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Oh Really?

Academia Declares Twilight‘s Edward Cullen a “Starter Vampire”

Those of us who have always been into vampires have thought that the vampires from the Twilight series just aren’t authentic enough for us to take them seriously. Come on, vampires who abstain from biting humans and walk around in daylight? Imposters! Phonies! But now, academics are saying that we should consider the sparkle-vamps to be “starter vampires for beginners,” an introduction to real, actual vampires. This is a really nice way of saying that we still don’t have to take the Twilight vampires that seriously. Thank you, scholars!

Dr. Thomas Garza teaches vampire lore at the University of Texas (which sounds like an amazingly fun way to collect a paycheck) and admits that while Edward Cullen and his teetotaling ilk are certainly non-threatening and atypical of everything we know about vampires, they have been a positive means of introducing young fans to the mythology of vampires. Because let’s be honest — vampires are not for the faint of heart. Because they are horror characters. Always have been, always will be. But rather than scare the crap out of everyone, the Twilight vampires are giving young fans (or, more accurately, adolescent girls) the story of vampires without being overtly graphic or sexual. Says Dr. Garza:

“He’s pretty, yes, so the seduction’s there, but he’s more than reluctant to act on his and Bella’s sexual desires. He can go out in daylight — and even ‘sparkles’ in the sun, giving him a completely non-threatening character. He drives a Volvo, for goodness sake.”

So when they’re finally old enough to crack open Bram Stoker‘s Dracula, they won’t be all that surprised to find out that vampires are ruthless predators. (Like Jerry in Fright Night. Not a nice fellow, once you get to know him.)

This is a darling theory, the idea of a “vampire for beginners,” but is it fair to the noble, bloody history of the vampire that they must be toned down for people who can’t handle reading about them? If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen, wimps! Even Harry Potter had evil vampires! What’s the starter version of Freddy Kreuger? This lady? Psssssssht …

(Digital Spy)


  • Kristy Olson

    Ahhhhhhh! For the LAST TIME academics, Twilight is a continuation in the evolution of vampires that simultaneously encapsulate a time period’s feelings about both money (the Marxist read) and sex (the Freudian read). Why people are obsessed with putting Twilight down critically, I just don’t understand, unless it springs from the ongoing need to call some books good and other books bad, which is the most useless endeavor in the entire tradition of literary theory. It doesn’t MATTER if the book is good or bad. It matters what we can learn from it, and in some cases, we can learn something valuable from even trashy pop fiction. (I’m looking at you, Horatio Alger!)

  • Julianne McCartney

    twilight is boring… boring….

  • Bel

     Why people are obsessed with putting Twilight down

    ‘Cause it’s for teen girls and that means it’s gross.

  • Bel

    There were a whole lot of vampires that filled the in-between from Dracula to Twilight… Edward Cullen’s sparkles, if you ask me, aren’t nearly as out of left-field as people say.  The concept of “good vampires” has been around for a while, “pretty vampires” even longer, and “romantic vampires,” well… I think they’ve pretty much always been that way.

  • essie

    Nobody I know who likes Twilight likes anything else with vampires in it or is even interested.  They just think Twilight is hot… or something…  My vote goes with she really should have just gone with fairies over vampires.  I might have been able to be okay with fairies… but probably not.  I just wouldn’t feel the need to roll my eyes whenever anybody mentions it.

  • JoAnna Luffman

    Some of us enjoy our Paranormal Romance – our Keynon, our Hamilton, and yes, Twilight is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. Yes, I know, it’s drivel. I still like it. 

  • Edwin Perello

    What a load of crap this is. We keep coddling kids as if they’re incapable of adapting to the rigors of reality (untrue) fast enough to the point where we’re, excuse my French, pussyfying them. Now we have to coddle them when it comes to vampires? Hell no. All this will do is forever change the next generation’s understanding of horror, for the worst.

    Someone should sue Stephenie Meyer for falsification of vampire mythology.

  • Frodo Baggins

    Using “pussy” as a slur is a bad idea on a feminist blog. Surely there’s another term you could have applied?

  • Frodo Baggins

    Sure, you can learn things by reading crap. But given the amount of literature out there with rich, complex characters, elegant prose, and spectacular insights, why settle?

  • Frodo Baggins

    What bothers me about the sparkles is it removes the most interesting part of vampires: their weakness. The no-daylight clause makes vampire story so much more complicated: the precautions they must take, the promise of temporary protection. And without that, the Twilight vampires are simply perfect. They have no achilles heel, they make no sacrifice by changing. There’s no reason Bella WOULDN’T want to become one. Edward’s nattering about his cursed half-life is never remotely convincing. And that makes them extremely boring as a concept.