Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vampires and ponies

'I know what boys want' goes the song. I know what guys like. The answer to that age-old riddle is the same one your dad cautioned you against in the 9th grade. But what do girls like? We just might be more dimensional in that sense. To oversimplify, vampires. Well, vampires and ponies. Strange bedfellows indeed. However, the testament to this hypothesis is none but my own: between ages 9-12 I was an ardent equestrian and then immediately after, I read Anne Rice's entire Vampire Series in a breathless span of a few months. For a 13-year old this was racey stuff. My twin pre-teen obsessions were showjumping and the undead.

Girls like vampires. Can we apply the pop-Freudian analysis for a second here and ask ourselves why, pray tell? One doesn't have to venture far to pick up on the erotic undercurrents. This is the turned-table of the auto-erotic--it's all about complete possession, the stuff of romance novels and mythologized female submission.

I'm pretty obsessed with True Bood. Most of the other fans, I've noticed, are the females of the species. We go all squealy for vampires. Joan Acocella analyzes this ongoing fascination (and recent trendiness--um Twilight?) in an article in the New Yorker. She quotes Stoker's quoting of Dracula addressing the post-possessed Mina as 'my bountiful wine-press.' Hmmm...

What about True Blood? HBO's campy vampire horror show has allegories a plenty and a style all its own. The vampires of past were associated with a typically 'gothic' aesthetic, here we get 'southern gothic'. As a gal from Georgia, I'm partial to the subgenre. Anna Paquin plays the telepathic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse with a parodied down-home earnestness married to a little post-fem ain't-takin'-no-shit-from-no-man sauciness. Her female counterparts follow suit with similarly caricatured traites. The best is Anna Camp as Sarah Newlin, the minister's wife. Something about her corn flax and sunshine sincerity and the way she drawls 'Praise his Liiiiiieeeegggghhhtt' triggers a scary, scary flashback to a real life stock character--the youth group evangelist and homecoming queen--that was too familiar from my high school days in the G.A.

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