In 1816, a young doctor named John Polidori was offered the position as traveling physician to George Gordon, Lord Byron. Polidori was saturnine, caustic, ambitious, well-educated and handsome. He had graduated from medical school at 19 (as unusual then as now) and this offer came not a year later. Over the objections of his family, he accepted. Polidori had literary ambitions; here was an amazingly famous poet asking him to join him on a tour of the Continent. It must have felt like fate was tugging him along. In confirmation of how well things were going, a publisher offered him 500 pounds to keep a diary of his travels with [...]
Is there a disease more sensationally gruesome, more thrillingly disturbing than rabies? The macabre virus, which has haunted the imaginations (and nightmares) of nearly every human culture for thousands of years, is the subject of a new nonfiction book by Wired journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy, a husband-and-wife team perfectly matched to tackle the cultural history of this most dreaded of zoonotic infections.
In Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus, Wasik and Murphy explore rabies' influence on such diverse subjects as immunology, 19th-century celebrity, religion, and, of course, zombies, werewolves, and vampires. It's also a history of the relationship between humans and dogs—with [...]
"To our knowledge these are the first in-situ observations of such behaviour during which one can convincingly state that lampreys attached to whales are rasping through the skin and feeding rather than just 'hanging on for the ride'." —Owen Nichols, Director of the Marine Fisheries Initiative at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, discusses a less-than-earth-shattering discovery. (Why wouldn't we have assumed that lampreys like cetacean blood as much as that of fish?) But, the news is a good excuse to watch a video of the things. They are super-weird and cool-looking. They should change their nickname, though. "Vampire fish" is so 2009. They should start rolling their [...]
Reporting from the frontlines of the Atlanta vampire community: "Merticus, who declines to give his real name, and alliance members claim they are different, physically or psychologically. They draw energy to feel good and stay healthy, and they absorb it psychically from close contact with 'donors' or from drinking a tablespoon of blood from them maybe once a week. They do not claim mythic powers such as immortality, and the screen depictions are often off-putting to members." Also: "If you go to Los Angeles, no one even cares if you are a vampire." Sounds about right. [Via]
That is a pretty remarkable thing: From propaganda vehicle Act of Valor to propaganda vehicle Argo, Mercedes product placement dominated the 34 number-one box office flicks of last year, appearing in ten of them. (The big winner last year was Apple, with appearances in 42% of #1 films.) Don't you want to drive a Mercedes now. And drink human blood. What will become of our children. When we are all pressed into service of the brands and industrial entertainment war complex. They will fight each other in the streets and then get into their Mercedes car-robots and zoom away to their abandoned buildings. So sad.
In an essay for New York's Vulture blog last year, author Brian McGreevy argued that "over the last decade, something has gone terribly wrong with the modern vampire. Take the biggest offender, Twilight. Granted there is an inescapable genius to its command of 14-year-old girl psychology; its premise is that the hot, broken guy who breaks into your house to draw you while you sleep wants to wait until marriage until he nearly screws you to death on a feather bed."
Members of an organization called "Bloodsuckers against TWILIGHT" held a book burning in Oregon this weekend to protest the popular young adult fiction series. The gripe?
The group members said that Stephenie Meyer's books made a mockery of real vampires and created damaging "racial stereotypes." Mr. Von Goolo said the books made vampires seem like "a klatch of sullen poster-boys," according to local ABC news station KATU-TV. He went on to say that the vampires in the books were "unrealistic" and that the likelihood of real vampires falling in love with an "annoying high school girl" was as realistic as a human falling in love with a ham sandwich. [...]
I stopped watching three minutes into this video documenting the stars and director of New Moon, the forthcoming sequel to Twilight, but, oh my God, the fainting, the screaming, the camera-flashing!
As National Novel Writing Month enters its final days, the next in our series about the novels that we started writing but, for whatever reason, never finished.
Sometime in 2006, I was lying in bed, kind of drunk and thinking about zombies, and I had a thought. In a world (the voiceover in my head went) in which both vampires and zombies existed, who would be forced to be humanity's friend? Vampires, because if all the people turned into zombies, the vampires would have nothing to eat. But in a world where both vampires and zombies existed, what's the worst thing that could happen? No, not vambies, dummy… [...]
From time to time I am asked by young people for advice in matters of work and life, generally by people who have mistaken my age for seniority. I don't really have any advice, though, is the problem, beyond some basics and also "don't do what I did," but usually it goes like:
1. Why don't you think about that over the weekend and if you still feel that way on Monday, you can totally send that email, okay?
2. Yes, you should not worry too much about the consequences and you should definitely quit your job that you hate and it'll probably all work out great. Job quitters are [...]
From time to time, particularly when it is taking off for the rest of the day, The Awl offers its space to normal, everyday people with a perspective on national issues. Today, we're pleased to once again present you with Walt Fruttinger, an Applebee's franchisee who at this time has some thoughts about the kids today.
If you lick your index finger and hold it up to the winds of pop culture at the moment, you're going to find a strong current of vampire blowing your way. Fanged creatures are all over the place right now, and most of them are "teenaged" creatures who are "hot" aimed at hordes [...]
Slate considers the effect that the new crop of pussy vampires will have on our developing youth: "Just as America's young men are being given deeply erroneous ideas about sex by what they watch on the Web, so, too, are America's young women receiving troubling misinformation about the male of the species from Twilight. These women are going to be shocked when the sensitive, emotionally available, poetry-writing boys of their dreams expect a bit more from a sleepover than dew-eyed gazes and chaste hugs. The young man, having been schooled in love online, will be expecting extreme bondage and a lesbian three-way."