Thursday, February 09, 2012
The Vampire Thing
A REMINDER. Just taking a quick break from a job of work (why I've been somewhat absent of late). I have a niece with a head injury and a broken pelvis because a cop slammed into her car going the wrong way on a one-way street. Was he in pursuit? Who knows. She has two children, a husband, and an extended family who are all injured and traumatized by a single act of no doubt unintended violence.
Why does this make me think of vampires? They're only a fantasy, after all. Their violence occurs in the realm of the imagination, not reality. Except...
Vampires have become a media obsession. Movies and TV series devoted to romanticizing their undead plight and explaining away their unfortunate habit of killing others to keep on keeping on. The defense against their blatant moral turpitudes? Coolness. Pretty faces, fashionable costumery, superhuman invulnerability and violence, and perverse sexual innuendo, as if murder were akin to orgasm and eternal life.
Hard not to perceive the metaphor of American youth and its various isolating pathologies, including drug addiction, homosexuality, perceptions of racial, gender, and ethnic discrimination, and [sigh] existential alienation.
I'm calling foul. This is a realm where so-called entertainment has become politics in a big way.
Most vampire movies and TV shows are the exact opposite of a coming of age story. They're a truncating of age story. A malevolent version of Peter Pan. You don't ever have to grow up. What does it mean when you're invulnerable to injury, immortal, and never have to experience the sunshine of public scrutiny? You're free to kill the uncool because they are mortal, lesser, inconsequential. Who, then, are you?
What are vampires? Parasites. They have to kill others to survive. Do the math. How many people does a vampire have to kill to perpetuate his adolescent sense of immortality? Right. It doesn't matter. Because he and she are so cool their victims are mere cameos in the drama of me. There are no consequences because time no longer matters. There is only the eternal NOW of the beautiful ones. And never any sign of accumulated wisdom. Just repeated expressions of monotonous appetite. A perfect picture of teenage consciousness.
In the old days, vampires were villains. They were the evil that continually stalks the good. Now they're the beautiful that consumes the dull and the fatally frail who can't afford designer boots.
But there are consequences. To everything we do. Every life casually tossed away, or even put into danger, affects dozens and dozens of people. Our narcissistic children may be in a state of denial about that. They may dream of a world in which they get to do whatever the hell they want because they're young and invincible, but it isn't true. Being a selfish, self-obsessed pig isn't romantic. It's just sub-human.
Which we're doing a pretty good job of convincing our kids is the right way to be. They may fancy themselves undead. But in reality they're just, well, dead.
Screw the whole vampire craze. Time for everyone in its thrall to wake up and smell the coffee. Two movies that show vampirism as the curse it would inevitably be: We Are the Night and Midnight Son.
Now I have to get back to work. (GW: I spent one hour on this. Now I'm back on task.) And my prayers for Sandy and her family.