In case you are living under a rock, the final instalment of the film version of the Twilight series was released in theatres last week. Am I being overly sensitive about the idea of grown women fantasizing about teenaged boys? Why does our culture have this strange double standard? If 35-year-old fathers were lining up at movie premieres to get their photos taken with Dakota Fanning, we'd scream bloody murder.
Most people go to Greece for beaches, ouzo and temples gleaming in the Mediterranean sun. I went for a vampire. But what I found there led me beyond pop culture images of vampires to a darker part of the human imagination. In the midst of searching for ancient ruins, an archaeological team from UBC stumbled on a cemetery from the time of the Ottoman empire. The lead researcher wanted an osteologist to study the skeletons -- especially one that might have been accused of being a vampire. There wasn't much question of not going, of course.
With the final instalment of the Twilight franchise hitting cinemas soon, I am reminded that the fabled bad boy may make for good fiction, but seldom does he make a great catch in real life. Don't believe me? Just ask Rihanna. What duty, if any, do authors have to create strong female leads (and males who respect them)?
Literary writing is a worthless profession. Few who write novels, stories and poems make a living from them. This has been true for millennia. Lately the Internet has regressed into a society of feudal manors lorded over by tech giants like Amazon, Apple and Yahoo, who sell e-books for 99 cents or give them away for free. Their "competitive pricing" is threatening traditional publishers and physical books with extinction.
As The Hunger Games gets released into theatres this weekend, all of the hoopla over the film can make it easy to forget there was ever a book to begi...
Vampire science is already poaching some of the best. The woman who teaches vampires at Harvard is a serious scholar of Romantic English literature. Now, Lord Byron did in fact invoke the undead in "The Giaour." But don't kid yourself: it's still a huge and weird notional leap to go from Byron Studies to Vampire Studies.