In a recent blog post John Morehead wrote: Morehead’s Musings: Media Stereotypes of Vampires and Other Alternative Subcultures Continue with Alleged Abduction of Teen: “One article I read recently even went so far as to offer commentary on just how dangerous such groups are. The problem is, no such groups exist, and this media narrative was shaped by the residual effects of anti-cult stereotypes, misrepresentations of the vampire community, and the legacy of satanic panics.”
Now I’ve deliberately quoted out of context, because I take issue with two terms, or concepts — “vampire community” and describing vampires as a “subculture”.
Perhaps my interest is primarily as a language pedant. Can one really have a “community” composed of fictional creatures, largely invented by Bram Stoker in the late 19th century? Can one really describe such creatures as a sub-culture?
Some years ago Irving Hexham wrote in the New Religious Movements (Nurel) forum of some people who believed that the Necronomicon written about by H.P. Lovecraft actually existed in the actual archives of an actual Miskatonic University.
But even assuming that there really are such creatures as Bram Stoker wrote about, and that they actually behave in the way described in his book, then saying that a community composed of such creatures is not violent is really stretching it — like saying that a community of terrorists, or a community of torturers and interrogators is not violent.
Are there media sterotypes of hobbits, and unfair misrepresentations of the “hobbit community”?
I suppose one could put a similar spin on this obituary by heading it “Death catches up with man who slandered the fairy community”: Geoffrey Crawley, 83, Photographic Scientist – NYTimes.com:
Were there really fairies at the bottom of the garden, or was it merely a childhood prank gone strangely and lastingly awry?That, for six decades, was the central question behind the Cottingley fairies mystery, the story of two English schoolgirls who claimed to have taken five pictures of fairy folk in the 1910s and afterward.
Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths borrowed Elsie’s parents’ camera and went out into the woods. They came back claiming that they had taken pictures of fairies. It went beyond a joke when Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories, began promoting them as genuine pictures of actual fairies. Real-life authors, it seems, are not as astute as the fictional detectives they create. But whatever one makes of this story, could one really speak of a fairy community, or complain about media stereotypes of fairies? Can fictional creatures be described as a sub-culture, whether their characteristics are pleasant or unpleasant?
Will someone be castigating J.K. Rowling for publishing unfair stereotypes of the blast-ended screwt “community”?