More Vampire Than You Require

Stephen Blackwell :: Thursday, November 19th, 2009 5:00 pm

New Moon, the next film installment of the Twilight book series, opens tomorrow. Conservative estimates suggest the vampire teen-love story will exceed the $70.5 million opening weekend Twilight scored, while others suggest the film will gross over $85 million in weekend ticket sales.

True Blood racked up 5.1 million viewers its debut weekend this summer and continued onward and upward as girls swooned over Viking vampire Eric Northman’s story arc.

In music, one of the biggest pop bands of the moment is called Vampire Weekend.

As you know, it’s vampire time. Our culture invests a lot in the fantasy, which is a bit at odds with the election of our first black president, considering vampires are symbols of white supremacy.

By the way, I know every magazine on the planet has weighed in on this a million times over. Esquire alleged the vampire obsession is due to all heterosexual female teenagers wanting to have sex with their gay or not-out-but-probably-gay classmates. (The writers of My So-Called Life would have a problem with this theory).

GQ’s Tom Carson, on the other hand, puts forward that the vampires of True Blood and Twilight are living the American Dream albeit on the fringe of culture just like the characters on Weeds, Dexter, The Sopranos, Californication, Big Love — wait a minute, I’m seeing a pattern here. So we watch as the vampires struggle to fit in, like the sultry Bill Compton on True Blood, and derive entertainment from their foibles, failures, and indecencies.

Even Gawker, in an almost coherent post, said our obsession with vampires is rooted in their new normality. They’re not the “terrifyingly rapey psychopaths who do nothing but sleep and kill” that they used to be, and are now instead “very, very, very pretty people who are super-horny.”

I guess I buy all of the explanations, even if they’re pedagogical and dismissive. But what’s tempered the threat of vampires, or made them relatable, is that they’ve become divorced from their literary origin.

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