A Cat Among The Pigeons
Don’t mess with teenaged girls, I say.
It’s been a salutary experience. Who knew there were quite so many fans of the actress Kristen Stewart, or that they would be ready to scream ‘Hater!’ without having seen ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’, the film under discussion? Who knew I’d get more posts for one lukewarm review (I described the film as ‘well-made’ and said it should please fans of ‘Twilight’) than for all the serious, carefully considered posts I’ve made over the last few years?
It’s deeply depressing to realise that this garnered the biggest response I’ve ever had, much of it inarticulate to the point of derangement. Regular commenters here have consistently raised insightful points about everything from politics to publishing, but apparently we’re all wrong, and should limit our conversation to discussions of minor celebrities who make children’s films.
The internet is presumably why so many people have become terrified of voicing an opinion at all. As we grow and our experience of the world deepens, we are entitled to discuss anything from pedophilia to terrorism in any way we choose – it’s called free comment, and Socratic debate is a dialectic method of stimulating critical thinking and illuminating ideas. Although not, it seems, when it involves fans of Snow White or vampires.
Did I miss a meeting where it was decided that youth culture should push out any other kind of culture? That consensus-threats should overpower opinion? A common bully-tactic I got in this intellectually weighty discussion of a girl, a magical queen and seven little men was along these lines; ‘If you don’t withdraw your remarks about Kristen we’ll start an online boycott against your books, and then you’ll suffer.’ Frankly, this does feel like the last refuge of the knowingly disempowered, and makes me sad.
For the record, I didn’t particularly ‘hate’ Ms Stewart or the film. It was beyond consequence of any kind, a capricious piece of extremely undemanding entertainment designed, like ‘Mirror, Mirror’, to extract a bit more cash from Twilighters, and worthy of a nanosecond’s thought.
I stood next to Ms Stewart for quite a long time after the premiere and didn’t see her face unfreeze into anything appropriating a smile. Perhaps she was suffering the misery of trapped wind or has low blood sugar. Perhaps she was tired and fed up with being forced to go around the world on press junkets; who knows? Feel free to disagree with me on the condition that you were also there last Monday between 11:00pm and 12:00am and saw differently; I’ll stand corrected.
There’s one last point worth making; I’m not the target audience for this film, of course, and I’m primarily interested in storytelling. The thing that puzzled me was this; the film is a ‘realistic’ take on the fairytale in which the empowered Snow White dons armour and inspires a vast army into undertaking a life or death battle, so passion and eloquence is important. Henry V wouldn’t have lasted two minutes if he’d just been drippy.
While we may have exhausted the subject of Snow White, a bigger matter has been raised; the wilful ignorance of culture. Hmm – perhaps I’d be better off sticking to detailed discussions about the career of Justin Bieber in future.