Are Vampires Losing Their Geeky Edge?

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.

Fanpires?

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.

Mainstreaming

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!]

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33 Responses to Are Vampires Losing Their Geeky Edge?

  1. I'm not sure I would call it a threat. Or why it would be considered one. It's like saying that people on the internet who search for computer upgrades but don't like D&D aren['t geeks and are threatening the integrity of our whale pod of geekiness! Ahhhh!

    No, but really, Twilight is a joke for suburban housewives. There's nothi8ng intelligent about the authors writing. There are crazy bizarre Mormon undertones to it. There are so many women who would enjoy a man like Edward on paper, but once he;s really and he's watching you sleep, it's just creepy.

    I never really got into Buffy. Probably because I think Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanz are mutant freaks, (and not the X-men kind :( ) but vampire lore is a constantly evolving thing.

    Let's take Nosferatu- That's the origin of the "vampires die in the sunlight!" myth. In fact, it was the only way the director could conceive a way to kill the nosferatu and give him a real weakness.

    Brahm Stoker's Dracula could walk freely in the sun, but no one had a heart attack over that. You know why? It was a great book, an excellent movie and wasn't marketed half as heavily as Twilight is.

    TLDR; Twilight isn't an upset to vampire lore, to geeks, or to garbagemen or islandfolk. It's an affront to everything, because it insults our intelligence. And I suppose everything that does that is inherently bad for the geek kingdom.

    • I agree with every word you said. Twilight is the worst series since Harry Potter and I can't wait until it is a distant memory. May Stephanie Meyer have a wooden stake shoved through her heart.

  2. I’m not sure I would call it a threat. Or why it would be considered one. It’s like saying that people on the internet who search for computer upgrades but don’t like D&D aren[‘t geeks and are threatening the integrity of our whale pod of geekiness! Ahhhh!

    No, but really, Twilight is a joke for suburban housewives. There’s nothi8ng intelligent about the authors writing. There are crazy bizarre Mormon undertones to it. There are so many women who would enjoy a man like Edward on paper, but once he;s really and he’s watching you sleep, it’s just creepy.

    I never really got into Buffy. Probably because I think Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanz are mutant freaks, (and not the X-men kind :( ) but vampire lore is a constantly evolving thing.

    Let’s take Nosferatu- That’s the origin of the “vampires die in the sunlight!” myth. In fact, it was the only way the director could conceive a way to kill the nosferatu and give him a real weakness.

    Brahm Stoker’s Dracula could walk freely in the sun, but no one had a heart attack over that. You know why? It was a great book, an excellent movie and wasn’t marketed half as heavily as Twilight is.

    TLDR; Twilight isn’t an upset to vampire lore, to geeks, or to garbagemen or islandfolk. It’s an affront to everything, because it insults our intelligence. And I suppose everything that does that is inherently bad for the geek kingdom.

    • I agree with every word you said. Twilight is the worst series since Harry Potter and I can’t wait until it is a distant memory. May Stephanie Meyer have a wooden stake shoved through her heart.

  3. IMO, the Twilight vamps are just fandumb. As much as I like Joss Wheedon, he took a comedy that poked some fun at high school and its parallels to vampirism and turned it into teen angst and a spinoff. Booyah. He made money entertaining people, and I'm glad for him.

    If you want to geek vampires, go to the sources of the English branch of the family. John Polidori's "The Vampyre", Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla" and Bram Stoker's "Dracula" are all available at Project Gutenberg. They differ a good deal from the Romanian, Chinese and Islamic bloodsuckers, but they are the roots of the vampire in English.

    @Rur Understandable. They were essentially plagiarizing Stoker to start with, and they couldn't actually use too much of his work without paying royalties to Mrs. Stoker, who sued them anyway.

    • Alright, I can't let this go unanswered. I am a Joss Whedon fan, this I will admit. But I am a fairly recent one, beginning with Firefly and I explored my way around his work from there.

      But Buffy, both the movie (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103893/) and the series are his creation. Between the two, the series is so much better. Granted, the first series is humorous teen angst and whatnot. If you'd actually watch it all the way through, you'd see just about the best evolution of characters I've seen in TV yet. Excluding Angel, who just stays the same regardless for some reason.

      Anyway, I despise all things Twilight. Real vampire writers will never ever be threatened by it.

  4. IMO, the Twilight vamps are just fandumb. As much as I like Joss Wheedon, he took a comedy that poked some fun at high school and its parallels to vampirism and turned it into teen angst and a spinoff. Booyah. He made money entertaining people, and I’m glad for him.

    If you want to geek vampires, go to the sources of the English branch of the family. John Polidori’s “The Vampyre”, Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” are all available at Project Gutenberg. They differ a good deal from the Romanian, Chinese and Islamic bloodsuckers, but they are the roots of the vampire in English.

    @Rur Understandable. They were essentially plagiarizing Stoker to start with, and they couldn’t actually use too much of his work without paying royalties to Mrs. Stoker, who sued them anyway.

    • Alright, I can't let this go unanswered. I am a Joss Whedon fan, this I will admit. But I am a fairly recent one, beginning with Firefly and I explored my way around his work from there.

      But Buffy, both the movie (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103893/) and the series are his creation. Between the two, the series is so much better. Granted, the first series is humorous teen angst and whatnot. If you'd actually watch it all the way through, you'd see just about the best evolution of characters I've seen in TV yet. Excluding Angel, who just stays the same regardless for some reason.

      Anyway, I despise all things Twilight. Real vampire writers will never ever be threatened by it.

  5. I don't think you're being too hard on them. While I agree that there are vampires in geekdom, I do not believe that Twilight, True Blood and such are part of geekdom. They are fandoms of their own and part of the new teen-appealing vampire wave. I for once despise such wave, because I'm a vampire geek and have a thing for creatures of the night, but that's my personal point of view.

    I could go on about how much and why exactly I hate these sparkly and lovey-dovey vampires, but that's not the point. I do not think Twihards are a threat to geekdom, because why would we be affected by their poor versions of vampires? I just try to ignore them. A bigger threat to geekdom would be us geeks pushing away the subject of vampires (or any other, for that matter) as a part of horror and as a part of mythology, just because some people have turned them into mainstream rubbish.

  6. I don’t think you’re being too hard on them. While I agree that there are vampires in geekdom, I do not believe that Twilight, True Blood and such are part of geekdom. They are fandoms of their own and part of the new teen-appealing vampire wave. I for once despise such wave, because I’m a vampire geek and have a thing for creatures of the night, but that’s my personal point of view.
    I could go on about how much and why exactly I hate these sparkly and lovey-dovey vampires, but that’s not the point. I do not think Twihards are a threat to geekdom, because why would we be affected by their poor versions of vampires? I just try to ignore them. A bigger threat to geekdom would be us geeks pushing away the subject of vampires (or any other, for that matter) as a part of horror and as a part of mythology, just because some people have turned them into mainstream rubbish.

    • 3 words: Vampire: The Masquerade

      without mentioning all the ones related: World of Darkness, Werewolf, Changeling, Hunter, Mage, Wraith.. etc.

      and the 8 chapters 90's series, kindred: the embraced, based on the first edition rules

      is just my humble opinion on what is considered geeky

    • 3 words: Vampire: The Masquerade

      without mentioning all the ones related: World of Darkness, Werewolf, Changeling, Hunter, Mage, Wraith.. etc.

      and the 8 chapters 90’s series, kindred: the embraced, based on the first edition rules

      is just my humble opinion on what is considered geeky

  7. Twilight is definitely fandom and it's not even an original idea at that (see Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series).

    While I've heard the books are very poorly written and the movies are even worse, at least it gets young people reading (maybe not such great stuff, but it's a start).

    There are such better young adult and teen novels, not to mention adult fiction that is appealing. Unfortunately Stephanie Meyer's writing is drivel and, as Rur says, it's an affront to evertyhing…

  8. Twilight is definitely fandom and it’s not even an original idea at that (see Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series).

    While I’ve heard the books are very poorly written and the movies are even worse, at least it gets young people reading (maybe not such great stuff, but it’s a start).

    There are such better young adult and teen novels, not to mention adult fiction that is appealing. Unfortunately Stephanie Meyer’s writing is drivel and, as Rur says, it’s an affront to evertyhing…

  9. I find Twilight to be a horrible horrible horrible affront to myself as a bibliophile. I've come across more people than I care to remember who say that they love to read–but what they really love to do is read Twilight.

    I've read the book, and felt my brain dribble out my ears while doing so. It was drivel. The vampires sparkle? Sounds more like a crystal golem to me. With a blood fetish. And the popular Twilight phrase, "vegan vampires" makes my skin crawl. The very act of being a blood-sucking vampire precludes vegetarianism. The "romance" in it put me to sleep.

    I only hope that this is just a fad. That good writers start getting more recognition, that good books are the ones exalted. It makes me sad to think that my generation is growing up to think that drivel is literature.

  10. I find Twilight to be a horrible horrible horrible affront to myself as a bibliophile. I’ve come across more people than I care to remember who say that they love to read–but what they really love to do is read Twilight.

    I’ve read the book, and felt my brain dribble out my ears while doing so. It was drivel. The vampires sparkle? Sounds more like a crystal golem to me. With a blood fetish. And the popular Twilight phrase, “vegan vampires” makes my skin crawl. The very act of being a blood-sucking vampire precludes vegetarianism. The “romance” in it put me to sleep.

    I only hope that this is just a fad. That good writers start getting more recognition, that good books are the ones exalted. It makes me sad to think that my generation is growing up to think that drivel is literature.

  11. Vampires are not geeky; vampire hunters are.

    Vampires are not sexy, either. Why in the world this underlying lust theme has sprouted, I don't know. Why anyone would think that living forever (soulless) until you're staked or burned or beheaded, is beyond me.

    Vampires stories have been twisted to fit the times; I prefer the older versions to read, and Jack Palance did a really good film version.

    I haven't seen/read any of 'Twilight'; it seems like so much teen emo stuff for my liking.

  12. Vampires are not geeky; vampire hunters are.

    Vampires are not sexy, either. Why in the world this underlying lust theme has sprouted, I don’t know. Why anyone would think that living forever (soulless) until you’re staked or burned or beheaded, is beyond me.

    Vampires stories have been twisted to fit the times; I prefer the older versions to read, and Jack Palance did a really good film version.

    I haven’t seen/read any of ‘Twilight’; it seems like so much teen emo stuff for my liking.

  13. I find it difficult to see how a smart person would like twilight even if they like vampires?

    Anyway, looks like nothing to worry about geekdom – judging from the responses, the consensus is that Twilight is unwatchable and irreproachably bad.

  14. I find it difficult to see how a smart person would like twilight even if they like vampires?

    Anyway, looks like nothing to worry about geekdom – judging from the responses, the consensus is that Twilight is unwatchable and irreproachably bad.

  15. Really? Buffy is the start of vampire fandom? Vampires have been appealed to geeks since people started taking Dracula too seriously (I'm seeing 1962 after 2 minutes of research) and became more of what we consider traditionally geeky with Anne Rice fans (1976). The media is flooding them into mainstream right now, but the draw of geeks to vampires is probably the fact that they are outsiders, but still bad asses, which is generally still supported in most vampire mythos. They aren't inherently geeky, but they do appeal to geeks the same way a lot of other media does (see: super hero comics, which are also being blasted into the mainstream right now, and are still geeky).

  16. As one would say on 4-chan…

    >Implying complex discussions about mythical creatures is not geeky.

    U Mad? ;p

    As long as there are those of us who still choose to analyze the vampire to THIS degree, I think their geek cred will still hold strong.

    Besides, the fact that there are factions of vampire fans who prefer older to newer interpretations (Is it a vampire if it can survive in the light? Is Bram Stoker’s interpretation the only “right” one?), there will be a KIND of geek culture around it, even if half that culture doesn’t consider it a very geeky pass time.

    Word to the wise: Obsessing about fictional characters is also geeky. Twilight fans are geeks. Granted they do not hold any geek cred beyond that until otherwise proven, but they are Twilight geeks nonetheless.

  17. ….take it easy….vampire are geek stuff want it or not, i don't like vampires, but i cant deny they are part of geekdom as peanut butter is part of peanut butter jelly sandwich, if there is a community of people following "Fans" instantly that will be a type of geekness…remember that geek is not only being outcast, is being obsessed with certain topics, being geek is not being amazingly intelligent….remember there are sport geeks

  18. As one would say on 4-chan…

    >Implying complex discussions about mythical creatures is not geeky.

    U Mad? ;p

    As long as there are those of us who still choose to analyze the vampire to THIS degree, I think their geek cred will still hold strong.

    Besides, the fact that there are factions of vampire fans who prefer older to newer interpretations (Is it a vampire if it can survive in the light? Is Bram Stoker's interpretation the only "right" one?), there will be a KIND of geek culture around it, even if half that culture doesn't consider it a very geeky pass time.

    Word to the wise: Obsessing about fictional characters is also geeky. Twilight fans are geeks. Granted they do not hold any geek cred beyond that until otherwise proven, but they are Twilight geeks nonetheless.

  19. If there's geekiness in there, it's the ever-volatile niche devoted to the 'hormonal female tweenager-teen'.

    In fact, what is 'geek'? It used to mean niche without the kudos of 'cool' that the word 'cult' attracted. It was niche and over-intellectual and enjoyed things the mainstream despaired of. There's something very campy in that description (Sontag's Notes on Camp ring loudly in my ears: the liminal, the colourful, the unashamedly itself).

    Logically it follows that Goths and even Emos are the more natural in inheritors of 'geek' than daylight-living, plastic-memorabilia-tat-wearing ‘Twihards’. They are niche, claim a certain set of intellectual values and enjoy things the mainstream despair of. These are those who revel in the darkness and visceral that the mainstream flirts with, but does not dive into.

    Then there are the Light Side of the geek Force: the ‘nerds’, techies and the IT crowd whose words and ideas (the products of intellectual processing) leap like wildfire across vivid internet conversational boards, espousing those very personal values, in niches the mainstream despair of, but who then may flounder in real, face to face contact.

    Perhaps the traditional vampire is a geek, because he is liminal. He feasts/ exists only on the fringes of the mainstream, conducting activities that mainstream morals would find abhorrent.

    I agree: horror is a type of ‘geek’ genre, but it is not the only one. And therein lies the crux: is ‘Twilight’ a true horror narrative, or an extended metaphor for growing up? If the latter, with its added morality of abstinence; no sex till after marriage and a vampire who refuses to turn his mate until she is bound to him, then it is a mainstream narrative, borrowing a populist set of geek niche clothes to parade in.

    • Right on, Lovelight77. To be vampire is to be the dark, angry, misunderstood, emotionally-unavailable, yet–so charming. The man I adore. To be nerd is to be the clean, hard-to-know, real, human, alcoholic. I think they might be the same person. A far as Twilight goes, as an open-minded person, I don't choose to judge folks who wait until marriage for the sexy time. Its still a craparific book from a writing viewpoint. Not that I am some great talent. But, shoot. Now I see how writers get to 120,000 werdsez. Describe a clear day as: cloudless with a blue sky and a bright sun and clear air. [Yup, a clear day.]

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