|Jinny has been very ill and is currently undergoing rehabilitation in a Bangor facility so she will not be writing her article for awhile. She is making excellent progress and hopes to be able to return to writing her column in the near future... Adele.
It has come to my reluctant attention that vampire mania appears to be taking over the world. Not the entire world, of course, just the part of it that involves books, TV shows, and movies. At first glance, the vampire craze seemed to me to be just another teen thing, but since I like to hang out in libraries and book stores I was forced to observe that the vampire thing appears to have spread out into the general population of people over 16. When a teen phenomenon reaches its nasty tendrils into the adult world, I get concerned.
There is a series of books that everyone seems to know about, the first of which has been made into a movie, that apparently mark the beginning of this vampire mayhem. When my daughter was home last Christmas she forced me to go see the movie with herself and her brother. It was all about some kind of mythic teen vampire eternal (no pun intended) love. I'm proud to say that I got through it without heaving up my lunch, but it was a near thing.
Since that time other vampire literature and TV shows seem to be popping up like mushrooms in a rain forest. They are everywhere. When I went in the library new vampire specific books were standing on end on a table devoted to the genre. When I went in the bookstore they were piled all over a table directly in front of the door. It made me want to carry a clove of garlic in my purse.
I will freely admit that I got into the whole vampire thing when I was in middle school. I read Bram Stoker's famous Dracula novel and enjoyed a movie made from the book back in the day. The actor who played the Count was incredibly handsome, with soulful eyes and beautiful black, wavy hair. I had a typical early teen crush on him. Now he is a fat bald guy with a white beard, which just proves that Dracula has better staying power than leading men.
After seeing the movie I had no desire whatsoever to read the books. There is only so much teen love of any kind a middle-aged single woman can reasonably be expected to tolerate. When the teenager daughter of a friend of mine asked me how I liked the movie I was compelled to answer that I found the whole business rather disturbing. I mentioned that the author had completely changed the whole vampire mythology. I pointed out that the idea of good, virtuous vampires was a total contradiction of terms. This problem didn't seem to bother the young lady in question since she was all rhapsodic about the passionate love between the vampire in question and the 16 year old human high school he nobly refrained from biting during the entire terminally sappy film. I have been told that all the latest vampire lore has been changed and altered so that vampires can be heroes instead of soulless, evil creatures of darkness who turn against their own kind to protect innocent, hapless human maidens or whom ever is their object of passionate, pure love. Like Sir Galahad with cold hands and no reflection. That part doesn't really bother me; literature and folklore are fluid mediums and the supernatural is nicely open to imagination and alteration. I told the young lady that my problem with the story was really quite simple, it icked me out for reasons that had nothing to do with the hero being a vampire and everything to do with the fact that he was a guy over 100 years old who was smitten with a 16 year old girl. That's just wrong.
I told my friend's daughter that I don't care if the guy is immortal and looks all of 18, no one lives 100 years, attends numerous high schools, gets countless degrees from universities, matures both emotionally and intellectually and takes up with a 16 year old and without it being way yucky. The look on the poor little girl's face was one of absolute horror. She had obviously never considered this particular angle. I could see her struggling with my assessment and desperately seeking a way to make it not a story about super-unnatural love that justified the heroine's father driving about 50 stakes into the hero's black and shriveled heart. I know I'd do it if some 100 year old guy came around gazing soulfully at my teenage daughter.
My friend's daughter finally gave up trying to think up a good reason why the whole relationship wasn't completely disgusting and opted for the standard teenage response to adults who dare to criticize their latest obsession.
“You just don't get it,” she huffed and turned her back on me and flounced off to her room to gaze at her various posters of the star-crossed lovers she had tacked all over her walls.
I couldn't help smiling to myself. She could talk the talk, but I knew that somewhere, in the back of her mind, some little part of her brain would be whispering to her that a guy who lived 100 years might not have all that much in common with a 16 year old girl, and that the whole thing was maybe a little gross...evil even.