The Stolen Twilight of the Now

The Stolen Twilight of the Now

I am considering this: that the present day fascination with pirates and vampires is because we live in a piratical and vampiric society, and this is a way to project our own self-disgust into a social spectacle that not only exalts these creatures, but is more a way for us to render evil fashionable, so we don’t see the vileness of the global and environmental results of our own common actions.

Pirates were considered vile creatures – we would hang them at the entrance to harbours, as a warning to all. Vampires, while fictional, were always loathsome creatures – just watch Nosferatu and see how creepy and disgusting they were considered. but now, we humanise and venerate these parasites, these vile corrupt murderous undead beings.

What could be a more appropos symbol of capitalism than an undead parasite that lives off the blood of his lessers?

What could be a more appropos symbol of capitalism than the pirate?

These are not people to admire – these are people to abhor. The pirate is not about finding new methods of helping rid society of disease and crime and violence – the pirate is all about aggrandising the self at the expense of society through crime and violence. The pirate doesn’t fight disease – the pirate is disease. The pirate is all about the gang, not the polity; the benefit and glory of the gang leader, not the common wealth.

The vampire is of another nature for as material and sadistic is the pirate, the vampire is metaphysical and seductive. The pirate operates through theft and actual murder. The vampire, being a creature of fiction, operates through parasitism and symbolic death. The vampire lives off of “precious bodily fluids” within the imagination of the audient. Previous media representations of vampires range from the bleak shabby elegance of Dracula to the ghoulish Nosferatu. With Ann Rice’s mythology of vampirism, the vampire, while still a wicked undead beast, was portrayed in much more humanistic terms – ,a href=”http://a.abcnews.com/images/GMA/sipa_Interview_Vampire_090325_ssh.jpg”>child vampires,, ancient vampires who could barely move, romantic and handsome vampires drawn into a disaster not of their own making.

As alluring and attractive and malleable such a fictive creature can be, they are, simply, parasites.

This is the other side of the capitalist ideology: you too can partake of the riches of this world and live forever – all at the expense of worthless dupes and victims whom you will feed on. You will carry the guilt, but learn to ignore the shame, and eventually revel and thrive in your parasitic madness. And internal to vampirism is the same failure of capitalism: what happens when you run out of victims, when the entire world is populated by vampires? What do you do when the engine of production has exhausted the planet’s resources and there is nothing left to profit on? The answer is the same: collapse and extinction.

This is never a point ever thought through, because of the dominant demands of short term necessity refracted through the lens of industrial destruction and capitalist exploitation. Hence, the mythology of parasitism must be inculcated at as young an age as possible, and so we have 6 year olds dressing as Dracula and Blackbeard and movies for teens like Twilight and Pirates of the Caribbean. The most impatient people, the young, are taught to look upon parasitism as just another and therefore acceptable, part of society. So, when they labour at some job for the rest of their lives, they won’t mind that a small number of parasites at the top are reaping all the rewards at their expense. They won’t mind that they, as members of the crew, make their living stealing from others.

This logic can go forward, and as usual, it is through comedy that this society deals with it most directly: the next example is a vampire pirate. And we have one: in the film “Pirates of the Caribbean” in the form of Jack Sparrow’s father played by Keith Richards. It is well known that Richards is undead and a vampire. This can be said because vampires don’t exist, therefore any attribution to Richards as a vampire is as fictive as the notion of vampire itself. to feed this mythology, he regularly has his blood transfused in order to continue living his vampiric life, where over the years he has increasingly come to resemble Nosferatu, feeding off the ashes of his father.

This, of course, has nothing to do with Keith Richards the person. I have never met him, and I am sure he’s a funny and decent dinner companion. The Keith Richards I am addressing is the fictive and mythological Richards – the media creation of Richards – the only one history will ever really know as it writes the story and mythologies of our times. This Richards is a scary and demented derangement of party animal and cultural parasite – someone who has looted all the blues riffs ever known and sucked them dry of their essence and blasted them together in the form of his playing in the Rolling Stones music ensemble – a band who built their career upon defiance and the hint of revolution and then sold it all for millions of dollars, pillaging music history and sucking their fans dry of money for their records, performances, and ephemera in the process.

There is nothing sustainable about Richards – he is the drug-addled adolescent with half a century of practice under his belt, and looking worse for the wear and tear he has put himself through. The excess he has subjected himself to would have killed weaker men, and for that his persona takes on a character of the undead – the vampire – Nosferatu. due to his age and condition, Richards cannot be the face of acceptable vampirism to a new younger generation – so he is the vampire father of the pirate role model for the younger generation.

And the vampire? In the form of Twilight’s Edward Cullen, he is not some rotting husk – he is a rutting hunk, designed and delivered for the fantasies of teen and tween girls. He makes victimhood seem reasonable, as he and his clan are now “vegetarians” in a vampiric sense: they only drink the blood of animals. A more “sustainable” approach to industrial capitalism. Rather than chop down the forest to power the machines, dig up the coal and oil, and slaughter wild animals wholesale for the vampirism, as it mimics contemporary western food patterns of industrial meat production.

At core, they are still vampires. They are still parasites. They take one’s most precious possession, time, and give only illusions and fantasy in return, flickering page turning revelries of fictive space, making us feel good about being hapless victims of a vampiric system of global piracy.

In the mean time, the rivers are dammed up, the earth continues to warm up, and precious metals are ripped from the dying earth to make a handful of people fabulously wealthy. And we’re all OK with that because we get to watch vampire pirates on the screen.

To quote Brian Eno:

I was just a broken head
I stole the world that others punctured
Now I stumble through the garbage
Slide and tumble, slide and stumble

Beak and claw, remorse reminder
Slide and tumble, slide and stumble
Back and forth and back to nothing
Keep them tidy, keep them humble.

Chop and change to cut the corners
Sharp as razors (shiny razors)
Stranded on a world that’s dying
Never moving, hardly trying.

I was just a broken head
I stole the world that others plundered
Now I stumble through the garbage
Slide and tumble, slide and stumble.

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About misterwarwick

I am an Associate Professor of Media Theory, Sound Synthesis, Audio Production, and "Digital Things". I am very much involved with issues of Archives, Access To Knowledge, and the pathetic predicament collectively understood as "Civilisation". I am also a composer of electronic music and I have an online music program called "Something Completely Different". I also like to play with digital imaging. I live in Toronto. It's a nice place.
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