For the second week in a row, the highest-grossing movie in America is The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2, the final installment of the massively popular film franchise based on the (also massively popular) young adult book series of the same name. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with even a peripheral knowledge of mainstream entertainment—the four films that preceded Breaking Dawn—Part 2 proved just as popular and profitable, resulting in the sort of media saturation that reaches just about everybody.
I’ve seen every film in the series, spurned by both my curiosity as to why these films are so popular and also by my girlfriend, who harbors a morbid fascination with all things Twilight and has spoken to me at length about the novels’ appalling misogyny. (I’m not going to address that subject here, but I will say that if I ever have a daughter, there’s no way in hell I’m letting her anywhere near those things.) Now that the tale of Bella and Edward has reached its conclusion, I’m left feeling duped. In fact, I’m less convinced that The Twilight Saga is a series of films and more convinced that it’s an elaborate practical joke aimed at people who give a damn about culture.