Tag Archives: Death

It’s All So Draining: Exploring Vampires

Edward Cullen

Photo Credit: CSPA Workshop

The end of Halloween and the beginning of November can only mean one thing for girls all across America. Their two-year wait can now be count down to a matter of seventeen days before they see their precious heart-throb without a heart-throbbing in the big screen. Enter twenty-three-year-old British actor Robert Pattinson, who plays forever seventeen-year-old American vampire Edward Cullen. Girls seem to fall madly in love with him. One girl I asked described the actor-character as, “Gorgeous. I want him to come rescue me. And if he wants to bite me, all the better.” Another girl said, “His eyes are just beautiful.” Sorry, excuse me if I barf. I don’t quite understand his charm–he looks like a drug addict, especially around his eyes! But maybe that’s why he brings that specific appeal to Team Edward, rather than his rival in Team Jacob (the werewolf in the movie). Before angry girls start writing in, I’m not bagging on Pattinson–just his alter ego, the way he looks in the movie and pictures. I’m a big fan of him as squeaky clean Cedric Diggory. But enough with “Twilight” and “New Moon.” This post isn’t about them, but rather about our fascination with vampires.

Vampire mania seems to be the trend these days. Heck, when you’re sitting on gold, you got to exploit it while you still can, right?  When “Pirates of the Caribbean” came out, just about everyone wanted to be a pirate–even porn stars. And I’m sure the Halloween costume sales for pirates or naughty pirates increased during the trend. But these past two years, vampires are in. Case in point, “The Vampire Diaries,” which air on the CW. It’s about two teenage vampire brothers fighting for the love of a teenage girl. One vampire doesn’t drink human blood, the other does. Sounds somewhat familiar to the vegetarian Cullen clan. Then, there’s “The Vampire’s Assistant.” It’s about a teenage vampire who doesn’t drink human blood and who has to fight against his best friend-turned vampire who does. Yes, things sound quitet familiar. And the success of HBO’s “True Blood,” which is an adult vampire story also about a vampire that doesn’t drink blood who is constantly challenged by vampires who do drink blood, opened my eyes to why we’re so fascinated with them.

Vampire Diaries

Photo Credit: TV Fanatic

First, we have to understand the past. Perhaps it’s human to want to know what happens to us after we die. Is there or isn’t there an afterlife? And what if you can live on, even after you die, but the price you pay to live is by killing another? From the Dark Ages to the Victorian era, to the early 20th century, we’ve been fascinated by the vampire mythology. For several hundred years, that fascination was more of a fear of the dead and of the unknown. I just watched The History Channel’s special on vampires, and it was remarkable for me to learn that even to this day, some European graves have corpses with stakes in their hearts because of the vampire paranoia. But if we used to fear vampires for several hundred years, why are we in love with them today?

Perhaps it’s because we are no longer afraid of seeing dead bodies. Thanks to shows like CSI and NCIS, who have pushed the envelope into seeing how a human body looks on the inside, we don’t cringe as much when we see the dead bodies. We’ve been habituated to death and death isn’t quite a mystery in our Age of Enlightenment. Or perhaps we like to flirt with the ideals of the vampires. Vampires are rebellious and live (ironic, I know) freely, who live life dangerously and in a constant mode of excitement. Deep down each of us, we all secretly want to rebel from a life of mediocrity, a theme I know all too well from “Fight Club.” Or maybe, we don’t fear vampires because they’re just darn too sexy. The classic Dracula was a middle-aged man dressed in a cape who fed on beautiful virginesque (I made up that word) women. It’s definitely creepy. But nowadays, the vampires are dressed like you and me and with the exception of the “True Blood” vampires, I have not seen a vampire over the age of 30 who is not physically fit or not physically attractive. And when we make out with a vampire, such as the case with Kristen Stewart, we are literally making out with death and figuratively flirting with death. I thinking the “flirting with death” part intrigues people, and thus attracts them to the vampire mythos. There you go, today’s vampires have undergone image reconstruction, and whoever is doing the PR work for vampires needs to get promoted or get a raise. It is now cool to be a vampire.

But with all that said, can we lay it off with all these vampire stories that seem to be recycled? It’s all so draining! Enough with the “vampire who drinks human blood versus the vampire who doesn’t” storyline. Well, I guess I have to wait until the next trend. What does our fascination with vampires reveal about our own identities? Maybe the fact that although we understand death scientifically, we still fear death spiritually. Is there life after death? The vampire flirts with us and entices us with his answer.

Photo Credit: CSPA Workshop

Photo Credit: TV Fanatic

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An Assassinated American Appears Again

CaptainAmericaI think it’s fitting, perhaps poetic, that my first post begins with a masked superhero revealing his secret identity, only to later on get gunned down. In 2006, Captain America was assassinated in “Captain America Vol. 5, No. 25.” I know, he’s just a darn comic book character. He’s not even real, not made of flesh and blood. But his death was so full of impact that it traveled from the pages of the comic book to real life. ABC News, CNN, and a variety of news media reported it. Soon, all around the world, everyone learned of the “Sentinel of Liberty’s” tragic fate. Why was his death so meaningful and how does this relate to our society? Perhaps because Captain America  is an icon, a symbol of America. It’s like someone blowing up the Statue of Liberty. To have him killed, much less assassinated, may be a commentary of the state of America in 2007. Perhaps it is the story of how he was killed.  Cap’s death followed Marvel’s “Civil War” storyline, in which a new law was passed and required all superheroes to register their secret identities and powers to the US government. This caused a split in the superhero community. Cap believed this law violated basic civil liberties and refused to register. He became an outlaw and rogue to the country he once protected.

Two years later and Marvel, true to other comic book companies dealing with a “dead” character, decided to resurrect Captain America. However, “resurrect” may not be the right word. No, he’ll be reborn after being unstuck in time and after several twists to the plot, we may not get the Captain America we knew and loved. Read “Captain America Reborn #1” for more.

But what does this say about the current state of America? Sure, our economy is depressing. With all the people “let go” due to budget cuts, and the California government issuing I.O.U.’s, it sure suggests that the golden years of America is far out of reach. I believe comic books are our modern mythologies. They are a reflection of who we are and who we aspire to be. We need heroes, and creating a fake hero is our remedy. And with the return of Captain America in this economy may suggest that we are quite desperate for a hero. A symbol for America appears again, what does this reveal about our identities?

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