Changing your eyecolor and then acting like you have no idea what the person who notices is talking about could probably be used for gaslighting. It's a little detail that could serve to make someone unsure of their perceptions without immediately making them realize something was up. It didn't work that way for Bella, but I could see it figuring into Edward's perpetual gaslighting campaign. He doesn't wear normal colored contacts to hide his vampire eyes because having his eye color change in impossible ways is a feature, not a bug.

Kit Whitfield said...

Thank you for so succinctly articulating why child-imprinting is squick even without sexuality coming into the mix.

This is something I've said before, but there's a non-sexual problem with it from the child's point of view.

In The Feminine Mystique, discussing how pressuring girls into early marriages, childbearing and housewifery creates 'the problem that has no name', Betty Friedan points out that not only does it deny girls the opportunity for independence: it gives them a way of avoiding all the scary, difficult choices that go towards creating an adult. To have everything sorted out for you is to be permanently infantilised - and psychologically disabled.

Finding a romantic partner (or partners) is one of the highest-stakes, most difficult and important decisions in most people's lives. Having it all settled for you saves you from that challenge. Likewise, I believe imprinted werewolves are supposed to assume whatever role - brother, father, lover, friend - their beloved may need at that particular time ... which is to say, they also save her from the challenge of finding her own brother-figures, father-figures, lovers and friends. She doesn't have to put herself out there either romantically or socially. She doesn't have to learn how to interact with other people.

The Twilight books have a curious relationship with interaction: a combination of longing for intimate connection and a fascination with status, glamour and being the centre of attention, while at the same time featuring a heroine who prickles at any human interaction and gets all her relationships handed to her by fait accompli. I think the imprinting is part of the same aesthetic: you get what you need whatever you say you want, and you don't have to make any effort to get it.

Ana Mardoll said...

@Chris, that actually makes sense. "What? No! My eyes have always been yellow. *mutters something about Bella's mental health*". (If you're interested in 1984 but don't want to invest in the reading time, there's a really good movie version available. Be warned that in addition to all the not-for-children obvious totalitarian stuff, there is also nudity.)

She doesn't have to put herself out there either romantically or socially. She doesn't have to learn how to interact with other people.

*shivers* I hadn't really thought of it from that perspective before. That seems unhealthily insular. Particularly for a being that can kill and rip someone apart as easy as look at them.

(Where's Will for our Dark Twilight with Reneesmee as a sociopathic monster and Jacob forced by imprinting to stay by his darling's side as she descends into madness and murder without a single flicker of conscience? *evil grin*)

Brin Bellway said...

in addition to all the not-for-children obvious totalitarian stuff

*giggle*
See, I know from experience that this link to the almost-full text (it was missing the appendix about Newspeak*) worked a decade ago (it doesn't work now). I'm not sure how exactly I got ahold of that URL at the age of seven (give or take a year), but I suspect it involved Dad. The worldbuilding fascinated me, Minilove and all. I don't know if I read Brave New World around the same age because of enjoying 1984 or the other way 'round, but it seems like that should be related.

*Which I was quite surprised to discover when I read an ink-and-paper copy for the first time when I was thirteen. (You may notice this coincides with the date on the website of when they pulled the text.)

(You never can tell what a child can take. I loved Brave New World and 1984, but watching Men in Black gave me nightmares of being chased by people with neuralysers until...until they were replaced by Silence**, actually. Same nightmare, different excuse.)

** *watches discussion derail into Doctor Who*

chris the cynic said...

"What? No! My eyes have always been yellow. *mutters something about Bella's mental health*".

And then, later on, when Edward is hungry:
"We've been through this before. My eyes have always been black."
"Last time you said that they'd always been yellow."
"No, I did not. This isn't funny Bella. I don't know what kind of game you're playing, but I refuse to be a part of it. Don't put words into my mouth." *Storms off*

The next time they meet his eyes are yellow again and he acts like all of this never happened. Possibly floating the idea that Bella dreamed it all up.

"Did you have another nightmare with blackeyed Edward in it?" said in a voice that is sympathetic but condescending, as if addressing a small child, is probably going a bit too far.

Brin Bellway said...

After the second time I'd set my MP3 player to "record" whenever I was conversing with him. If the school authorities won't let me bring it because they're afraid I'll be distracted using it for its original purpose, the third time I'd find a dedicated recorder.

Ana Mardoll said...

(@Brin, I still think we must be twins. I was pretty young when I read 1984, and I loved it, too. I will confess I didn't fully understand the torture-awfulness, though. At that age, I was sort of desensitized to violence by certain Bible passages. It wasn't until I got older that I realized that violence was, well, *real*.)

I do wish Bella was more techy. I know that Twilight was written several years ago, but it's a bit sad to me that she never uses the internet outside of Exciting! Google! Action! and that she has only a dial-up connection.

chris the cynic said...

Yeah, that is a downside to that strategy. Of course when you're dealing with a supernatural stalker who enters your room while you are sleeping without your knowledge, recording might work out well for gaslighting stalker.

If he's going for, "It never happened," then he just deletes the file from the mp3 player, and the backup from the hard drive, and checks the memory card in your digital camera to make sure you didn't store a copy on there too (swearing all the while, though not so loudly as to wake you up, about how much harder this is than the good old days.) Later on you go to get your proof only to find out that your proof doesn't exist. You were sure you'd made six backups, what the hell?

If he's going for, "I've always said color I'm saying today," then it's a good deal more complicated because he has to rerecord his line in a way that does not obviously appear to be a rerecording (which would likely be quite difficult if the conversation took place with distinctive background noise.)

So maybe it's not the best plan on Edward's part, but you can't expect someone who came of age before the first world war to properly account for all of these newfangled gizmos.

Actually, that would be a much better solution to the whole, "They've been doing this for a century and it was that easy for a teenager to figure out their secret?" objection. Maybe they have a lot of practice, but it's entirely out of date. The idea that everyone would be walking around with recording devices probably seems like something out of James Bond to them. (Or, you know, my shoe is a phone.*)

It still doesn't explain why Bella is the only one to notice something is off.

-

*Note that I grew up being told about this show but today is actually my first time seeing the shoe phone in action.

Ana Mardoll said...

You were sure you'd made six backups, what the hell?

And why are there so many pop-up ads and viruses on my computer?!

Brin Bellway said...

If he's going for, "It never happened," then he just deletes the file from the mp3 player, and the backup from the hard drive, and checks the memory card in your digital camera to make sure you didn't store a copy on there too (swearing all the while, though not so loudly as to wake you up, about how much harder this is than the good old days.) Later on you go to get your proof only to find out that your proof doesn't exist. You were sure you'd made six backups, what the hell?

And the draft attachment in the email account, and the draft in the other email account. And, if we're going beyond the backupping norm, the other other email account set up for this specific purpose and the microSD card hidden in the DVD case of Shrek Forever After. (No, hang on, Bella's current household has never contained kids between the ages of 1 and 17. Pirates of the Caribbean 2, then.)

chris the cynic said...

Which is why Bella poses such a problem. When you can read someone's mind to know where all the backups are hidden it works so much better than searching the entire house for something as easy to hide as a flashcard. You've got to look really hard if you want to find the one hidden in the spine of the Jane Austin compilation.

And if you miss even one then you've made things much much worse because now the target has more than just proof, they have the knowledge that you're breaking into their house to destroy that proof. Any ambiguity there might have been is gone. You've just hung up a, "Yes, I am gaslighting you" sign.

Brin Bellway said...

When you can read someone's mind to know where all the backups are hidden it works so much better than searching the entire house for something as easy to hide as a flashcard.

[unrelated subject title]
"Dear Renee: I know it seems odd that I'm sending .mp3s of me talking to some guy to you, but I need you and Phil to keep them safe. They don't seem important at first glance, but they really, really are, I promise. Help out your daughter, would you?"

Will Wildman said...

(Where's Will for our Dark Twilight with Reneesmee as a sociopathic monster and Jacob forced by imprinting to stay by his darling's side as she descends into madness and murder without a single flicker of conscience? *evil grin*)

I would be intrigued to know why you figure I would be the first one to come up with that. =)

I'd be more likely to go in the direction of the amoral anti-villain - Nessie gets everything handed to her and if I recall correctly, her extra vampower involves broadcasting her exact intended communication so that she can never be misunderstood, yes? It seems to me this is a person who will not instinctively grok the Masquerade that everyone else depends on for their survival - the idea of needing to work subtlely to achieve something will be foreign to her, and dishonest communication will be entirely outside of her experience. How could anyone not completely trust her as well as realise just how appropriate it is for them to agree with her?

(I'm extrapolating a little here, but if Nessie's power is 'perfect communication' then I would tend to imagine that, as she grows more experienced, she will be able to refine it, such that the message she broadcasts is not merely understood, but comes across in a way that makes perfect sense to the receiver and is thus somewhat supernaturally charismatic and compelling. "I understand you" evolves into "Yes, of course, I see exactly what you mean.")

She won't like the idea of the Masquerade and she won't have the skills to interact properly with anyone who tries to argue with her or enforce it on her - and she will have the power and the allies to resist them.

Basically I see Nessie as the catalyst that will drag the Cullens back into direct conflict with the Volturi, wipe them out, and set themselves up as the new ruling vampire clan of the world. Not that this would be a benevolent rule, with Nessie in charge, so hopefully she's happy to set Esme and Carlisle at the top of the hierarchy; otherwise there are going to be secret vampire wars the world over and possibly within the Cullen clan itself.

Brin Bellway said...

Disqus is being flicky again.

Ana Mardoll said...

I would be intrigued to know why you figure I would be the first one to come up with that. =)

LOL, well, I seem to recall you doing marvelous things with villain interpretations, and I figured if anyone could write a compelling Nessie-villain interpretation, you would and could. And then you go and top my hopes with an even BETTER one of her forcing her interpretation on people with her powers of communication. Awesomesauce. :D

Kit Whitfield said...

Does Bella get a magic power?

Ana Mardoll said...

Does Bella get a magic power?

I think she's a Psychic Shield, which means that in addition to being immune to Edward's mind reading, she can PWN the Volturi somehow.

chris the cynic said...

At which point it comes back to the mind reading power. Once you know someone is going to reach that point it becomes vitally important to stop giving them evidence until, at least, you're prepared to intercept their communications. (And if it reaches the point of real time verification that the transmission is received make sure all the proof is destroyed and stop giving out any more*.)

So much would depend upon knowing exactly what the person is thinking. "Are they recording now? What do they plan to do with the recording? If they send it, who will they send it to?" So when Bella, "My my mind, it is as empty as my conscience seems to be**," comes along and and Edward has absolutely no feedback things can go wrong very fast.

If Mike or Jessica or Eric decide to hand off proof to other people Edward will know about it in advance and take appropriate steps. But if Bella does, Edward had better hope Alice sees that coming better than she saw the van.

-

*Ok, there is another possibility, but it seems to be unnecessarily high risk. Intercept the file and replace it with another at the time of transmission. I think realizing that you've lost control and backing off is more sensible. Of course, we are assuming evil gaslighting bastard at this point, so maybe sensible isn't the standard by which we should judge.

**It was that or, "My mind is a black hole from which no thoughts may escape." I mean seriously, how do you explain the fact that anyone capable or reading minds gets nothing from her? Apart from her being half pigeon I mean.

"What's she thinking Edward?"
"There's nothing in there!"

The black hole thing is probably a better description since she obviously has thoughts, they just can't get out, unlike Jessica's that apparently broadcast in HD.

Will Wildman said...

If I recall correctly, as a human Bella has some undefined supernatural defensiveness that presents itself in things like her immunity to Edward's mind-reading. So as a vampire this gets turned way up and she gains the ability to project actual psychic forcefields in whatever shape and manipulation she likes. The books don't seem to go into a lot of detail about her powers' technical specifications, because it's not that kind of book, but anyone who likes to think about the potential uses of highly-controllable forcefields will probably soon conclude that this makes her one of the most formidable opponents in the world.

Amarie said...

*squeals and hugs Kit closely* I missed you!!!

Alas, Dav! You are a genius and perfectly articulated a lot of my own feelings about imprinting. As far as the conclusion to the ‘love triangle’ goes, it really just feels like Stephenie Meyer wrote a cop out. She didn’t want anyone’s heart broken, didn’t want anyone to actually grow up, and she certainly didn’t want anyone to leave that ‘safe cocoon’…so she put a child in there just for Jacob. Jacob’s-and Stephenie Meyer’s-arguments that the relationship is currently nothing sexual is all but a moot point because we *know* that the end result/goal *is* going to be sexual.
I’m not going to go as far to say that Stephenie Meyer is an advocate for incest. But, I *do* think that the imprinting/Breaking Dawn set up is the ideal of someone that doesn’t like the concept of leaving home and family to look for love and companionship. I think that the fantasy is that you don’t *have* to go outside of your [small] comfort zone…and risk getting hurt, rejected, etc. Furthermore, if you stay within the circle that you were born in, you forgo the risk of meeting someone that you’re attracted to and compatible with…but don’t exactly share the same [religious] values, morals, etc. Then, if your brother/father is now your boyfriend/husband, then you don’t have to worry about carrying any baggage or questions; there’s no bridge that you have to cross because he’s your one and everything.
And, if I may, that’s where I also think imprinting ties into the religious subtext. Repeatedly, Stephenie Meyer throws around the word ‘soul mate’ and ‘destined’. In Eclipse, Bella is introduced to imprinting by way of Quil (or Embry?) and the two year old Claire. Astounded, Bella [rightfully] asks what if Claire wants someone else when she grows up, and/or vice versa? Jacob replies to that with a question of his own; why would she? Jacob *literally* says that Quil will be her perfect match. Quil was *designed* for Claire. To my eyes (or ears, haha) that doesn’t sound all that different when someone says, ‘this is the right path for you because it was ordained by God’, or ‘your suffering has a higher purpose to it’. In the religious subtext, choice and/or consent are moot because God/imprinting already designed the perfect life for you. Choice and consent makes things messy and unplanned because then you have to rely on your own emotions, cognition, and overall critical thinking; you can’t hand your own life up to a higher being and [in a fantasy] minimize hurt. You have nothing to worry about and everything to be thankful for. And, in Stephenie Meyer’s eyes, that perfection includes having a pre-made soul mate.
Now, personally? I wouldn’t have much of a problem with imprinting if the *end relationship wasn’t always intended to be romantic and sexual*. Honestly, I think it *would* be cute and innocent if you could confidently say that Quil and Claire’s relationship will always be brother/father and sister. Or, maybe Jacob and Renesmee will always have a best-friend-forever relationship. If Stephenie Meyer said that the male wolf becomes anything that the female wants him to be, then what is she implying by explicitly having the males ‘wait’ for the relationship to turn sexual? Is she trying to say that *all* females eventually want and need a romantic partner? What if Claire will *always* want Quil to be her big brother, and falls in love with someone else? What if Renesmee finds out that Jacob used to be Daddy’s rival because he imagined Mommy naked…so she doesn’t want a damned thing to do with him? Where are the choice, nuance, and actual complications here? Why does no one in the Twilight world actually have to *work* for what they want, and suffer battle scars like the rest of us? It just feels like it’s little more than child grooming.
I suppose what I’m saying is that I really wouldn’t mind imprinting if the story didn’t automatically mandate that everyone *needs* a soul mate. Those fathers, big brothers, and best friends can be just as powerful influencers, if not more so.

Ana Mardoll said...

Force-shield users are always either under-utilized or over-powered. :(

Ana Mardoll said...

If Stephenie Meyer said that the male wolf becomes anything that the female wants him to be, then what is she implying by explicitly having the males ‘wait’ for the relationship to turn sexual? Is she trying to say that *all* females eventually want and need a romantic partner?

Good point, and not only that: the implication is that the girls in question will want and need that particular MALE romantic partner.

Now, if there's a Werewolf god that can see all possible futures and says, "no, really, this guy is perfect for this girl", then that's one thing, but...

Interestingly enough, the "recognition" in ElfQuest -- if I understand correctly -- is NOT a sign of compatibility. It means the pair are 'supposed' to have a kid together (for genetic reasons, I think it's implied?) but the parents don't necessarily have a relationship beyond that and in one case in particular, they don't even see each other again.

chris the cynic said...

According to the wiki she can control the flow and direction of mental superpowers across boundaries she creates to a certain extent. What follows is my summary of someone else's summary of how it (hopefully) actually appears in the text.

Innately this makes it so that she shuts down Edward's attempts to read her mind and presumably other similar things. Her thoughts will stay in her head, thank you very much. After she becomes a vampire someone points out that this power is something worth looking into and she expands it. She makes it so that she can include people other than herself into the area of effect. (She controls both the size and the shape of this area.) In this way she uses it to protect people she likes from the mental powers of people she doesn't like while allowing the people she dose like to have free reign to use their powers on the people she doesn't like. Essentially she created a one way mental force-field. Powers can go out, but they can't get in.

The power is apparently completely useless against all things physical as well as:
Sparklebabe's ability to communicate mentally.
Jaspers abiliy to sense and manipulate emoitons.
Alice's ability to see three moves ahead.
Marcus' ability to answer the question, "Who do you love?"
Siobhan's ability to affect the outcomes of situations, even those controlled by Bella's actions.
James's ability to see what his prey will do next.
Fred's ability to manipulate your mind into being repelled by him.

I recognize all of three names on that list, and as of yet I have seen none of the powers in action, so I have no idea how well I've described the powers.

One wonders what makes the ability to sense emotions so fundamentally different from the ability to sense thoughts that one cannot penetrate her psychic force fields while the other can. It would make more sense to me if it were just the manipulation side that worked on Bella because then my argument would be that her power prevents people from extracting information from her but not from doing things to her.

Of course that's if I'm just looking at the Jasper and Edward in isolation, looking at the whole list it really seems like there is neither rhyme nor reason.

Cupcakedoll said...

Now, personally? I wouldn’t have much of a problem with imprinting if the *end relationship wasn’t always intended to be romantic and sexual*.

I always thought it would be better if 'soulmates' could be any relationship, so a character with no siblings could get a soulmate brother or someone with rotten parents could get a soulmate surrogate father. This seems to me an idea underused.

Re: mind reading: While sitting in the cafeteria Edward overhears a female student thinking how ugly and fat she is. he mentions this to his sisters. The next day the girl finds a ream of notes in her locker all about which colors look best on her and how to flatter her figure. She hits the thrift store, does a few wardrobe changes, and gains a new confidence in herself.

These vampires must be really soulless if they've lived a hundred years and not done stuff like that.

Ana Mardoll said...

@Chris, that seems like a pretty long list of exceptions. Also, I don't know who Marcus is, but a "who do you love?" super power seems pretty Blessed with Suck. :/

Dav said...

I'd be more likely to go in the direction of the amoral anti-villain - Nessie gets everything handed to her and if I recall correctly, her extra vampower involves broadcasting her exact intended communication so that she can never be misunderstood, yes?

Oh, lord, it's the Twilight Zone episode where the adorable little boy has psychic powers and has become a monster.

Jacob replies to that with a question of his own; why would she? Jacob *literally* says that Quil will be her perfect match. Quil was *designed* for Claire.

Dr. Scientist: Good news! Based on your individual DNA and the circumstances of your mother at her birth when your egg formed and we put all this together, we extrapolated the perfect soul mate for you - and then matched you with someone who matched our profile!

My Future Imaginary Child: And, uh, what kind of things can you pull out of a genome these days?

S: Well, we know your risk of breast cancer is slightly lower than some other women. And we knew you were a girl!

C: And?

S: And, okay, we had to do quite a *bit* of extrapolating. But the results so far are very promising.

C: But you matched me *at my mother's birth* - that was 2 generations ago! What did you do, pick a popular celebrity and clone him? . . . oh my God, you did, didn't you?

S: Look, it was cutting edge technology! Outcomes have been very positive. Besides, it's too late. You can't change fate - you were meant to be with David Bowie's clone.

C: . . .

S: He comes with the pants.

C: My mother is going to *kill* me.

Ana Mardoll said...

Dav, oh my god. David Bowie? I'm dying over her. :D

chris the cynic said...

Technically I think it's actually the ability to sense relationships, but the limited looking I did suggested that on Bella that just meant he was able to see that she loved Edward, which does not seem all that useful. Especially when you consider that on anyone other than Bella, Edward's power would get him the same information.

That said, on someone whose relationships cannot be summed up with, "I was unconditionally irrevocably in love with him," I could see it as being useful. Presumably there are all kinds of way to use an understanding of the interconnected web or relationships, ways that are good, evil and otherwise.

Ana Mardoll said...

Presumably there are all kinds of way to use an understanding of the interconnected web or relationships, ways that are good, evil and otherwise.

Well, that's a good point. Particularly if you got a lot of nuance out of it. I'm not sure how useful it would be on a day-to-day basis, but in an Epic setting, it could be very good for manipulation. And counseling.

Amarie said...

At Cupcakedoll:

EXACTLY. THANK YOU.
That is PRECISELY what I was saying. And, if an insightful, non-sheltered author were writing Twilight, that idea would be *wonderful*. I mean, think of all the questions you’d be able to ask and answer for your characters. Why does Claire need a soul mate father? Is her biological father an alcoholic? Is she an orphan? Was she molested? Does she not have very many kids to play with on the playground? And vice versa, why does Quil need a young child to depend on him? Is he socially cold and lonely? Does he blame himself for the death of a female family member, and wants another [vicarious] chance to redeem himself? Did he just find out that he’s unable to sexually perform, and/or is infertile?
If you asked and answered all of those questions in your story, *then* I wouldn’t mind having a sort of religious subtext where God/imprinting put something in your lap. You could see where the characters *deserve* to have some kind of happy ending because they actually went through pain and trial that’s *not their fault*. *Then* we would be having fascinating back stories and a ‘happy ending’ that’s worthy (because, in my mind, the way ElfQuest handled recognition was that the couple in question still had to *work* on their relationship).

At Ana:

I’m mad at you. I was just drinking orange juice when I read “…Blessed with Suck.” I laughed SO HARD and literally snorted the orange juice and had watery eyes for about ten minutes (actually, I’m not sure…but it hurt so much, yet I still can’t stop laughing). I’m still sniffling and cleaning up some of the orange mess around my keyboard.
Blessed with Suck…
Mrs. Ana Mardoll, I am very, very mad at you while still laughing and sputtering about this Blessed with Suck. *pouts and laughs at the screen simultaneously* >:D

Ana Mardoll said...

I'm not repentant at all. :D

Actually, I can't take credit. Blessed with Suck is a TV Trope. But I love it. ;)

I'm not an expert on recognition, but in one of my volumes, Blonde (Dewshine?) recognizes an elf who has done serious body-modding to the point where he has bat wings. They do the deed and, afaik, never see each other again.

They DO come to mutual understanding, but I felt like that was just so the sex wouldn't be utterly squick for them...

Abdul Jah said...

Edward clearly attended the Nicolae Carpathia School of Dishonesty, where you start out with an implausible lie that no one would want to believe and deliver it in the most disrespectful and unpleasant way possible.

chris the cynic said...

It is actually the power of the Mercurians in In Nomine by Steve Jackson Games (I may not play RPGs, but I do occasionally read them.)

Mercurians have a resonance with the patterns of politics in the symphony. Their perceptions are so acute that they can walk into a room full of people and immediately grasp the relationships at work [...] a Mercurian can comprehend at a glance the relationships and responsibilities a person maintains (family, work, friends, etc.) and the importance of each in that person's life.

So, you know, if you happen to be the lowest choir of angel (except the Grigori, but they were kicked out) you've probably put some thought into how to use said power.

-

If I were actually an In Nomine player I could do that stat giving thing people do.

Clearly the cold stone like skin is a Corporeal Discord of some bizarre kind. (Or they actually are made out of marble, servants of stone can, I think, possess statues. The discord being that they're stuck in them.) Needing blood is a Need (note the capital letter) which is a kind of Etheral Discord. The sparkling in the sun is another Coporeal Discord. And I have seriously hit my limit. I've run out of mechanics I can pretend to know.

Of course the bigger problem is that a human can't become an angel, but clearly the Demon Prince of Technology was trying to make synthetic angels because he was sick of being surrounded by demons (he believes himself to be an angel, as do all members of his particular species of demon) and, since most theological models place humans closer to angels than demons are, he decided to try to make humans into angels.

It hasn't worked out perfectly. The discords are freakish and odd. The whole selfless thing that is supposed to make angels angels seems to have failed to manifest (though perhaps that is a feature, this is the work of a demon prince after all.) On the up side it can be transmitted from pseudo angel to a human creating a new pseudo angel, the process makes them nearly indestructible, and they don't disturb they symphony the way actual angels and demons would. (Which is why when they go on a killing spree the actual angels don't come running.) The project has failed to consistently recreate any angelic resonance instead giving each subject a different power.

The Demon Prince of Death is pissed off. These things aren't vampires. If you want vampires he'll make you some vampires. These things are an insult to the name vampire (though his irritation might also stem from the fact that his vampires aren't nearly so durable.)

Or something like that. If anyone who is actually familiar with the game should come into this thread I'm sure they'll point out many wrong things.

Kit Whitfield said...

Hi, Amarie! And yes, I think you're right about imprinting meaning you don't have to leave your comfort zone; a lot of Twilight is about having emotional drama without having to step outside a small circle. (I've gone on in a similar vein here, if anyone's interested: http://kitwhitfield.blogspot.com/2009/08/innocent-libertinism.html)

I think you could do a non-creepy version of sexual imprinting on a child if you openly acknowledged that it was potentially creepy. Thinking about it, presumably the man isn't sexually attracted to a baby, just feels a strong compulsion towards her; under those circumstance, you'd think it'd be rather uncomfortable for a non-paedophilic man to be around his future beloved when she's physically immature. Especially if the child is as fast-growing as Renesmee apparently is, a writer might consider having the imprinted man go away for a few years while the girl matures. That would stop him creeping himself out with his conflicting feelings, and would also improve his sexual chances with her later, given that a man you've grown up around is not usually top of your hot list.

You could regard it like an arranged marriage that she could refuse if she wished: when she passed a certain age, they could be introduced, he could do his best to court her, and if she decided she didn't want him he'd have to accept that and work out with her what, if any, relationship they could have. And till then, he could do other things. If he's part of a werewolf community, you'd think it'd be a fairly familiar situation and one that they'd have a way of dealing with: probably most reservations would have one or two young men there who'd imprinted on a child and needed a home away from home for the next decade.


(Just FYI, in case anyone else has been missing me: my husband currently has a two-hours-in-each-direction commute, and hence has to spend most week nights at my parents' house - which is nearer his workplace than ours - in order to keep functioning. Fairly often, I go over with the baby to join him so we can have at least some family time in the week. My folks have a computer, but my mother is a busy academic who gets first dibs. Because of all this, my Internet access is somewhat erratic.)

Ana Mardoll said...

Just FYI, in case anyone else has been missing me

I've missed you! I'm glad to hear that you're doing alright and that you haven't sworn off the internet. :)

Brin Bellway said...

So, you know, if you happen to be the lowest choir of angel
[...]
servants of Stone can, I think, possess statues. The Discord being that they're stuck in them.


There's a Weeping Angel joke in here somewhere...

Amarie said...

*Has switched anger from Ana to TV trope* I would forgive you, but you’re not repentant. For shame!
…But could you possibly send me a link to this TV trope? I need practice with not laughing while I’m drinking orange juice. *giggles*

*hugs the crap out of Kit and squeals again*
I’m SO glad that you’re alright! I wish you, your husband, and baby all the luck in the world! Your parents are very kind and loving to help you all out like that. ^ ^

But…I can’t access the link. It says that the blog doesn’t exist. Although, I’ve been to your blog before! D:

I’m glad that you see what I’m saying, and I am agreeing with you *so* much. One of the largest failures of Twilight is that it fails to acknowledge its [potential] problems. As such, those problems blow up and slap the reader in the face.
The man leaving for a while certainly helps in the psychological department. For him, he can take some time to take a deep breath, relax his shoulders and accept the fact that he’s not a pedophile. Heck, that’s proven by the fact that he left in the first place. From there, he can hopefully try to build a life for himself until he goes back to the girl. Though Stephenie Meyer may vehemently disagree, identity outside of a relationship is just as important-if not more so-than the relationship itself. As for the child, she can have parental figures that will remain that way all her life. She doesn’t have to be attached to a man that will both be the one to teach her to not allow boys in her pants…and then be the very boy that will get in her pants one day. With the man gone, you forgo the risk of the child having to go under the major psychological trauma of being forced to change her perception of father/brother to lover. Although…I’d probably have to argue that in Stephenie Meyer’s mind, there’s not really that much difference between a father and a husband/boyfriend. If you’re in a strict patriarchal system, you know your role as a woman. *winks*
And from a story writing perspective…I’d have much, much more respect and affection for that kind of plot. I mean, I just see it being so incredibly BITTERSWEET. Biologically, you could make it so that the male would neither forget, nor relieve his compulsion towards the girl. The girl, being young and innocent, may not even know the man exists. She may grow up with a slight feeling of emptiness and lack of fulfillment, but would ultimately be happy in her young naivety. I just see the man unable to take himself out of the picture *completely*. Laugh if you like, but I actually see him sending money and/or presents, which is sweet as hell to me. What would be bitter is the fact that he’d be forced to sign them ‘From Santa Clause’, or ‘With love, the Easter Bunny’. And then I can see the girl’s parents sending pictures of her first taste of ice cream, or her first time riding a bike without training wheels. The man keeps these pictures all around his shaggy apartment/trailer and is forced to lie to people and say the girl is his niece, or cousin. I just can’t get it out of my head…
For more than ten years, he’ll literally be out of sight, out of mind…yet he’ll always have been there from day one. The girl and the man never lost each other; they just had to learn and grow before they could create a healthy, worthy relationship.

*suddenly wants to write a fanfiction…* x.X

Timothy (TRiG) said...

When I think about soul mates, I instantly think of Tim Minchin's excellent mathematical love song "If I Didn't Have You", and Greta Christina's commentry on it, "A Skeptic's View of Love". Both are well worth a glance at.

TRiG.

chris the cynic said...

Blessed with Suck is the opposite of Cursed with Awesome.

chris the cynic said...

Imprinting is obviously a long way off for those of us following along with the blog, perhaps you could explain a bit more about it.

The impression I had from the wiki was that after imprinting the male can't leave. Maybe if you tied Jacob to the mast and sailed him away that would work, but even if he recognized that things would be much better if he went away for a while he couldn't make himself leave, the force of imprinting would simply be too strong. If that's accurate then it seems like any reasonable attempt to make the situation less wrong would be doomed to failure.

chris the cynic said...

And just to triple post, I've noticed that neither this nor the most recent Narnia post are on This week in The Slacktiverse. It seems like that is suboptimal.

And, in other news, Will Wildman has gotten the term "suboptimal" stuck in my head. This is not necessarially a bad thing. Suboptimal is a good term.

hapax said...

while we're on the subject...imprinting anyone?

Coming in late to the party, but I remember writing up somewhere a long Watsonian justification for imprinting.

Basically, it was an evolved mechanism to protect the werewolves from their own communities. The idea was that the paleo-Quileutes would see that a small number of their tribe would, in the presence of supernatural threats, basically become Extremely Dangerous and Uncontrollable.

Naturally they would on the one hand be grateful to their protectors, but they would also fear them. They certainly wouldn't allow them to marry their daughters. (This is assuming that all the werewolves were male). Genes being a lot more interested in propogation than in abstract respect (let alone the happiness and psychological health of their carriers) the werewolves would thus develop the "imprinting" mechanism, which would reassure the host community that at least this specific PlushieBoy was under the Absolute Control of a non-shifter member of the tribe.

(All the better if said individual was in a position to control the actions of the rest of the shifters.)

So anyways, shifters with the Imprinting mutation would be more likely to pass their (recessive) genes along, ready to be re-activated when the next coven of Cold Ones (omg, it just NOW occurred to me that "Cullen" is probably derived from "Cold One"!) comes along.

Except we get to the Twilight Zone, and the werewolf gene is reactivated after a long absence. The community is unsettled; even more since *these* vampires aren't defeated, don't go away, and more and more young men are turning plushie. Time for some serious imprinting to kick in, keep the Enemy Within firmly anchored and committed to the protection of the community -- even if it means sacrificing children to anchor as many potential threats as possible.

But then Jacob Black starts hanging with the Cullens (well, hanging with a girl -- an outsider -- who hangs with the Cullens). He makes bargains, even alliances with the Cullens. Who in turn bring in more and more vampires than would naturally be in one place.

In a sense, VAMPIRES become a new host community for Jacob and his pack. A host community far more hostile to the shifters, and far more dangerous to the shifters.

Evolution is naturally conservative. The imprinting solution worked once, try it again -- place a werewolf, an alpha wolf, under the complete control of one of the most vulnerable members of the new host community. This ensures both the safety of the gene's carriers (the vamps will not fear Jacob, because he cannot act against the interest of his SparkleMate) *and* increase the potential for the continued survival of his genes into the next generation.

As for the retroactive imprinting thing, Jacob bonding with Nessie through Bella before she is even conceived -- okay, I got nuthin'.

chris the cynic said...

If you're going to have evolution=magic, I think it's probably better to just call it magic. The same for genetics in general.

So you know, it would be, "Magic being a lot more interested in propogation than in abstract respect ..." and so on.

Other than that it seems plausible enough for me.

Of course I was willing to accept the whole idea without an explanation, the problem isn't with the plausibility of imprinting, it's with ... everything else. You know, the part you just described as child sacrifice. That seems a good description.

Based on what Amarie said about what Jacob said about imprinting I don't think that the werewolves have a problem with it, and (unless I'm missing something major) that makes them all deeply disturbing people. As in: Run like Hell, not because they can turn into bear sized wolves but instead because of their personalities. Even if they never go furry, they'd be people you want to stay far, far away from.

hapax said...

Oh, dear heavenly days, I never meant to imply it was a *good* thing. Just that I could see how it might make sense for the species (at the expense of individuals).

I mean, the way spiders mate makes sense too, but I don't think I'd enjoy a "romance" that involved the heroine ripping off her true love's head and devouring it raw.

I loathe loathe loathe the Fated Mate trope. The only time I've ever used it in a story the "heart bonded" couple were two men -- one gay, one straight -- who were equally horrified by the situation in concept, despised the other on every level from politics and religion to the way one sniffed as he read and the other picked his toenails, and who spent the entire story trying to sever the d*mned bond (eventually successfully, also purely as a side effect Saving The World)

Inquisitive Raven said...

Y'know, that's one problem with my WoD recasting of Twilight. WoD vampires don't resemble stone. The only stone like vampires in that world are Gargoyles, and they're ugly mofos with wings. They'd kinda stand out, and not in a good way. Maybe I should look into what can be done with Bonecrafting. I've already cast Carlisle as a Tzimisce, maybe this is something he came up with. The problem with that is that I'm not sure sure a thirteenth gen Tzimisce would have the power to do this.

I've also done some reading up on thin blooded vampires. Only a fifteenth generation vampire can produce dhampirs (half-vampires), but fifteenth gen vampires are unable to sire childer. Also, dhampirs undergo a normal nine month gestation and age normally until puberty at which point, their aging slows down to a crawl and they are functionally indistinguishable from a revenant. It looks like a WoD translation won't really work.

Kit Whitfield said...

And just to triple post, I've noticed that neither this nor the most recent Narnia post are on This week in The Slacktiverse. It seems like that is suboptimal.

Point it out in the thread and they should get included. Thing is, it's generally mmy who handles that posts, and I don't think she reads this blog regularly.

Kit Whitfield said...

Laugh if you like, but I actually see him sending money and/or presents, which is sweet as hell to me. What would be bitter is the fact that he’d be forced to sign them ‘From Santa Clause’, or ‘With love, the Easter Bunny’.

Of course, that would be a fraught issue in itself. Unrequited love that one hopes may be requited is a delicate issue if one isn't going to become a stalker - and one of the warning signs of a dangerous man is that he does unasked favours to put the woman in his debt. Were it my daughter, I think I might tell him not to send any gifts; a Daddy-Long-Legs sending presents from afar is easy to idealise, and it could compromise her judgement when she met the actual man. If he wanted to send money for her upkeep or education, on the understanding that her welfare was its own reward to him, I might allow it, but I think I'd disallow gifts. Hard on him, but you've gotta be on the side of your own kid's best interests.

Guest said...

You're killing me here. Go watch Get Smart. All of it. I'll wait.

sarah said...

"In that case . . . I hope you enjoy disappointment."

I feel that she ripped this off of The Princess Bride. You know...

"Who are you?"
"No one of consequence."
"I must know."
"Get used to disappointment."

chris the cynic said...

I didn't think you were saying it was a good thing.

I was mostly saying ... I was tired. It might be difficult to transform it into something that makes sense. It's sometimes amazing how different things can seem when one is tired.

I was mostly saying your explanation makes sense, if we allow for an idea of evolution driven by some kind of intent rather than the much slower and less directed processes we believe to be at work in the real world*, but that I think that the bigger issue isn't, "Why imprinting?" but, "Why do the characters not seem to notice it is horrific?"

Sort of like the Rapture. The biggest issue in Left Behind isn't that the Rapture happened, it's how the characters react to it.

Or something like that. I swear that my previous post made perfect sense when I was writing it.

-

*Did I just say that under hapax's theory werewolves are Intelligently Designed? I believe I did. A total lack of compassion there, but the way she describes it definitely seems to require intelligence directing the evolution of the species.

Which makes sense, it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly thingy could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen it to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

This does make me wonder what the ability to create extra mass (needed to turn into giant wolves instead of merely large ones) would be used for if it did evolve. Also, are the shapeshifers violating the conservation of energy by pulling the extra mass out of nothing, or do they simply have some kind of energy in reserve while in human form that is converted into mass when they wolfify and back into energy when they dewolfify? If it's the second, is there anything else they can do with that energy?

Gelliebean said...

Which makes sense, it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly thingy could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen it to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

Happy +1!

Ana Mardoll said...

Well, it's mentioned that Jacob's skin is always hot to the touch once he becomes a shape changer. Maybe there's the excess energy?

(Seconding the love for the Hitchhiker reference.)

I'm so depressed now that Hapax has pointed out the "Cullen / Cold One" thing. The Cullens fail at blending in forever. Presumably the next town they breeze up in, they'll name themselves Nasfaretu.

chris the cynic said...

Really?

When I said that if Edward was going to say something like that I wanted him to quote the Dread Pirate Roberts I was assuming the similarity was a coincidence.

If she was trying to steal it I think she did a bad job because, while the similarity is unmistakable, it comes off completely differently. Especially the fakeout. Wesley didn't pretend he was going to tell. Edward, on the other hand, creates this exchange:

Ed: "You're not going to let it go, are you?"
Bel: "No."
Ed: "In that case..."

Which makes it sound like he's giving in and about to keep his promise. Then he hits her with, "I hope you enjoy disappointment." Even if it had just been that five word phrase in isolation versus The Princess Bride's "Get used to disappointment," I'd still think that if it was ripping off it was doing it poorly. Edward's comment is simply nastier.

KingsburyDoor said...

1) Imprinting. I've loathed it in just about every form of literature I've read it in. Mercedes Lackey is especially heinous with this. Also, JR Ward and her "No homo!" thing going on with two of her "vampires" before suddenly throwing women in their paths to distract them from their sexual attraction to each other. (thus leaving the only gay male character the ability to suffer, sexlessly, in a sort of martyred silence), as well as the nonsense the straight men do with the women they've lifebonded or whatever with.

2) The only time I've read the "I've known you all my life and am suddenly attracted to you" thing and not gotten squicked by it was in an Anne McCaffery book, Damia. The main character was about 16 when he had to take care of infant Damia, and later on, met her as an adult. The main scene that got kinda icky was when he was able to press her "snooze" button by singing her a lullaby he used to sing when she was a toddler.

In the musical version of the Mystery of Edwin Drood, there's a part where Rosa and Edwin, who've been bethrothed from when they were born, sing a song called "Perfect Strangers" (no, not that one) where they basically say, "Ya know, I might have loved/been attracted to you if we hadn't grown up together."

3) I don't remember why, but Elena in the Women of the Otherworld series is the only female werewolf in existence, that we know about. She's able to get pregnant. Clay gets kinda. . . something, about her (seriously, what is with some of these authors and these relationships that get VERY close to being abusive and calling it love. It's what made me almost walk out of Spring Awakening.)

chris the cynic said...

The Cullens fail at blending in forever. Presumably the next town they breeze up in, they'll name themselves Nasfaretu or Vanpier.

"Your name is Carlisle van Pire?"
"Well, my full name is Carlisle Sparkle ColdBlood FunkyEyes van Pire."
"That's an interesting name, Van Pire, where does it come from?"
"The family is Dutch originally, from a little town called Pire. 'Van' means 'from', you see."
"And your middle names?"
"You know, I never asked."

-

I usually would prefer to do without meaningful names.

The werewolf's name is synonymous with 'wolflike'. Ok, so he probably comes from a long line of werewolves and they picked up the name as a result of being wolflike. Wait? They had the name for generations while perfectly human and then he just randomly happened to get bitten? And he's the only werewolf you've ever met? Ok, wake up, Harry. You fell asleep in the middle of a class on the etymological origins of magical incantations. This isn't real.

I could go on but I fear that if I do it will sound like I'm attacking a movie I've never seen since apparently the thing at the tip top of my, "Signs from Greek mythology that what is happening is not real," list is actually in a movie where whether or not it takes place in a dream is a giant important question. After the Greek mythology is out of the way I get a lot more general (e.g. the good guys have names meaning light/good, the bad guys have names meaning dark/bad.)

I should point out that meaningful names don't bother me that much and I can usually ignore them, but they often seem to be things I think the stories would be better without. The exception being if, like the Cullens, you're in a position to pick your name. But in that case picking the name in question has to make sense of some kind. Lou C. Furr is not a good name for Nicky Mountaintop's boss to choose for his cover unless he's doing it for laughs.

Will Wildman said...

I would not have connected Cullen and Cold One (although it's a solid theory). One of the primary origins of the name is the town of Cullen - apparently a Scottish one and not an Irish one, sadly, else I would have way more evidence to support my hypothesis that Jacob, upon imprinting on Nessie and thus becoming essentially the minion of the most prized member of the Cullen clan, is therefore the new 'hound of Culann' - Cú Chulainn.

If the Cullen-Culann link were accurate (and I note again that it is probably not), then it would just mean 'smith', which is not bad in terms of non-indicative names.

I flipflop a lot on the use of meaningful names - mostly because it's deeply unrealistic for someone to grow up to embody the virtue their parents etymologically named them after. On the other hand, I have one character named Nakato, who believes herself to be an only child, and the meaning only becomes relevant when it's pointed out that it is 'the second born of twins'. (I'm allowing that this fictional culture takes their name meanings seriously.) And of course when someone intentionally renames themselves I fully expect they'll be interested in meanings.

On the other hand, my first two names apparently mean 'prudent' and 'iron-headed', so there may be something to it after all...

redcrow said...

>>>Presumably the next town they breeze up in, they'll name themselves Nasfaretu or Vanpier.

Oh my Ceiling Cat, do I really need this crossover in my life?!

In certain TV series I have... *complicated* relationships with, there was a fairly tertiary character (I think she appeared in three episodes total) named Uta Refson. She was a vampirologist - taught courses on queer vampires in fiction - and dated one of the main characters named Alice*. And there was a scene where Alice's friend internet-researched vampires to find out if Uta can be a real one...

...never mind, now I thought about it, looks like I *do* need this crossover in my life, with another main character and a woman she fell for playing Bella and Edward respectively.

---
* Erm, I don't mean that there were many main characters named Alice and she was one of them...

Will Wildman said...

Gratuitously building on the Cú Chulainn thing above, someone mentioned that Jacob's body is apparently always hot to the touch - the same thing happened to Cú Chulainn in the after-effects of his battle-rage, which also reshaped parts of his body. When he returned from his first bloody victories still in a killing frenzy, the women of the town stopped him in his tracks by flashing him, at which point he was dunked in three successive barrels of icy water. The first one exploded, the second boiled, and the third ended up a warm bath.

All I'm saying is that both JB and CC are gorgeous shape-shifting wolf-themed warriors who radiate excessive quantities of heat and can be controlled with female breasts. I'm hanging onto this theory for future consideration.

chris the cynic said...

I did try to think of how to work, "Would you believe []?" in, but it doesn't really fit.

Max says something impressive and then backpedals because the truth is nothing is going on but he wants the person he's addressing to think something is.

Edward says something mundane because something impressive is going on and he wants the person he's talking to to think it isn't. For him to backpedal he'd have to escalate from the mundane to extraordinary (while falling short of, "I'm a vampire.")

Plus his one claim so far is that he was standing right next to Bella. That's no fun to work with.

-

I stood in the parking lot and worked out where I had been standing and where she had been standing. I ran as fast as I could from the first to the second. I timed it. I did it again. And again. The results stayed pretty much the same.

"What are you doing?" Edith asked.

I flinched, startled. I thought I'd been alone. For a moment I wasn't able to think and all I managed to say was, "What?"

"Why are you running back and forth in the school parking lot on a Saturday?"

I considered lying, of course, it seemed a natural response. But I never liked lying and I was trying to do less of it. So I told the truth, "I'm trying to understand what happened when you saved me from the van."

"And?"

"And it's impossible. There's no way you could have gotten to me in time. What happened couldn't have happened. It makes no sense." I think my frustration came through more than somewhat.

"There are any number of perfectly rational explanations," She said.

"Such as?" I asked.

"Such as..." she took a moment to visibly think it over. "I was standing right next to you," she said. "Would you believe it? Right next to you."

"I don't believe it."

"Would you believe one car over?"

"No."

"How 'bout three cars and a running start?"


-

It just doesn't work. Certainly nothing like:
"I happen to know that at this very moment seven coast guard cutters are converging on this boat. Would you believe it? Seven."

"I find that pretty hard to believe."

"Would you believe six?"

"I don't think so. "

"How about two cops in a rowboat?"

Amarie said...

At Chris:

You sir, are my hero!! I shall cherish forever “Blessed with Suck” and “Cursed with Awesomeness”! Hahaha!!
And I agree with you that, err…Stephenie Meyer’s werewolves have to be quite disturbing to not only *allow* such a thing, but actually *encourage it and make it into a tradition*. It’s one of the themes/aspects of her books that really makes me want to sit down and have a one-on-one with her and wonder what in the world in going on in that head.
Blessed with Suck.


At Kit:

I see what you’re saying. And let me clarify that I’m very, very biased in this sense; I don’t have a dad myself. He died of an aneurysm when I was about one and a half and my sister was almost nine. So I have a H.U.G.E soft spot for Daddy/Daughter stories. I don’t mean to make anyone feel sorry for me (*please* don’t; I have a strong, amazing mother that has struggled and accomplished all these years to love and support my sister and me. I couldn’t be more thankful that I at least have her). I simply mean to say that too often I inject my want/need for a father into my own personal fantasies/ideals.
That being said, when I mention the man sending gifts/money, I strictly see it as a father sending child support…but (on his side) with an emotional tag to it. I agree that it’s a kind of unrequited love. Although, I don’t see it as romantic or in the least bit manipulative. Again, I’m biased; it’s kind of how I imagine my dad would think of me, taking into account that we’ve been separated all my life. He’s in heaven, paradise or whatever and looking down at me. I can’t see him. I can’t hear him. I barely remember what he looks like. But he can see me. He can hear me. He knows what I look like every single moment of every single day. It might be narcissist of me, but I’d like to think that he really, really, really, really, really wants to be an active, loving, and supporting part of my life. And I hope for that, even though he was probably closer to my sister (she had much, much more time with him).
And this is how I see the man sending the child gifts. In a sense, he has died because he had to leave her before he even knew her. It wasn’t his fault, and it certainly wasn’t hers. Yet, he needs *some* kind of connection and responsibility for her while at the same time eliminating any and all chance of traumatizing her. Anything less and he’s not only failed as a father, but as a man. If he has to bear the paradoxical pain of *being* there, but *not* being there, then he’ll take that pain; something is better than nothing. As for the girl, again, I see myself. She *knows* that there’s someone out there that loves her very, very, very much. She *knows* that person had to leave for reasons that were out of his control. This person is mystical and a mystery to her, so she characterizes him as mystical icons: Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, Cupid, etc. His perpetual absence doesn’t really hurt until she grows up, and becomes aware that she doesn’t even know when Father’s Day is (not joking…I couldn’t even tell you if it was in June or July. I’m that bad, haha.). Nor does her mother have any male clothes in the laundry.
The happy ending that I can see is when the man and girl are finally [re-] united. All that not knowing, that perpetual absence and little, benign hints paid off. Their relationship is perfect; biology only laid down the blueprint, and they have to work it out. I see a father and a daughter waiting to meet each other for what will truly feel like the first time.
Again, I’m biased. And sorry for the sob story! :D

chris the cynic said...

I did not fling you; even more so
I did not kneel upon your torso.


Please, hapax, take this lovely internet.
I'm lazy so I'll rhyme it with minaret.

-

Two questions:
What rhymes with internet?
Would any of the answers to the previous question make for a good second line above?

Ana Mardoll said...

Hapax, you win all the internets forever. I laughed so hard I choked. That was wonderful. It was brilliant. It was perfect. :D

Silver Adept said...

*thfffft*

hapax, you make the children's librarian in me smile.

As for the actual post, well, Edward's continued inability to do anything that even looks like a convincing gaslighting could be considered an attempt to suss out her defenses and see if there's some way he can get her to reveal her thoughts mentally - if Bella's Iron Control to this point is only because she's not freaked out, then a situation like this should give Edward all the attempts he needs to figure out whether she can be unbalanced, either by physical stress or mental disorientation.

Of course, as we find out, Bella is stubbornly psychically shielded, which normally contravenes all the rules about psionics who are supposed to have Zen-like control over all things lest their great powers leak out and destroy stuff. Or maybe that's just Jean Grey.

Anyway, Edward's plot has failed, and now he has to stubbornly report (with a smirk from Alice) that all his attempts to crack her head open are no good, and she's still an independent actor in the town that otherwise does their bidding.

At this point, one would expect Carlisle to step in and say "Fine. You had your chance, someone else gets to deal with her." and either sic another member of the family on Bella to see what they can do, or start subtly moving pieces into position - perhaps more FOOD MONEY for Charlie to keep a close eye on his daughter and let him know if she starts babbling about vampires, because that would be a sign of a concussion and some mental damage and maybe brain swelling, and so she'd need to be rushed into Carlisle's care immediately, or to the nearest psychiatric hospital for an involuntary commitment.

At which point she can be disappeared, dissected or left to rot as she raves about the sparkly vampires in between the bouts of medication that never cure her and require a further stay. In a sense, we would be moving from Twilight into Sucker Punch, although without the action sequences and special effects.

Randy Owens said...

BTW, I don't think we've ever actually given Anamarie a link to TV Tropes yet here, have we? Do we feel that she probably can't afford that much orange juice?

Well, I'll take her chances.
Blessed With Suck
Cursed With Awesome
TV Tropes home page

Kit Whitfield said...

What rhymes with internet?

Some autumn days I'll go play in the park
Because it isn't chilly winter yet.
But when it rains, sod outdoors for a lark:
I'll spend my weekends on the Internet.

redcrow said...

>>>What rhymes with internet?

Depends on where you prefer to put stress. Since we talk about rhyming, a second-syllable stress seems like a valid use of poetic license to me, but what do I know, it's not my language...
"Sorting Hat", "pet", "forget", "upset", "pirouette", "instead", "glad", "middle grade" - though your accent might disagree with some of those.

redcrow said...

Sorry, "last-syllable", not "second". I'm only starting to wake up properly.

Kit Whitfield said...

Morning, redcrow. :-)

redcrow said...

Good day, Kit. I think I mostly woke up.

Davrosinside said...

Hapax, here's a shiny internet
I laughed until my cats, upset,
leapt up on my desk, overset
my speakers, and demanded pets.

chris the cynic said...

I probably should have been more clear. I was looking at more so/torso so I was mostly thinking about a two syllable end rhyme.

Nice to see you. I'd say good morning, but I appear to be five hours late.

redcrow said...

Good time of day to you too, Chris.

Amarie said...

Oh my GOD! I'm pleasantly cursed with the awesomness of being around you guys!! Dr. Seuss would be SO proud! :D
And, ummm...on my side of the world, it's the afternoon. Do I have the honor of saying good afternoon to you all?

Randall M said...

hapax, you make the children's librarian in me smile.

You should not eat librarians, no matter what their speciality.

Silver Adept said...

Awww, but the childrens' librarians are the sweet ones, assuming you get to them before they get corrupted. (As I am finding out in my own career - there are some things that keep me buoyant, and there are some things that are turning me acidic. (I was already cynical, so no worries about that one. Acidic is stage two.))

chris the cynic said...

What is stage three? And what is the end stage? Where is all this leading?

Randy Owens said...

@chris: Third Stage is the third album by American rock band Boston released September 23, 1986 on MCA Records. The album was recorded at Tom Scholz's Hideaway Studio over a six-year period "between floods and power failures".

More information about Third Stage can be found on the Internet.

Brin Bellway said...

Doesn't sound very relevant to librarian life cycles.

Randy Owens said...

Well, OK, true enough. You've got me there.

Timothy (TRiG) said...

I rarely actually laugh out loud at things I read on the Internet, but, hapax, I definitely did that time. And not just the usual muffled giggle. That was a proper laugh.

Thanks.

TRiG.

Scylla Kat said...

@chris the cynic, I knew I liked you, but this is possibly my favorite redux of the Twilight story yet.

Kat said...

I would reread the book if it were written like that.

chris the cynic said...

Thank you for bringing hapax's version back to my attention. I wouldn't say I'd forgotten it exactly, but I've no idea when I last read it, and it'd definitely worth rereading.

Ymfon said...

And while on the subject: I also really liked chris' idea of the Cullens' "let's see how far we can push this" motive for their behaviour.

Randy Owens said...

What rhymes with internet?
Intranet, of course.
Would any of the answers to the previous question make for a good second line above?
Umm, well, probably not as such, no.

Randy Owens said...

I think you're being too hard on the movie Gaslight.
What? No, I never said any such thing!
But seriously, I wasn't meaning anything bad about the movie itself; my disappointment is in the modern use of the term not really matching the gaslight in the movie. On the other hand, if you view the term as being derived instead from the title of the movie, instead of the (then) common noun 'gaslight', it's more tolerable.

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