Sunday, September 13, 2009

Special Edition of Random Thoughts: VAMPIRES!

Let's talk vampires for a moment.
With the popularity of the second season of True Blood, Stephenie
Meyer's Twilight series has come under a bit of fire as of late.  Now, Meyer certainly doesn't need me to defend her (nor would I really want to...unless she paid me...Stephenie?  Money?  For me?), but I do want to consider the state of the vampire in popular culture for a few moments.
At one point Stephen Moyer (Vampire Bill on True Blood) charged that the Meyer's vampire, Edward Cullen was a "pussy."  (I'm no liar!  Here's proof!)
I don't particularly disagree.  It's hard to take seriously a boy who turns all sparkly in the sunlight.  (To be fair, I will admit to owning a "I *heart* sparkly vampires* T-shirt.  But I wear it with irony people!  Irony!)
Okay, fine whatever.
Then, Alan Ball, the creator of the show True Blood claimed to have not read Meyer's series, but expressed confusion over having a story about teen abstinence with vampires, since , in his view, vampires represent sex.
Okay again.  Whatever.
But then I started thinking (bound to happen at some point).  While vampires are often associated with sex, I do think their representation in culture is more complicated than that.  Thomas C. Foster, who wrote the very accessible How to Read Literature Like a Professor (2003) considers vampires:
"The essentials of the vampire story, as we discussed earlier:  an older figure representing corrupt, outworn values; a young, preferably virginal female; a stripping away of her youth, energy, virtue; a continuance of the life force of the old male; the death or destruction of the young woman" (p. 19).
Let's see, applying these criteria to the Twilight series *Spoiler* check to all of the above in one sense or another.
Hmmm, interesting.
I then thought about Jink's The Reformed Vampire Support Group, a young adult novel that deconstructs the idea of a powerful, sexy vampire.  There's the implication that all of Foster's checklist occurred to turn the protagonist Nina into a vampire.  But, at the start of the story she's already been stripped of her youth, energy, etc. etc.  So what do we do with that.  Is it than not a vampire story?
The Reformed Vampire Support Group is about people.  People just trying to live.  True Blood/The Southern Vampire Series is also about people just trying to live.  And I suppose the same could be said for Twilight (although Bella's annoying depressive nature could provide a counter argument).
So, you may be wondering, what's my point?
Don't know.  Didn't have one.  These are random thoughts.  Look at the tag below.  "Random Thoughts"  right there.  And now I've decided I'm done being random for the day.  (Also may be done thinking, that remains to be seen)
What are your random thoughts?


  1. It's funny that all of my regular blogs decided to take up vampires this week. I'll admit to actually liking Twilight when I read them through the first time, but the more I thought about them, the more I hated how Bella just let things happen to her instead of being part of the action (and don't get me started on the human/vampire baby). I haven't seen True Blood, but I have been watching back episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, as one of my other blogger friends asked in his blog this weekend, whatever happened to girls kicking butt?

  2. I'm totally with you about Bella. I was hooked on the books, but the entire time I was reading, I was angry at Bella. It seemed Meyer was intentionally keeping her a victim. She either played into traps or ruined her friends' traps.

    Then in book 4, Bella gains power. In an icky disturbing way that kills her first.

    At least we have season 8 of Buffy in graphic form.



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