Monthly Archives: November 2009

Mills & Blood

Those of you who have been with me a long time may remember a blog I wrote back on Blogspirit entitled, “Wesley Snipes is Dracula’s Bitch”. This blog complained about the emasculation of Dracula, and the vampire in general, rendering him into a Ninja fighter with no sexual threat at all.

Well, I am now happy to eat my words, thanks to Twilight and True Blood, and the endless stream of sickly, shitty, crap pap being produced by brainless, idiotic women writers all over the world.

If you are ever looking for a legitimate reason to hate women, look no further. Misogynist Haters of Women Novelists of The Paranormal is just aching to be born.

I’ve just finished watching the first season of True Blood and all I can say is, WHAT THE FUCK?

And that’s not easy for me to say. Every annoying bastard on the internet screams WTF? At the slightest provocation. Well, I have just become one of them, but the provocation was great.

True Blood is a great awful series, or an awful great series. I’m not sure which. It is one of the strangest amalgamations of good writing and utter drivel I have ever seen. In fact, I’m not at all sure how they pull it off.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, it has a very simple premise: vampires have ‘come out of the closet’ with the advent of synthetic blood. They are now living ‘in the community’ but, unsurprisingly, they are universally hated and mistrusted. This, of course, leaves the way wide open for assertions of parallels of black emancipation and gay rights. Parallels, I might say, that are some of the most dubious I have ever deliberately not thought too hard about, lest I be forced to punch whoever’s stupid enough to offer this nonsense up as an ‘argument’. Seriously dodgy parallels, e.g., nearly all the vampires in True Blood actually are bad: they attack humans, they’re obnoxious; they are arrogant, dangerous, self-important. If, then, this vampire outcast idea parallels the bigotry against blacks/gays it must be saying, “Blacks/gays actually are dangerous and nasty and threatening, but, hey, some of them are good. You know, the ones that want to be like us”. There’s a Brownie point for right-wing Americans right there. They’ve said all along that blacks and gays who follow the American Dream are okay… My relief knows no bounds. I hope all you nice black/gay viewers are suitably grateful to be included in this generous way.

So let’s just leave the “It’s a social comment” aspect out of this discussion, as it will only embarrass Charlaine Harris and HBO later. Instead let’s talk about those fucking annoying women that brought us the Sookie and Bill concept, for it can hardly be laid just at the feet of Charlaine, for there are many like her.

Oh, Sookie and Bill, are they not the most annoying hero and heroine in the history of ‘literature’? (We use the term loosely here.) Sookie is our eye-rolling, big-hearted feisty heroine. Bill is a ‘mainstream’ vampire, i.e. he lives normally: without Goth clothing and dodgy bondage gear.

Okay, let’s just get this out the way right now. Why the fuck do vampires dress like Goths? Who says so? WHY? Stop it. Just stop it. It’s a cliché of a cliché, and it needs to die, because my boredom and irritation factor are through the roof. If I have to look at one more pansy in mascara attempting to be ‘threatening’ while wearing more flounces, zips and hair lacquer than a female impersonator, I will do serious damage to any cunt who writes another paranormal romance. Seriously. Stop it.

Now Bill is the (anti) hero. And he falls for Sookie, and Sookie for him. Now this love affair is meant to be doomed, tragic, star-crossed, ill-fated, tortuous… you could go on all day. Trouble is, it is NONE of those things. Sookie and Bill are the deeply irritating couple ahead of you in the queue at Marks and Spencer’s, having a tepid argument over whether to get rose or red. If they were any wetter they’d be news anchors, X Factor contestants. They are so bland and middle-of-the-road you could be forgiven for thinking they’d wandered in out of a different TV programme entirely.

Sookie spends her whole time in very short shorts lisping like Shirley Temple on crack. Bill brings his fangs out occasionally, to prove he can be a bad lot, but resembles nothing more than a cowboy without his horse who’s been accidentally miscast from an episode of Bonanza – and all that implies for dated good guy stereotypes.

Bill is not threatening, and Sookie is annoying. If the programme was left to them there would be nothing in it worth watching.

It’s left to all the sub-characters to give the show some oomph, and a reason to watch it. The sub-characters who are not vampires, incidentally – although one is a shape-shifter – how’s that for irony? Their lives are interesting. Jason Stackhouse – Sookie’s ne’er-do-well brother – is way more interesting, and far more of a bad boy, than Bill. And don’t even start me on Eric.

Eric. I kid you not. What kind of name is that for a vampire? They might as well have called him Fred, or George, or Cecil. Bill and Eric. They sound like plumbers rather than a potential death squad.

Eric is blonde and gay-looking. I’m not being unkind, but the man’s a big girl. If he was any droopier, you could be forgiven for thinking he was just languishing there, waiting for his soft furnishings to arrive. He looks like he bleaches his – assumably supposedly Nordic – blonde hair and never conditions it. It’s this odd unmoving helmet, which is far more fear-inducing than he is. When he’s on-screen I find myself watching it to see if it will move when he tilts his head. It doesn’t. When he bends his head forwards his hair stays where it is, now projecting off the back of his neck like an Alien head out of… well, Alien. He has a One Tree Hill jaw. In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking he was Dan the man’s long-lost black sheep brother, and instead of playing basketball he sucks blood. Probably because it doesn’t mess with his hair.

Of course, all the other vampires just posture and do pretend Calvin Klein style ‘lust’. They run around in see-through shirts and short skirts and flirt with homosexuality. I don’t know who the hell thinks that makes for ‘threatening sexuality’, but it doesn’t in my book. Not unless the threat is they might steal your make-up bag.

Fortunately, Sookie and Bill do not get all the air-time, but I find myself longing to follow the obnoxious Tara and her wonderfully mad drunk mother, or Jason and his seriously psychopathic girlfriend, Amy – any of them, as long as it’s not Sookie and Bill.

This is what women have done to the vampire story. We are to blame. Wesley Snipes maybe turned Dracula into Bruce Lee, but this is better? This appalling Mills & Boon nightmare that they’ve dragged us all into is better? This so ‘dark’ it’s milk chocolate universe; saccharine sweet do-gooder vampires with the character of a floor-mop; this is what women want? ‘Love’ stories where the most dangerous thing in them is whether you’re going to tangle your white nightie on a bramble bush as you run about the interesting Louisiana night barefoot (don’t they have lots of snakes down there?) are now the pinnacle of women’s ‘popular’ writing. Well, fucking hoorah for us. My how we’ve come on.

Poor old Dracula, he’s gone from being a sexually neutered kick-boxing monster carrying a virus to the sexually neutered boy band singer carrying an Amex card so he can buy his victims flowers – you know, to show he cares.

Anne Rice started this trend, but it says something about women, and mainstream women’s writing, that these pot-boiler morons have taken Anne Rice’s florid, but still sexual, vampires, and made them into a non-threatening boy band with no body hair and nice manicures and haircuts. From being ancient decayed creatures of evil they’ve turned into tortured heroes of the American Civil War, wandering the countryside looking for virgins, but not so they can drink their blood – no – but to have a nice relationship, a nice car, and probably a dog and 2.2. blonde vampire-lite children who teach people about AIDS in charming outward-bound community projects – while selling Girl Scout cookies..

Mills & Boon has invaded the vampire story and taken it for its own, making sure the romance lovers of the world get their little tingles of fantasy without anything to make them uncomfortable or uncertain. There is nothing ugly about these vampires’ lives. They never have ugly thoughts or use their power to do ugly deeds. Even the bad ones think turning a human into a vampire is the height of wickedness. Oh well, scare me to death, as long as you share your fashion tips once I’ve turned.

True Blood is one of the most ambivalent TV series I’ve ever seen; full of sex and bad language in the world of its guttersnipes, and oddly chaste in the world of its vampire ‘heroes’. I find its success worrying. Not because it proves, yet again, that people have no taste, and that dumbed-down is the only way to go, but because HBO made it. If this is very financially successful for them, will it be the thin end of the wedge? Will we see all their programming go the same way? Will the complex insanities of the ‘John From Cincinnati’s be shunted aside by the dull certainties of the True Bloods?

HBO is providing some of the best TV on TV, consistently imaginative and envelope-pushing. This invasion of mainstream ‘Twilight with swearing’ makes me feel very uncomfortable indeed. There are very few places where I can see the programming I like. Please God, do not let Mills & Boon readers invade my world.

And as for all you spineless cows who call yourselves authors, leave Dracula the hell alone; otherwise I might just have to send him to rip out your goddamn romantic throats. And you can be sure this time there will be no tasteful Gap bondage gear in sight…