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BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER - A CYNICS GUIDE   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Monday, 05 July 2004

Vampires. and Vamps.

Recently, I've found myself watching more and more episodes of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer "and it's bastard spin off "Angel". I know, I know. It's a small step from watching "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and watching "Star Trek : Deep Space Nine Series 42" on DVD with special director fanboy's commentary.

 

But before anyone else mentions it, I have seen a few minutes of DS9, and it's awful. A spaceship that goes nowhere and does nothing, sat next to a friendly black hole? A load of guff at best. Makes a world of wisecracking demons seem positively mundane.

 

Of course there is a difference between fan and fanatic, and, as my filmstar girlfriend says, Fans are people who watch movies : Fanatics are people who make their own costumes and dress like they are in the movies. (See Bruce Campbell's disturbing documentary "Fanalysis" for a frightening dissection of society, including someone who has changed their name by deed pool to be Xena Warrior Princess, and had plastic surgery to more closely resemble some kind of Warrior Princess). I'm not even a fan : I'm an interested cynic

 

But you know, watching "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" is a surreal experience. A world where everyone is a Vampire, or a wisecracking human threatened by weird stuff from a parallel netherworld, or at the very least some kind of weird immaterial portal shifting demon thingy whatnot. And like, when the undead walk the earth, fed by some kind of weird vampire blood fuel, you know, the easiest way to deal with it is simple : make a wisecrack, break off a table leg and use it as a stake. Ha ha, die vampire!

 

Thank God the world is full of wooden tables and chairs, just waiting to be snapped off, so that a sudden influx of vampires and undead Dark Souls can be dispatched to the alternate universe of Quor'Goth. Or whatever it's called.

 

That's one thing that gets me. Call me a cynic. Easily done. What are the logistic of evil netherworlds? When they aren't plopped into being on our dimension, what exactly do Demons do? Do they lurk in dark corners of their own dimensions, bored and fed up, muttering to themselves Oh, I wish I had something to terrorise?. Do they play cards in the eternal Waiting Room of the Damned waiting for flight SATAN666 to the Land Of Innocent Souls to depart from Hell International Airport?

 

Personally I would get very fed up being a demon. The hours (constant) are long. There's no job satisfaction. After all, even when you terrorise one soul, there's still millions of others of people who are happy, and need too to be terrorised. It's a lonely job - after all, who would want a demon or a Hellmouth Vampire as a girlfriend or boyfriend? Who would want their husband to walk through the door and demand Blood Pie, before saying "Sorry dear, work was Hell." (Especially when it literally was).

 

It does make me wonder though : don't vampires get worried when they walk around in forests, with all those enormous stakes stuck in the ground? (Incidentally, they're known as trees to some of us mortals, and they're pretty useful. If you known what chlorophyill is, and what it does. Turns shite into oxygen. Hooray for nature, I say). Man, I would get so worried. Still, no more worried than your average human, who sits around every day surrounded by gazillions of threatening things. We're even more fragile than demons.

 

But the worst - or maybe the best - thing about the show is the paranoia that it inflicts. Like someone living in a state of perpetual post-terrorism paranoia, I'm beginning to suspect that not only is everyone on the show a vampire - and a werewolf, and probably The Thing at the same time, but that all around me, at every second of every day, is a legion of unseen netherbeasts with names I can't pronounce, all of whom are trying to control and rule this mortal world, and fill it with baby vampires called Kevin. Being a vampire is like Pyramid selling : eventually you run out of victims and the whole darn thing collapses on itself. There's no sustainable supply chain of food : much like mankind itself, consuming resources far in excess of its own ability to provide, and soon the earth will run dry of food : be they cows, or handy bloody gushing human donors.

 

I might start checking tube stations for abandoned vampires left on platforms, or underneath cars to see if anyone's planted a detonating vampire. Maybe they should start a new branch of the CIA, a Central Incubus Agency, or the Federal Bureau of Incubi, or something like that, check the flight lists of internal flights looking for Van Helsings, Count Alucards, William ‘Spike' The Bloody's on their rosters, and stuff like that. Would be a doddle. It's not that far from DNA testing, to blood testing. Maybe, like breathalysing drunks, they could develop portable vampire detectors that breathalyse for evil. That wouldn't sound so bad.

 

After all, Evil is around every corner. And it wears a human face. It wears the face of everyone else : the mundane, the normal, the selfish. And what is a vampire, but something that sucks up the souls of others and converts them to its own way of life? Some people call them Fundamentalist Christians. Some people call them Zealots, on a quest to convert Iraq to ‘Democracy' (the special kind of Democracy where it is the politics that are most popular not with the votes but with corporations that get elected). Personally, I think we all need an evil detector. They should test each and every president with it. I'm sure that when George Dubya The Illiterate is tested, the needle will be poking firmly in the red, identifying as the evil clusterfuck spawn of Satan, believing he's acting as an Instrument of God, when really he's the Instrument of another Deity, bringing all the human race ever nearer to the Apocalypse. Personally, I'm not Ready for The Rapture. Well, not unless it's by Blondie. That's the type of Atomic I would like to see..

 

 

 

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