I've found Christopher Knowles's interpretations of the "Twilight" phenomenon – that it is heavily rooted in Mormon/Christian culture and traditional ideas of courtship/marriage – very provocative. Certainly, he is not the first writer to make this connection, but he summarizes the situation very succinctly.
Of particular interest is the possible explanation he offers for why comic book fans are so angry about young hordes of teenage Twilight fans "invading" their conventions:
"And of course Twilight has brought armies of young girls into cons, infuriating the older male fans. Almost as if armies of Christian families had descended on formerly Gnostic or Neoplatonic shrines in the Roman era. It's fascinating how many of those aging male fans are objectivists or militant atheists and/or skeptics, and how many of them are unmarried and childless.
If demography is indeed destiny, then the Fanboy as we've known him may be entering his own twilight."
Ironic that the girls were screaming in the 1950s for Elvis Presley's unrestrained sexuality, his promise of passion as enshrined in his gyrating hips – and now they scream for the antithesis of sex, the palid and proper Edward Cullen. Certainly, both figures possesses great, if not epic, hair. But completely different vibe.
If we are indeed, as some have pointed out, currently in a strange analogue of the 1970s, is the fan-worship of such clean-cut figures as Edward, The Brothers Jonas, etc. really the equivalent of the worship of the Brothers Cassidy (Sean and David), Leif Garrett, and the rest of the Tiger Beat crew?
After the Summer of Love matured into the Summer of Murder and Manson's flower children were either incarcerated, burned out, or training to become the soulless businessmen of the 1980s, America needed a more wholesome set of young entertainers. Enter The Carpenters, the brother and sister team who in their cheery-and-chaste companionship had about as much real sexual tension between them as Edward and Bella. A legion of "clean" teen idols followed.
Go back in time and you will see the same phenomena happening in the late 1950s, as a number of rock icons (Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis) get busted for various indiscretions & Elvis enters the army. We see the ascendancy of that upholder of good Christian values Pat Boone, and of the Mickey Mouse Club school of Entertainers of Tomorrow.
But this shift will not fully take place until Republicans/Conservatives are back in power in some form and there is something left to rebel against in contemporary society. I mean really, what do teenagers have to fight against in a status quo that gives them condoms in school, frowns on restrictive rules and regulations, and generally says that they are OK just the way they are? Certainly, I am not arguing against any of the aforementioned phenomena. I'm just saying that the evolutionary drive in the human animal seems to be wired in adolescence to rebel against something. Anything. Even sex.
And so the girls rebel, participating in the chaste bacchanalia that is Twilight. The "Punk-Rock" ethic of saying "fuck you" to TPTB has become Palinized. Sarah Palin is more hated by the status quo than Charles Manson, and meanwhile "Uncle Charlie" sits, well-groomed and grandfatherly, in a cell in Corcoran espousing a program of environmental awareness not that much different from Al Gore's.
This is the biggest irony of all, the one that those who incessantly complain about "Twi-tards," Sarah Barracuda, Glenn Beck, and the rest of the usual suspects just...don't...GET. The targets of their hate are the rebels, get it? These Conservative icons are the current moment's equivalent of Marilyn Manson's assless leather Nazi pants. These are whose names you mention in polite company and elegant dinner parties if you want to get a rise just for the lulz. It used to be that a girl masturbating with a cross was considered the most blasphemous image to be shown on film. But if you really want to piss people off in the mainstream media now, have a girl in a movie just hold up a cross. Punk rock/Jesus saves! Whoooo!!! Tellin' it to the MAN!
The fundamental history lesson is this: IT ALL COMES BACK AROUND, AND IT ALL FLIPS TO ITS OPPOSITE POLARITY. This always happens.
This is the nature of reality: it is an eternal game of Pong, between the poles of Left and Right, Yin and Yang, Black and White, Communist and Capitalist, Religious and Atheist. Each side defining themselves in relation to the Other.
Those Who Know, they understand how to quietly step to the side and to observe the entire absurd dance from a distance. And they do. And sometimes they even make good money off of it, these "Polarity Profiteers."
As for me? I do it largely for the lulz.
BONUS: Man, 41, just finds out that his real dad is Charles Manson. No joke.
"My hero is Gandhi. I'm an extremely non-violent, peaceful person and a vegetarian. I don't even kill bugs."