Money, Mormons, and Meyer

Who doesn’t want to be rich? Well unless you’re one of those ascetics who lives in the mountains of Nepal, I’d say everybody.

Teens love the idea of being rich and famous like the idols they worship. Magazines, posters, fanclubs, and merchandise make up 90% of their messy rooms. And that’s perfectly normal. In teen lit, rich kids are often used as “the cool group” everybody wants in on, an oft-used cliche that’s not going out of fashion any time soon. In Melissa De la Cruz’ vampire series Blue Bloods, the rich kids in a prestigious (and fictional) NYC school depict the real ultra-elite NYC society. She name drops a ton, but it’s tactfully used and funny.

In Twatlight the Cullen family have more money than the IMF it seems. They have stockpiles of cash, collect (and total) luxury cars, discard designer label clothes after one wearing, have Centurion cards, and destroy 60″-inch flat screen TVs during insane temper tantrums without a care. Typical teen fantasy, you scoff. After all Bella is Meyer’s avatar, and this is just a bunch of masturbatory fanfiction, right? Well, you’d be right. In You Are Bella shmeiliarockie goes into depth on this in her 2-part Wish Fulfillment: Money, Money, Money segment.

But that’s not all.

Mormonism is a cult that (unfortunately) is considered mainstream Christianity. If you’re Catholic (or former in my case) you might think Mormons are Protestant. That isn’t true. The founder, Joseph Smith pushed his new religion as the “one true church” based upon personal visions and revelations. If you’ve gone to a high school that uses sociology in their English and history classes you might have come across JS and his unique 19th Century American monotheistic belief system, and might be shocked to discover that he was a con artist. JS’ first job was treasure hunting, he used seer stones to locate buried treasure. After his arrests and prosecutions, he used those same seer stones to translate the infamous Golden Plates that were revealed to him by the fictitious angel Moroni. There is a plethora of books debunking the church by cult experts and ex-Mormons. The most reliable on the web is exmormon.org and Sandra Tanner’s site.

If you’ve been to SMeyer’s site or LJ, you know she has the mentality of a 13-year-old. But as I’ve been becoming acquainted with Mormonism through the sites mentioned above, it’s very clear that every Mormon is like this. Mormon culture is unique and dangerous, they view themselves as peculiar people with superiority complexes who are continually persecuted by the outside world- Satan’s playground. They believe that they exist on the fringes because they hold they keys to “spiritual truth” and exist on a higher plane than the rest of society. According to their beliefs they become gods of their own planets when they die, but men get many wives to be pleasured by and populate their planets, thus sending spirit babies back to earth. Sound fucking nuts? Well don’t say that in Utah, parts of Idaho and Arizona.

Cults (Jehovah’s Witnesses and $cientology are also prime examples) are driven by profit. Tithing, real estate, and church operated businesses generate a lot of revenue. The official profit margin by the LDS is secret- much like their temple ceremonies that have been exposed thanks to the internet (JS was a Freemason and their ceremonies influenced the LDS). But there was something that really bothered me about LDS, how little they gave to charity (JW’s are also like this. They don’t give to charity at all, their “charity” is through their church doctrines- convenient, eh?). Ex-Mormons have included mission experiences in their apostate stories, and three of them have stayed with me; the first one was from a young man sent to Argentina. His stake president who was stationed there instructed him NOT to visit the poorest slums because they couldn’t afford the tithing, and because they had no local charity organizations to help them. The second story was from another guy who was sent to Mongolia (I believe). He was amazed by the street children he’d seen. His SP instructed him not to speak to them, give them shelter or food or money. Some time after the dupe saw a child dead in a doorway having frozen and starved to death. The last one was from a woman who got her entire family out. She volunteered at a shelter (not affiliated with the LDS), now the shelter had experiences with LDS volunteers and they weren’t exactly positive. But with this lady they lucked out, her family was very nice and the only thing that her children weren’t allowed to do was serve coffee (because according to the LDS caffeine is sexually stimulating and that’s a no-no). Once again they were shocked by the homeless and they actually started to deprogram because of it. The shelter was impressed with this family because unlike the other LDS they weren’t snobbish or rude.

The LDS consider you less than worthy if you don’t have money? Hmmm…

In every society the ideal person is wealthy, attractive, educated, powerful, has a big family, professional, and charitable. It also helps to be a white male under the age of 55. The LDS takes hypocrisy to a whole new level. Don’t believe me, go here. But I will copy-n’-paste what I’m talking about to help illustrate:

Mormon Royalty

Our family has moved a fair amount as a result of job promotions involving relocations to other cities. One of the things that we have noticed is that each ward and stake has it’s own royalty as well as a middle class and of course the “less fortunate fringe”. When you move into a strange ward, you are quickly classified into one of the groups and there is little chance of ever being elevated to another group although downgrading is possible. Any outward indication or confession of a personal or family problem justifies immediate downgrading. To achieve royalty status, one needs to have at least several of the following traits in their favor:

1. Personal Wealth (tithing numbered in minimum 5 digits preferred)
2. Pedigree (Descendants of polygamous ancestors)
3. University Education (BYU grads score top points here)
4. Professional status (Doctors, dentists, lawyers, or Church Education System… CES types can be forgiven their lack of wealth)
5. Utah like grooming and accent
6. Large gregarious family
7. Evidence of embarrassing fully Mormon culture… language, tardiness, music, dress standards, FHE
8. Relatives or at least friends in high places
9. An LDS Track record: Mission, temple marriage, etc.
10.Absolutely no hint of being a real person with real problems
11.the ability to sound incredibly sincere and to bring tears to your eyes almost at will

The Mormon Middle class may have some of the traits of Mormon Royalty, but are marred with such horrible defects as:

1. Witnessed drinking cola in public
2. Rooted for the University of Utah over BYU
3. Once received Church welfare or worse still public welfare
4. Stayed home to watch the Superbowl instead of attending Church meeting
5. Wife works outside the home
6. Kids don’t attend seminary
7. Too many non member friends
8. Failure in a church calling
9. Unglamorous employment (factory worker, tradesman, sales clerk, etc.)
10.Convert of less than 10 years
11.Loud laughter

Then of course we have the fringe element, the poor bastards that everyone else can look down on thank God that they are so much better than the they are. The following are some qualifying traits:

1. Low economic status regardless of reason
2. Lack of formal education
3. Too much formal education coupled with independent thinking thus qualifying as a hated intellectual
3. Facial hair, unconventional hair cut, or the dreaded tattoo
4. A foreign accent
5. any hint of homosexuality
6. Mormon Fundamentalist views or sympathies
7. Read the SL Tribune instead of Deseret News
8. Non traditional modes of dress, men with ear rings or women with piercing in nose, eyelid, etc.
9. Buy lottery tickets
10.Question authority or ask embarrassing questions in a church class

It’s interesting that as you move around that you can be perceived and categorized differently but there is almost no chance of any elevation if you stay in one place.

Royalty usually serve as Stake Presidents, Relief Society Presidents, Bishops, etc. The Middle Class are the ward clerks and Primary teachers, while the fringe are entrusted with such Holy responsibilities as Ushering. Occasionally a sincere Church leaders experiments with calling persons to positions above their class level and usually discover that they do just fine. However, the royalty types are generally very uncomfortable with the practice so it is seldom resorted to by those in authority.

A former Bishop from Canada

See what I mean?

According to ex-Mormons who attended BYU (like SMeyer) upper-class students often made fun of their less well dressed classmates. I don’t know what SMeyer’s dad did for a living, but I do know that Connecticut (where she was born) is the most expensive state on the East coast to live in. Taxes are killers because of the number of rich people who live there. Now the bitch is one of six, and a good Molly Mormon doesn’t work and must have a lot of kids. SMeyer worked as a receptionist and has three sprogs- that’s a lot in today’s world. But it must’ve driven her crazy that she couldn’t be a kept wife like all the ones making fun of her in temple.

Well now she is a kept woman- who now is the breadwinner for her ENTIRE fucked-up family. I think that Fantasia could relate.

For shmeiliarockie…

In case you don’t know who shmeilirockie is go here: http://www.youtube.com/user/shmeiliarockie.

Shmeiliarockie did this brilliant in-depth analysis serial on Twilight entitled, You Are Bella. I’m not quite sure if she’s finished, but her latest post was two days ago, and she looks much better from her last post after the New Moan premiere. Believe me, it’s okay to hit a wall. It’s okay to get frustrated. As someone who has suffered from depression since childhood, I completely empathize with you. Writers are complicated people (I’m one too- in theory at least), but take comfort Stefenie Meyer isn’t complicated. Know why? She isn’t a real writer. She’s a fanfic writer who got extraordinarily lucky, at the right time. Jealous of her financial success? Perfectly normal, especially during these hard times when college grads and students (even drop-outs like me) are wading through a hazy fog, that, according to the Fox Noise Channel, doesn’t really exist.

First off, you hit the stake directly on head stating Twatlight’s success resulted from a financial decision. Every anti and intelligent person knows this. Look at the trends in entertainment today: reality TV is a booming phenomenon. Musicians are prefabricated corporate packages- the Disney teen pop “artists” have an international following, regardless of language or region, the “artists” are carbon copies of one another. Greed is good (subprime mortgage crisis). Instant gratification is necessary (global credit crunch). Updating outdated (and just plain wrong) material is the norm: cover songs, prequels, sequels, and TV/book/game adaptations (this includes AvatarPocahontas with blue people and and smatter of clever CGI). This kills two birds with one stone: 1) hiring writers and directors who will demand all sorts of crazy things (union rights, correct pay, insurance, etc.) and 2) it saves studios money! They already own the rights to the shit and royalties are negotiable. If not, they get dropped (in the case of DVDs: 6 eps. of Scooby Doo, the entire series of Happy Days, the pop/rock soundtrack of Knight Rider, 21 Jump Street, the complete omission of the In Living Color musical parodies, and Quantum Leap just to name a few). Even though logic dictates that fans will be furious and a backlash is probable. Actually, the backlash happened.

But the studios are willing to endure the backlash, despite the fact that DVD sales are becoming their bread and butter. Flexing their muscles is more important than listening to the demands of striking writers.

You also address in YAB that as a fanfic writer and reader the most popular fics are Mary Sues, they get the most reviews and most hits. Mosey over to Fanfiction.net and- for example- click on “Movies”, then scroll down to Miracle. This post-Olys/pre-NHL lock-out ’04 Disney hit based on the Miracle on Ice USA hockey team gold medal victory over the USSR has a nice collection of fics (65 I think- but if you do an independent search there’s roughly 60 more under “Misc. Movies”). So why would a live-action Disney flick have a following like this? Well, it was well written and directed, it starred an A-list actor, and the hockey team was cast with very hot guys who were real hockey players (with the exception of Eddie Cahill). There are fics being written about them today, because the young actors got very little screen time (fuck you Gavin O’Connor). The most popular fics contain Mary Sue heroines that are either one of four things: 1) daughter/stepdaughter/niece/granddaughter of Herb Brooks, Craig Patrick, or Doc Nagobads. 2) A U of M or BU co-ed who gets a job working for the team. 3) A relation (or someone with a relationship) with a Midwest hockey player falls for an East coast hockey player (or vice-versa) playing to the team’s legendary regional rivalry . Or 4) a Russian girl who has a relationship to the Russian hockey team but falls for one of the American players.

What are wrong with these characters? Nothing, intrinsically at least. The fics are very creative, but are poorly researched, poorly edited, and the characters have unbelievable and often tragic backgrounds to provide magnetism and chemistry between them and the hockey player of their choice. But it parlays right to the fangirls. A particularly horrific example is Broken Shards Of Time And Space.

But this is all academic accounting, of course bullfuck like this will be a blockbuster. But here are a few tidbits you might not know about Meyer:

1) Thirty-five agents rejected her before the viper known as Jodi Reamer gave her “manuscript” the gold stamp of merchandising approval.

2) Meyer’s publisher Little, Brown & Co. is owned by Hachette, a French media group (multinational now). They bought LBC in ’06 after they bought out Time Warner Book Group (its original owner), making it the second largest publisher in the world. Why did this happen? Well at the time Time Warner was making a fuckload of bad business decisions. After 9/11 and the Dot.com bust, Time Warner reported a $99 billion dollar loss in ’02. There was also a four year recession (hitting NY pretty hard where Time Warner HQ happens to be located) from 2000-’03. So if my timeline is correct Meyer had to have completed the MS for Twatlight around ’03 (which took 2 months according to her), then found Reamer who shopped it around to different houses eventually landing in LBC which is probably ’04. Now Time Warner has suffered tremendous losses, and its sending out memos to its subsidiaries to buy anything that looks remotely lucrative. LBC isn’t stupid, they know (in the middle of the Harry Potter craze) that trends are shifting, life is getting harder. Escapism is more important than ever. We had a tyrannical president. The war is never ending. People are losing their jobs. Others are getting crazy rich really fast. And the sales of actual copies of books is chicken feed compared to merchandising. They know Twatlight is crap, but it’s the glitzy, pretty people that make emo fangirls (and lonely cougars) swallow it whole. It’s sort of like cutting into a cake with fluffy, sugar-crystallized pink frosting, but instead of lifting out a slice of the richest, thickest devil’s food cake you’d ever seen… it’s nothing more than a cardboard box. A prop, just like Meyer mentions so many goddamn times! Twatlight hits shelves fall of ’05.

So let’s recap: 1) Meyer is a fraud. 2) Creativity is in the toilet. 3) Vapidness is an infectious disease. Case in point: Sharon Lathan. Lathan is a cancer to Pride and Prejudice. There’s little difference between Lathan and Meyer- save one thing: Lathan’s first book was a fanfic. Lathan is a 50-something RN who went to see the ’05 film adaptation of P&P starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden. She admitted that she never read an Austen novel. She admitted that she knew nothing about the Regency era. And finally she admitted she didn’t know what P&P was about. What she did know was that Knightley and MacFayden were extremely sexy actors. Well I’ll give her that, one of the requirements to be an actor is to be sexy.

So she went home and pounded out a 54-chapter drivel fest of PG-13 porno entitled, Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One. I assume she put it up on FF.net and it had such a following she decided to hawk it on her own via POD (that’s publishing on demand- a scam). I found an original .pdf copy of the drivel on 4shared.com. If you’re masochistic or curious go there and you’ll find it- DON’T spend the money! Sourcebooks, Inc. (a so-called “independent” publisher) swotted her up and her shitpile went to print on ’09. It was so successful, it spawned two sequels: Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley and My Dearest Mr. Darcy: An Amazing Journey Into Love Everlasting. I didn’t read the other two books (I’m not crazy) BUT honest reviewers confirmed that the timeline was about one year, their fist child was born at the end of the last book, and there was NO character development for the mains.

Sound familiar? No, you’re not seeing things. It’s reality.

Here’s another thing you need to see: AVOID PUBLISHING/PRINT ON DEMAND!! POD is nothing more than taking your unedited, unpolished, unspellchecked manuscript to Kinko’s and printing out several thousand pages for a bunch of copies that could be bound by any print shop. These subsidiaries who may or may not work for legit publishing houses ensure that the author is nothing more than a glorified secretary, in a pool of thousands. The author, in essence, works for the POD company, getting paid staggeringly little for their “creations”. Whatever they sell, they make. It’s like being a telemarketer; you are your own agent, editor, and publicist. As soon as you give your credit card number to pay for printing (a set number of copies of books that will realistically never get beyond friends and family), you have bought a golden ticket to complete creative autonomy on your literary journey!

And pigs will fly.

Unless you are a phenom of a salesperson, POD is a scam. Roughly 20 out of the thousands of POD books that flood the internet get picked up for legit publishing. Zane and Christopher Paolini are often touted as POD champions, the truth of the matter is they got lucky. Zane’s erotica which is targeted to black women met her forum at the right time when black literature was being brought into the mainstream thanks to hip hop being popular with white people. Paolini’s parents were footing the bill for the Eragon printing when the Harry Potter hurricane hit the country. And the rest is history.

And finally to close my rant: how to get published.

I was on my way back from Queens when I met author Christina Britton Conroy (One Man’s Music). I pulled out my copy of Mark Bowden’s Guests of the Ayatollah (this is also being optioned for the big screen like BHD and Killing Pablo) when this petite blonde woman turned around and offered me a bookmark advertising her book. She was sweet and engaging, but what really made me strike up a conversation was that she commented that I was the first person she saw reading a real book all day. So I sucked it up and had to ask her:

“How’d you do it?”

And she said:

“Twenty years, 2 agents, and enough rejection letters to wallpaper my apartment.”

But what truly made me respect her was that she was an editor for a publishing house where the Twatlight MS landed in her office. She called it “charming crap”.

So shmeiliarockie, don’t burn your ass out on the corporate crap NaNoWriMo. It’ll get you nowhere. I tried something similar at Lulu.com, and got told my MS for my helium-filled romance/sex-comedy, Forbidden Fruit was sure-fire publishing material I was ecstatic! Then I put it up on fictionpress.org (FF.net’s original fiction wing) and my beta told me it was a sucky, but good first try at an MS. It was actually my second. My first dark erotic anime-inspired drama, The Glass Coffin, was brushed off by a professional editor who I got in contact with through a professor I befriended. I still have her rejection letter: “You got talent… blah-blah… reminds me of X-Men… blah-blah… sorry kid, you’re just not marketable…”

So now it’s Canada or bust! The lit agents are fewer, the competition’s tougher, but I’m not stressing for a change. Why you ask? Well when it comes to manga-inspired-over-the-top-romantic-dramedy set in a fictional university surrounding its loser, egotistical jerkoff hockey team, I’m actually having fun. Now all I need is to talk to some college hockey players to get the NCAA technobabble straight and I’ll really be set!

Keep your stick on the ice… then bash some Twifucks with it!

P.S. I’ll still be going back to school so I can get a day job. But I have  no intention of paying back the loan if I can’t get a proper one.