Archive

Archive for February, 2011

Interlude Before the End

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment

We head into the end of the book, the actual end of the book, and we are taking a one week break from wrapping it up. This leaves us with two more posts, the final next week and then the capstone. Of which we shall render our final judgments on the book, its characters, and why it may not live up to the hype of neither its detractors nor its fans.

Given that, the question then remains as to what happens next: to the right of this post is a short quiz which I implore readers to take so we can figure out what is happening next. Now the choices are obvious and while I have a personal favorite for what I would like to do next I will abide by the “winner” of the poll.

Doing this series has been a trial for a number of reasons, but it has been a trial which is most strange. At first, it was difficult. I want to be clear that it was not difficult because of the reading, but more difficult to think of what to say and how much to say about it. Originally I didn’t think there would be that much to unpack with this book given its target audience of teenage girls.

Not to say that they are inherently stupid, but one thing I know about demographics is that they usually include one step below what they are said to be. This book is written for teenagers but tweens (I hate that word but what can you do) are also included in its fan base. The language itself isn’t hard or complex, in fact, its at least several grades above the reading level necessary to read something like USA Today. That’s not a compliment for the book but an insult to USA Today.

Back to the trial, once it this project was absorbed into routine the only trial was finding something good to say once a week. I don’t mean good as complimentary but good in the sense of, worth writing. The page numbers governing each post should be proof of this. At times it was really easy, I would only need to read a couple of pages in order to write nearly a thousand words and other times it would be half a chapter.

Troubling were the times in the beginning. At first I thought that this project would only take a couple of months, one chapter a month in the beginning, than probably more than a chapter at the end. Then I realized that there is so much wrong with these characters, especially the main character that pretty soon I noticed that my posts were spanning about 5-7 pages. At this rate given the length of the book I knew I might be in for a long haul. Someone asked me how long this was going to take, and I sighed having no idea what it was that I begun.

The problem for me now is that I have been engaged in a sort of Stockholm syndrome, that we all know from the movies, I almost don’t want it to end but like all things it pretty much has to.

Despite the limited number of followers I have on the “home website” of this series, and the very few comments that I have gotten on the post, I know that more people read this than are vocal about it. That being said, I didn’t write this for the readership. I’ve had a blog for about seven years now, and it’s the writing that I write for. Yet to continue on I think I may need the encouragement.

It’s not the story, it’s the characters. Some of the characters are pathetic and annoying but they are that way because they are supposed to be that way. People like Mike and Jacob are really like that. Other characters are interesting, actually interesting, like Alice for instance for whom the doom of the world is already apparent to her. Yet it’s too bad that they aren’t the main characters because the main characters are infuriating.

I developed the conclusion very early into the book that these two individuals are good examples of what not to be. Bella is an entitled, depressed, ambitionless, moron, whose existence is solely dependent on her relationship with Edward. Nothing matters to her, she trades friends when convenient, uses people with abandon, and lords over what little connections she does make. Edward isn’t better as he is a sociopathic, stalking, control freak who acts nothing like his alleged age. The worst thing about him is that he serves as an arch-type to fans’ ideas of what a boyfriend should be. Without the addition of new characters I really don’t want to read more about them.

So the poll at the right of this page will basically determine the continuity of this series. Three primary choices exist. The first is to stop doing this to end the misery of this universe and these insufferable characters.

The second is the movie. The movie is interesting because we already know the story so basically it will be mostly a write up of the differences between the book and the movie. I know what I would change and what I would keep. This book was almost turned into an action movie in the first place (seriously).

The third is to move on to the next book because it either gets better or worse. Since I’m aware of the whole Edward v Jacob thing from Burger King commercials, I do know that the series will at least get more cliché as we introduce werewolves into the mix. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, True Blood, pushes the ridiculous envelope all of the time but with good likeable characters it’s easy to overlook.

Take the poll to give me some feedback and we finish off this beast next week.

Categories: Uncategorized

Faulty Supply

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

The future of media is a tricky thing, at a certain point the technology is going to get cheap enough where physical media will only be useful for archival purposes. It is always good to have an actual physical copy of something somewhere, in case something happens that renders electronics unusable. However one thing that I have found that the advent of cheap-ish internet is that the idea that our idea of how to price things must now change.

If you ask most people why a thing costs as much as it costs, they’ll probably give a simple phrase: supply and demand. This concept is what I consider to be obsolete in most forms of media. Supply and demand says that if a thing is widely wanted than the price will go up and that if there is a huge supply of a thing than the price should go down. What if the supply of a thing was unlimited? How much would you pay for a thing that had a supply that could literally not be exhausted?

If you answered “nothing” I would respond with “bullshit.”

If you have purchased music, movies, or a new book  you have paid for a thing that has an infinite supply. Let’s say I cut an album titled, “Dave rants about various things to the sound of his daughter banging her hand on a table,” and I record it on my computer and then make that file available to the internet. Exactly how many copies of that album exist before the file is unavailable?

You could download a Graham’s number of that album and it would never degrade. There would never be a shortage of copies and people would still be downloading the album (because it would be that awesome). The same with my never-going-to-be-finished-and-currently/still-untitled book, all I have to do is write a hasty ending, dump it on the internet and it is there FOREVER.

This becomes more important when you further realize that these things take up literally no space. I have a Nook, you might have a Nook or a Kindle or a Sony eReader or whatever else is out there now, and I can legally (I stress this point) download the entirety of Aristotle’s work for nothing. This isn’t some shitty ass translation either, the same version that is compiled within the Oxford Collection that costs 96.00 for two volumes is free. I should note that the two books together are about six inches thick, whereas putting them on my Nook doesn’t add anything. Coupled with that is the fact that I have almost sixty other books on my device, most for free, and it adds nothing to mass, matter, or density of the objects in question.

Most of you have probably had an iPod for years now, and think about the difference between that device and what it would take to carry around a cd player and all of the music you have on it. I would need a large duffel bag, but other people I know would need a UHaul.

The concept of the E-Reader raises some interesting questions that nobody seems to have answers to. Exactly how much does a book cost in electronic form? Let’s go back to the example of my unfinished work, tentatively titled “Finished:” odds are that no major publishing house will pick it up. That’s not me being self-deprecating that’s just a fact. For one hundred people typing up the great American Novel on their laptops at Starbucks maybe one will get picked up. Self-publication will probably be the avenue for me and there are plenty of sites that are currently publishing E-books for a variety of prices.

Normally, a publishing house takes care of this end. They charge a usual standard fee which amounts to about 25.00 for a hardcover fiction novel. This covers whatever it is the author agreed to be paid, the various costs the publishing company accrues, their taste of the action, materials, shipping, and then the various cost associated with the place that sells the book. All of this can also be applied to music, movies, and television as well. Almost none of this is based on scarcity, a new fiction book costs the same whether it is anticipated to be popular or not. The same with music; Lady Gaga’s first album cost the same price as her new album is going to be.

Publishers are quickly becoming a useless middleman. Sure, E-Readers are not that popular now, but it is the future. And once that future is now, after we’ve won it, the publishing industry is going to start going the way of the RIAA suing people for copyright infringement. People wondered why the RIAA was so sue happy in the middle of the last decade but it’s because they could see they were losing their grip. They saw the future and no one fights so hard as one who thinks they are going to lose what their status (see: Tea Party Healthcare protests, Union protests, or just download and read Machiavelli’s Discourses from Project Guttenberg). The recording industry could see that as recording technology is getting cheaper, people could theoritically record their own music and sell it directly. It’s ludicrously easier for writers. Before the publishing houses were needed to get the books out, or else the author was going to have to self-publish and be doomed to basically a local following depending on how much money they had to pour into it. That’s all gone now.

Even worse for the recording industry is the idea that people don’t need to buy old music. Let’s take the Beatles, since they are probably the most popular band ever. They’ve already been paid for their music, the recordings are already paid for, and everything has been digitized. Right now all of their music collection, 47 official separate releases, 310 songs, can fit in the memory of most people’s cell phones. Why does that cost anything? Everyone has already gotten paid.

What the Nook and products like it expose is that there is an illusion that goes into price. We are so used to paying for something and assuming that the cost is made up of partial production and partial profit that we are losing sight of the fact that purely electronic media doesn’t actually exist. The study of Ontology defines an object as something that exists in a spatial and temporal sense, computer files don’t meet this requirement and thus are infinite.

People always talk about the invisible hand of capitalism, but now, the hand doesn’t apply. It can’t drive the market because that market stretches to both ends of the universe.

Categories: Uncategorized

Substance, Subject, and Essence (Metaphysics Z 3-6)

February 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Professor Cohen said last semester that you know you’ve made it as a philosopher when you are assigned a standardized number system. For those not familiar with this concept, I assure you that you are familiar. It’s one of those Rumsfeldian unknown knowns, you just don’t know that you know it. For instance if I write Ecc 1:17 you can find exactly the sentence that I am talking about. It doesn’t matter what translation of the bible you have it will be roughly the same thing. This standardized numbering system is wonderful because page numbers aren’t always exact. Even the same translation can have different editions with different type, font size, etc. that make page tracking difficult. In Aristotle they are called the “Bekker numbers” after German philologist August Bekker. No matter what version being used “1028b” refers to the same section of approximately 35 lines. The Stephenus system for Plato is much clearer but it is still inherently useful. The only bad thing about these numbers is that so far I have not found an E-Version of any Aristotelian work that includes them. I am quite surprised by this omission.

Today we continue our discussion into the nature of substance. Closely related to the topic of substance is also the concept of essence. We shall discover whether or not these two things are related, similar, or completely different. We can apply “substance” to four main objects: the essence, the universal, the genus, and finally substratum.[1] We have already discussed substratum previously as that which underlies. Everything is predicated of the substratum, while the substratum cannot be a predicate of anything.[2] Does this mean that Prime Substance is also to be considered substratum?

Possibly, because we need to find the thing that remains while all else is stripped off. If we take, color, name, size, mass, etc. away from a thing that is, we need to know what is left. The remainder would ultimately be the substance. What we can say that is left, is matter.[3] Matter being neither a thing, quantity, nor a category by which we can determine being.[4] Since we can not determine being from matter, but we know that by knowing substance would allow us to know being, the final substratum cannot be matter.[5]

The being of a thing must be that which is propter se (in virtue of itself), we can then a throw out any compound or complex subject, what Aristotle terms “cloaks.” These cloaks are thus denied because they possess both other things which make them up, i.e. they can be further broken down. E.g. “Black pencil” does nothing for us because we can independently define both “black” and “pencil,” without reference to the other word. Counter to that we cannot define “female” from “animal” which gives us the understanding that there is some essence which connects them making them inextricably intertwined and not a cloak as we have been using the term.[6]

 

However that does little to clear up what substance is. So far our best course of inquiry is to search the entirety of that which is, to find some category that represents the closest to essence that we can get. The most obvious contender is that which is that of self-subsisting entities.

 

These are things that do not rely on anything else for their own existence. Where the black pencil, needs both black and pencil to exist, and indeed even a pencil is made of several composite parts; a thing that is self existing would be the closest to essence that we have. Self-existing should not be taken to mean self-creating, but rather existing without reliance on another thing. Examples of this are hard to come by, we can say that tree relies on nothing else, but then we can also say that trunks, branches, leaves, and such are parts of trees.

 

Yet, we can also skip examples waiting for another time to get into that (possibly another book as well) and just talk about the category of self-subsisting things. That which must be considered self-subsisting must be the same as their individual essence. We can say this definitively because we have already proven it. Since substance is that which underlies all things, and from which all things are derived from, then that which is not derived from anything else must also be a substance propter se.[7]

 

We must also be clear that there needs to be some underlying final substratum. For if there were not nothing would be knowable. There would be an infinite regress of attribution and definition.[8] Although it can be claimed that this is not a logical argument but merely a practical one.


[1] 1028b33-35

[2] 1028b35-37

[3] 1029a10-16

[4] 1029a20-22

[5] 1029a26-30

[6] 1030b25-37

[7] 1031a28-1032a5

[8] 1031b32-1032a4

Categories: philosophy

Just too much to talk about this week, so I’ll do it in disjointed bits

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Wisconsin: I’m not exactly pro-union. I have had bad experiences with them in the past and have written several times about the NYSUT being a tad too powerful. My thought on unions is that a) any group that can prevent its members from being fired even though gross negligence or incompetence is patently obvious is too powerful and b) membership should not be a prerequisite for employment. Obviously a person should not get the benefits of membership without being members. This governor is obviously pursuing some agenda that goes beyond fiscal reform. He wants to give the union members the same benefits as government workers, which amounts to some loss in benefits to the union people, which is fiscal. Yet, then he wants to eliminate the ability to collectively bargain. Collective bargaining doesn’t hurt budgets, it’s what possibly comes out of the bargaining that does.

Then he seriously considered sending agent provocateurs* in to cause trouble at the protests? Really this guy should read a little Edward Bellamy to realize that such proposals are almost always exposed. I like the fact that he refrained from doing it, not because of the danger, but because of the practical issue of whether or not he would have to deal with it afterward.

I admire the protesters ability to stand out in the cold in Wisconsin, you did better than anti-war protesters in Toledo circa 2003, but what you are doing is not in any way comparable to what happened in Egypt. There, they were facing jail, torture, and execution; here…what being cold?

So if I understand the situation correctly the same Tea Party that was for citizen’s rights and against government control is now for it in Wisconsin? I don’t want to call the group a bunch of hypocrites but I don’t think there’s a different word that I can use. All I see is a dwindling faction that are just knee-jerk reactionaries against anything seen as being of the Democratic party and Liberal.

I also love how Rush and Beck call these protesters trouble makers for interrupting government but when the healthcare protests were going on and doing the same thing at town hall meetings they were “patriots.”

The Jasmine Revolution: Why don’t these dictators just do the sensible thing and relinquish some power? We all know that Gaddafi is nuts, how many years as he been in charge of Libya and he is still a “Colonel?” You would think that he would have promoted himself to at least general or supreme commander of war or something higher.

If I was an middle-eastern autocrat I would adopt some form of the Magna Carta because at least it looks like that does something to give power to the people, although in reality all it does is set up a system in which land owning gentry get a tiny bit more authority against the king. Yet, it’s still something…or at the very least the illusion of something. Yet Gaddafi can’t imagine that as a possibility, because he’s clearly nuts. This is the first time, outside of the 9/11 “truthers,” that anyone has ever accuse the US and Al Qaeda of working together.

I’ll give him some credit, nothing builds national pride like foreign mercenaries shooting your people. Libyans, just get some money together and pay them off, mercenaries are only in it for the cash and I’m willing to bet they haven’t been paid yet. Although the Libyans probably don’t have enough money.

The UN really ought to institute the no-fly zone and give the people a fighting chance. Any European power’s air force will be more than enough to take down the technology of Libya’s air force. Probably one guided missile destroyer in the sea would be enough, their latest plane was designed in the 70s (MiG-25). Of course, that type of move is premised on the idea that the UN has teeth.

_________________________
*Apparently also a name for a British lingerie company

Categories: current events, politics

Is this Even Necessary? (The Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 480-488)

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Like Prologues that begin somewhere toward the end of the story, epilogues are tricky things. Usually an epilogue is reserved for resolving some matter of the story that was not essential to the plot but that readers might want to know about: like the last page in Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” where we find out that Scrooge changed permanently and likewise with the final resolution in “A Clockwork Orange” where Alex realizes that children are the reason for him to give up his Droogish ways.* Other times an Epilogue can add a final twist to a story revealing something essential for the future of the character such as in the movie “A Young Sherlock Holmes,” where after the credits you see the main antagonist Professor Rathe sign in to a hotel under the name “Moriarty.”

We must note however that the story should be done with and the epilogue is merely a “PS” to the main story. It should also have no real bearing on the story but somehow related to it. The main point of that is whether or not an epilogue is needed for this story. Is there any question that we have remaining for the main characters or one of the briefly mentioned side characters? Not to my knowledge. Everything seems to be rather tied up nicely, maybe an explanation of what happened with Charlie. There could be a twist coming, so the only rational course of action is to press on and keep reading.**

Bella and Edward are in a car heading to some unknown destination. Edward is in a black tuxedo while Bella is in a blue dress and stilleto heels. What do we know right now? It’s not marriage because Bella isn’t in white, they are in high school so that leaves one thing: prom season. This also means that we are forward a couple of months from when we last saw them, apparently the fact that Bella and the Cullens skipped school for several days has been resolved with little to no fanfare. Bella wants to know where they are going and Edward won’t tell her.

I suspect that he won’t tell her because he’s impatient at her stupidity. Seriously where else can they be going? She’s been back to school I suspect and if their school was anything like mine there were probably posters and announcements on the wall beckoning people to remember that the prom was going on. No matter because he just looks oh-so-dreamy, “He threw a mocking smile in my direction, and my breath caught in my throat. Would I ever get used to his perfection?”

To cap off a complaint that I have had throughout the entire book, I am sick of hearing about how good looking Edward is mainly because that’s all he seems to be. Bella’s attraction to him is not based on personality, she’s never made mention of anything that he does only what he looks like. His actions speak against it, the only good things that he has done for her have been things that anyone would do in the same situation: rescue her from some punks and then rescue her from a killer. He paid for her dinner once as well, but it was a date so I don’t think that counts. Also, the “perfection” that he possesses is just a cop out. Other than his hair color and expensive clothing what does he look like? Pale complexion, golden eyes, hair, and…what else? All we are constantly told is that he is perfect and gorgeous, but never are we shown those features.

Charlie calls Edward’s cell phone, and we get to something that we may actually want to know. How did Charlie react to everything? Well he was “worshipfully grateful” toward Dr. Carlisle for saving Bella, but dislikes Edward because he felt that it was his fault Bella ran off in the first place. Now, Bella has curfew rules. That’s it. He’s not inquisitive about why she ran off, why she ended up in Arizona, or even how (since they took the Cullens car and not hers, especially since she made it clear that Edward was the reason she didn’t want to stay in Forks). I would like to know what exactly the explanation was to Charlie. That would be much more of an interesting point of fact for the story than this car ride to what we all know, but Bella, is prom.

Charlie called because Tyler is at his house expecting to take Bella to the prom. If we remember, Tyler is the guy who almost killed Bella and he figured that he would take Bella to the “Girl’s Choice” Dance because of that fact. We might think that Tyler is being an idiot here but we don’t know what’s happened in the last few months (weeks?). We do know that Tyler is still looking for penance for this almost action, and he might be dumb but not a dumb character since he is so purposely clueless, it’s probably a good piece of writing there but without the omitted information it’s hard to tell. Charlie puts Tyler on the phone and Edward tells him, “To be perfectly honest, she’ll be unavailable every night, as far as anyone else beside myself is concerned.

Note that Edward does this without talking to Bella. I’ll take controlling boyfriend for one hundred Alex. It’s possibly the last time we will have proof that Edward is not an ideal boyfriend or even person. What if Bella wants to hang out by herself, or maybe give Tyler a pity coffee date to get him off her back? Or just hang out with Jessica and Alice? Not if Edward has anything to say about it.

None of this matters though because Bella is far from being any type of role model for women. She doesn’t grasp that Edward is the controlling ass that he is, only that finally, after 5 pages she realizes that she’s going to prom, “You’re taking me to the prom!”

This should be the last proof we need to show that Bella is as stupid as she is oblivious, I’m sure with fifteen pages left though that there is plenty of time for her to demonstrate this once more. Yet her reaction is as puzzling as her obliviousness is offensive, “I was mortified. First, because I’d missed the obvious…my half-fearful hopes seemed very silly now.”

I guess we can give her points for at least realizing how dumb she is, but the second part: what hopes? Was she hoping for a surprise wedding? That would seem about right given that Bella Swan seems to have an utter lack of any goals in her life or ambition to do anything but Edward. I suppose Alice could have dressed her in blue to hide the supposed wedding as white would be a dead giveaway but I don’t see that working out. Bella is already to commit herself to life with Edward, who will not grow old as she does. Edward just wants to go to the dance, which is realistic for a 17 year old (which he isn’t), but Bella keeps needling him with unreasonable worries.

So far all of this seems completely unnecessary and tacked on. Hopefully the actual end of this book will give us a good reason for enduring Bella’s utter stupidity and Edward’s sociopathic need for control being once more displayed. Other than that the Epilogue is faring much worse than the prologue did.

______________________
*It’s pretty lame, and the movie makes more sense where it ends.
**Giving me at least two more weeks of posts for the novel as well.

Weekly Aristotle Post

February 19, 2011 Leave a comment

What I like most about reading Aristotle is that it feels like Philosophy. Instead of talking about phenomonological aspects of being as being, or whatever the hell Heidegger was talking about. Aristotle really is trying to get to the bottom of things. My opinion, in respect to general Philosophy is that as one gets more and more involved in it, you move from Plato to Aristotle as being the classical Philosopher. I often said while teaching that Aristotle was history’s first super-nerd. He really did get way too involved in everything, but for him it’s forgivable because there was nothing prior to him as being the development of written sciences…at least that survived the numerous fires of the libraries. Today, Aristotle would probably just be some wikipedia contributor or blogger. Today we discuss the first book of “On Physics,” and chapter four of the first book of “On Generation and Corruption.”

            Our method for inquiry into the nature of being, or the Prime Substance, is to begin with the most obvious and proceed through what is determinable through nature.[1] While this seems to be an obvious method for analysis, like the Principle of Non-Contradiction, someone had to illustrate the method first. More important than just the method is how it is applicable to the science of being. In this science the most plain and obvious is, “confused masses, the elements and principles of which become known to us by later analysis.[2]

Aristotle knows that the previous investigations in the underlying substance (or arke) have to be considered. This concern is whether to accept or reject them, and by what grounds they must be done so. Before dealing with the arguments individually we separate them into groups where they share commonality in the number and type of being that they cite as being the Prime.[3]

                                   Prime Substance

I: One                                                                         II: Many

i: The One in Motion (Thales, Anaximander)               i: The Many as infinite (Democritus)

ii: The One as Motionless (Parmenides, Melissus)       ii: The Many as being finite in number (2,3, etc.)

Setting up the characterizations of all that is at least possible as a category for the different theories thus far, Aristotle proceeds to analyze them one by one until we can come to either an acceptable theory or if none of them meet that criteria to develop a new one. Aristotle dispenses quickly with the ideas of Parmenides and Melissus, explaining that, “to investigate whether being is one and motionless is not a contribution to the science of nature.[4]” He argues by analogy that a mathematician has no responsibility to argue against a person who denies the truth of basic geometrical maxims. Motion, being made plain by the science of induction does not need to be proved so it is thus assumed.[5] While this is apparently obvious I’m skeptical of his assurance of the veracity of motion as the paradoxes of Zeno will still puzzle for two millennia after Aristotle.

Aristotle moves to “One and Motion” dispensing with this using the introduction of substance, quality, and quantity. If these things all, are, then, “Being will be many.[6]” They must be for if we assume that quality and/or quantity exist we must also assume that there is an underlying substance underneath it. We can derive this assumption from Aristotle’s definition of attribute, “that which may or may not belong to the subject or that in whose definition the subject of which it is an attribute is involved.[7]

If we assume that there is no quantity or quality and just Being there will be no magnitude. Furthermore this would also mean that change is impossible as there could be nothing but Being that could change, and how could this be possible?[8]

We are left then with Being as being many and the question as to whether it is finite or infinite. The argument against infinity is a simple one, that if the prime substance was to be infinite it would be unknowable. For what is infinite in quantity cannot be known in number or in size just as anything which is infinite in variety cannot be known qualitatively. [9]

If we were to say that finite attributes were derived from an infinite source, say Thales’ water or the Apeiron, we are left with saying that finite regions exist within an infinite source. This would mean that as the finite came to being the infinite source must maintain its infinitude, “there will be an infinite multitude of finite equal particles in a finite quantity—which is impossible.[10]

Thus we are left with the Prime as being finite, the only question that remains is how many. Introducing the concept of contraries[11] Aristotle posits that it must be at least two, for a contrary cannot be of itself following the law of non-contradiction.[12] With the contraries we must also assume a further substratum that the contraries or their derivations can be inhered in.[13] There cannot be four because that would assume two sets of contraries and no substratum.[14]

We are left then with the final conclusion that the Prime must be three: two contraries and a substratum for which the derivations can be inhered in. While there can be innumerable sets of contraries this does nothing to shake Aristotle’s theory as it is the contraries that are the Prime not the different accidental types of contraries. The only difficulty I can see in the theory is whether the term “infinite” and “innumerable” are being used interchangeably. For if something numbers such that it cannot be counted is not equivalent to saying that it is impossible to be counted. If the terms are being used equivalently we can still see that the theory of Democritus can hold although this does nothing to disprove Aristotle’s theory it does show an earlier correct theory.


[1] 184a16-18

[2] 184a22-25

[3] Below chart adapted from 184b15-23, this chart was originally graphically constructed but the blogging software I use wouldn’t allow the transference from Word.

[4] 184b25

[5] 185a12-14

[6] 185a26

[7] 186b19-20

[8] 319b15-24

[9] 187b6-14

[10] 187b23-34

[11] 188a26-30, 188b21-23

[12] 189a11-20

[13] 189b1-18

[14] 189b19-29

Categories: philosophy

I Remember These Two (The Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 471-480)

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment

My biggest problem with this book thus far has been the two main characters. I’ve repeated it so often that I’m not even going to link to previous posts regarding this opinion, it’s far too hard for me to narrow it down to just one or two posts. However it has been a long time since I’ve harped on it, and this is because there has been an actual plot to distract both the reader and the writer from having to deal with the characters themselves. Now that the plot has thus been resolved there’s nothing left to do but wrap up the relationship between them. Yes, we are nearing the end of this journey but even though we can see the end it’s over a grand hill.

Bella is in the hospital talking with Edward and she’s slipped back into the melodramatic Bella that we’ve endured for the first couple hundred pages of this book: “I wasn’t referring to my most recent near death experience,’ I said, growing irritated, ‘I was thinking of the others–you can take your pick. If it weren’t for you, I would be rotting away in the Fork’s cemetery.”

Bella’s history isn’t what she wants to make of it. First off, there has been only one near-death experience for her, and that’s the car crash outside of the school. The encounter at Port Angeles wasn’t a near-death experience, all it really amounted to was harassment, which admittedly unpleasant wasn’t dangerous. We were only told that it was dangerous by Edward who seems to have his own agenda in instilling fear in Bella of the outside world. We can even count James’s attack on Bella as NOT being a near death experience since he had no intention of killing her. Bella telling Edward that he can take his pick of the situations is just her being overly dramatic. This is the Bella we remember from the beginning of the book: self-important and prone to delusions of grandeur. What about the old Edward, the one who seems so quick to instill fear in Bella forcing her to become reliant on him for her own safety? Worry not faithful readers he’s right here:

I don’t seem to be strong enough to stay away from you, so I suppose that you’ll get your way…whether it kills you or not,”

There he is. The above quote is Edward’s answer to Bella’s request that he promise not to abandon her. Edward is feeling bad that he sucked her blood of out of her finger in order to take out James’s venom, which would have turned her into a vampire had it been left in. He feels that he can no longer control himself around her, which is such bullshit because he did exactly just that. He tasted her blood and then broke off, I’m curious to know how his saliva didn’t enter her at that point as it’s a natural reaction to the action of sucking. I also wonder if all the descriptions of the two kissing have been consistently closed mouthed, which I assume that they have been, but also am going to be too lazy to go back and re-read them. If any fans of the series read this let me know…

Bella wonders about why Edward didn’t just let her turn into a vampire, and it’s a good question. Yet we never get a good solid answer for it. Instead we are treated to Edward’s anger that Bella even knows how it is done, because Bella didn’t just ask why she isn’t a vampire she asked, “why didn’t you just let the venom spread.”

It’s an poignant way of asking the question because Bella knows how one is turned, but up until that point Edward didn’t know that Bella knew. It was a Rumsfeldian, “known unknown” in his mind. If we remember from the middle of the book, Edward balked at the description shuddering at the pain of the memory and wouldn’t tell Bella. It was Alice in the motel that explained that it was the saliva that did it. It’s curious because Edward gets unreasonably angry about it, which causes Bella to worry for Alice. Edward doesn’t just terrorize his girlfriend he also apparently does so to his sister as well. Although Alice could probably see it coming.

Edward says that his doing so would have been wrong, ok I’ll take that as a decent reason for two reasons: first being that it was a stranger doing it and Edward, as we have seen is a controlling borderline sociopathic boyfriend.* The second reason is an actual good reason: that it would have been against her will. Then stepping through Bella’s counter arguments he asks her, “And the pain?

Bella shudders at the mention of it. Now, during the last conscious moments after her attack he did mention the burning in her arm, but she also mentioned the pain in her legs, ribs, and head. I doubt she could isolate and identify the specific pain but maybe the burning was more intense. I suppose we can let this slide. Then he angrily responds to Bella’s affirmation that the pain would be her choice by saying, “I refuse to damn you to an eternity of night.”

This is the most nonsensical objection of all. First off, as most vampire “scholars” point out in their condemnation of these books: the Cullens can walk in the day light. They go to school, they are out and about in the town, and the conversation they are having in the hospital right now is happening in the daytime. Secondly, this isn’t the 18th century. It’s not like she’ll be surrounded by dim candle light, with Edison lamps all around them light isn’t a problem. Finally, he’d be better off explaining that he won’t damn her to an eternity of a dreamless existence. Although that kind of comment is certainly too poetic and nuanced for him to make.

Bella responds by pulling out a trump card, “Alice already saw it didn’t she?”

Alice has foreseen Bella as a vampire, but Edward points out that Alice is sometimes wrong and that Alice has foreseen Bella dead as well. Of Edward’s response we have two problems: The first is that Alice hasn’t been wrong yet. She missed the coming of the James’s trio but that’s an omission not an error. Her words at the time weren’t, “I didn’t think anyone would show up,” but they were “I didn’t see it–I couldn’t tell.” This doesn’t make her wrong any more than Sherlock Holmes was wrong before he found the three glasses or the second foot print or whatever. The second issue is that if Alice has foreseen Bella as a vampire and Bella as a corpse, those aren’t contradictory futures if they happen at different times.

Either case Edward has had enough of this conversation and calls for the nurse for more pain medication to put Bella out. Real nice there Eddie, despite the fact that he has no authority to order pain medication for a patient he’s not the guardian for–this is more evidence of his desire to put Bella in her place. Why have a conversation when you can just have the person who has the gall to disagree with you knocked unconscious?

Before she phases out in a drug induced sleep she says, “I’m betting on Alice.” Which means that she’s betting on her own death,** which must come second to her turning in order to make any sense what so ever. Although with these two idiots who knows how it’s going to play out.

____________________________
*I’ll take that as a good reason for his character not a good reason mind you. 

**I should mention that Bella makes a good point in her argument with Edward: she tells him that if they really love each other then he has to turn her because she will die and that every second she lives she gets older and thus closer to leaving the circles of this world. Again though, Edward just shrugs it off as the ramblings of a dumb girl. I hate to say this, but she’s absolutely right. If this is true agape love, he doesn’t have a choice unless he wants to pull an Arwen and choose to die rather than endure the constant flow of time in mourning.