From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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  1. Posting here about the Stephanie Meyer article because the Sassmonkey blog requires registration and I hate it when blogs are set up like that –

    I think Meyer’s books are poorly written, and one aspect of that poor writing is that she’s using a number of stereotypes in her characterization. Some of this is probably unconscious on her part — but a good writer questions his/her unconscious assumptions and tries to avoid lapsing into them (like any cliche). So while no one can say whether Meyer herself is racist — citing her religion as “proof” of this is kind of silly, and stereotyping in and of itself — I think it’s perfectly valid to point out the places in her fiction where she falls prey to the usual biased thinking that anyone raised in a racist society tends to do. That’s the kind of thinking that leads people to think Indians = close to nature = bestial = hey, the perfect werewolves! Without even realizing that in the process they’ve symbolically dehumanized a group of people.

    This kind of thinking certainly can be reinforced by religious teachings, especially if those teachings are racist (and I don’t disagree that Mormonism contains some disturbingly recent examples of doctrinal racism), but more often it’s just reinforced by the subtle racism that permeates American society.

    I think this is where Valdez-Rodriguez was trying to go, but she didn’t articulate it very well. =(

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