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BREAKING: Vampires, Gays Insufficiently Frightening; Children in Grave Danger of Inappropriate Sucking

Over at NRO, the very serious cultural commentator Tony Woodlief warns the nation that just like the gays, vampires are becoming disturbingly fashionable. This is a disturbing trend. In the good old days, real life gays and fictional vampires were, quite rightly, destroyed on sight as incorrigibly evil suckers of various repulsive bodily fluids. But nowadays, sadly, as a sign of our fallen moral world, we no longer consider either inherently evil as an inevitable consequence of their basic nature. Why, sometimes we even go so far as to portray them in films or on the teevee as misunderstood or even sympathetic, shudder.

We have fully reversed the symbolism of Stoker’s vampire, who represented a demonic assault on a virtuous community. Today’s vampire is the hip Other, and the community around him is either bungling, intolerant, or simply a source of comedic relief (as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Lost Boys, and Fright Night, for example). The modern vampire is in touch with his sexuality, but the community suppresses it. The modern vampire is coming to take away your girlfriend, and she kind of likes it. The modern vampire is the guy you wish you had been in high school, or the guy you wish you’d dated in high school, and Meyer has turned that into gold.

The trouble with this evolution is that fictional monsters serve a valuable cultural purpose. They remind us that we live in communities, and that our communities must be defended from those who would rend them asunder.

There’s a lot of weird shit in this article, but the nut of the, uh, nuttiness is right here. First, Woodlief gets his vampire stories wrong. The original Dracula (or "Crackula," written by "Gram Smoker," about "Vlad the Inhaler") really is very Victorianly odd on the issue of sexuality, especially female sexuality. There’s an odd love quadrangle amongst the male heroes and the absurdly virtuous Lucy, there’s the standard-issue virgin/whore fetish (the pure English maids contrasted to the slutty foreign vampires), the asinine cult of masculine virtue (our heroes’ unwillingness to let a chick go on an adventure with them leads to disaster; even the Scooby gang was too hip too fall for that jive). In regards to more modern vampire stories, the remark about Buffy clearly shows that Woodlief didn’t actually watch the series, or if he did, he sure wasn’t sober.

But the more egregious problem with Woodlief’s piece is precisely this notion that there ought to be a sharp and clear distinction between non-traditional sexualities and a happy, coherent community. Think what you want about modern vampire stories like, say True Blood or Buffy, and I’m not entirely sure what I think about them myself, but the one thing they take for granted is that any such distinction is crap. And whatever the intent of these shows’ creators as far as subversion goes, it’s just simply the case that you couldn’t tell a good vampire story nowadays based on Bram Stoker’s cultural and indeed sexual assumptions and not have it just… suck. It might cause discomfort to the sort of people who write for NRO, but the world has moved on since the 19th century. And in regards to us (well, most of us) no longer immediately wanting to drive stakes through the hearts of homosexuals, that’s a good thing.

At least for those of us who are not forever afraid of imaginary creatures who go bump in the night, anyhow.

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Thers

Thers

A community college professor from upstate NY. My wife & I have 347 children, all of them rotten.

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