Wednesday, August 28

Life vs. Death

Image credit to Jesschadlys (x).

There's a trend I've noticed building over the past few years.
I don't know what it started with, but I thought that - like all other trends - it would fade away quietly.
I don't think it will.
Here's the trend: death.
I mean, I understand that people die.
Acceptance of the fact is good.
Glorification of it is not.
What is with all this glorification of death, anyway? I can't walk into a clothing store without seeing skulls on shirts, undershirts, pants, leggings, accessories, basically everything. And it's not those 'cutesty' skulls: these are freaky, grinning skeletal fragments.
That really, really unnerves me.
And that's not all.
There's a growing literary fascination with vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons, and other undead creatures.
Don't get me wrong here: I'm reading Dracula. I've seen the black and white Dracula. For the record, I don't think there's anything wrong with Dracula.
The Twilight series is another story, and not just because I'm slightly a literature snob and I think - and have heard from reliable sources, namely college professors, peers, and Tumblr - that it's shoddily written and crafted.
That's my opinion. Sorry, not sorry.
I think you're completely entitled to yours.
And please understand, I'm not pointing the finger at anyone. If I am, I'm pointing it right back at me, examining what I'm filling my own mind with.
The difference for me, though, between Dracula and Twilight, for example, is the portrayal of evil and death.
In Dracula, it's clear who is evil and who is good.
Evil comes to kill and destroy.
Good stands in the path, seeking to save and redeem.
In Twilight?
Not so much.
Everything is blurred: oh, well, he drinks blood, and he really wants to drink mine, but he'll go and drink animal blood since he doesn't want to kill me. Awh, I think I'll marry this guy, since he's totally stable and trustworthy.
Or should I marry this other guy who's a wolf and has an amazing six-pack (c'mon, we all know that's most the reason most people saw the movie)?
. . . Yeah . . . Stellar choices.
As far as I know - and please do correct me if I'm mistaken - there is no clear cut model of good in the Twilight series.
There are plenty of evil models, but the evil tendencies are airbrushed over by a six-pack.
Believe me, I've heard the arguments made for Twilight:
"Oh, it teaches abstinence!"
Not really.
Bella and Edward aren't abstinent because they choose to be per se, but because he doesn't want to kill her.
Not really admirable.
I'll be honest when I say that I almost got into Twilight. But something nudged me and said "Hey, why don't you get a second opinion on that?"
I'm so, so glad I did.
And I think it's really the whole Twilight phenomenon that awakened me to the battle that's going on not only for young girls' souls, but also for their hearts and minds.
Yeah, there was Harry Potter mania when I was like, I dunno, seven, but I didn't care to read a 3-inch thick book at that time.
This is different.
And much more dangerous.
Not only are we getting this generation desensitized to death, but also disdainful of life.
Dead and undying creatures are glorified, made popular.
TV shows and movies about those who deal directly with demons are hits.
More and more teens and young adults don't take their lives - or the lives of others - seriously.
And the thing is . . . I don't think it's going to get better.
Not unless we can show them that there is more to life than death.
So much more.