It’s rivalry week at BYU and being the service-oriented institution that we are, each year we decide to squelch the U a little more by doing ruthless, sneaky things like collecting canned foods and donating blood. That’ll show em. No, but it will though-so there. I have a strange affinity for donating blood. The first time I did it, I almost blacked out, but since my body has become accustomed to it (and I’ve mind-over-mattered most physical things in my life), I’ve started to look at it as giving a sort of tithing on my good health.

This isn’t just an elaborate plug for donating blood nor is it some kind of thinly veiled portrayal of me as a martyr. Donating blood at BYU is hardly a sacrifice; you get free cookies and T-shirts. BUT I have a bone to pick with the rivalry week, blood donation T-shirt this year. It says in big red and blue letters “What color do you bleed?”

Clearly there’s a statement about school loyalties to be made there, but they set us up to eat our words since we humans literally bleed red; ergo the U wins that one. Lots of people that heard this rant from me pointed out that some blood is blue in our body, but the question wasn’t “What color is your blood?” it was “what color do you bleed?” and the answer is sad and obvious. Conclusion: the RED Cross is in a conspiracy to make Cougars unwittingly become traitors to their school.

Speaking of blood and questions of popular appeal, New Moon, the next cinematic chapter in the Twilight saga came out this week. I haven’t seen it yet, so don’t assume this stream of consciousness is suddenly going to turn movie review. I learned from my viewing experience with the first movie that seeing these things in the opening week or even the opening fortnight is a mistake of epic proportions, unless you’re a fan of screaming fans.

I myself admit to having read the first three-and-a-half out of four books in the Twilight series. These aren’t terrible, and I’m something of a literary snob, so that’s saying something. They are, rather, like junk food; the literary equivalent of eating puffed Cheetos and fun-size Snickers while watching Pride and Prejudice; A Latter- Day Comedy (http://www.prideprejudice.com/) on a Saturday night. The appeal isn’t hard to find, nor is it limited to 12-year-old teenyboppers the way the media paints it to be.

I was shuffling around Smith’s in my pajamas the other morning, clutching a bag of Frosted Mini-Spooners in one hand and a gallon of milk in the other, laughing at the number of magazine covers in the check-out that were coming out to explore the draw of Twilight, trying to find the appeal of these books-gone-movies that are breaking all kinds of records and dulling all kinds of senses.

Analysts keep trying to pin it on the whole idea of  Bella and Edward’s love being so physically dangerous and forbidden and complicated, which I suppose plays a role, but what’s appealing about the love is not the dramatic tension of a girl’s life hanging in the balance, so much as it is about a clumsy, vulnerable girl, who tends to say the wrong things, having a super-hot, mysteriously dark, but always self-sacrificing boy, who just happens to be a vampire, fall unconditionally and head over heels in love with her.

Every girl, young or not-as-young who reads this, no matter how composed and confident they appear to others, has at one point or another felt like the vulnerable, ridiculous Bella-type going to Smith’s in her pajama’s to buy cereal and milk. The one that talks too much to the people she isn’t attracted to and freezes up in front of the people she is. That girl who spends too many weekend nights alone, watching movies on Netflix watch instantly’, accruing a vast and obscure movie comprehension she may never get to share with anyone.

When that anti-heroine, everygirl suddenly finds a hero who loves her even more for that clumsiness she can’t grow out of, and for the things about herself she always thought were the most unlovable, and also happens to be ridiculously good-looking and perfect, while at the same time never making her feel insecure in her plainness; the fact that she is more appetizing to him than a steak dinner is just details.

The love between Bella and Edward is no Jacob and Rachel or even a Tess and Angel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tess_of_the_d%27Urbervilles). Its complications are rooted in purely environmental elements, which puts to rest the possibility for the anguish that comes from an abortive relationship whose root failure might have been inside of you. So, it’s understandably appealing and sometimes enchanting. Will I, the cinematic and literary snob, go see it (once they’ve swept up all the popcorn and sour patch kids left by the shrieking girls and desperate housewives)? Yes.