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  1.  (4328.201)
    @mlpeters —

    "No reason to get upset."

    I thought my last post made it pretty clear that I wasn't upset — that you had your opinion, and I had mine, and that we both knew how the other felt, and that was that, and I wasn't overly concerned about it.

    Now, however, I will admit to becoming somewhat frustrated, because while I've seen your point from the beginning, you fail to see mine and ascribe opinions to me that I find somewhat bizarre and unlikely. And I think my position is kind of obvious and intuitive, so all this is really pretty confusing to me.

    I think a word is useless if it can be used to mean "undead creature that feeds on blood," "undead creature that doesn't feed on blood," "living creature that feeds on blood," "living creature that doesn't feed on blood," "demon, spirit or ghost who may or may not feed on blood," "demon, spirit, ghost, living or undead creature who absorbs life energy, fear, pain, sexual energy, entire souls, or some other intangible essence," and half a dozen other things as well. Do you see what I'm saying?

    Nobody here is arguing that the word "vampire" has only one, true meaning.

    All I'm saying is, words are far more useful as tools to clearly communicate concepts if they have consistent meanings — ideally a commonly-used, commonly-agreed-upon meaning, but failing that, a consistent meaning in each work using the term. And I'm also saying that folklorists are rather notorious for failing to do that, so it's hard to know what even one single folklorist means when they call something a "demon," "sprite," "vampire," or whatever.

    Anyway. I think I've explained my viewpoint to the best of my ability. And certainly past the boundaries of my patience. So, let's move on, shall we? :-)
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2008
     (4328.202)
    @Brandon
    If you think vampires are trouble - -try werewolves -- all sorts of vague and contradictory lycanthropy and shape-shifting legends -- add on that a werewolf who dies can supposedly come back as... you guessed it, a vampire.

    Remember, the folklorists didn't invent the stories, they just wrote them down, collecting raw data, contradictions, maddeningly vague descriptions and all.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2008
     (4328.203)
    @Brandon

    I have to agree with you. I was having pretty much that same argument with someone; at what point do the changes you make to something (such as going from undead thing that feeds on blood to a living creature that doesn't) mean that is, in fact, something new and should get a new name so as to not confuse it with the something else?

    Personally, I'm very much tired of people trying to insist that the characters in Twilight are vampires because all evidence points to the fact that they're eternally mopey superhumans who like their steak a bit rare (they even sparkle in the sunlight, FFS).
  2.  (4328.204)
    @mlpeters: Yeah, werewolves are complicated too — but in most cases, they're humans who turn into wolves or wolf-men, just under different circumstances and for different reasons. Which is a pretty easy definition. (Although "lycanthrope", which means "wolf-man" in Greek, gets mis-applied to lots of therianthropes other than werewolves. But I think that's more ignorance than anything else.)

    It's true that folklorists didn't invent the stories, but they *were* the ones who wrote them down, collected new data — and applied terms like "vampire" to creatures that nobody in native cultures had ever used the word for. We're talking about the people who first made this information available to the public and started the process of it becoming widely known — because it *wasn't* before. By and large, according to the research I've done, the folklorists and other scholars *were* the ones who used a lot of these terms in a slapdash manner — and no subsequent generation of folklorists seems to have gone back to try to narrow down and further define the body of scholarship in the way that most other scholarly traditions seem to.

    If you want an example of a more scholarly approach to folklore, look at this. It's a system of classification of global folktales. (My point in showing you this isn't that I'm proposing it as a good model, or as a model you will necessarily like or agree with — just that it's very possible to take a body of work as varied as folktales and apply a rigorous scholarly method to it.)

    @RenThing: Yeah, that's something I wonder about too — how different is *too* different? And when should a writer use a different term, because what he or she is describing is too far away from the expected usage of the term for the reader to easily follow? (I'm planning on using Middle Eastern ghouls, the kind who are a variety of djinn, in my WItch Doctor stories — but after doing a lot of reading about *other* creatures who people call ghouls around the world, I think I may use the original spelling ghul just to keep them straight)

    Even in the example of Twilight, the "vampires" in it are close enough to the pop culture definition of vampires that I don't have a huge problem defining them as such (whether I think they're a dumb idea is another question entirely). But then, I also think of 28 Days Later as a zombie film, even though the Infected in it aren't undead. (But I think of them that way because they're closer to the Romero zombie tradition than the Romero zombie tradition is to the Voodoo tradition of zombis that the name comes from.)
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2008
     (4328.205)
    @Brandon
    The Aarne-Thompson classifications appear to lump things together, rather than the reverse... Nearly all monsters would fall under " Supernatural Adversaries ". I don't see how it supports the position I thought you were taking... I'm starting to wonder if we haven't been agreeing on the macro in unrecognizable ways while arguing the micro...

    I liked the movie 28 Days later, but it's only a nod toward zombies... and that's, as you said, the Romero zombies, which are only the barest nod toward actual zombie legends -- there, the control over the zombie is actually more important than the undead part -- as Wade Davis' "The Serpent and the Rainbow" points out, "real zombies" may not have been dead at all. There are also tales, pre- Davis to support this -- of people who eventually partly recovered from being a zombie. So, the whole mindlessly attacking "zombie" genre, whether undead like Romero's. or living, but diseased like in 28 Days Later, is built upon shaky foundations and miss the original point completely -- drifting more than even this thread:) Still, insisting that Romero never really made a zombie film is a lost etymological battle.
    •  
      CommentAuthorkimieye
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008 edited
     (4328.206)
    I am glad we've discovered the Aarne-Thompson classification but it dose not define it gives type of tale not subject. Vampires there are also classified as Revenants(One who returns after death), but this is also the definition of ghosts and zombies...
    As I said before there is no use in over categorizing . I think I would prefer to use Vampire as an archetype rather that a definite, here is a nice Jungian article about that.


    um... Also the director of 28 days later said that they aren't Zombies but an homage to zombie and (unsurprisingly ) vampire films. He uses Last Man on Earth as a reference film. So 28 days later isn't a Zombie film it is an Homage film...different genre.

    Also I would like to get back on topic and say my personal (and until recently forgotten) literary vampire may be bunnicula
  3.  (4328.207)
    *sigh*

    My point was, "Rigorous scholarship *can* be applied to folklore! Look, here's an example!"
    '
    Nothing more. Nothing about vampires. Nothing about applying that specific example to vampires.

    Anyway. This is where I bow out of this line of conversation on this thread. It's clearly just wasting all of our time, and pissing me off.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008
     (4328.208)
    Bunnicula!

    I can't believe it took 206 responses for him to show up!

    I always hoped that when Lestat got to the bottom of the Ur-vampire mystery, he'd pop open some tomb lid in Akkad or somewhere and it would be Bunnicula in there.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008
     (4328.209)
    Bunnicula was actually fucking scary for a kids' book. He was really damn evil.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBlackfish
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008
     (4328.210)
    HAHA that is funny because I can totally see that thing ripping into some snot nosed kid that was banging on its cage

    Here bunny...cute bunny...here bunAAARRRRHHHHGGGHHHAAAARRRRR!!!!!
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008
     (4328.211)
    I don't remember him being that scary. He just sucked the juice out of vegetables.
    •  
      CommentAuthorkimieye
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008
     (4328.212)
    the dog thought he was scary, he actually helped solve mysteries.
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008 edited
     (4328.213)
    Bunnicula?!!

    WOW -- Never heard of it, or it surely wouldn't have waited 206 posts. I had to Google to see it's an actual thing and not a one-off joke image. It's been around since 1979?!

    @Brandon
    I'm just as irritated by the use of *sigh*, or *shrug*, or passive-aggression, in general.

    I never argued against rigorous scholarship - -don't know where you got that - -I just don't see D&D monster manual, or OHOTMU levels of classification as scholarly... Go back far enough and vampires, revenants, ghosts and even some forms of fairies all start to blur, no matter the level of "scholarship"... "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means".

    But seriously, man - -PEACE -- it's Christmas/Yule/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Saturnalia/Solstice (well, a couple days after...)... I'm not even sure what the BIG point of contention here, IS.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008
     (4328.214)
    Brandon is a taxonomist.

    You know that physics thing where you can't know both the exact location and the velocity of a photon at the same time, because if you measure the location you stop it, but if you measure the velocity it blurs?

    Brandon prefers to measure the locations. It sounds like you prefer to measure the velocities.

    It's all still scholarship.
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008 edited
     (4328.215)
    @oddbill
    Thanks -- I figured Brandon and I were talking past each other, neither really grasping the other's point - -now I know why -- you hit the nail on the head, methinks.
    •  
      CommentAuthorkimieye
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008 edited
     (4328.216)
    @mlpeters
    What the fuck is "OHOTMU" ?
    Actually disregard that I figured it out...sorry I'm a DC girl

    @oddbill
    I defiantly agree. I also believe that there is a point where we move out of the world of Folklore and into Psychology. We perhaps are asking the wrong question not "what is a Vampire defined as?" but rather " why do we recognize something as a vampire?"

    for instance Bunnicula I recognize him as a vampire but would not use him as a defining vampire character.
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008
     (4328.217)
    @kimieye - -yeah, it's the Marvel version of "Who's Who". I always hated those books - -kind of the opposite of storytelling.

    "...why do we recognize something as a vampire?"

    That's a fascinating question and observation. To me, that seems the real question -- the one that needs answered before, "what is a Vampire defined as?" can be answered.
    •  
      CommentAuthorkimieye
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008
     (4328.218)
    thank you.

    it took me a while to figure it out.

    So here is the question why do you recognize a vampire in Literature?

    What says Vampire to you? Cape? Coffin? Compulsion to confuse your V's and W's?
    • CommentAuthormlpeters
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2008 edited
     (4328.219)
    @kimieye

    Above all, a vampire is a predator, who survives by draining human vitality. I think that's the main commonality across all variations.

    Being "undead" is a big part of it, but some lore that has it's roots in malevolent fairies, demons, etc. are now classified as "vampire"... some tales having started out as one, have over centuries morphed into the other, so I'm not sure how essential the "undead" component is.
  4.  (4328.220)
    @oddbill — You are exactly right. (In fact, I even *refer* to myself as a taxonomist.)