From Black Holes to Blood Suckers
I couldn’t help but notice some trends in yesterday’s post about black holes in our geek lives. Not only did we see some interesting omissions in people’s geeky educations, but there were also quite a few confessions. (Really, people, not reading The Lord of the Rings? And you call yourself geeks…)
Kidding aside, one of the confession/discussion threads got me thinking a bit. And that subject? Vampires.
Before I get too far into this post, I will admit to being a relative vampire newbie. While I’ve read about Twilight, I’ve never read the books themselves or seen the movies. I am a fan of the show True Blood, and I’ve read the first two books in the original series (but prefer the show). I’ve read a bit of Anne Rice, and watched a fair amount of Buffy. So I’m a dabbler, but no expert.
Still, I wonder if by and large vampires are inherently geeky at all? Or at least, I wonder if they’re losing their geeky edge these days. Granted, vampire folklore is very geeky. But vampires have gone mainstream in a huge way, and when the public’s eye changes the way something is represented and perceived, change is imminent.
Boy, do we geeks get our panties in a wad when it comes to discussing what vampires should and shouldn’t be. I think partially that has to do with Joss Whedon and Buffy, and the collective effect on geek consciousness. Vampires have, in a way, become integrated within the geek community because of Whedon–but I think it’s a matter of Whedon being geeky, and not the vampires or the genre itself.
For that reason I understand the knee jerk reaction among many of us when it comes to recent vampiric developments. But is it necessary? I mean, I think we’re treading on some difficult territory here. Perhaps there’s a confusion between geekdom and fandom. To me, the Twilight/vampire thing is more of a fandom than a geeky pursuit by a long shot. Sure, there are similarities, and there are plenty of geeks who like Twilight and vampires–but that doesn’t define the fandom as geeky. (Also, while some might dispute it, liking Twilight doesn’t exclude you from being a geek, either.)
Sure, there’s plenty of room for argument. The entire horror genre definitely is part of geekdom, but I’m not sure it’s in the center of the Venn diagram. Horror’s appeal is much wider than other geeky genres, and while the fan presence is there in regards to vampires, I’m not sure it’s as precise as the stuff we see otherwise among the geek contingent. For example, I think True Blood is a great show, but I’m not sure if it’s geeky.
That’s not to say that popularity excludes things from being geeky. On the contrary, it’s quite possible. But I think that in order to be both geeky and popular, there’s got to be a certain level of intellectual celebration. Like Harry Potter, for instance—Harry and Hermione are total geeks! Outcasts and misfits are celebrated in Rowling’s series, and smarts are seriously valued. While there are some very clever vampires out there, the most popular among them (that’s the Twilight variety) certainly aren’t. They’re like undead Jonas Brothers. Without guitars. And 200 years old.
So, what do you think? Are Twihards a real threat to geekdom? Or are they just part of another fandom? Should we let the sleeping vampires lay and just get on with other things? Or am I being too hard on the sparkly vampires?
[Image – The HijiNKS Ensue – Team Edward T-Shirt – you know you want one!]