Tag Archives: sexuality

True Blood: The Vamp Show That Didn’t Bungle

Whilst killing time at my amigo’s flat, the hour inevitably came when the bars were closed and we had played all the Smash Brawl we could reasonably stand. Calling my attention to a small, white box with mildly erotic cover art, he suggested we watch an episode from the first season of “True Blood,” his latest vampire-infused TV fetish.

I immediately recoiled, as if repelled by garlic or by sunlight. I’m really not much of a television enthusiast, truth be told, and rumors of Twilight’s blatant donk-canery had soured my taste for any attempts at mainstreaming the vampire genre. (Sparkling vampires? Stake through the heart. Or maybe a kukri knife, a la the original Stokerian epic.)

Due to boredom, masochism, or the perseverance of hope, I decided to give it a shot. After five or six hours of viewing time over two subsequent evenings, I am happy to say that my doubt has been laid to rest – the program is well-written, engaging, and most importantly, does not reduce the vampire to a glittering, Hot Topic-esque pissant conceived to arouse fifteen year-old emo chicks.

This does not imply that the show does not have its sensual moments. The vampire has long been a symbol of sexuality and deviance, and I cringed at first for fear of half-assed soft-core or soap-inspired shamefulness. Never you fear, gentle reader – True Blood rides the line between Steeleian cliché and pleasant sexuality like a drugged up fang-banger straddling their first vampire lay (puts “v-card” in a whole new light, doesn’t it?)

Outside the bedroom, the show continues not to disappoint. A host of believable if routinely traumatized characters (it is, after all, a drama) bring the town of Bon Temps to life, infusing the program with a down-homey, colloquial flare. While the dialogue’s backwoods simplicity was alienating at first, repeated exposure charms the viewer like a southern belle; drawing the audience into the more human aspects of a fantastic world. This is a strong claim coming from me, as a lifetime of exposure to Bush-era redneckery has embittered me toward anything that drives a pick-up and listens to Toby Keith; but it is true – seeing relatable characters in such familiar surroundings actually did much to assuage the shame brought on by my humble Midwestern origins.

And speaking of politicizing, I should applaud the satirical elements of True Blood. The message is subtle yet undeniable, as background programs host chattering about vampire-rights legislators and the struggle to legalize vampire marriage. Pricelessly, a Fellowship of the Sun cathedral even sports a bright yellow poster reading “God Hates Fangs.” If that doesn’t get you off, well, then I simply have no comment.

While the action scenes are not uber-abundant, they certainly occur often enough to maintain interest. The violence is intensely fast-paced and often over quickly, which upon consideration is better than the drawn-out, cheese-ridden excuses for melees that so permeated the genre’s prior failures. Also, as the name implies, the program is suitably ensanguined in other aspects, from vampire intercourse to the snorting of vamp blood to induce psychedelic journeys.

All in all, this is the program that got it right. While it is not my favorite drama of all time (bring back The Riches!), it is a masterful forward leap for the vampire traditions, honoring the genre’s hallmarks without trespassing into the cliché. The show maintains an aestheic homage to metal and gothic aesthetics at points (such as at the vamp-bar “Fangtasia”) while keeping Bon Temps and its residents believably normal – the only inconsistency is that landscapers and wait-staff walk around in high-end, sponsor-evident fashions. Also, I am proud to announce that HBO’s vampires balk at running water, recoil from sunlight and silver, and are precluded from entering private dwellings uninvited. And, once again, they don’t fucking glitter!!!

Red Pill Neo is a contributing writer for Project Group Think. He apologizes for the late post, citing an impending move back west brought upon by perpetual nomad-ism. Follow Neo and his PGT pals on Twitter – once again, we’re PGTblog!!!

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Who Has The Right?

One evening this week, while driving home from work, I passed a shirtless man who was jogging down the sidewalk.  He was a bit flabby, and his pallid flesh jiggled sloppily as he ran.  I found myself thinking rather harshly, “Ugh!  That man should NOT be running around like that in public.  That doesn’t look good at ALL.”  A split second later, I realized with a small chill of horror what I had done.  I’d passed the sort of judgment that I absolutely loathe upon this unsuspecting man, out jogging on a summer evening.  The assumption I had made, of course, is that this man ought not to be exposing his bare chest because I, a complete stranger, don’t find the sight aesthetically pleasing.  And really, what is the harm in seeing a fairly unattractive man running about shirtless?  Is it really likely to ruin my day?  No, and seeing him didn’t spoil my appreciation of the urban landscape, put me in a bad mood, or spoil the dinner I would be having upon my return home.  So what does it matter?  Why do we as a people feel the need to dictate who has the right to expose portions of their bodies: legs, chests, arms, thighs, based on how attractive we find them to be?  I mean, clearly this man was hardly parading around shirtless in a misplaced effort at seduction.  He neither knew me nor cared what I thought of his body.  He wasn’t baring his chest for my enjoyment, but because he happened to be feeling a bit warm!  My appreciation of the sight, or lack thereof, was completely irrelevant either way.  How rude it was for me to immediately feel that he had no right to expose a portion of his body that I found unappealing.

In the recent past, I spent several years dwelling within the Neopagan paradigm.  I no longer truly belong to this subculture, though I haven’t severed all of my ties.  I still embrace certain aspects of the lifestyle, while rejecting others in which I no longer believe.  One thing which I adored about the Neopagan community was the strong emphasis on loving oneself, and in perceiving oneself as a spiritual being.  In this view, there is no separation between the heavens and the earth, or the physical and the spiritual.  The physical IS spiritual, I had been taught.  And so it is that most Neopagans are quite comfortable in their own skins.  I’ll never forget the experience of my first big Pagan gathering down in southern Ohio.  It was a week- long camping trip on the grounds of a commune in what happened to be a reclaimed strip mine.  It was hot, and the facilities were quite primitive.  The gathering had a “clothing optional” policy, which means that quite a few of the attendees chose to go about scantily clad, or even completely nude.  Telling others outside the community of this experience always evokes looks of horror or disdain, and comments about the lack of sophistication and the degenerate nature of this experience.  And yet, to me, it was truly an awakening of sorts.  Never before had I seen such a diverse array of people traipsing about naked, or partially clad (generally topless).  Prior to this experience, I’d primarily known only two types of female bodies: the bony, sinuous forms offered up by Hollywood, and my own (which was therefore always a source of shame and concern).  At this gathering, I was able to view a plethora of different shapes and sizes of human forms, and I was amazed.  There are things I learned about the tendencies of the human form which would take me pages of writing to explain.  In short, it truly was an awakening.  And very few of these people were striding about in the buff to elicit sexual interest.  They were merely doing it because it was comfortable, because they wanted to, and because they felt that there was nothing wrong with showing their skin and in seeing the skins of others.  Many of the women were possessed of tremendous bulk, being “Goddess sized”, as they are called in that community.  And no one thought to say to them, “you know, you REALLY shouldn’t be walking around like that.”  In this setting, they absolutely had the right, which is what made the experience so liberating for them and for all of us.

Having been divorced from the Neopagan community for some time now, it seems the judgmental nature of our society has crept into my consciousness yet again, influencing my perceptions of the human body.  I feel disturbed by how quickly this attitude has asserted itself over the awareness I’d developed to the contrary.  In my opinion, judging others on the basis of their appearance and behaving as though the “ugly” have no right to bare themselves as they choose is a negative attitude in general, as well as harmful to one’s own self.  For most of us are, of course, our worst critics.  Now I can see why I’ve stopped wearing sleeveless shirts and shorts… because subconsciously, I have been passing the same sort of judgment upon myself once more!

And so I open the floor to discussion.  What are your thoughts on the subject?  Are you for habitual judgment of the bodies of strangers as a form of recreation, or nay?

Soahki is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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The Question of Love

“All you need is love.” All right, go ahead and hum the chorus fill, “doot doo doodoo doo;” it’s out of both our systems now. Focusing more attentively on the lyrical content of this refrain-turned-mantra, we see a claim reiterated to us in various forms by not only the Beatles, but by poets, theologians, and philosophers. Even Disney, that dark tyrant of corporate woe, steps down from its black throne to sing out with the Bacchanalian masses: “Can you feel the love the tonight? It is where we are.” But is it enough for our own “star-crossed warriors,” burnt and well-scarred by the pangs of heartache, to pursue the ideal further?

At our core, of course, we are animals. On the obvious level, we like to shag. Say it with me kids. “Shag.” Even makes one feel sexier, somehow more complete, doesn’t it? All you porn-star types can go ahead and hit me with a “fuck”if it makes you feel dirtier; the bottom line is that people dig coitus. But a further meditation, I believe, will show that even on the primal level, we crave a bonding that is more substantive than handcuffs or nipple clips. Even at the most animal tier of consciousness, a large number of people feel the desire to be a part of a pack, to love the tribe and have that love returned. Maybe this pack is small, a wild-eyed couple on their honeymoon who needs nothing and no one else. Maybe it is larger, a la Salt Lake City – patriarchy notwithstanding, I am sure that Mormons need lovin’, too.

 

The point is, we have two distinct drives in play when we take up the love gambit: one sexual, one interpersonal. One often seems to trip over the other, however, and the restrictions of the “social contract” complicate the matter further. Would that we might find some romantic sorting hat, that grouped us each with our own kind before we prowled the bars and singles’ sites – “You’re a polygamist,” it would call to us, each in our turn, “you should marry immediately and monogamously, and you simply need to fuck until your eyes fall out. Now go, all of you, and be happy!”

 

The truth is, neither of these drives can be reduced to a textbook definition. What for one person is the sex drive will for another seem some psychic torment (think a blushing traditionalist swapping brain-states with the Marquis de Sade.) And, of course, when one does find the elusive fruit that poets call true love, it may be doomed by one partner’s inclinations toward a romantic life into which the other simply cannot follow. I believe this escapes many of us on a daily basis, as Americans are wont to accept the tacit premise of monogamous marriage without question. And this is not to knock monogamous marriage, though the institution seems marred by bigotry in most states.

 

Perhaps you have considered this issue in depth – I would be quite intrigued to read what other seekers might have found. Perhaps these thoughts seem new, exciting, like the opening of so many spiritual doors within the unseen corridors of your heart’s subconscious yearning. Caution, young grasshopper, you tread a frightening but exciting road – trust yourself, but never the terrain. Or, just perhaps, you think this is a bunch of hippie bullshit, and that the author is single-handedly responsible for incurring both AIDS and 9/11 at the hands of a vengeful god. Be not afraid, oh traditional one – there is room for you as well at love’s table. Eat the fruit which suits your palette best.

 

(Note: the author takes as given that each lover’s needs may transcend gender – in a few generations, maybe we won’t even remember what homophobia meant.)

 Redpillneo is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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