Sunday, October 25, 2009

Team Cullen vs. The Original Gangstas vs. The Hopes of Single Men

Today's guest blogger comes from my friend Brian - you semi-typical, middle 20-year-old American male. Thanks Brian for being a guest!

Note: The views and opinions of Brian do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of this blog.

When I was in high school, the latest craze regarding vampire literature was the newest Anne Rice novel, an author who, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be getting enough respect for a genre that she more or less dominated for a span of many years. I read Interview With The Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and The Queen of the Damned. These three books served as the core of vampire mythology for a good long while. Sure, there were others, but Anne Rice had a veritably unmatched saga of vampire fiction rolling off her fingertips. Any vampire movies watched with friends always fell back to being compared to the novels’ sense of history, the beauty of these creatures was one borne out of time, the romance inherent in vampire affections, the laundry list of behaviors and various mythological truths embedded in the pages of Rice’s central three novels.

Rice’s vampires were beautiful, terrible beings. Incredibly powerful, ancient, terrifyingly gorgeous products of their original time mixed with the present (whichever time period that present happened to be). Now, is the rest of this diatribe going to be about how nothing found today really seems to measure up to the (what in my mind) is the original testament of vampiric lore? Most likely. And don’t get me wrong, I understand the fact that things change, evolve, progress. If human history has shown us anything, it’s that we move forward. But are the new models really an improvement on the original, or are they more of an impediment to the single male?

I thought this stuff burnt out when the sun started shining on all those freak-wannabe-vampire-punk-goth-rocker-stoner-make-up-wearing-juggalo kids from high school, the day after graduation. The day that whole, “Oh, shit, we can’t all work at Hot Topic,” mentality settled in and took root in the cerebellum of these daywalker posers who wished more than anything that they actually needed to feed off of blood. Welcome to Reality. These people disappeared for a while, leaving behind the romanticism of the bite, the penetrating stare that reads souls and minds alike; the vampire faded from beatific glory and into the shadows from whence it came, becoming again a creature to be feared, not adored. And then, recently, they got pretty again.

Enter Team Edward. A seventeen-year-old kid who was made into a vampire two hundred years ago is supposed to be the new heartthrob of women the world over. Forty-something-year-olds getting caught up in the craze of teen-girl-fiction, falling in love with a fictional diamond-skinned vampire, whose character flaws spawned a whole line of t-shirts? These new vampires are too pretty to be seen in sunlight (because they get all shiny), they convulse and fight massive erectile temptation whenever their soul mate walks into the room, and this Mr. Cullen happens to be the only gentleman left on the planet, it seems—minus, of course, the creepy stalking bit.

Here’s the thing I witnessed with the new vampire craze: they took the evil out of them. Over-romanticized the hell out of these once evil creatures. Good luck to any normal guy trying to measure up, now. We’ve all been irrevocably screwed by the vampire system. And the vampires know it. They’re in their coffins right now laughing at us. The newer, bolder, modernity-ridden bloodsucker leaves no room for human error, no room for improvement, either. They don’t exist, so one would think that mankind has an edge. But we don’t. Team Cullen blew us out of the water.

Vampires in the olden days had to be sexy without sex, if you catch my drift. Theirs was a beauty held in mannerisms, appearance counted, yes, but not for everything. The capacity to love was outside of the vampire’s realm of existence, or knowledge, beyond their reality. Love was a human thing. Granted, Louie did care deeply for Claudia, but when Lestat made him a vampire, he made sure to make him weak, that’s why the other vampires ‘loved’ him: he was the most human. The Anne Rice suck-heads had a measure of evil that maintained a balance in the world, as far as vampires were concerned. It wasn’t just anybody who could be made into a vampire. The majority of people weren’t even close to being candidates for vampirification, only those that had that special something. What a twenties-era gangster might call ‘moxie.’

[Side note, I hear that this show “True Blood” takes place in the South… Any self-respecting vampire would move him/herself to larger, more popular epicenter of sophisticated human culture, not the sour-mash capital or Bible-belt central. But anyway…]

We can have moxie. Hell, some of us have it in spades, but will we it be enough to take the girl’s mind off of Edward? Doubt it. Talk a good game, walk a straight line, open a door or three, pay for dinner, movie, drive, be a gentleman and kiss her on the cheek instead of moving in for a full on mouth-bath, and you still won’t measure up, not to the new vampire standard, which says this to the modern male:

When you step into the sunlight, we see your flaws, your wrinkles, your missed-a-spot-shaving patchwork jaw line, your pimples, uneven eyebrows, your receding hairline. We see your wardrobe’s mismatched color scheme, dirty shoes, untrimmed fingernails, mustard stains, and your sweat.

There are no diamonds embedded in the small cracks of your skin. You can’t promise immortality. You don’t come from money this old, you aren’t this strong, this fast, this controlled. You aren’t this mysterious, this enchanting. You aren’t us.

And never will be.


Michelle said...

Anne Rice all the way, of course. Okay, maybe up till book 5, I pretty much loathed everything that came after (I know, everyone else hated "Memnoch", but I liked it - the religious connotations were interested, probably because I wasn't as jaded then as I am now).

Though, actually I wanted to comment on your side note. I think the fun of the Sookie Stackhouse novels (and "True Blood") is exactly the fact that it's set in a rural area, in a rather small town where everyone knows everyone else and the vampire is the local attraction (equally gawked upon and feared). There are a lot of jokes about the vampire being simply called "Bill", which is of course playing on the tradition that vampires are supposed to have noble, French (or at least foreign) names - see Lestat, Louis, Jean-Claude and all our other beloved vamps.

Lindsay said...

I must admit, I never got into the Rice Vampire Series... just couldn't pull me in. I know I need to give it another try. I still think the Rice Vampires are more respectable than the Twilight ones though.

Dot S. said...

Hm-m-m, single guy, seems all the following can be fixed easily. Single girls love good grooming.
"we see your flaws, your wrinkles, your missed-a-spot-shaving patchwork jaw line, your pimples, uneven eyebrows, your receding hairline. We see your wardrobe’s mismatched color scheme, dirty shoes, untrimmed fingernails, mustard stains, and your sweat."