Monday, November 3, 2008

WSJ: "Real Men Have Fangs"

In the October 31, 2008, edition of The Wall Street Journal, Laura Miller traced the development of vampires from the horrific, vein-draining monsters of yore to today’s super-sexy lotharios (√† la theTwilight series). The most striking part of her analysis isn’t the emphasis on genre miscegenation. (She rightly notes, “Pulp genres interbreed as wantonly as alley cats.”) Rather, it comes when she argues that vampire romances appeal to women because they offer a return to traditional gender roles -- strong love from strong men. Another fascination: Miller writes for the leftist


The clich√© is that vampirism is a metaphor for sex, but the vamps of paranormal romance don't need metaphors for that: they tend to cavort their way through a range of impressively explicit bedroom escapades. What these undead lovers promise is not just eroticism, but a particular variety of eroticism that their female admirers more than half suspect of being reprehensible and anachronistic, if not flat-out extinct: They offer old-fashioned romance in the arms of an alpha male. …

Make the gentleman immortal and he brings with him into her modern world not only his ancestral estate and fortune, but an anachronistic understanding of how to treat a lady. Replete with old money, the vampire hero has plenty of leisure time to embroil himself in politics (fictional vampire societies tend to be complex and conspiracy-ridden hierarchies) and to woo the heroine.
Read the whole thing.

(Picture: CC 2008 by

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