Buffy & Bella

Joss Whedon’s only lasting contribution to the myth of the good vampire seems to be hair gel.

But thus far Bella doesn’t seem to be falling for a good vampire who hates his appetites.  She seems like a mouse falling in love with the cat’s paw as it plays with her.  I’m only a few chapters in.  I assume he’ll get “better” at just the right moment so that young girls everywhere can learn that, if they persevere in vulnerability with their bad boy, he will always change and it will all be justified.

But I don’t need to say much about this, because it has already been said.

What I do want to say, is that at the beginning of the story, I was surprised at how good the writing was.  Of course, you need to understand perhaps, that I like hard-boiled detective stories.  Ever since I encountered Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One and his The Dark Knight Returns, I have quested after the works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett (and not famous stuff like The Maltese Falcon and The Glass Key because they are written in third person).  And even though there is plenty that is disagreeable to the short-lived Veronica Mars TV series (just as there was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer), I thought her voice and attitude was pitch perfect.

Bella does not begin this story seeming obviously vulnerable.  She seems damaged from a broken family but she shows ever sign of proactively dealing with the life she has.  (Getting away from her needy mother seems like a brilliant move no matter how much she misses the sun.)  That is what makes the sudden Edward fascination so sickening.  I realize that girls from broken homes can be damaged and become vulnerable to abusive predators, but they don’t typically take control of their lives the way Bella does.  I suspect a Bella consistent with her self-deprecation to Edward would not be interesting to read about outside the Psychology profession.

So why does Bella turn into another person when she runs into Edward?  I don’t really know that there is an answer to the question beside the fact that the author had to make her protagonist likable in some ways despite her part in the story.  But it would be nice if we could see an ideal female who handles the sin and misfortune in life without becoming willing, self-loathing, prey, but who doesn’t have impossible superpowers.  It will be a great day when someone portrays a young girl who is normal like Bella, but has the self-respect of a Buffy.

One thought on “Buffy & Bella

  1. mark Post author

    OK, having gone a bit farther in I am *slightly* less upset with Edward and Bella on their own terms, but as a high school fiction, it is poison. And even on its own terms it is still not good. In fact it pretty much displays the trade-off that shows arrogance leading to self-abnegation. Bella is too good for normal boys so she ends up obsessed with someone who wants to drain her blood.

    Of course, in fiction, Bella can conveniently get into situations where she would die without a superhero. That’s what I mean by “on their own terms.” But this stuff is supposed to apply to the ordinary. That means nothing good.


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