Saturday, August 06, 2011

Twilight and Immigrants

Okay, so far on this situation.  An immigrant man was killed during a Border Patrol stop outside Forks.  The Forks mayor was startled when fans of the Twilight books and movies were horrified and started writing and showing up (in "droves" -- but in Forks that means there's 50 or so girls and their bored but patient parents in couple of Twilight stores and the van).

Local papers claimed the story hit The New York Times because Forks was so important now.  Maybe so, but not in a way they may want to be.

The mayor of Forks was startled.  I recognized an obvious outcome to the local Invader Americans' terror of the Other.  I know the writer-and-fan culture from long experience, just from my books.  So I posted a head's-up on this blog.

Seattle's Weekly was next to write an article about the incident.

The Forks Forum is a little free country weekly I freelance for. because, to survive, everybody up here has six hats.  I often have to tell people I'm interviewing that I'm willing to leave out bits of information that would get them in trouble with the county -- and the county doesn't want to know either.  They know people have to play with loopholes to survive up here.  My line is, "This isn't an exposé."  So, yeah, sometimes my reports are not quite as complete as they might be, just to keep the local businessfolk, volunteers and artists out of trouble.  Nobody wants to know; this is just a restaurant-and-post-office handout. 

Of the paper's admiration for my work I have no illusions -- I'm the person who saves them gasoline or emergency time up here. They don't pay much, but they pay their bills, and they don't keep me in the dark.  I try to return the favor.

The editor wrote an editorial and posted the cover picture, interpreting what the Weekly did as an attempt to grow its readership.  This is probably a publisher decision (for whatever reason) and my editor is a good, quiet workhorse.  I figgered I might as well put in my two cents so he'd know where I stand.  Least I could do -- the guy is decent to me.

So I dropped him an email:

"Um... just a passing note (with the recognition that editors gotta listen to the publisher):The Weekly isn't a "free tabloid."  It's got some of the best investigative journalism around, and it's only "free" because it gets a LOT of advertising, especially from the club, band and entertainment scene.  It pays its people quite well, too.  They don't need Twilight to up their readership -- their readership really doesn't follow the girl's romance market.  Their readership makes fun of Twilight, when they think of it at all (which is not fair, because we all have our manias and movies).  The movie at San Diego Comicon would take up its own booth and fandom in the midst of a literal small city of booths.At best, The Weekly using the logo to ironically introduce a "dark underbelly" article.  At worst, they're making fun of it.  

 The Border Patrol isn't going to scare anybody outside the area with the "illegal immigrant" boogieman.  Least of all the Twilight readership, who are all about the girl getting hooked on the unusual stranger.  The Weekly people are like bloodhounds -- they can find out everything, and they WILL.Many Hispanics also have the blood of native peoples in them.  It's gonna happen..."

He knows this, but papers here are the toys of the publishers, and an editor's gotta eat, too. 

Just sayin'.   We have real, live tribes up here, and we're not the only ones.  The first time an "illegal" immigrant raises his or her hand and claims tribal membership, all hell is going to break loose.  This is not over.  It's been four (five?) hundred years coming.

My readers know how I write -- I know a snowball and an avalanche when I see one.

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