Today in my Vampire Literature and Lore class at Otis College of Art and Design, we discussed subcultural vampires. The class has already been through such works as Sheridan le Fanu’s Carmilla and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We’ve discussed the folkloric vampire and historical examples. Yet, with all of this background, I found that none of the students, well myself as well, were being particularly tolerant regarding the subcultural vampire’s culture. Certainly, I’ve taught about this in the past and have been engaged by the topic and had fun with it. Why did it seem so odd to discuss sanguinarian (blood-drinking) and psy (psychic) vamps today?
It occurs to me that we are in the middle of an election year. An election that many deem to be unpleasant. Most of my students have declared their disinterest in voting and are choosing apathy as an option. Apathy is indeed a Choice. Perhaps the election and our current discomfort with ‘real’ vampires are connected. Perhaps Americans – Republicans or Democrats, perceive themselves as being preyed upon by an unforgiving system, insane taxes, gluttonous banks, a bloated real estate system, etc. All of these current governmental and corporate failings seem to echo a particular image of the vampire – a being that is arrogant, overfed, greedy, careless and capable of sucking the soul right out of an innocent being. Indeed, we are suffering from vampire fatigue.
I for one am looking forward to the end of this election on November 7th. I will vote and eagerly await the outcome. Then I will breathe a sigh of relief. Once again the vampire can be fun, sexy, mysterious, wild and the ultimate outsider. I can’t wait.