September 11, 2009

This Current Vampire Trend Needs to Stop

Argh!  Okay, so apparently there's now going to be a series called The Vampire Diaries. And it's showing an evolution of vampire lore that I'm starting to despise.  There are two things to this evolution that I really hate, and I hope you all can see my point.  So ThingIHate #1:

They are in friggin' sunlight!


Why should this matter?  Well, part of the thing about Vampires is that they technically are invulnerable during the night.  They are these powerful beings that have incredible strength, captivating charisma, and eternal youth.  Why wouldn't everyone sign up to be a vampire then?  Because you will NEVER see the sun again.  The sun and you are no longer on speaking terms, and because of your choice to become a monster with all these advantages, the checks and balances of nature make sunlight your kryptonite.

Part of this shows how separated a vampire's state of being is to a human.  People generally love sunlight, and need it for life.  Without it there would be no ecosystem for our plants.  Sunlight also reveals everything as it is.  There's a safety in it.  Being in the middle of a grassy field in high noon is one of the safest feelings people have.  Humans need the sun.  Vampires, on the other hand, needed to be cloaked in mystery and deception to get the nourishment that they need.  You can't just saunter up to somebody and say "Hey?  Can I nibble on your wrist I'm pretty thirsty."  Vampires need to convince a person that despite the darkness, despite the lack of revealing sunlight, that the potential victim certainly is safe.  Vampires can't truly reveal who they are, because what they are is so unnatural and such an assault to human morality, that no society could ever 1) let them exist or 2) keep them safe from those who felt it was necessary to kill them.  This is why vampires are creatures of the night.  

Getting rid of the deadly sunlight allergy, as one could put it, makes vampires way too powerful to not already take over the world.  Seriously.  Vampire armies would be all around us, hunt humans and farming them for their sustenance.  It also shows that there is no punishment for eternal beauty and power, which would mean everyone would want to be a vampire, and no vampire would ever really lose touch with his humanity.  Well, other than being 600 years old and thinking that the stuff I worry about at age 22 is extremely petty.  

That brings me to ThingIHate #2...

They hang out and fall in love with high school students?!?!?!?!


This is incredibly unbelievable in my opinion. I don't get it at all.  Let's think about this: Say I am a 128 years old with the body of a 22 year old.  I haven't aged since I was 22.  My mind hasn't deteriorated either.  We can even say I've been able to survive daylight.  Also to survive I need to continuously commit acts of assault and/or homicide.  I'm essentially someone who's been murdering for over 100 years, haven't gotten prosecuted for it, and have had to stay on the run to make sure no town got used to me.  I also have been able to acquire all the experiences and wisdom for someone my age without having to suffer physically for it.

Do you really think I'd be able to relate to a 17 year old enough to fall in love with him?  

Why would a guy with all the experiences and troubles of a centuries old vampire fall in love with the incredibly naive junior in high school girl who's troubles are probably considered far more trivial when compared to having to kill people to survive and making sure no one knows you're immortal?

This makes as much sense as those marriages that happen between men and women who have much more than a decade between them.  The experiences that either one have had are probably so vastly different that there's no way one could want the same thing in life as the other.  Sometimes that's not true, but usually in successful couples you see two people who are at the same stage in life and will be moving along around the same pace.  How is that even possible to achieve if the age difference is at least 100 years?

I'm not saying that it's not impossible for an immortal to fall in love with a mortal.  I'm saying it's probably not going to happen between an immortal and a teenager.

This is part of the reason why the character Claudia from Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire was so intriguing.  Claudia was made a vampire when she was a little girl, and kept that body.  Her brain continued to age with wisdom that surpassed her looks, and she began to resent it.  She was no longer a little girl, but was easily perceived as one.  In her mind she understood about sexuality, deception, philosophy, and all those other things adults ponder about, but she would never look like the adult woman she really was inside.

The character flaws that need to be inherited to be a vampire are part of the reason vampires are followed in numerous cultures across time.  There is a price for everything including eternity, and the idea is that vampires have to pay that price every single day of their lives.  Stripping that price away to make some teenage love story full of angst and danger takes away what made the myth so strong in the first place.  

So do I have a problem with shows that have vampires in them?  Of course not.  I mean, not that I was a Buffy fan, but I did watch some of it and those conflicts made the show interesting.  And yes, vampires can definitely be sexy.  But the Vampire Diaries shows a disturbing trend in the lore, wear suddenly all you need to be perfect is to be a vampire.  Vampires need to be seemingly perfect, but incredibly flawed, like a dystopia of the soul.  That's what makes them worth caring about as characters.

4 comments:

  1. Amen! The new Emo/90210 Vampire is just tiring and sad. Where did the fearsome and deadly vampires go? When I played one in WOD it was because I got to play a monster, not some teenie-bopping pedophile. Cause really just because you don't physically age doesn't not make you a pervo when you date someone under the age of 18 and you are 100+ years old.

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  2. Thank you so much for letting me know I'm not going crazy. Well, not more than usual. I personally refer that kid as "screw you, emo Barnabas!" Please tell me I'm not the only person who thinks Stefan looks more like mid twenties to anything remotely resembling a high school kid. He can't glamour the whole freakin' town.

    I hate vampires who walk the earth for CENTURIES and can only learn about love from girls who are figuring it out themselves.

    I think it's a perverse achievement that this series treads absolutely no new ground. They are warming absolutely everything over. From the "Highlander" opening to the 9021twilight atmosphere to that blonde girl I thought of as "bootleg Harmony from Buffy."

    Tru Blood may not have it all figured out, but damn it, they dare to throw new stuff on the wall to see what sticks. I'll take an urban cowboy poseur vampire over even one more emo dude. I've resolved to launch a global letter writing campaign if they play even one Evanescence song. Who's with me?

    Don't even get me started on the advertising that's more "threeway" than "love triangle." Aimed squarely at tweens.

    I am so starved for adult conversations about this genre. Stephenie Meyer should be jailed for the bullcrap she's unleashed on the land. The genre is so nakedly exploitive lately. Somewhere there's a douche in a suit saying "just put fangs and pale makeup on the next big thing and it's a license to print money." The truly sad thing is, for now, he's right. I know it's a bit ranty and stream of consciousnesss but I really needed to get that off my chest. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  3. Finally! I find some people who are on the same page as I am. Everytime I am forced to walk into a HOT TOPIC, I flip off the "twatlight" merchandise with both hands. But i wish there was some way to stop the whole vampire trend like maybe with a counter trend thats not as gay. but then again, anything these douche bags get their hands on, they turn into crap...

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  4. I really agree with your point about sunlight. I never knew why it irked me so much but that's it. Without the fear of the sun, they stop being vampires (invulnerable at night, very vulnerable during the daylight) and become more like the demi-god races of supremely powerful demons and fae creatures. Such creatures make for great villains but poor protagonists, even as anti-heroes, because without risk and vulnerability there's no conflict.

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