…holds up about as well as the real men don’t eat quiche myth, I’d imagine.
The thing is this: Unless the vampire in question is an alien species or a “born” vampire (from another planet or something like a surviving Neanderthal with fangs, I’d guess; but I assure you, we are neither), the dreaded creature is, for all intents and purposes, human. Or that is to say, he was a human being who was altered in some fashion by being bequeathed bodily immortality and sharp teeth. We’ll leave aside the argument of whether he is still human after this change, but for the little mention of a couple other animals who go through a rather profound metamorphosis, yet remain the same creature in essence – namely, the caterpillar and the tadpole. Without putting too fine a point on it, for those not ready to change their stance on what makes a being what it fundamentally is and on when in its stage of development it “becomes” that being – these two creatures seem rather definitive proof that one is what one is from the moment of conception and despite any and all change to the body. Feel free to argue a caterpillar isn’t alive until it becomes a butterfly or a tadpole alive until it becomes a frog – I’m all for spirited debate – but I daresay there’s no logical way to win that argument and it would merely be a distraction from the main dispute on the table.
Therefore, sneaky vampiric pontificating aside, the point here is: it would seem that if a vampire starts out human, then he’s fundamentally always human, whatever changes his body may have sustained through his receiving of earthly immortality. As such, he would be as likely to whine as any other human being. (Whining being understood by those employing the word to mean any expression of unhappiness, dissatisfaction or upset with one’s present state.) Now, human beings, I’m sure you’d agree, are pretty darn good whiners in general, and it might be argued that a vampire has more excuse to voice grief with his state of affairs than the average human. Unless he checked his conscience at the door or started off a very dark-souled human indeed, isn’t it doubtful that he’d accept he now must kill and feed on his fellow man with the ease and even joy some writers like to propose? And if he was made a vampire against his will to boot, as is so often the case in both fiction and folklore, all the more reason to be a bit disturbed, even perhaps outright horrified, about this new blood-soaked and murderous existence, wouldn’t you agree?
So, some recent suggestions by authors and readers alike that “real” vampires ought not to be whiny, emotional types, but should instead be returned to the personification-of-evil, revel-in-one’s-wickedness and celebrate-one’s-new-parasitical-status creature of old, puts more than a few “hey, wait a minute’s” on this vampire’s bloody lips.
First off, if you think that Dracula and his ilk are the “true” vampire of old, you’ve missed out on about four thousand or so years of creature of the night lore previous to the Count’s debut in 1897. There are a near countless host of descriptions of vampire-like creatures prior to this royal bloodsucker’s fictional tale and they are not all painted as the epitome of evil. In fact, some are much more tormented revenant than bloodthirsty undead beast. Secondly, Dracula was not such a nice guy during his mortal lifetime. His story was based on the infamously cruel Vlad the Impaler, whose name, I think, pretty much says it all. As such, it seems fair to assume he went into immortality with quite the bloodlust and lack of conscience, both; so that he reveled in his new murderous lifestyle could be consider not a very far leap for him across the morality spectrum.
What’s most troubling to this vampire, however, is the philosophy which seems to lurk behind recent proclamations that real vampires should be evil and, furthermore, that they ought to celebrate this license to kill (and as much recent fiction also suggests, this license to have sex free of responsibility and consequence with as many people as possible as often as possible – for, after all, if you’re going to enjoy treating people as a resource, you might as well use them in every way that floats your boat).
First, the concept that the “best” vampire is the horrific, undead monster variety seems to indicate a tendency enlightened man has sworn he wishes to see put to rest. That is, the tendency to designate another more evil, so as to avoid seeing any wrong within oneself. This can range anywhere from “I’m not really an alcoholic because that guy drinks so much he can’t hold a job” and “I’m not really a liar, because that guy never tells the truth, while I just fib a little” to painting certain persons or groups as wicked enemies, somehow less human than oneself. Creating a conscienceless, soulless vampire who revels in his monstrosity to function in this regard is a great way to see the monster without instead of the one within but, I fear, it’s not a great sign of enlightenment – man’s been pulling that one out of his sleeve for all of blood-drenched human history.
Just as worrisome, though, is the sentiment that a vampire who “whines” (as in expresses any qualms about his actions) is somehow more annoying and offensive to modern sensibilities than a vampire who enjoys killing and loves his perceived newfound status of living outside any moral code whatsoever. That a conscience and a voicing of pain caused by the same are now seen by some as more negative qualities than leeching off one’s fellow man both physically and emotionally and equating said behavior with simply embracing one’s lifestyle is, I admit, a bit of a frightening idea to this frightful creature of the night.
Not that I’m one to preach, all things considered. Just some food for thought from one who knows human beings better than you’d think – and in more ways than one.