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Thursday, August 03, 2006

The allure of the Vampyre

Kindred t-shirt

Ever since Bram Stoker brought Dracula into popular culture, there has been a magnetic sexual attraction to the entire concept of vampirism , when understanding the needs, drives and ethical challenges of the vampire would make a sane person snicker.

Unless the attraction is the needs, the drives and the ethical challenges - and possibly the struggles of being sane in the face of them.

Of late we have vampure role-playing games and, of course, such hit shows as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel."

It occurs to me that one of the things that appeals in the theme of vampirism is the identification with a social or sexual drive that is socially taboo, such as homosexuality, bisexuality and, of course, the unavoidably obvious references to sadomasochistic drives so well illustrated by Anne Rice.

The question is not whether vampire culture is a good thing or a bad thing, moral or immoral. The question is why there is such obvious allure and so many different ways of covertly exploring themes that, were they expressed in plain words, would have us imprisoned, committed or worse.

I'm in favor of safely exploring such concepts in ways that are not too close to the visceral bone, and I must confess being vulnerable myself to the image of a pale throat bared to me. That is very probably a signal that goes straight to the hind-brain. I've learned that the trick to these things is to explore them conciously, lest they explore me without my knowlege. The first approach may not lead to an ethical outcome, but the second absolutely will not. And ethical outcomes are, aside from all considerations of right and wrong, far less painful as a rule of thumb.

I am a very visual person obviously, and ordinarily I'd illustrate such an article with a pure picture. But there is no more powerful statement in our culture than literally wearing your literal desires on your shirt - in the daytime. I mean, who goes to a goth club in a t-shirt? It shows you just aren't trying.

This is intended as a mass-market item. The creator may be wrong or right on that point, but my gut speaks to me of obligatory rebellion, the proud, the defiant, the polymorphously "perverse" among us coming out of the closet, with our fangs bared.


Get this custom t-shirt at Zazzle

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