Ktismatics

18 February 2011

True Blood by Ball

Filed under: Movies — ktismatics @ 10:31 am

Screengrabs are from Season Two, Episode 2, 2009

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48 Comments »

  1. I finished Season 3 (which was worse than the others, but generally not bad at all) I think it’s a fantastic series.

    What I recognize from other similar productions is the traumatic reaction to the post-modernistic Death of God. The most comical, shocking and telling moment is when the Ancient Greek witch is impaled by the Divine Bull and she realizes for a fleeting moment that the Divinity she’s spent several centuries pursuing doesn’t exist. What a fantastic actress by the way. But while I think other productions would glorify this situation, enjoying the flourishing of wermin, black magic, astrology, vampires & werewolves and Tarot cards, TRUE BLOOD is highly ambiguous about it. Another poetic and telling moment is when the Archvampire commits suicide in the name of God. It seems without at least an idea of an all-forgiving God, humans and vampires alike are doomed to incessant transformation.

    The melding of the epic and the dramatic with the whimsical, the campy and the surreal, is impeccable, almost all the way through. I never once felt betrayed by the script, even after the hundredth transformation of Tara’s mother from destructive alcoholic to caring Christian.

    Sookie reminds me of you a lot. Extremely attuned to other people, and extremely gifted, but unable to control all the connections that her gift creates. A psychologist and a writer, she chronicles the lives of all the others, but cannot find peace in her own head.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 21 August 2011 @ 9:51 pm

  2. The internet connection at this hotel is fucked, but now it seems to have repaired itself and let me approve the comment. Last night I watched the new episode on the hotel cable TV, and the show still has some bite. More later, if interface and time permit before I get back in the car.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 21 August 2011 @ 10:09 pm

  3. “Sookie reminds me of you a lot. Extremely attuned to other people, and extremely gifted, but unable to control all the connections that her gift creates. A psychologist and a writer, she chronicles the lives of all the others, but cannot find peace in her own head.”

    LMFAO!

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    Comment by W.Kasper — 22 August 2011 @ 12:35 pm

  4. I, too, was amused by the well-wishing of the Princess of Peace…

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    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 22 August 2011 @ 4:05 pm

  5. I just found out about another TV series, The Walking Dead, which I’ll have to sample.

    Death of God: yes with respect to the wanton sexuality and the amoral exercise of power in True Blood. The ordinary humans remain emotionally invested in the old values, which usually makes them boring, hypocritical and dangerous. The coolest humans want to become superhuman, undead, beastly — posthuman. The death of God triggers the death of man. But there’s plenty of fun to be had. I love Russell Edgington, who rips out the anchorman’s heart on national TV, then tells the human audience “we wanna eat you.” And Pam, Eric’s vampire progeny, has great presence as well. The juggling of multiple story lines is carried forward from Six Feet Under, making both of these shows part of the soap opera tradition. But it’s done so well. Creating a compelling world populated by intriguing characters: there is no reason to stop with a single novel or film. There is a danger of letting it go on too long, of course, which happens also in film sequels. But for two solid seasons at least, nearly 30 hours’ worth, True Blood remains entertaining.

    You’ve characterized Sookie well, CofP. Can I relate? Sure, to an extent. There’s a tradition of having the central character in an ensemble story be the most normal, perhaps even the most boring. I used to love the Dick Van Dyke show, and Dick was far more of a square than all the other characters surrounding him. Maybe I’m the Dick Van Dyke of the blogosphere.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 22 August 2011 @ 9:11 pm

  6. The Dick Van Dyke Show was so good not only because all the performers were so pro, but also because the actors were always laughing. As comedy writers, they would, and yet that was unique as far as I know. The supporting comedians Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, and Richard Deacon were phenomenal. Mary Tyler Moore was never as good in her own shows as she had been in this one–her laugh was especially good. I remember once when Buddy (Morey) described Mel’s (Richard’s) fingers as ‘five fat worms’.

    Tonight I pray (to Godt, yedtt) that you find ‘peace in your own head’. (The purveyor of that immortal phrase is never funny except by accident…)

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    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 22 August 2011 @ 11:10 pm

  7. That show was strictly episodic. Occasional bits of back story would be revealed (how Rob and Laura met, how Mel got the producer job), but there were no grand story arcs across episodes, no multiple story lines within a given episode. Each show was funny in its own right, each story self-contained. But they were always true to character, and the characters were all endearing. The cameos of Alan Brady were hilarious: this beloved TV personality revealed as vain, petty, and nasty. He was almost always shot from behind, so you would hear him talk and watch his gestures without seeing his face. The self-referentiality — a TV show about writing a TV show — would have been hailed as postmodern had it been shown on French television. At college we would gather in the dorm common room to watch late afternoon reruns.

    Being unintentionally funny is also a gift, but I appreciate the sincerity of the sentiment.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 23 August 2011 @ 6:11 am

  8. There’s an episode in Season 1 which made me think of American Beauty: the 50-year old accountant gay vampire talks to the pryapic stud about life, and tells him how important it is to have a father early in life. The two indeed have connected as a father and a son. Then the gay is brutally slaughtered by the New Age priestess, the Gaya worshipper. She must not allow this connection to flourish. The image later comes to haunt the stud, in numerous flashbacks, as he’s looking for various surrogate father figures. This is the heart of the matter – with the downfall of the Father, all sorts of ”alternative forces” have been unleashed. So much so that as the show manifestly demonstrates, queer is now mainstream *as you say – cool people want to be vampires. But this is never ideal, never complete. Lurking underneath is the creepy sensation that there has been no liberation. I am curious as to how Sookie will develop further, since she possesses the key to the resolution *of the crisis.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 23 August 2011 @ 2:41 pm

  9. The purveyor of that immortal phrase is never funny except by accident

    Jesus faking Christ you can’t let anything pass by can you; like a teenage cheerleader craving for attention!

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 23 August 2011 @ 4:43 pm

  10. Right. I’m already failing in comments moderation. No more personal criticisms please: they will be trashed.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 23 August 2011 @ 4:53 pm

  11. I liked that particular character very much. He wasn’t cool and couldn’t get laid when he was still human, and nothing really changed for him after he became vampire. It’s curious that in this show the makers of new vampires are expected to assume responsibility for nurturing their offspring. Fulfilling this responsibility can involve traditionally human moral injunctions, or it can embody the post-god amorality perhaps more befitting the undead. This is an ongoing debate among the vampires: what does it mean to be a Nietzschean superman?

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    Comment by ktismatics — 23 August 2011 @ 5:02 pm

  12. It’s very interesting (especially from the perspective of Bal as a gay man) that the destruction of an unified God and thus morality brought about not only moral relitivism, but also a kind of an ubiquitious sado-masochism. Although there is a finely tuned balance at the center of economic relations, such that humans profit from vampires just as much as vampires profit from humans, in every relation and transaction there is a pronounced element of power (and hierarchy): for example, witness how the pryapic stud always gets laid because he’s so fit and good-looking, while the gay guy has to become a vampire in order to get laid. Later I believe the vampire queen (in her hilariously campy 1920s castle) pontificates of this saying that human relations are always mired in prestige. And all this would tally, up to an extent, with dr. Slovenly’s theory of the DEKLINE OF SIMBOLIK EFIKASY. But things are more complex, and this is where the genius of the show lies, it goes beyond Zizek. I think the show is saying is that to reach some kind of a moral purity, it takes the shedding of human tears. This is why the self-sacrifising vampire admires Sookie’s tears so much. It seems to be saying that a certain sort of cleansing is in order; that this Hellfire of lust and drive brings us to a higher level of consciousness.

    Purely from the perspective of a media designer, the opening titles is completely brilliant.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 23 August 2011 @ 6:08 pm

  13. Yes the titles are excellent. It appears that there’s even some experimental technique of burning the film stock itself, even though this whole sequence must have been done on video with no film involved.

    I wish that the creators of True Blood had limited themselves to humans and vampires, without cluttering up their world with werewolves and faeries and shifters and necromancers (season 4). The observations you make about MEANING apply particularly to the human-vampire interaction, and given the burgeoning of vampire fiction over the past 20 years or so there’s enough to work with there. I mean the werewolves too get into dominance-submission power hierarchies (in season 4 the leader of the local pack tells one of the other werewolves that he has “alpha potential” — lol), and it’s potentially interesting to explore the posthuman differences between individual supermen and super-collectives, but this potential really isn’t explored much. And shifters — who cares? And the faeries just seem gratuitous. It’s the vampires and the humans that draw our attention, that carry metaphysical weight, that draw us in.

    Every new student at Kenzie’s college is required to take a “Tutorial” to give them a multidisciplinary context for investigating, analyzing, and writing at a high level. Each professor chooses a topic of interest, and the students choose the one they prefer. The subject of Kenzie’s tutorial, believe it or not, is vampires in history and media. I didn’t even have to push this topic on her. So I’ll be sure to bug her about what she’s learning.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 23 August 2011 @ 7:44 pm

  14. Hmmm, I’m not sure that in a text as well-researched as this, the werevolves and fairies don’t have a particular place. I haven’t thought about this as the third season didn’t sink in yet. But I’ll get back on it. I liked the association that was made between the werewolves and the sub-culture of so-called ”bear men” in the gay world, who are exaggeratedly masculine, muscled, tough.

    It seems I didn’t come across very clearly, I can tell from your comment. The polytheistic, polymorphous-perverse world of the vampire mingling with the human is what Zizek would term ”the decline of symbolic efficacy” in that the Master Signifier – the Christian God – has been banished or reduced to a right wing distortion (the society of the sun warriors or whatever they call themselves). What I added to that is that we needn’t read this situation in negative terms, as Zizek usually does in his endless nostalgia for German Romanticism, for the kingdom of Bill Compton. We could also view it is originally intended, in the context of psychoanalysis, where the client comes to realize that there is no Big Other – no Master Signifier – and undertakes to articulate his own desire, or drive. This is basically what the Archvampire teaches his companions by the act of self-purging.

    I disagree about the shifters. Their predicament is that they keep shifting, and this is the central problem, too, of the world-without-God: there’s no stability, fixity. Also it is the shifters who are the barrier between the Underworld and Earth, gatekeepers in a manner of speaking. It is no accident that the Greek witch (God I love that actress totally) wants the dog shifter in particular, instead of Sookie. And it is he that reveals to her that ”there is no Big Other”.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 23 August 2011 @ 8:29 pm

  15. The Archvampire Godric commits suicide. It seems we’re back into this question of whether full commitment to pursuing one’s desire ultimately leads to self-destruction. But that’s not the case here. Godric is seeking reconciliation of humans and vampires through his death. And he’s also tired of his vampire existence and wants to end it all. So this is the Jesus desire. But Godric is already risen from the dead as vampire; now he seeks the “true death” from which there is no return. I see no acknowledgment that there is no Big Other, or at least it’s not liberating for Godric. He’s arguably too human. Or perhaps he represents the true death of God for the posthuman vampires. Maybe this is true also for the death of the Greek witch.

    I hear you about the shifters; I just don’t find them interesting or entertaining. Likewise with the werewolves. It all just seems like pointless adventuring to me. And were-panthers? By season 4 the writers acknowledge how dumb that idea was and pull the plug on that subplot. The necromancer is an interesting premise: having power over the dead means also having power over vampires. But again the story line, after some nods to history, just turns into showdowns. Maybe this sort of mindless churn reveals the limits of my own tolerance for genre fiction. I don’t want a theoretical treatise; maybe I want more depth rather than continued expansion of breadth.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 23 August 2011 @ 10:00 pm

  16. The Archvampire Godric commits suicide.

    Yes, he does that partly because he wants to be human again, but he does it, also, because the other vampires and the redneck Republicans saw the Messiah in him. To shatter this illusion, therefore. I am aware that we’re returning to the theme of – not salvation, but CLEANSING – through self-destruction – but that just means it’s obviously an important cultural trope worth exploring further.

    I don’t understand why Bill doesn’t like his maker; she is very sexy and attractive, much more so than Sookie, who is not really a sex object, more like a nurse. His Romantic
    Weltschmerz is the weakest part of the deal, it is very reminiscent of Anne Rice for one thing and for another it’s aimed at American 40+ housewives who gobble down romance novels with
    just such characters. There were some really grotesquely corny scenes like Bill rising from the grave and fucking Sookie brutally right on the edge of the grave. But maybe they were meant to be tongue-in-cheek, everything has that delightfully slightly creepy ambiguous edge.

    My other complaint is that we never get to see the young stud’s dick in the episode where he gets pryapism from drinking too much V. Apparently the Hayes code is the one thing HBO still considers taboo. Although when he’s dancing in front of the camera, the penis is clearly formidable.

    Not to ignore our favorite readers, I think Chabert and Wayne wouldn’t like this series because humans can use the vampire’s blood. In Sherbie’s version, if she was the marketing head of HBO, I think we would see that vampires (capitalists) are ruthlessly exploiting the humans – the situation of DAYBREAKERS. I find TRUE BLOOD has a much more nuanced and interesting solution, though, because it seems that humans can also profit from the vampires. This way there’s no easy excuse for vulgar Marxism.

    d’Manhattan would love the series, though.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 23 August 2011 @ 11:08 pm

  17. The world of True Blood is populated by hybrids who are part human, part something else: corpse, god, fairy, animal. While they can all fuck each other, they can’t become each other or completely integrate with each other. Sure, a human can become a vampire, but only after he’s dead. And there is this constant mutual exploitation between species or races or genders or classes, as you point out. Is this intended as a sociocultural commentary on the New South? Break down the barriers of separate-but-equal symbolic efficacy and all hell breaks loose. I’ve not read the books, so I don’t know if the author ever works out an effective integration among equals.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 24 August 2011 @ 4:32 am

  18. The straight humans are all working class, mostly dumb conformist good ole boys and gals. The vampires are clearly stronger and sexier; they have no financial concerns; they trace their blood lines back through the centuries; they align themselves in a feudal aristocratic hierarchy with territorial kings and sheriffs and pledges of fealty to The Authority. Humans vastly outnumber vampires; humans can live without vampires, but not vice versa. Most humans who interact with vampires wind up enslaved, addicted, or dead; only a few are escorted across the threshold to vampirism. Arguably the vampires represent the old white Southern aristocracy, while the humans are the blacks and the white trash. You pointed out that the black girl is seen reading Shock Doctrine in one of the early episodes, which at least points to a possible economic reading. And her name is Tara, which directly links her to antebellum racial economic exploitation.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 24 August 2011 @ 4:49 am

  19. All this what you named existed before in vammpire lore what,s new is that there is an exchange transaction between vampires and humans.They are no longer repressed unconscious,the unconscious is out in the open.which reminds me vampires ad concept actually comes from serbia,which kenzie could use as an original essay thesis.

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    Comment by parodium — 24 August 2011 @ 6:04 am

  20. The vampires don’t use their powers for the good of humanity — in this respect they are not unlike the wizards in Harry Potter. True Blood, the artificial blood substitute, was the technological advancement by which the predatory vampires, long hidden in the dark, were to be welcomed into equal relations with humans. But it’s clear that the vampires don’t want the substitute; they want the real thing. It’s their nature to exploit the mere humans; to repress that nature is to deny their essence. So what’s out in the open here is the exploitative dominance of the ruling class, barely apologetic. “We wanna eat you” is the direct expression of the vampire unconscious, but the Authority wants that message suppressed, kept covert. The “good” vampires like Bill don’t extend their largesse to humanity in general; they protect their favorites, mostly from other vampires. And it’s clearly territorial: I’ve shared my blood with you so now you are my human. The humans gain some power from the exchange and are clearly attracted to the vampire glamor, but it’s vicarious, habit-forming, requiring their submission to the ruling power — even though the rulers would die without them. I’m starting to side with the humans.

    K’s vampire prof has studied in Romania for some years and knows something also about the Gypsies, so she’ll probably bring that cultural perspective into the conversation.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 24 August 2011 @ 6:18 am

  21. Ive also been thinking about what bill told sookie about magic,quipping back to her rationalistic remarks about the vampires’ bodies. i thought,akshions have konsiquenses end yet,there is the Magick

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    Comment by parodium — 24 August 2011 @ 6:23 am

  22. But vampires do not have to kill anymore in order to feed because the fangtasia bottoms give willingly. Also sucking doesn’t require killing,so the social order is in balance. it’s sort of like aids nowadays’more chronic predicament than death sentence.I think the irony is more that vampires hang on to class not because they as a race need to but bevause thas the only wau to live in human society.

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    Comment by parodium — 24 August 2011 @ 6:33 am

  23. The possibility exists for social balance: artificial blood might not taste great but it provides the necessary nutrients; sucking doesn’t require killing or enslavement; fucking doesn’t hurt anyone. And the humans can gain power and health and potency from only the smallest doses of vampire blood, which if they would become willing donors wouldn’t hurt them at all. A Kumbaya reconciliation is achievable. What stands in the way? Maybe the creators of this show should step back a bit from all the killing and fucking in order to explore the psychology and sociology and politics and economics of this world. Probably kill the ratings.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 24 August 2011 @ 7:07 am

  24. What stands in the way?

    Well that’s where the Communist Horizon opens, as dr. Jodianne Fossey would put it. If the government allowed humans to drink of the V regularly, they would all be just fucking blissfully and live in the kind of a Gaya Communist paradise that the New Age wermin envisages before she’s killed by the paranoid anti-vampire psychopath. However, V is made illegal probably because the government knows that this cannot be allowed. Or, because the constant use of the V would be damaging to long-term health (the prospect of such limits is also intriguing; I mean the idea that total bliss is just within reach, but not quite attainable). There is an utopia lurking behind the anti-utopia, and this is also new in the context of vampire lore.

    By the way vampires do not originate in Romania, that’s a falsity stemming from Bram Stoker’s novel. They come from Serbia, and are very much related to Orthodoxy. But I think I mentioned this before. Kenzie can use Coppola’s Dracula as an example.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampires

    The English term was derived (possibly via French vampyre) from the German Vampir, in turn derived in the early 18th century from the Serbian вампир/vampir,[15][16][17][18][19] when Arnold Paole, a purported vampire in Serbia was described during the time Serbia was incorporated into the Austrian Empire.
    The Serbian form has parallels in virtually all Slavic languages: Bulgarian and Macedonian вампир (vampir), Croatian vampir, Czech and Slovak upír, Polish wąpierz, and (perhaps East Slavic-influenced) upiór, Ukrainian упир (upyr), Russian упырь (upyr’), Belarusian упыр (upyr), from Old East Slavic упирь (upir’). (Note that many of these languages have also borrowed forms such as “vampir/wampir” subsequently from the West; these are distinct from the original local words for the creature.) The exact etymology is unclear.[20] Among the proposed proto-Slavic forms are *ǫpyrь and *ǫpirь.[21] Another, less widespread theory, is that the Slavic languages have borrowed the word from a Turkic term for “witch” (e.g., Tatar ubyr).[21][22]
    The first recorded use of the Old Russian form Упирь (Upir’) is commonly believed to be in a document dated 6555 (1047 AD).[23] It is a colophon in a manuscript of the Book of Psalms written by a priest who transcribed the book from Glagolitic into Cyrillic for the Novgorodian Prince Volodymyr Yaroslavovych.[24] The priest writes that his name is “Upir’ Likhyi ” (Оупирь Лихыи), which means something like “Wicked Vampire” or “Foul Vampire”.[25] This apparently strange name has been cited as an example both of surviving paganism and of the use of nicknames as personal names.[26]
    Another early use of the Old Russian word is in the anti-pagan treatise “Word of Saint Grigoriy”, dated variously to the 11th–13th centuries, where pagan worship of upyri is reported.[27][28]

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 24 August 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  25. How come SLC gets to fling his racist, anti-semitic, misogynist, slanderous bilge around (in between his remedial ‘theory’ gibberish), while I get censored?

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    Comment by W.Kasper — 25 August 2011 @ 9:29 am

  26. Feel free to critique the bilge, W, especially the on-topic bilge. On this blog I try to uphold the old-fashioned distinction between bilge and bilgeur. Also, there may be other comments censored in addition to your own, of which you remain blissfully unaware. And what does “SLC” connote in reference to Center of Parody?

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    Comment by ktismatics — 25 August 2011 @ 9:45 am

  27. Eloaz I’ll deal with that broad later at the CPC, leave it.

    I wanted to say that it suddenly dawned on me: you love vampires, so why not write about vampires?

    It’s one good way to sell, but also there is the possibility of telling non-Bram Stoker stories that have not been told before.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 25 August 2011 @ 1:54 pm

  28. The last time I browsed through a bookstore there were three entire bookshelves devoted to Young Adult Paranormal Romance or something like that, nearly all of them vampire books. If I was going to write vampire I’ve got a good title picked out, but I’ll keep it hidden in the coffin for now. I relayed to K your info that vampires originated in Serbia; she thanks you but wants to fact-check it first. The next Professor Van Helsing perhaps?

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    Comment by ktismatics — 25 August 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  29. Don’t waste time on what’s already available on the bookshelves, goddammit, and think of what YOU would like to say about the vampires. It’s not a science project, it’s art. Even if it turns out that some of what you wanted to say has already been said before, it will inevitably have a personal mark and thereby rise above the rest. Turn off that castrating superego you have in your brain and let your jouissance overcome you.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 25 August 2011 @ 8:13 pm

  30. Kenzie can download this one and only Serbian vampire movie, She-Butterfly, made for TV in the 1970s and quite singular in the way it treats the vampire:

    http://torrentz.eu/f467cd0f13465c71e0511f9a857ab43021905433

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 25 August 2011 @ 8:15 pm

  31. Your helpful tip is directly related to the vampire book I can imagine writing, CofP. This is probably not coincidental.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 25 August 2011 @ 8:26 pm

  32. As for me, I’ll be doing a remake of THE HUNGER in which an aging Parisian Marxist vampiresse seduces a young Marxist activist from Manchester; her blood causes the activist to desire a sex change operation, but he cannot afford it, so he turns to street prostitution. He chances upon a Republican Manhattan socialite visiting London, who is smitten by the activist’s boyish charms. The socialite turns out to be a werewolf. He gives the money for the sex change operation to the activist, but he also passes on the curse; the activist is now doubly fucked – after the sex change operation, he transforms into a neoliberal lesbian hermaphrodite vampire. Appalled by his fate, the activist turns to alcoholism and ultimately dies in his own vomit.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 25 August 2011 @ 10:44 pm

  33. I detect some significant plot holes and character discontinuities in this treatment. Out of curiosity, do you know of any movies depicting a vampire film director?

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    Comment by ktismatics — 26 August 2011 @ 1:45 am

  34. Due to an infestation of SLC’s mind-numbingly embarrassing ‘sour grapes’ agenda (to put it politely) on your comments box, I, like many other commentators here and elsewhere, do hereby cease to bother commentating anymore. His agenda seems to be working, so I’ll give him that (which I’m sure SLC will be thrilled to hear, as pathetic as it is).

    Most of us would prefer to avoid leprosy.

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    Comment by W.Kasper — 26 August 2011 @ 2:27 am

  35. In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead the playwright-producer is a vampire, so that’s pretty close. It’s a silly and lightly amusing movie, and if there is any metaphorical intent to the theatrical vampirism it’s well-disguised. The lead character, the play’s director, is played by Dustin Hoffman’s son Jake, and though he’s not a vampire Jake offers a somewhat undead performance.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 26 August 2011 @ 2:32 am

  36. You mean the parody vampire bit offended you. W.? I thought it was an indirect enough bit of fiction so I let it pass. We’re at comment number 36 on this thread, about half of which were written by CofP, and all of them are on-topic. After your initial appearance here at Ktismatics, I believe that every one of your comments has been directed specifically and with rancor at CofP’s person without addressing any substantive topic whatsoever, so your departure will frankly be a relief. You’re not banned or anything, so if you find any of the topics interesting and would like to chat about it you’re welcome to join in.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 26 August 2011 @ 3:09 am

  37. I remember a great movie with John Malkovich http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0189998/ (SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE). The director was not a vampire, but it was about the CAMERA becoming a vampire.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 26 August 2011 @ 3:13 am

  38. It is a very good movie, but I didn’t pick up on the camera becoming vampire. Do you mean that, because the making of the film is what triggers the vampire’s actions, the filming process is itself vampiric?

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    Comment by ktismatics — 26 August 2011 @ 3:22 am

  39. If I remember well, at the very end, the camera is on its own recording, and you get a sense that this is about the dawn of the 21st century, where the camera shallt take on a life of its own (as per Inland Empire).
    I don’t remember from what exactly I drew that conclusion, it was something about everyone including the vampire being trapped in a frozen moment, the dawn of a new era…something like that.

    A vampire director… I don’t know about that, but a film about humans made by vampires strikes me an interesting concept.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 26 August 2011 @ 5:35 am

  40. Here they have an interesting lineup of the art used in True Blood

    http://www.ancientpythoness.com/art-and-architecture/

    and elsewhere on the site, an analysis of it as an alchemic process (which reminds me a lot of
    the alchemical analyses of David Lynch I read last year in Eric G. Wilson)

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 28 August 2011 @ 12:21 am

  41. “Sookie wears a nightshirt with an image of ‘L’Amour et Psyché, enfants by William-Adolphe Bouguereau the night she meets Bill.”

    Synchronicity! Just yesterday I was reading about Eros as literary trope. “L’Amour” in this painting=Eros=Cupid=desire; Psyche = the human soul, but also beauty. So Bill=Cupid and Sookie=Psyche. The story of Cupid and Psyche is first recounted in a 2nd century novel The Golden Ass by Apuleius, and the story reappears in European folktales like Beauty and the Beast. Cupid enslaves Psyche in an act of jealous vengeance instigated by his Mother Venus, but eventually Cupid and Psyche fall in love with each other. From The True Story of the Novel, 1996 by Margaret Anne Doody:

    Sexuality in a wealthy slave-owning society is an area of massive consumption, control, and cruelty… To know more about Eros (even considering Eros as only the power of sexual love) is to know more about ourselves. And to respect ourselves and Eros is to begin to wish to refrain from the enslavement and abuse of others, as all of the surviving ancient novels tend to show. Repeatedly we see the good hero or heroine enslaved to some greedy person who wishes to makes sexual use of him or her. In the power of the Novel, the hero or heroine can stand up against this cruelty — but that does not mean that hero or heroine are antierotic. On the contrary, in the novels the central characters increase in power and self-respect because they know Eros.

    Yet, as we see in the Cupid and Psyche story, knowing Eros is difficult and dangerous… “Thus ignorant Psyche of her own accord fell in love with love. Then burning with a greater and greater desire of Desire…” Apuleius’ story is the most complete version of the love of loving, the need of needing, the desire of Desire. The desire to know Cupid is destructive — or rather, it seems destructive, even painful. It leads to disruption… To know Desire is to increase desire. The knowledge of desire destroys the first state of bliss of unconscious desiring — the unexamined life. The advent of consciousness must always feel like a transgression… Ancients (and many Moderns) have taken this story as an image of the progress of the individual soul — the psyche — from lower states through phases of painful experience to a higher state. This is certainly a story of resurrection and completion.

    The story of Psyche universalizes our relation to Desire. We are all in cupidine Cupidinus.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 28 August 2011 @ 10:33 am

  42. Sookie=Psyche: it’s the English spelling of the Greek word, for gosh sakes.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 28 August 2011 @ 10:55 am

  43. Isn’t ”the desire of Desire” = ”Drive” in Deleuzo-Lacanian lingo? Here we are again in the territory of cleansing. I get a sense that Bal never abandons the Christian God, really, but rather interprets ascension to Him in a more materialistic key, and hence also Russian-Orthodox, or Gnostic/Alchemical if you will, as a process of cleansing.

    A side remark: reading further on that nice site, I noticed a text about how the romance between Sookie and Bill is what drives the series’ marketing. Now I know that you usually cringe from the very thought, but I get the impression that such a ”cliffhanger” is necessary nowadays to be able to sell anything at all. This is what I found difficult about your books – they are hard to locate commercially. But I’m thinking if (like Bal) you treat is just another opportunity to play, then you don’t really have a problem.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 28 August 2011 @ 7:31 pm

  44. Desire of Desire = drive: you know more about the lingo than I, but I would think that desire = drive, while desire of desire = wanting to feel the drive, a kind of addiction to desire. Just like love of love = loving the feeling of being in love. The cleansing, if it’s in keeping with the novelistic tradition, would entail achieving greater control over the drive, psyche gaining power over desire. And we see that happening, albeit intermittently, in Sookie gaining power over Bill.

    “This is what I found difficult about your books”

    The first difficulty to overcome is that one must read books.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 28 August 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  45. “”…is what drives the series’ marketing”

    Drive=desire=Eros/Cupid. Doody says precisely this: Eros is what drives stories, and what drives people to read them. By implication stories too can become addictive. Continuing Doody’s quote:

    … The advent of a consciousness must always feel like a transgression. Just so, the simple pleasure in Story as Story is abolished, lost, or at very least superseded, when one acknowledges the very nature and problematics of narration itself — as Apuleius repeatedly does. To know Story as Story, to examine its nature, to search for significances, interpretations — this is a loss, as well as a gain. Cupid must fly away, must be rediscovered, and not without pain and difficulty.

    I just started reading another book called Reading for the Plot (by Peter Brooks) that makes the same case: plot = desire, not just of the characters, driving them to do things in the narrative, but also of the reader (or the viewer) who wants to read/watch the story:

    Narratives both tell of desire — typically present some story of desire — and arouse and make use of desire as dynamic of signification. Desire is in this view like Freud’s notion of Eros, a force including sexual desire but larger and more polymorphous, which (he writes in Beyond the Pleasure Principle) seeks “to combine organic substances into ever greater unities.” Desire as Eros, desire in its plastic and totalizing function, appears to me central to our experience of reading narrative, and if in what follows I evoke Freud — and, as a gloss on Freud, Jacques Lacan — it is because I find in Freud’s work the best model for a “textual erotics.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 28 August 2011 @ 9:52 pm

  46. Eros/Psyche isn’t a Christian story; it’s Roman, and probably originally Greek. Eros and Psyche being attracted to each other, with Psyche gaining power over Eros not through denial but through experience and self-consciousness: these are more Greek ideas than Christian ones. The Orthodox version of Christianity incorporates this Greek ethos more than does Catholicism, and certainly more than Protestantism. The vampires seem more like Nietzschean supermen than like Christian devils or angels, and Nietzsche certainly had more use for the Greco-Roman tradition than for the Christian.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 28 August 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  47. Traditionally vampires were solitary predators; that changed, as far as I know, with the Anne Rice vampires. Now in The Sookie Stackhouse stories the vampires and humans socialize with each other. That’s a core feature also of the Twilight series, and as I understand it the central Twilight vampire doesn’t even suck blood any more. The vampires are being socialized, tamed, humanized.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 29 August 2011 @ 6:52 am

  48. Oh another thing I find lovely is how True Blood parodies that whole Twilight hype, which is repulsive with its appeal to Romanticism.

    The Drive, in a nutshell, is the Unconscious – it simply wants. Desire is something else; desire revolves around the petit objet a, the mediator. The series isn’t over yet, but it seems like Sookie is to progress from desiring to pure Drive; becoming a vampire herself perhaps, but then one that needn’t feed? I just remembered that the young vampire overlord, moments before he perished, said he almost didn’t need to feed anymore.

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    Comment by Center of Parody — 29 August 2011 @ 3:39 pm


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