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catvalente
So we watched the first two episodes of Being Human last night--a British vampire/werewolf series. And while I'm grateful that these vampires and werewolves aren't high schoolers and make a stab at something other than stalking young girls and sparkling, I'm a little...sigh over the whole thing.

The newest trend among vampires seems to be removing any downside at all from actually being a vampire. Gone are the days of Nosferatu or even Dracula--apparently vampires can walk around in the daylight now, whether they sparkle or not (Being Human, The Vampire Diaries, Twilight), are universally hot (everything ever), functionally cannot be killed and honestly no one even tries anymore, can see themselves in mirrors most of the time, and can even touch crosses without going up like a roman candle (True Blood). There is literally no bad in being a vampire except for the blood drinking thing, and being a vegetarian who only drinks cow blood or whatever is pretty much de rigeur for your modern vampire.

So...essentially you just live forever, right? That's it. You live forever, are super strong, and smoking hot.

And yet these vampires mope around like this is the greatest burden ever borne by preternaturally attractive man. The moping was because of the downsides, kids. Never seeing the sun. Being unable to have sex or connect with humans. Being hideous. The whole moral compass of vampire literature is that yeah, you live forever, but it sucks. And beneath that is the Christian assumption that you stole eternal life from its proper channels (Jesus) and took it for yourself through the devil. So it's a black reflection of life in the paradaisical hereafter. (Also no hereafter for the vampire if you get staked.)

There is no reason to get upset because you get to live forever while not being hunted to death by righteous men, having to avoid delicious garlic, while also having every girl or boy in a mile radius fall madly in love with you. That is not the curse of the ages. That is awesome.

So seeing the Being Human vampires behaving as though their life is any kind of monstrous travesty (I won't make her a monster ZOMG!) is really pretty boring. Most humans don't think twice about using others for their own ends and they aren't vampires at all. Having to live on blood, which is basically all that's left of the mythos, is not an angstfest. Some Scottish people are eating black pudding right now without being even a little bit horde of the damned.

I just wish there were any other plot. One vampire wants to be nice and only eat cows and every other vampire is harshing their squee. They want to be as much like a human as possible. Except vampires are humans now, except hot and immortal. Literally no other difference. But they're acting out the same old plots like they're Bela Lugosi. It's way postmodern, if anyone noticed onscreen, which they don't. Like 19 year olds acting out stories about their grandparents radical activities in the 60s when they in fact live in a world where all those issues are passe. 

I have the same contempt for this plot that I do for the portal fantasy wherein the stupid kid just wants to go home. It's exactly the same story. Once turned into a vampire, with the whole world opened up and turned upside down, become something new and endless and fascinating, the stupid vampire just whines about wanting to be human again. SHUT UP.

Being human? Not that awesome. In fact, we pretty much suck, and we don't even sparkle a little. We're violent and amoral and devious and angsty. Just like a vampire. Only we die, and we still have to eat meat to live until that happens. And yet any character who up and says: "You know what? Being a vampire rules" is immediately a villain and treated with contempt by her maker. (True Blood, Angel, Being Human, Interview with the Vampire, and ALL OF EVERYTHING, EVER. Don't even get me started on how vampires are apparently 99% male now, and yet the character who enjoys being a vampire is usually female. Or Ian Somerhalder.)

Given this new breed of vampires, there should be, you know, a new breed of vampires. For example. Watching The Vampire Diaries, which is terrible, there's a scene where the receding hairline vampire high school guy mumbles and looks at his feet and then tells the boring high school girl that he's "not very good at small talk."

Well, you fucking well should be, shouldn't you? You're four hundred years old! You should be AWESOME at small talk! You should be like a social Olympic athlete! You should be all: sometimes I small talk a tree, just for fun! You should be able to walk into a room and own it like fucking David Bowie, my friend. What have you been doing all this time? Mumbling? That doesn't even work for mortal boys! I AM DONE WITH YOU, VAMPIRE FAILURE.

Vampires should be pretty much like mean girls, all the time, only amazing at it. Flawless. They've had time. Like when you put a penny in a bank account and a thousand years later you're rich. Social capital, it is the same. Those high school kids should never know what hit them because they are amateurs. Vampires should not be at the approximate social stage of a particularly awkward 14 year old with anxiety issues. They should be devils in blue dresses. This is the metaphor: the cool kids are all vampires, and they fuck with you because it's fun. Because they're demons and they like it. They keep going to high school over and over not to pick up some awkward 16 year old virgin, but because they can get away with shit in the maelstrom of high school that adults would never put up with. They are Chuck Bass. All of them. All the time.

But no, we get the same old mopey crap. Vampire Dorothy wants to go back to boring human-Kansas. And the werewolves turn into gross CGI monsters instead of actual wolves and are never, ever as cool as vampires even though I literally do not know a high school girl who would turn down a guy who was an awesome wolf sometimes. The only thing better would be a were-pony. I'm sick of that trope, too. If we've decided as a culture that where there is a vampire, there is a werewolf, then werewolves need to up their game a little, instead of being the also-ran in the monster rally. I mean, the material is all there--vampires are sex and death, werewolves are life and sex, they really do go together--but no one ever does anything with it but yell: Look! A werewolf! Now back to the vampire moping on the double!

I demand better.

And this has been my complaining about the state of vampires in our fallen world. We now return you to your regular sparkly programming.


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Popular Kids are Demonic Vampires YA book...

I'd read that in a hot minute.

Don't worry, I'm working on it. ;)

In defense of Being Human, because I love it a lot, things are not easy for Mitchell and change a whole lot over the relatively short course of the 6 episodes of Season 1 and 8 episodes of Season 2, and I think it's worth sticking it through to watch, even if you sigh at his vampireness.

Then again, it amuses me greatly to just watch Annie and George and Mitchell all be so married to each other.

Now to read the rest of the post in which you're probably totally right.

I like the show, but by episode 2 there is literally nothing wrong with being a vampire except that other vampires kind of suck. Hell is other vampires, I guess. But Mitchell is moping like something IS wrong, but we haven't been shown what yet.

Your Name Here (Anonymous) Expand
THIS A THOUSAND MILLION TIMES. Thank you! *raucous applause*

1. In the romantica piece I just did, my youngish vampire woman's big superpower is hyperfocus. The Bureau for Non Human Affairs recommended she become an accountant! And she's normal looking. If we're going to be supernormal about this, bring it motherfuckers! Let's do this thing!

2. They are Chuck Bass. All of them. All the time. <3 <3 <3

3. Tomorrow we will be watching New Moon with the Rifftrax. If you have not watched Twilight that way, you must. Everyone who watched it regardless of their Twihard status or geekery nearly pissed themselves watching it at my party.


So I'm basically combining this idea with In the Future When All's Well to make my very own vampire YA book.

Yes, yes, yes. All of this!

I first noticed this about a decade ago with online roleplaying games that used the White Wolf 'verse (Vampire: The Masquerade and its stablemates). Vampires were the horror RPG equivalent of Elves: they were irresistible, sensitive, gorgeous, and preferred the starlight over the sunlight. And that was it - no flaws, no down side!

And the characters who became vampires all had rotten lives as human beings (dead parents, dead siblings, dead lovers, AIDS, the full gamut), so that becoming a vampire was a solution, not a problem.


"... becoming a vampire was a solution, not a problem."

And right there you've hit on everything wrong with modern vampires. Instead of creatures of horror, they've been seriously downgraded to escapist fantasy.

This post rules so hard, I don't even know what to do.

I completely agree.

What I (personally, and constantly) want to know about vampires is - can they form new neural pathways? Can they learn new skills? Can they read or play video games?
Because if not, if they're stuck with the same brain they had in life, well, that's pretty rough, that's pretty much hell. But if they can.. what the crap. Just enjoy it and quit whining.

Ok, but dude. Vampires are always big readers and artists and stuff. They obviously can. So no issue!

Black pudding: not so much Scottish as Lancastrian. The best black pudding in the world comes from Bury.

Well, I had it first in Scotland so it's tied to the land, for me.

Yes. YES. YES, right on!!

I mean, heck, even the Buffyverse vampires would pwn these lowly subvampires that are cropping up all over the place, and I used to think that they were completely watered down.

Yeah, at least they had ONE uglyface!

Did you just compare being a vampire to Chuck Bass?!

I'm fangirling you SO HARD right now. That completely sums up the fuckery of the state of Vampires.

I did indeed.

I don't show my trashy side much but lo is it there.

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Oh hey, we're big fans of True Blood over here, too.

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At least in Buffy they got it right with Spike...
Though I think most of his pathetic history came out in Angel. But he grew from the sad mopey human poet into badass vampire...

*Dances a jig on Cat's barricade*

so, when can we expect that?

gaelfling

2010-03-23 05:58 pm (UTC)

Kat, you really do have to write that sort of stuff- I'd buy it up only because I know you'd so own the whole thing
they'd have better than Tarantino dialogue that cuts to the quick with hotter than hot werewolves who really get the audience going...

honest, ya gotta write it.. pllleeeaassseeee?????? /roger rabbit

Re: so, when can we expect that?

catvalente

2010-03-23 06:01 pm (UTC)

Don't worry, I'm on it. The seed short story will be coming out this summer, even.

Well, to be fair, original folkloric vampires and even Dracula *could* come out in the daytime and even the sunlight, for the most part - but their undead unlives still sucked majorly in a bunch of other ways. So, yeah, removing all the bad parts of being a vampire does kind of take away their angst license, I suppose.

The one suck factor I suppose still exists for Being Human vamps, in common with Twilight sparklies, is the idea that subsisting on animal blood is supposed to be rather like eating only bland tofu when there's a really tasty meat and sausage smorgasbord paraded around in front of you daily or nightly. The sparklies have the added factor that it's not supposed to be easy to sip sparingly from friendly humans, as opposed to tearing them to shreds that you then suck on for the last drop of blood.

But yeah, the lack of vulnerabilities in the sparklies is what led me to mostly ignore Twilight. Wonder if something could be done with the rather obvious fact that, given their level of durability to weapons wielded with merely human strength, all legends and historical accounts of successful vampire hunts actually refer to vampire on vampire violence, since nobody else would have been able to accomplish driving the stake in or cutting off the head...

I think it depends what tradition you're going with.

But humans eat tofu when meat is available, like, all the time.

1) I love this post.

2) That is why I am currently writing a YA vampire novel in which the protagonist cannot go out in the daylight, cannot subsist on animal blood, and has no reflection, which makes buying new clothing a bitch.

This - this post is so much of right.

Have you seen the emo vampire song on You Tube? Priceless and true. I like my vampires evil, conscienceless and damned.


I <3 you.

I also love your idea for a new breed of vampires and totally want to read this novel. (The thing that occurred to me was that, yes, there should be a new breed of vampires, TO EAT THESE FUCKING SPARKLY-EMO VAMPIRES. Because, come on. They're totally Eloi. What we need here are some Morlocks.)

Don't worry, I'm on it. Because I can't bitch without trying to be part of the solution.

I think the reason werewolves are so disrespected is because we as a society seem to have decided that being hairy is just so much more gross than drinking blood.

This post just cracked me up so much. I agree with everything. EVERYTHING.

But being a wolf is like every high school goth boy's dream!


Well, you fucking well should be, shouldn't you? You're four hundred years old! You should be AWESOME at small talk! You should be like a social Olympic athlete! You should be all: sometimes I small talk a tree, just for fun! You should be able to walk into a room and own it like fucking David Bowie, my friend. What have you been doing all this time? Mumbling? That doesn't even work for mortal boys! I AM DONE WITH YOU, VAMPIRE FAILURE.

Oh, I hurt from the funny. Thank you. Every fucking word is true. Which is why my vampires are so damn nasty, insuring I will never have a hit HBO series.

Also, love the werepony.

Sigh. It is true, much as I love that HBO series, I can only stand like three of the vampires.

YES. I have a deep and abiding love of trashy vampire novels, but my frustration with the whole WOES, I AM A HOT BEAUTIFUL IMMORTAL AND FOR SOME REASON THIS IS AN AWFUL FATE thing is, well. Where are the vampire protagonists who love being what they are? What exactly is the reason behind our society's apparent lack of ability to accept that someone can revel in their gifts without being a villain?

Incidentally! Soulless by Gail Carriger - werewolves and vampires where the love interest is actually the werewolf, not a vampire. (Also paranormal romance mashed up with steampunk and comedy of manners. Hilarious romp, really.)

Tanya Huff's vampire series has a vampire who, at least in the TV version, pretty much loved being what he was. Henry was shockingly unmopey about being gorgeous, rich, and immortal.

Not ever being able to eat a pear again? Pretty damn awful! I would mope.

I've had an issue with the whiny vamp since Anne Rice.

I'm also not a big fan of almost every vamp somehow being endlessly wealthy. Sure they have usually had centuries to acquire wealth, but I know people now who are older and barely squeaking by. Not having a food budget only helps so much.

And seriously, with endless money, and untold years, even with a sunlight restriction, I would romp through all the museums of the world with wild abandon. Cons would be a lot more affordable. And in theory, my acne would go away!

I would absent myself from vampire politics and if the King/Queen of the Vamps took an interest in me, I would run the fuck away.

So while I may have the ennui of two to three generations, there is so much new stuff going on that how could I ever be so wretched? You have new books coming out, Sooj has new music, and a lot of my other favorite artists do too. And if I was a vamp, I probably could get into David Draiman's pants a lot easier.

Your acne would only go away if you managed to refrain from eating the greasy people (who, of course, taste the best).

Which is a moral dilemma truly worth angsting about, of course.

Making werewolves hot depends on the kind of werewolf. The Being Human Monstrous Rage of Doom! type that will slaughter anyone is kind of hard to date, I would think. Whereas cuddly werepups and the Sam Merlottes of the world, a whole lot easier. And those I'm not sure why they get a raw deal. There seem to be plenty of were* romance novels out there, but not so much in mainstream media. :(

Yeah, dude, Sam is a PUPPY. So, sex and fuzzy cuddling. Perfect guy. And loyal as fuck. Team Werecollie.

But I find the BH kind sort of boring. What is the point? They never seem to really evolve, progress, discover new things, grow. I liked Oz in Buffy for that. Plus, cage bondage is hot. Not that hard to date.

I look forward to your take on it after you upturned the zombie genre by placingh a book in the zombie Vegas of Augusta.

I have an idea for a non-sexy vampire story but it's sop far on the back burner it's in the warehouse.

And Sophia got into Twilight and all that but I want to show her Barlow from Salem's Lot and show her what a real vampire looks like.

Although she's seen me on a Saturday night, sooo...

Just a short story, not a book. ;) Augusta doesn't deserve a book.

No, Sophia, no!

For me, the vampire stuff I love most is where the vampires aren't human -- as much as I love and adore the Buffyverse and Being Human, those aren't my vampires. I don't really like Vampires As Space Monsters From Planet Insanity, either, but what really gets me is the vampires that have sort of had their humanity worn away, until they're something different. Something that doesn't work by the same rules, that doesn't have the same thoughts or desires or even the same understanding of the world. Okay, this is possibly the fault of Robin McKinley's Sunshine being my Formative Vampire Book (I got in about two or three years of thinking vampire folklore was fantastic and wanting more before Twilight showed up and tried to ruin my fun, dammit! so now I'm The Girl Who Likes Vampires But Oh God Not Like That), but then there's Barbara Hambly's duology-soon-to-be-trilogy of turn-of-the-century vampire novels, with their enigmatic, un-human vampires, and I find the whole... anthropology?... of that delicious.

Word on the whole nonsense where all of the primary vampires are male, certainly the ones with interesting, redemptive storylines that last more than a season or two. I recently gender-switched the primary non-antagonist vampire in my own (alt historical pre-WWI) vampire novel in order to thumb my nose at that trope. I don't know if any of my vampires enjoy being vampires, though, anymore than humans enjoy being humans or gnomes enjoy being gnomes. They just are.

/processing agreement ramble

Also, hi! For some reason I keep wandering over to your journal and never actually friending you, so am amending that now. :)

Sigh. I tried Sunshine and really disliked it. I had to quit part way through, because it was all so Mary Suey and I didn't like the vampires at all.

But I do like that trope you're talking about. And I wish that book weren't called Sunshine so I could nab the title.

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