Life and Death Chapter 2

THE NEXT DAY WAS BETTER… AND WORSE.

It was “pelt the new kid with sausages day.”

No, he actually means that it wasn’t raining YET, because rain is the worst possible thing to someone who’s lived in the desert. Smeyer is really banking on people giving a damn about Bella/Bella-with-a-penis’ whines about the weather, isn’t she? Even though living somewhere where you don’t like is a part of life, especially when you’re a kid. It’s even more annoying because when she wrote the original book, because Meyer had never gone there in her LIFE.

If you whine about the weather more than Al Pacino in Insomnia, you need to fucking shut up.

So Beau is going through the predictable paces:

  1. being lusted after by all the girls at school, because he’s just SO hot
  2. going through the motions of a social life while giving a damn about nobody
  3. being upset because the hateful bitch who treated him like a rabid dog who killed her family… HAS VANISHED.

And no, there’s no reason for him to miss her, just like in the original book. He literally switches from “waaaaaa, she’s being mean and hateful to me!” to “waaaaaa, the person who hated me for no reason has left! WHYYYY GOD, WHYYYYYY?”

And now to random and purely gratuitous sexism!

 
It was miserable because I had to play volleyball, and the one time I didn’t dodge out of the way of the ball, I hit two of my teammates in the head with one bad volley.

Fun fact: in the original, Bella said the one time she didn’t “cringe” out of the way of the ball, that happened. But men don’t cringe, because only women are cowardly and weak.

 
And it was worse because Edythe Cullen wasn’t in school at all.

I had to glare at myself in a mirror! It was awful!

 
All morning I was trying not to think about lunch, not wanting to remember those hate-filled stares.

All morning I was dreading lunch, fearing his bizarre glares.

Because women are filled with hate, and men don’t dread or fear anything! Anita Blake told me so!

 
But I knew myself too well to think I would really have the guts to do it. Maybe if she hadn’t been so abnormally beautiful.

But I knew myself too well to think I would really have the guts to do it. I made the Cowardly Lion look like the terminator.

I’d congratulate Smeyer for at least admitting that Bella-with-a-dick is a gutless loser. But then she sweeps that statement away by declaring that it’s just because she’s beautiful, not because he’s a coward. So men are only pathetic cowards when they’re intimidated by super-hot women, not in general.

I wonder if that is how Smeyer rationalized away her singlehood during high school.

So as with Bella, Beau goes in to lunch and sees the other Cullen siblings sitting there…. WITHOUT the girl who treated him like a walking turd! O woe! O misery!

Thankfully Smeyer DOESN’T compare McKayla to a dog, because that would be a little explicitly sexist even for her. She also cut out the part where Bella-with-a-dick would ominously talk about how he’s going to “do something about [McKayla],” probably because when a guy says that about a girl, it sounds suspiciously like he’s going to bury her in a shallow grave.

Then there’s a massive change to the next paragraph, which was Bella talking about how totally egotistical it was to think Edward would stay away from school just because of her bland ass. Which, of course, was the reason, because we’re supposed to think Bella is actually wonderful. In THIS one, Beau reflects that McKayla has a thing for him, but he’s not into her because he’s so dazzled by how hot Edythe Cullen is… or something. It’s related so stiffly and awkwardly that it’s obvious Smeyer isn’t really into it.

And of course, it implies that it ISN’T egotistical

 
I didn’t want to be arrogant, but I was pretty sure she was into me, which was a strange feeling.

Normally my personality alone repulsed every girl I met!

 
Girls hadn’t noticed me much at home.

“Sort of like how I had no friends or personal experiences. It’s almost like I didn’t exist until I came to Forks, so there was no reason for all those girls who don’t actually exist to lust after me.”

 
I wondered if I wanted her to like me.

Hmm, a hot popular blonde is interested in the least interesting boy at school, who has no attractive points at all. Yes, you should. You really should.

 
She was sort of pretty and everything, but her attention made me feel a little uncomfortable. Why was that?

There really isn’t a reason.

 
Because she’d picked me instead of the other way around? That was a stupid reason. Ego running wild, like it had to be my decision first.

Ooooooo, look at all that feminism! Thinking it’s stupid that the guy has to be the one to ask the girl out! That totally negates an entire series where the guys are always the ones who force girls to be in relationships with them at the risk of personal harm, guys decide who’s dining with whom, guys demand that women go places with them and not meet any other men… none of that matters, because Smeyer is pretending that she thinks girls should openly pursue guys!

And now that I reread that, he’s only talking about how it’s ridiculous because it’s ARROGANT, not that it’s ridiculous to have a problem with girls pursuing guys. Sexist status quo enforced! Yay!

 
Still, it was not as stupid as the other possibility I’d thought of—I really hoped it wasn’t because of the time I’d spent staring at Edythe Cullen yesterday, but I was kind of afraid that was it. Which was about the stupidest thing possible, really. If I based my reaction to a girl’s looks off a face like Edythe’s, I was doomed. That was fantasy, not reality.

Right, because guys can’t possibly find more than one girl sexually attractive. If you see someone hot, all other girls are ruined for you forever. That is why men never marry women who aren’t the pinnacle of hotness, and why they NEVER cheat. Other women are ruined for them.

You see what I mean about Smeyer understanding men as well as she understands quantum physics?

Oh, and the whole “I don’t know if I like that she finds me attractive” thing is tossed out the window in the next paragraph, where Beau is actively avoiding McKayla. It’s also kind of a ridiculous thing to say, because he’s mentioned as being in the locker room… and unless he’s perving in the girls’ locker room which seems unlikely, there’s no reason for McKayla to be in the BOYS’ locker room. Or is Smeyer seriously suggesting that McKayla hangs around the boys’ locker room just to pounce on Beau, because Bella-with-a-penis is the hottest guy ever?

And considering that McKayla hasn’t actually done anything explicitly to indicate that she’s THAT interested, the paranoia just makes him look like an egotist AND a dick.

 
It was no secret that Charlie couldn’t cook much besides fried eggs and bacon.

Which makes me wonder why he hasn’t had a quadruple bypass by now. Ah well, a few months of Bella-with-a-penis cooking for him, and he’ll be on his way into the operating room.

Also, “no secret”? Does that mean the whole town knows?

A quick search revealed that he had no food in the house.

The bacon and eggs just spontaneously pop into existence whenever Charlie needs a meal. And he can’t microwave anything from a can because…. he’s a man.

So as he’s preparing to go grocery shopping, Beau notices how hawt the Cullens are and how expensive and awesome their clothes are. Because he didn’t seem gay enough before, now he’s noticing their fashion.

 
Though, as far as I could tell, life worked that way most of the time. It didn’t look like it bought them any popularity here.

And once we get to know them, we find out why.

 
But I couldn’t really believe that. The isolation had to be something they chose; I couldn’t imagine any door their beauty wouldn’t open for them.

I… just had to revisit this line because of how much I hate it. Seriously. I hate it SOOOOOO much that every time I read it, I literally feel a surge of rage and a desire to punch through the page…. which is a problem when I’m reading on my computer.

It’s just… really, Smeyer went through the book and edited stuff all over again, and she left THAT thing in. It just drips with the shallowness and vapidity that Smeyer pretends she’s so beyond because she READS, and that apparently is still what she thinks to this day.

But what better encapsulation of the Twishite series is there? Looks are all that it takes in life. Not personality. Not goodness. Not brains. If you’re hot enough, you have carte blanche at life, and nothing you actually DO or SAY could interfere with that. Gag me with a set of plastic fangs.

Yes, I know that we as a species are shallow creatures, and there have been artistic movements based on the idea that beauty=good, ugly=bad. Hell, ANIMALS treat pretty people better than ugly ones. But ultimately, being beautiful won’t make a difference if you’re a raving asshole like the Cullens are, because eventually people stop noticing your looks and just see you as a repellent stain on the world.

Tell me: who would you rather spend time with: Ron Perlman or Alex Pettyfer? I know which one I would. I also know which one a person as shallow as Smeyer would want to talk to.

Then there’s a new paragraph to emphasize… yet again… that the Cullens are super-hot in a superior, snotty kind of way.

 
I saw that the big blond guy—Royal, it must be. Figured.

Figured WHAT? That’s he’s so princely? FUCK YOU.

And Royal had his hand casually on the hip of the really tall girl, which makes it sound like he’s grabbing her butt but Smeyer isn’t comfortable with admitting it.

 
Though he was obviously pretty sure of himself, I was still kind of surprised he felt comfortable doing that.

He was expressing sexual interest in someone! IN PUBLIC! And he’s a morally-pure upright MAN, not a wanton woman! What madness is this?!

 
Not that she wasn’t hot—she was super, mega hot—but not… approachable. Like, not even the Rock would dare to whistle at her, if you know what I mean.

I know what this means: Smeyer thinks only guys know who The Rock is. Or she’s trying to make her books cooler by inserting the name of the only wrestling star she knows of.

 
The blond girl caught me looking, and the way her eyes narrowed made me turn straight ahead and punch the gas.

… what blond girl? The only girl in this equation is dark-haired. Is this supposed to be gender-flipped Jasper? I don’t think so, because she doesn’t have any reason to “catch” Beau staring or be hostile to him.

Or did Smeyer slip up out of her hatred for blonde women?

So Beau goes to Thriftway and buys food. We hear nothing of what he actually bought, because that space is devoted to even more whining about the weather. Then when he gets home, he starts making dinner.

 
When I got home, I unloaded all the groceries, reorganizing the cupboards till everything was in a place that made sense. Charlie’s system was kind of haphazard.

This is a problem that was also in the original book: if Charlie has ABSOLUTELY NO GROCERIES and can’t cook anything…. why does he have a “system” and what is Beau/Bella working around? The only possible answer is that he/she just didn’t like the food, and that he/she is a lying sack of shit.

And here we have another fun bit of sexism. You see, in the original book, Bella automatically decides to be in charge of all the cooking and cleaning, because clearly Charlie can’t do either despite living alone for fifteen-plus years. But does Beau do it? Why, yes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
… but only because we’re told he’s got OCD. So a man doing basic housecleaning needs an EXCUSE, but it’s considered perfectly natural for a woman.

Once I was satisfied with the organization, I worked on the prep for dinner.

I wrapped potatoes in foil and stuck them in the oven to bake, covered a steak in marinade and balanced it on top of a carton of eggs in the fridge.

That wasn’t sexist. I just wanted to point out how, in the new version, the phrasing is even more awkward than the original… even if the original makes no sense, because you don’t “cover” a steak in marinade, and you don’t bake the potatoes several hours before they are going to be eaten. Still, it made my eyes hiccup to read “worked on the prep for dinner.”

 
I kind of have a sixth sense about my mom. I realized, as I was sticking the marinade-covered steak into the fridge, that I hadn’t let her know I’d made it yesterday. She was probably freaking out.

  1. That’s not a sixth sense, you mewling boob. That’s a conclusion based on past experience.
  2. Or it would be, if there was any sign you existed before the start of the book.
  3. Seriously, an emotionally-unstable bimbo sends her only child ALONE on a plane trip from the southern edge of the US to the northern edge. Yes, she’s going to worry if he doesn’t bother to say, “Hey mom, what’s up?”
  4. And why did she not call on the phone? I assume she has her ex-husband’s phone number, if nothing else because they share a kid.
  5. For someone who claims responsibility for his mom, and later claims she’s his “best friend,” funny how he doesn’t even think of her even BRIEFLY…
  6. … even though both he and Charlie were allegedly thinking about Beau and his responsibility to change and spoon-feed his mother. It never crossed their minds?
  7. “Hey, let’s call her to let her know the other passengers didn’t get sick of your whining and blow you out the door in mid-air.”

Oh, and how does this differ from the original book? Well, Bella didn’t have this realization. At all. Not a single thought about Renee or how she’s feeling or what she’s thinking. Instead we get her rambling about her clothes and what she’s doing with her hair. You know, “girl stuff.” She only finds out that Renee has been worrying when she turns on her computer and finds out she has mail, which she treats as an annoyance.

Beau instead races up the stairs and immediately checks the computer just to see if his mother has written. So he gets one tentative point for occasionally not acting like an asshole.

The emails are essentially the same as in the original book, with Renee asking why the fuck he hasn’t answered yet, and where is her pink blouse. Not a joke.

 
If I haven’t heard from you by 5:30 p.m. today I’m calling Charlie.

WHY DIDN’T YOU DO THAT LAST NIGHT?!?!?!?!

Meyer then cut out the pretentious mention of Bella/Beau reading Wuthering Heights “for the fun of it,” and just has Beau rush downstairs as Charlie comes home. Not sure if she’s unwilling to believe a man would ever read Bronte (so GIRLY!), or whether she thinks men just don’t read.

Oh, and Beau actually remembers that the potatoes are cooking, and the steak is still marinating. Of course, it’s probably been fifteen minutes tops, so both are still raw and tasteless.

 
When I’d come here as a child, he would always remove the bullets as soon as he walked in the door. I guess he considered me old enough now not to shoot myself by accident, and not depressed enough to shoot myself on purpose.

I live in hope both that are wrong. Either way, I’m happy.

 
Mom was an imaginative cook, when she bothered, and her experiments weren’t always edible. I was surprised, and sad, that he seemed to remember that far back.

  1. Butterscotch-flavored ravioli stuffed with fake crab and raw bagel chunks do leave a scarring impression.
  2. When she bothered? Rack up another point on the “Renee is a horrible stinking excuse for a mother who should have lost custody the day she kidnapped her son.”
  3. And if she can’t be bothered to cook most of the time, why would he assume that she would bother to teach Beau?
  4. Hell, if he allegedly has been taking care of his mother since infancy (because penis). So wouldn’t cooking skills be part of that?

So the awkwardness levels top 9000, and Charlie eventually wanders away to watch TV while Beau sets the table, cooks the food and makes a salad. Oooooo, look at how totally feminist Smeyer is! She’s having a man COOK! She’s having him do girly feminine things that no man in the original books ever did because that was women’s work! SO PROGRESSIVE!

And really, this just makes Charlie look lazy and assholish. Couldn’t Smeyer have written him setting the table?

So they eat, which somehow manages to be even more boring than it sounds. We’re also assured that they eat in silence… right before Charlie starts talking.

It’s pretty much the same as in the original: Beau mentions the only characters with actual names, Charlie fixates on “family” as being a sign of personal quality, then the topic changes over to the Cullens. Charlie is wildly pro-Cullen for no particular reason, except that the Cullens are designated Ubermenschen.

 
I was surprised to see Charlie’s face get red, the way it does when he’s angry.

This is another line that was changed, and… not for the better. The original was Charlie surprised me by looking angry, which is clumsy and childish, especially since Smeyer isn’t a good enough writer to say “His face darkened” or describe what features cause him to look angry.

But the new line is actually worse, because…

  1. “To see Charlie’s face get red” is a pretty clumsy line too. Especially for someone as pretentious as Smeyer, whom you’d expect to use the word “redden.”
  2. Describing his face color change as “the way it does when he’s angry” makes it sound like…. like he’s not angry. Because if he were angry, there wouldn’t be any reason to note that. So yeah, it was an attempt to write something better, but it ended up failing.

Then we get a paragraph of Charlie ranting about the godlike glory of Dr. Cullen and her family, making offensive comments about adopted kids, and praising them for not having lives outside their weird little family. Except for the pronoun shift, it’s essentially the same speech as the original text.

 
“You should see the doctor,” Charlie said, laughing. “It’s a good thing she’s happily married. A lot of the hospital staff have a hard time concentrating on their work with her around.”

“… A lot of the nurses at the hospital have a hard time concentrating on their work with him around.”

I get the feeling Smeyer is shouting at us, “This is SO not sexist! See? A doctor who’s a WOMAN! She can have a job despite having a vagina!”

… except that the original text said “nurses,” obviously, and the new one just says “staff.” Which kinda suggests that Smeyer thinks that nurses are/should be women, when in fact there are a LOT of male nurses. And it also implied that there were no female doctors in the hospital, just female nurses and male doctors. When guys are interested? They are “staff,” meaning she’s being vague about what group of individuals are interested, since that includes doctors, technicians, administration, etc.

 
In Gym, the people on my team learned not to send the ball my direction. I stayed out of their way.

Funny, the original was:

In Gym, the kids on my team learned not to pass me the ball and to step quickly in front of me if the other team tried to take advantage of my weakness. I happily stayed out of their way.

So women can have a “weakness,” and be happy to avoid physical sports. Boys don’t express emotion, and they don’t have “weaknesses.”

 
Every day, I watched, pretending I wasn’t looking, until the rest of the Cullens entered the cafeteria without her.

Every day, I watched anxiously until the rest of the Cullens entered the cafeteria without him.

I think you’ve gotten the gist of these quotes, because it’s not a one-off change. Every single time weakness, cowardice and feelings of inadequacy come up, Smeyer removes them for the male character.

And this is especially striking because it’s not subconscious. It’s not like Smeyer decided to rewrite the book from memory, and she subconsciously eradicated all sense of anxiety, weakness and self-doubt that Beau had WHILE writing. That would be forgivable. No, she took the original text and deliberately added and removed content based on what she thought was appropriate. Often it’s just a word or two, or maybe a phrase. But it is incredibly striking because it means she thinks self-doubt, anxiety and weakness are not things that should be applied to teen boys.

(Which is even stupider because teen boys tend to be riddled with those things… well, maybe not physical weakness, but they have a lot of awkwardness and anxiety at that age)

And it really shows that Smeyer was lying from her arse when she declared that Beau would be just the same as Bella, that gender played no part in Bella being weak, self-loathing and pathetic. To prove this, she flipped the genders and painstakingly removed every instance of the character being weak, self-loathing and pathetic.

So she ended up… only proving that her books ARE sexist, and that she is sexist, and that she can’t bring herself to write characters with gender-neutral qualities, or whose gender doesn’t DIRECTLY and CONSCIOUSLY inform their attributes. Like Ripley.

So Beau keeps going to school, socializing with the peasants and keeping an eye out for Edythe. Oh, and whining about how pathetically inadequate the library is, because WAH NOT PHOENIX.

 
I wrote my mom more fake cheerful e-mails, got ahead on my homework, and cleaned up the house—obviously OCD wasn’t a problem for Charlie.

I cleaned the house, got ahead on my homework, and wrote my mom more bogusly cheerful e-mail.

Again… Smeyer had to rearrange that sentence deliberately, just to deemphasize that the guy cleaned the house by putting it THIRD instead of FIRST, as it was for the girl.

And of course, a woman doing housework is totally normal… but a guy needs a psychological condition as an excuse.

 
I wondered idly what kind of gas mileage the truck got… and winced at the thought.

I wondered idly what kind of gas mileage the truck got… and shuddered at the thought.

Can’t have a guy shudder. Only swooning damsels do that.

Beau continues to show what a sad, lonely, unaccepted outcast he is by having lots of people GREET him in the parking lot, apparently giving a damn about socializing with him. Oh, and Smeyer name-drops Wuthering Heights, since they have a pop quiz that he totally aces because he’s smarter and he READS… I assume.

 
When we walked out of class, the air was full of swirling bits of white. I could hear people shouting excitedly to each other.

“Yay, the volcano erupted! We have to sacrifice a virgin! Someone find Beau!”

No, it’s actually snowing, which for some reason Smeyer thinks people who have lived in the desert would just HATE. You know, because when something is rare, you hate it all the more.

“Ugh.” Snow. There went my good day.

“Ew.” Snow. There went my good day.

Anyone else imagine Beau rolling his eyes and saying that in a “mean-girl” voice?

 
She looked surprised. “Don’t you like snow?”
“Snow means it’s too cold for rain.” Obviously.

What a little bitch. Hey, just because it’s slightly colder doesn’t mean it won’t precipitate, you condescending fuckwit.

And because everyone wants a condescending prick for a boyfriend, Erica smacks McKayla with a snowball because McKayla is talking to Her Man, ie the only desirable non-Cullen male on the premises. Thankfully Smeyer removes SOME of Bella/Beau’s constantly complaining about snow, which she apparently thought was super-endearing rather than just being annoying and whiny.

But while other people are having social conversations, Beau only notices that…. the Cullens have FIVE people at their table! Meaning the hostile bitch has returned! O woe! Oh sadness! O our character is being a weenie!

 
I looked down; my ears were hot.

Amazingly this was in the original book.

I had no reason to feel self-conscious, I reminded myself. I hadn’t done anything wrong.

Not to the Cullens. I could file criminal charges for the offenses done to the reader.

 
“What’s with Beau?” McKayla asked Jeremy.
“Nothing,” I answered. I grabbed a soda bottle as I caught up to the end of the line.

Is there a REASON she didn’t ask him directly? Aside from that that was how it went in the first book?

Beau claims he feels sick, and spends the whole time clearly thinking about the Cullens and bitching about McKayla.

 
Twice McKayla asked, with a concerned tone that seemed a little over the top, how I was feeling.

What fucking reason is there for her to be “over the top”? That sounds like it’s suggesting that she’s faking it, but why would she?

 
Ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to run away. Why was I being such a coward?

Ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to run away.

Cowardice is natural in Stoopid Gurls, but not in manly men. It’s worth questioning if THEY are cowards, but not girls.

 
Was it so bad to be glared at? It wasn’t like she was actually going to stab a knife in me.

Given what a psycho Edturd is, I totally believe his genderflip would stab someone. Because she has PMS, and girl parts, and stuff.

 
I decided to allow myself one glance at the Cullen family’s table. Just to read the mood.

I decided to permit myself one glance at the Cullen family’s table. If he was glaring at me, I would skip Biology, like the coward I was.

I’ve run out of sarcastic comments about how Smeyer thinks women are cowards and men are not, and she had to do this deliberately.

Naturally, the Cullens are being hot and rich and awesomer than everyone else. While Beau regarded all the other kids having fun in the snow with suspicion and contempt, he’s dazzled by the way the Cullens do it, even if they do dickish stuff like splash each other with melting snow.

 
only they looked more like a scene from a movie than the rest of us.

General writing lesson: if you can only describe a character as looking like a model or a scene as looking like a movie, stop writing. You suck at it.

Beau sits there creeping on Edythe for an eternity, trying to figure out what’s different about her appearance… and no, it’s apparently not that she’s smiling instead of glowering. He’s staring so obviously that Jeremy asks what the hell he’s staring at, which causes Edythe to stare back.

 
I turned my head completely toward Jeremy, shifting my shoulders in his direction, too. Jeremy leaned away, surprised by my sudden invasion of his personal space.

“Oh Jeremy, cuddle me in your big strong arms!”

No, this is apparently what Beau does instead of Bella’s “Sadako” move, where she hides inside her hair like a total freak.

Except that Beau’s “lean in on your guy friend” thing is even weirder.

 
I was sure, though, in the instant our eyes had met, that she didn’t look angry or disgusted as she had the last time I’d seen her.

I was sure, though, in the instant our eyes met, that he didn’t look harsh or unfriendly as he had the last time I’d seen him.

I don’t know what that change was for, but I’m sure it pisses me off.

 
“Edythe Cullen is staring at you,” Jeremy said, looking over my shoulder.

“Edward Cullen is staring at you,” Jessica giggled in my ear.

“I am a manly man, who would never giggle. Only girls would laugh about such things, for they are girly and femmy and gossip and talk about boys. Men only talk about sports!”

 
“No.” Jeremy looked confused, then he suddenly smiled. “What did you do, ask her out?”

“No,” she said, sounding confused by my question. “Should he be?”

Because God forbid a girl ask a guy out. Only sad sluts like Jessica would do that, just so the Hot Rich Guy could rejec her.

 
I kept my body angled toward Jeremy, but the back of my neck had goose bumps,

I bet it does.

Oh, and in the original book, Bella gets queasy and has to put her head down on the table, but she’s weak and feminine. Beau, being a guy, just leans in close on his guy pal in a totally non-homoerotic way.

 
“The Cullens don’t like anybody… well, they don’t notice anybody enough to like them. But she’s still staring at you.”
“Stop looking at her,” I insisted.

“Stop looking at him,” I hissed.

So rather than the more evocative “hissed,” we get switched to the more vague “insisted.” Which is also redundant because the command is “insisting” already. But hey, at least we didn’t have the ridiculous idea of a male character “hissing.”

Oddly enough, considering Smeyer associates fighting and violence with masculinity, she removed the line: I raised my head enough to make sure that she did, contemplating violence if she resisted. Why? Uh, maybe she realized belatedly that this didn’t make her heroine look good.

McKayla drops in long enough for us to be tipped off that Jeremy is totally crushing on her, and I’m rooting more for these two normals than for the two asshole lead characters. Then there’s another fun change: while in the original Bella schemed to hide in the gym until other people had stopped having fun (she has a no-life-having sourpuss reputation to live up to), this dickweed sneers, I wondered how many years I would have to live in Forks before I was bored enough to find frozen water exciting. Probably much longer than I planned to be here.

I just don’t get it. Can someone PLEASE explain to me why it’s so appealing to so many people to have a protagonist who is always whiny and miserable, is a twat to everyone, and who deliberately avoids fun and hates everything? Except for the sour antisocial bitches (of both genders) of the world, who finds this appealing?

Oh sorry, I forgot. There’s ONE thing that makes Beau happy: the misery of others. The snow gets rained away during lunch, and while everyone else is groaning and unhappy, he’s smiling and happy. No sympathy for anyone else, just a smug satisfaction that things are going HIS way. Somehow it doesn’t surprise me.

My stomach twisted at the thought of sitting next to her again.

My stomach did frightened little flips at the thought of sitting next to him again.

Quick! Excise all mention of fear! This is a book about a MALE character!

So Dickweed goes to biology and continues obsessing on Edythe while he waits for her to show up. And OMG SHE TALKS TO HIM WHATEVER WILL HE SAY I’M SO INVESTED IN THIS!

 
“Hello,” said a quiet, musical voice.

“Do you have a moment to talk about Cthulhu?”

No, it’s Edythe, who immediately stuns Dickweed with her superhuman sex appeal. Well, sort of. Edythe is apparently not Smeyer’s type, so even though the descriptions are almost identical, they’re weirdly bloodless… no pun intended. You just don’t feel that Smeyer believes Edythe is as sexy as Edturd.

 
Her hair was dripping wet, tangled—even so, she looked like she’d just finished shooting a commercial.

A commercial for WHAT? As bad as the “hair gel” thing was in the original book, at least it mentioned what it was a commercial for. There are all kinds of commercials.


But her long eyes were careful.

But his eyes were careful.

I honestly don’t know why she made this change. Apparently Edward’s eyes were normal (except for being color-changing and “perfect” in the original book, so…

 
My mind was whirling with confusion. Had I made up the whole thing? She was totally polite now. I had to say something; she was waiting. But I couldn’t think of anything normal to say.

My mind was spinning with confusion. Had I made up the whole thing? He was perfectly polite now. I had to speak; he was waiting. But I couldn’t think of anything conventional to say.

I really can’t get past how Meyer thinks that normal speech is “male,” and Bella’s pompous faux-Victorian-speak is “female.” Is she from another planet?

 
She laughed softly.

He laughed a soft, enchanting laugh.

Yeah, she definitely isn’t trying to make Edythe seem as attractive as Edward. Then again, people might ask questions about her own sexuality if she did… and given how Bella often acts towards other women, they might have reason to.

So we have the whole idiotic conversation where Beau is shocked, simply SHOCKED to be called “Beau” by someone he hasn’t met. This is a clue that Edythe is a mind-reader… or it would be, if there weren’t a hundred different ways for someone to find out his nickname, like talking to someone who has been in the same class as him, where he’s declared his preference. Several times. In front of dozens of people.

This is even stupider because it’s been glaringly obvious that Beau is TEH MOST FAMOUS person in town and everyone is talking/thinking about him, so you would expect people who don’t know him to pick up on things like, oh, say… HIS NAME.

“Ladies first, partner?” Edythe asked. I looked up to see her smiling a dimpled smile so perfect that I could only stare at her like a fool.

“Ladies first, partner?” Edward asked. I looked up to see him smiling a crooked smile so beautiful that I could only stare at him like an idiot.

  1. Is there a reason a crooked smile can’t be beautiful or “perfect” on a woman?
  2. I don’t know why she took the more natural “idiot” and changed it to “fool.” Maybe to soften it, so the precious male wouldn’t be associated with a term as strong as “idiot”?
  3. I think she was hoping this moment would be taken as a feminist twist.
  4. As you can see, the same line in used in both, but in the rewritten one, it’s the GIRL saying SHE wants to go first.

The biggest problem is that in the original, Bella just sits there drooling, while… no, I’ll show you.

 
She raised her eyebrows.
“Uh, sure, go ahead,” I sputtered.

“Or I could start, if you wish.” The smile faded; he was obviously wondering if I was mentally competent.
“No,” I said, flushing. “I’ll go ahead.”

With the woman, the guy shows obvious and measurable displeasure, and Bella assumes he must think she’s mentally retarded. Beau? None of that. He just gets raised eyebrows, which can mean anything.

 
I saw her eyes flash to the splotches blooming across my cheeks. Why couldn’t my blood just stay in my veins where it belonged?

This is a new bit, and I can only assume that this is Smeyer trying to be clever.

Oh, and in the original, Bella makes a huge deal about how awesomely smart and eddicated she is: I was showing off, just a little. I’d already done this lab, and I knew what I was looking for. It should be easy. You know, because he went to a public school in the Big City, which means he’s smarter than these yokels.

And then we have another moment that I think is supposed to send a THIS IS SO NOT SEXIST SEE THE WOMAN BEING A CREEPY BITCH LIKE EDTURD SO THERE! message:

 
She looked away sharply, yanking the microscope to her side of the table.

“Do you mind if I look?” he asked as I began to remove the slide.

So the man shows basic courtesy, and the woman shows domineering nastiness. Or, as Smeyer probably sees it, feminism.

She continues doing the experiment in the most dismissive, argumentative way possible, basically cutting Beau out of it and being rude at the mere idea of him participating. Well… just look.

 
She studied the first slide for a quarter of a second—maybe less.
“Prophase.”
She switched out the slide for the next, then paused and looked up at me.
“Or did you want to check?” she challenged.
“Uh, no, I’m good,” I said.

How did Edturd act in the original book?

“I’m sorry,” he muttered, pulling his hand back immediately. However, he continued to reach for the microscope. I watched him, still staggered, as he examined the slide for an even shorter time than I had.
“Prophase,” he agreed, writing it neatly in the first space on our worksheet. He swiftly switched out the first slide for the second, and then glanced at it cursorily.
“Anaphase,” he murmured, writing it down as he spoke.
I kept my voice indifferent. “May I?”
He smirked and pushed the microscope to me.
I looked through the eyepiece eagerly, only to be disappointed. Dang it, he was right. “Slide three?” I held out my hand without looking at him.

Like a condescending prick, but he at least used common courtesy and didn’t totally cut Bella out of the labwork. I don’t know why this scene was rewritten when it would have worked just the same, but if I had to guess, it would be one of these options:

  1. Women are bitches, so Edythe is a bitch. (So saith the misogynist)
  2. Meyer is trying to prove that Edward is not so bad, because just look at how awful Edythe is.
  3. Edythe is not an abusive parody of a Byronic hero, which is Meyer’s turn-on. So instead of being “charmingly” dickish and old-fashioned, she’s just argumentative and cold because Meyer isn’t aroused by her.

Speaking of cold, she’s cut out the part where Bella accidentally touched Edturd. I would normally praise this because…. well, it’s very stupid for the sparklepires to let people touch them. But this might open some plot holes later… so stay tuned.

 
She wrote the word Prophase neatly on the top line of our worksheet. Even her handwriting was perfect, like she’d taken classes in penmanship or something. Did anyone still do that?
She barely glanced through the microscope at the second slide, then wrote Anaphase on the next line, looping her A like it was calligraphy, like she was addressing a wedding invitation. I’d had to do the invitations for my mom’s wedding. I’d printed the labels in a fancy script font that didn’t look anything as elegant as Edythe’s handwriting.

Hmm, let’s look at some examples of penmanship fro the early 1900s and late 1800s.



Funny, none of it looks like calligraphy… which means Meyer likely doesn’t know what calligraphy looks like.

And yes, I know people back then were more likely to be taught “pretty” handwriting, but that doesn’t mean all of them did, that they continued to use that style, or that it was habitual. The samples above include a poet laureate, a king, and a cabinet minister for Britain. I find it hard to believe that a random kid from Chicago has perfect pretty handwriting and they don’t.

Then again, I think we’ve established that Smeyer doesn’t actually know anything about “old times.” She just loves the prettified period-picture illusions of a time when everything was elegant, pretty and upper-crusted. Ugly realities, problems or poor people don’t factor into it.

Beau continues being creepy, staring at every single thing about her and thinking about how “perfect” she is.

Then Mrs. Banner suddenly interjects, which actually makes more sense here than in the original. In the original, Mr. Banner interjected after they had been finished for awhile and were having a conversation, which… made it feel like he didn’t have a clue what’s going on. Here, it happens when Edythe is deliberately shutting Beau out.

Although I just realized that this doesn’t make sense. Why was Edythe so nice and polite at first, then instantly flips into sneering ice bitch? I guess she’s keeping Edward’s legacy of bipolar disorder alive!

 
I bent down to look through the eyepiece. I could sense she was watching—only fair, considering how I’d been ogling her—

I’d say no, it’s not, since watching your labmate is a bit different from obsessing on someone and staring at their eyebrow hairs. But since we know she’s probably sneaking into his room to watch him sleep, so never mind.

They continue doing sciencey stuff, and… oh, Smeyer moved the hand-touching to THIS part instead of earlier. And… surprisingly this is not a problem with me. It feels more natural that the explicitly weird stuff happens AFTER the personally weird stuff happens.

Of course, it doesn’t make the whole thing any less silly, like when Beau gets an electric shock from Edythe. Patricia Kennealy-Morrison must be enraged that HER soulmates-have-an-electric-shock-when-they-meet self-insert fanfic didn’t earn her a fanatical fandom.

Edythe continues to dominate the entire experiment, while being a sneering bitch to her lab partner. Because she’s both Edward-with-a-vagina AND a woman in a misogynist’s fiction. Really, could she be anything else?

 
I tried to exchange slides, but they were too small or my fingers were too big, and I ended up dropping both.

“Curse my fingers the size of uncooked bratwurst!”

Being super-duper-smart, they finish before everyone else. Of course, everyone else is struggling pathetically and/or cheating because they don’t have the brains of the sparkleubermenschen. Seriously, I’ve done this experiment, and it’s not THAT hard. Nobody was hugely struggling with it

And despite having ogled her for several minutes, including her pores and eyebrow hairs, Beau only NOW notices that her eyes are a different color.

 
She seemed puzzled by my apropos-of-nothing question. “No.”

He seemed puzzled by my unexpected question. “No.”

… I don’t know why she changed that. The original word was perfectly acceptable.

 
I had not forgotten one detail of that first time she’d glared at me like she wanted me dead.

I vividly remembered the flat black color of his eyes the last time he’d glared at me

You know, I’m really beginning to think that Meyer made this book just to show us that hey, Edward may be a vicious, homicidal misogynistic prick, but Edythe is WORSE, so that makes Edward BETTER.

Once again, the entire description of Edythe’s eyes being butterscotch instead of black has all the “Victorian damsel” words edited out, such as calling them “ocher.” One thing that hasn’t changed: Beau is apparently the ONLY PERSON in the last few years to notice that the Cullens’ eye colors change. All at the same time. Every week. That seems likely.

Oh, and because I’m bored, I’m going to speculate that Mr. Banner from the original book is actually Bruce Banner, hiding in Forks so the American military won’t find him and turn the Hulk into a weapon. The timeline is actually perfect – it’s in 2005, so it’s after that shitty Ang Lee “Hulk” movie, but before the Marvel Cineverse version in 2008. And Bruce is a genius with loads of medical and scientific knowledge, so masquerading as a simple biology teacher would be child’s play for him.

Why do I think this? Because Smeyer likes to think that only the exalted SparkleMormons have anything interesting going on in their lives, and humans are just silly sheep who never do or think anything of consequence. So I like to imagine all the awesome things that they do or will do when the Cullens are being boringly suburban.

Mike: Wealthy star athlete and casino owner.
Mr. Banner: Secretly one of the Avengers.
Jessica: Future corporate president.
Angela: Avant-garde artist in a New York loft.
Billy: Bestselling author of pasta-based erotica.
Eric: Creates a top social media site and becomes a billionaire.

And so on, and so forth. Ugh, back to the book.

 
Mrs. Banner came to our table then, looking over our shoulders to glance at the completed lab, and then stared more intently to check the answers.

She was then struck blind by the perfection of Edythe’s perfectly perfect handwriting. Perfect perfect.

No, she’s actually there to reaffirm that Beau alone is smart enough to match a sparklepire’s intelligence. Hell, in the original, Banner even suggested that normally other students are riding on Cullen coattails rather than actually doing the coursework, which is nauseating.

 
“Beau identified half of the slides,” Edythe said before Mrs. Banner could finish.

No. He didn’t. Fuck off.

And then… they start having a conversation. It is roughly the same as in the original book, meaning it’s pure torture. They are literally talking about the weather. The weather. Because that’s what normal people do.

“You don’t like the cold.” It wasn’t a question.

Thank you. Laurell K. Hamilton was wondering.

 
“Forks must be a difficult place for you to live,” she mused.

Somehow I suspect everywhere Beau/Bella goes is a difficult place to live. Someone so relentlessly joyless will always find something to bitch about.

 
“Why did you come here, then?”
No one had asked me that—not straight out like she did, demanding.

  1. Like an asshole.
  2. Why would anyone ask you, you twat?
  3. It’s not like you’ve talked about your feelings to anyone. It’s not like you’ve actively tried to make friends.
  4. Hell, you don’t even talk to people unless you want something from them, or they force social interaction on you.
  5. Why in fuck would anyone want to know about your incredibly dull life and internalized feelings?

So Beau starts telling the sob story, which will break all your hearts and make you weep blood. Ready? Ready to find out the terrible reason that Beau is forced to do the worst thing imaginable: living in a plce he doesn’t like?

Okay, brace yourself. See, his cougar mom got remarried to Phil, and since Phil is a minor league baseball player, that means that Renee wants to go with him. So Beau nobly exiled himself for his mother’s happiness, a completely out-of-character move. Not only is Beau a selfish ass, but he’s also determined to see his mother as a barely-cognizent boob who needs a male to babysit her at all times.

 
“No, Phil is fine. A little young, maybe, but he’s a good guy.”

“No, Phil is fine. Too young, maybe, but nice enough.”

You know, it just struck me how obnoxious it is that Smeyer refers to a younger man married to an older woman as “too young.” This is a series where every “good” relationship has strong father-daughter overtones, and ends with a guy planning to pork a seven-year-old whom he fell in “love” with when she had just been ripped out of Bella’s uterus. Fuck “too young.” At least they’re both consenting adults with no creepy undertones.

“Phil travels most of the time. He plays ball for a living.” I half-smiled.

“He married my mom for her money, of course. Otherwise, how could a poorly-educated airhead afford to live in the most affluent sector of a very large city?”

 
“No, she didn’t. I sent myself.”
Her eyebrows pushed together. “I don’t understand,” she admitted,

“You’re such a selfish asshole. I don’t understand why you’d do that.”

Allegedly the reason is that Renee is all mopey when Phil is toodling around the US, trying to find a team that will let him hang around in the dugout and banging middle-aged divorcees who are desperate for attention and vodka. I will let you know when I start caring about Renee, especially since it’s been demonstrated that she’s a rotten mother who selfishly KIDNAPPED her child rather than legally getting custody. Exactly why should I feel bad that she misses her husband because she has to actually act like a parent for once?

And I feel even less sympathy because Beau is almost a legal adult. He’s six months away from being eighteen, meaning he can get married, join the army, and be tried as an adult. Suck it up, wait for six months, and THEN go on tour with your himbo husband, you flighty bitch. It’s not like your brat will trash the house and party while you’re gone. He’s so boring that he’s literally never had a friend in his life.

And I hate to keep harping on this, but this “evidence” that Beau/Bella is a suffering unselfish saint who never thinks of him/herself REALLY BUGS ME. This is a prime example of telling instead of showing. Instead of feeling sorry for Charlie’s pain and loneliness, the entire book so far has been Beau bitching about what HE hates, how annoying HE finds other people, the weather that bothers HIM, the awkwardness HE feels at seeing his dad’s pathetic life, the kind of car HE wants his dad to have bought him, and so on.

It’s just an endless chorus of ME ME ME ME ME from Beau, and I fucking hate it.

So yeah, having him do a nobly unselfish act that is so very unpleasant for him… is totally and completely out of character. As Beau is actually written, he should be sitting at home, thinking about how his mother’s unhappiness is SUPER AWKWARD and totally bothers him.

 
“That doesn’t seem fair.” She shrugged, but her eyes were still intense.
I laughed once. “Haven’t you heard? Life isn’t fair.”

THIS WRITING IS GIVING ME THIRD-DEGREE BURNS!

 
Her head tilted to the side, and her gold eyes seemed to laser right through the surface of my skin.

Then she ran off to rescue Jean Grey and whine about Wolverine.

“You put on a good show,” she said slowly. “But I’d be willing to bet that you’re suffering more than you let anyone see.”

No, he’s really not. He’s just being a bitchy whiny child. And he’s made it abundantly obvious to everyone who has to deal with him just how very MISERABLE he is.

 
I shrugged. “I repeat… And?”
“I don’t entirely understand you, that’s all.”
I frowned. “Why would you want to?”

I grimaced at him, resisting the impulse to stick out my tongue like a five-year-old, and looked away.
“Am I wrong?”
I tried to ignore him.
“I didn’t think so,” he murmured smugly.
“Why does it matter to you?” I asked, irritated.

So Bella is presented as thinking and acting like a small child, because she has a vagina, and Edward gets to be smug and control the conversation. On the other hand, BEAU controls the conversation, while Edythe just keeps pitifully asking questions and being put on the defensive for daring to say anything.

They continue staring at each other like total weirdos, because Smeyer thinks that staring blankly is the sign of true love.

Or a sign that you need to open a tuna can.

 
“I’m sorry,” I said quickly. “Did I… Am I annoying you?”
She shook her head and smiled with half her mouth so that one dimple popped out.

“Am I annoying you?” he asked. He sounded amused.

  1. YES. FUCKING HELL SHITPICKLE, YES.
  2. So Edward gets to be a smug, condescending prick, but Edythe has to charm the man and not annoy him the way Edward annoyed Bella.
  3. So man annoys woman = charming and seductive, and woman annoys man = nasty bitch. Because feminism.
  4. And this revised line doesn’t even make sense. She hasn’t shown the slightest sign of annoyance with him in this conversation, just the weird creepy staring they both do.
  5. On the other hand, Bella was VERY annoyed with Edward, and rightly so. He was acting like a prick.
  6. So in other words, the message of this whole chapter is: “Men can behave badly, and we should make excuses for it or ignore it outright. But women need to never pester the men with bad behavior like being snotty or condescending. Be mindlessly adoring of men’s… er… penis-having-ness!”

 
She cocked her head to the side. “Reading people… it usually comes very easily to me. But I can’t—I guess I don’t know quite what to make of you. Is that funny?”
I flattened out my grin. “More… unexpected. My mom always calls me her open book. According to her, you can all but read my thoughts printing out across my forehead.”

  1. On one hand, this is way better than the original conversation, which has Bella randomly blurting out about what an open honest face she is, which totally doesn’t sound like something a habitual liar would say: I glanced at him without thinking… and told the truth again. “Not exactly. I’m more annoyed at myself. My face is so easy to read — my mother always calls me her open book.” I frowned.
    “On the contrary, I find you very difficult to read.” Despite everything that I’d said and he’d guessed, he sounded like he meant it.
  2. On the other hand, this scene really reinforces that… Edward/Edythe has absolutely no social skills, never tried to develop any, and is basically incapable of interacting with anyone unless he/she is reading their mind. Which is not a particularly desirable trait in anyone.
  3. And what does “I flattened out my grin” mean?

She goes all intense and stares at him for awhile, As if she was trying hard to read that printout my mom had seen. Which just succeeds in making Edythe sound hopelessly stupid.

She laughed, and the sound was like music, though I couldn’t think of the instrument to compare it to.

STOP. Stop negative-describing. Describe it as a flute sonata, or the tinkle of a piano, or SOMETHING. Don’t tell us “I can’t tell you what it sounds like, because it’s so perfectly incandescently perfectly perfect topaz chagrin perfect.”

 
Her teeth were perfect—no surprise there—and blinding white.

Because being a vampire will correct your crooked teeth. Braces are for plebes.

And blindingly white teeth usually look creepy and artificial, you know. Or, you know, like the smile of a crazed psycho killer.

So Beau spends the rest of the class… continuing to stare. He pays no attention to anything except creeping on Edythe, and is actually gawping after her as she leaves. I guess her butt is just that good… no, sorry, I forgot this was Twilight and nobody has any sexual body parts.

 
McKayla got to my table almost as quickly.

Mike skipped quickly to my side and picked up my books for me. I imagined him with a wagging tail.

I wonder if someone tipped her off that it’s a wee bit cunty to refer to a guy as a dog merely because he DOESN’T act like a throbbing insecure asshole.

 
“That was awful,” she said.

“That was awful,” he groaned.

I don’t know why she made this change. Maybe someone told her that you shouldn’t use so many synonyms for the word “said,” since there are some people who think you should practically NEVER use anything else. And yes, some of them should have been ditched, like “commented” or “replied.”

But it’s actually distracting that she replaced “groaned” with “said,” because “said” makes it sound stiffer. “Groaned” really works well.

 
“Yeah, she seemed to know her way around an onion root.”

That’s what he said!

Okay, the original line was: “I didn’t have any trouble with it,” I said, stung by his assumption. I regretted the snub instantly. “I’ve done the lab before, though,” I added before he could get his feelings hurt. I can only assume that again, someone pointed out what a bitch Bella was, and how humorless she comes across.

 
She helpfully covered my position as well as her own, so I only had to pay attention when it was my turn to serve; my team knew to get out of the way when I was up.

He chivalrously covered my position as well as his own, so my woolgathering was only interrupted when it was my turn to serve; my team ducked warily out of the way every time I was up.

I just realized that I don’t know what the fuck “woolgathering” means. But I am sure that I don’t care either.

And after flaking out all day, he just sort of wanders back to his car, and notices that Edythe Cullen is staring at him like a weirdo like him. For… some reason he immediately guns it so he can get away from her, despite ogling her pores and eyebrow hairs all day. And Edythe laughs at this… for some reason. Because she’s the genderflip of a douchebag.

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