PROFNET EXPERT ALERTS: Entertainment & Living

Saturday, November 22, 2008 General News
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'TWILIGHT' SERIESFollowing are experts who can comment on the "Twilight" series of books foryoung adults, including the appeal of vampires and the series' impact onliteracy among adolescents:

1. EMILY SKINNER, assistant professor of literacy, Department of TeacherEducation, COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON: "I think 'Twilight' has such appeal toadolescent girls (and a growing number of adult women, as well -- my book clubof women in their mid-30s just read it and everyone is completely addicted)because it is essentially a coming-of-age romance about Bella, an adolescentgirl. The characters are really appealing and well developed. In mydissertation research with seventh-grade girls, I found that adolescent girlsoften prefer to read books that are issues-driven, and the 'Twilight' seriesis packed with issues about relationships, sacrifice, love, desire, emotionaldependency, etc. Adolescent boys, on the other hand, tend to be drawn to textsthat are action/activity-based. Adolescents' literacy practices (e.g.,reading, writing, viewing, speaking, listening) are tied to their culturalidentities (e.g., age, gender, race, social class, etc.), so it is reallyimportant to validate the practices and texts they enjoy in order to engagethem in school-based literacy learning." (11/21/08)

2. REBECCA ROY, M.A., MFT, child, adolescent and adult psychotherapist in LosAngeles: "The vampire is an enduring myth in society. However, whatdistinguishes the vampire from other monsters -- whether in folklore,literature, art or film -- is that the vampire has a recognizable, if not anoften beautiful, human form. The vampire often demonstrates very humancharacteristics, such as regret and depression about its monstrous nature,which distinguishes it from other monsters. Teenage girls and women are oftenattracted to vampires because of their obvious sexuality. For teenage girlsjust beginning to express their sexuality, the attraction to the vampire whorepresents certain unacknowledged parts of themselves can be powerful. Thedark seduction of a vampire represents an internal conflict between good andevil. The vampire also represents 'the outsider' who can reject thelimitations projected on him by society. As an outsider, he or she is free todo what he wishes, when he wishes. It is no surprise that movies like'Twilight' are gaining appeal right now. In a world in which we are feelingincreasingly unsafe from outsiders and the economy is collapsing, thepsychological need to project undesirable elements of the human psyche ontoconveniently non-human scapegoats is clear." Web site:

3. PETER LOGAN, associate professor of English at TEMPLE UNIVERSITY inPhiladelphia: "Vampires mirror their times: 'Twilight' is just the latest inour long-running love affair with vampires. I am not surprised by the currentpopularity of the 'Twilight' series of books because, historically, vampiresin literature reflect the social conditions and issues of their day, and thisis their appeal. News Contact: Kim Fischer, Phone: +1-215-204-7479 Web site: (11/21/08)

4. DR. RHONDA BROCK-SERVAIS, associate professor and department chair of theDepartment of English and Modern Languages at LONGWOOD UNIVERSITY in Virginia,has read and surveyed over 40 vampire novels published for teens since 1990and can discuss the genre, as well as the how the characters speak to theiraudiences: "Vampires, like teenagers, are outsiders; they are moving through aworld not of their own creation, trying to learn to live within its rules eventhough their true nature puts them at odds with it. However, for a vampire,'outsiderness' is a position of power, not subject to the control of parentsand institutions such as schools. Thus, the sympathetic vampire is a sort ofan exaggerated reflection of self or a wish fulfillment (predatory vampiresare a whole other story). 'Twilight' is a confirmation of specialness. It isnarrated by Bella, who's socially and physically awkward -- externalmanifestations of what many teens actually feel. Despite her shortcomings, sheis the focus of not just any lover, but one who's incredibly powerful. She'sso special that not only does he overlook her flaws, he learns to overcome hisown desire to be with her. Ultimately, she is empowered by taming the bad boy.When you add the lure of the forbidden (loving the alien) to the mix, it'spretty heady stuff that confirms the potential power of a teenage girl --albeit in a very traditional way." News Contact: Jennifer Lucado, Phone: +1-804-675-8176 (11/21/08)

5. ELIZABETH TUCKER, associate professor of English at BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITYNew York: "Pale, undead, poetic and sexy -- vampires appeal to teenaged girlswho like the idea of making daring and dangerous choices. Children's andadolescents' folklore includes games and legends based on encounters with theundead. Legends about ghostly lovers and dance-hall devils stimulateteenagers' dreams and parents' fears. Of course, some older women dream ofvampires, too; and current evidence suggests that plenty of older women aredoing that. There's a humorous side of vampires, as in the novel 'Blood-Sucking Fiends: A Love Story,' which features a vampire named Jody. People,like me, who don't get swept away by vampires' sex appeal can enjoy theircomedic flair, which seems to get better all the time." News Contact: GailGlover, Phone: +1-607-777-2174 Web site: (11/21/08)

6. MARY MUSCARI, associate professor at Decker School of Nursing, BINGHAMTONUNIVERSITY New York: "From Bela Lugosi through Wesley Snipes to 'Twilight''sRobert Pattinson, movie vampires have been convincing females to toss outtheir garlic and open the windows. Why? Romance, forbidden love and the chancefor immortality. Rare is the girl who would swoon over Nosferatu with hisbeady eyes and lousy bedside manner. But the 'I want you so bad I can tasteit' sensuality of modern vampires, like those played by Brad Pitt and TomCruise, easily cause one to forget that vampires are nothing more than serialkillers with good PR agents. Add a bit of goth, some adolescent angst, and thehero vampire's struggle between good and evil, and you have the perfect recipefor a teen fantasy. Is it harmful? To a teen with psychiatric problems,possibly. But to a healthy teen who can jump back into reality land once thecredits roll, a good vampire movie is a great escape." Muscari is a parentingexpert, focusing on toddler age and up, especially teens. Author of "Let Kidsbe Kids: Rescuing Childhood," she is a popular speaker at parenting workshopsaround the country. Her most popular topics include keeping kids safe frompredators ("live" and Internet ones), bullying and raising nonviolent kids.News Contact: Gail Glover, Phone: +1-607-777-2174(11/21/08)

7. ERIC GINSBERG, VP of marketing for BOOKSWIM.COM in Newark, N.J.: "The'Twilight' series, like any popular book, is good for literacy in general.Anything that encourages young people to read and that makes reading cool intheir minds is a positive development. Specifically, 'Twilight' is continuingwhere the 'Harry Potter' series left off, meaning that while 'Harry Potter'got many kids to read, 'Twilight' is getting teenagers/young women to read.This is important because, as they are closer to transitioning to adulthood,they may continue reading as they get older, whereas not everyone who read the'Harry Potter' series a couple of years ago is still reading now." NewsContact: Scott Rosenblum, Phone: +1-212-725-2295, ext. 29(11/21/08)

1. BEHAVIOR: BE THANKFUL, GRATEFUL AND STAY SANE: CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS WITHA SMILE. NANICE ELLIS of Sandy, Utah, master results coach, speaker and authorof "The 30-Day Gratitude Journal," reminds us to not lose focus on the truespirit of the season: "With the holiday season almost upon us, many of us aretrembling with trepidation and anxiety at the thought of navigating anotherfamily or corporate holiday celebration or merely mustering the courage andenergy to forge our way through the crowded malls and supermarket aisles. Nowis the time to take a deep breath when your brother-in-law makes another off-color joke or at the less-than-kind remark your mother may have made aboutyour cooking. Look for the reasons to be thankful rather than hurt, seek outthe joy rather than anger, and put your energies into having a holiday filledwith joy and gratitude for all the good in your world." Ellis can offerguidance and tips on how to make it through this holiday season with a smileon your face and gratitude in your heart. News Contact: Kellyann Dinoff, Phone: +1-603-595-5637 (11/21/08)

2. LIVING: DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE CLASSROOM THIS FLU SEASON. JAN HARP DOMENEof Anaheim, Calif., national PARENT TEACHER ASSOCIATION president, isavailable to talk about the actions necessary to help clean up classrooms thiscold and flu season: "Cleaner classrooms are smarter classrooms. Nearly 22million school days are lost annually due to the common cold alone, and thatmeans lots of workdays, as well." Domene can talk about vaccinations, cleaninggerm hot spots and other precautions necessary to help prepare for flu season,which is just around the corner. News Contact: Alexis Black, Phone: +1-312-929-0504 (11/21/08)

3. LIVING: HEALTHIER COCKTAILS FOR HOLIDAY PARTIES. DONNA DECUNZO-TADDEO,R.D., L.D., specializes in weight management and wellness and is a co-founderof VOODOO TIKI TEQUILA, a tequila company, and GHOSTSHIP RUM, a spiritscompany, both headquartered in Lighthouse Point, Fla.: "I receive a lot ofinquiries this time of the year, from those who are trying to be calorie-conscious during the holiday season. In a season with a lot of parties andgatherings, the average American is almost expected to gain a few pounds.There are practical things to do to choose wisely, still have fun and avoidthose extra layers of fat." Decunzo-Taddeo can offer practical advice andinsight as to how to celebrate this holiday season in a healthier way withoutbeing a party pooper. (11/21/08)

4. PARENTING: INTERNET SAFETY: PROTECTING YOU AND YOUR KIDS. DR. LINDA YOUNG,cyber psychologist and former senior staff psychologist at Seattle University,has seen a drastic increase in the need to educate families about onlinesafety over the past few years: "Thanks to camera phones, social networks andan increase in online communications, it's not uncommon for children to bemore tech-savvy than the adults in their lives. The rapid evolution of thesenow-ubiquitous technologies presents a unique set of opportunities andchallenges for today's families. As a result, it often can be difficult forparents to understand or relate to what their kids are doing online -- a scaryprospect for many. It's important for parents to pay attention to their kids'online habits. Ask open instead of closed questions; listen more thaninterrupting, lecturing or scolding; and become genuinely curious about theironline world." Young can discuss family-friendly tips and tools such ascontracts between parents and kids, cyber-bullying and virtual worlds. NewsContact: Claire Varrelmann, Phone: +1-608-877-1462 Cell: +1-608-225-6000 (11/21/08)

5. SHOPPING: FIVE WAYS TO SNAG ONLINE SHOPPING BARGAINS. ERIN GIFFORD ofWashington, D.C., money-saving blogger at COUPONCRAVINGS.COM and grocerysavings expert at SHORTCUTS.COM: "Shoppers are expected to spend more than $35billion online this holiday season, and they want to be able to super-sizeevery dollar they spend. With a few easy tips and tricks, it's easy to makeyour dollar go far when holiday shopping online." Gifford is available tospeak on how to save when shopping online, easy ways to get free stockingstuffers and how to get some extra cash this holiday season. Phone: +1-703-265-7285 (11/21/08)

6. TOYS: LONG-LASTING TOYS FOR TOTS. DOTTI FRANKS, toy expert and VP ofmarketing communications for THE STEP2 COMPANY, the largest Americamanufacturer of preschool toys: "No matter what is going on with the economy,families want their children to have a happy holiday, and this year is noexception. The best gifts are toys that foster different kinds of play -- toyskids like to play with again and again, and that grow with the child." Frankscan talk about the best options that offer a good value -- both in terms offun, creative play for kids, as well as durability and safety for years tocome. News Contact: Alexis Black, Phone: +1-312-929-0504(11/21/08)

PROFNET is an exclusive service of PR Newswire.To submit an Opportunity by e-mail: profnet@profnet.comTo consult the ProfNet Experts Database: contact ProfNet by phone: +1-800-PROFNET, ext. 1To share a thought on ProfNet Expert Alerts: profnetalerts@prnewswire.com___________ TOPIC ALERT 'Twilight' Series (7 experts) _____________ EXPERT ALERTS 1. Behavior: Celebrate the Holidays with a Smile 2. Living: Don't Forget About the Classroom This Flu Season 3. Living: Healthier Cocktails for Holiday Parties 4. Parenting: Internet Safety: Protecting You and Your Kids 5. Shopping: Five Ways to Snag Online Shopping Bargains 6. Toys: Long-Lasting Toys for Tots


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