We are fickle beings. Popularity is based on nothing other than someone’s interest which makes us jealous of said interest, and therefore, more likely to be interested ourselves. This rapidity of changing moods has confounded scholars for thousands of years, mainly because they do not remember how capricious they were themselves at one point in their lives. This point of general unpredictability usually occurs when we reach that golden age of puberty, and continues, to a large extent, into our early twenties. Why is this particular age so erratic? Because we are going through a change within. The child is being subjugated by the need to become more adult. But since no one wants to be their parents (humorously we all change into them eventually anyway), we attempt to forge our own identity. This marks an essential stage of development, in which, if we fail, we are doomed to be a Goth forever.
Thus, the question of what is popular. Aristotle is quoted as saying, “The young are permanently in a state resembling intoxication.” The image is clear. We have all seen or been someone who is drunk and remember it’s image. Stumbling toward anything, swaying to every unseen beat, disgorging the contents of a good meal which has begun to rankle. Youth cannot be satisfied. So what is the logic behind a recent trend. To discuss this thoroughly we must examine our own distant fad foibles.
Buddy Holly made thick, black plastic frames popular. Nowadays, when the military tries to make its subjects wear the same type of eye wear, they are called “birth-control glasses.” Also, people used to think that horn-rimmed specs were “it.” Everything from holey jeans and big hair to duck tail hair dos has been popular at one time or another. So what is the fascination with the undead lately.
From major motion pictures to mega-selling books, teens have embraced a fascination with Vlad and his numerous minions for years. Vlad the Impaler was a Southern Romanian ruler in the 1400’s. He became known as the impaler because of his penchant for using this form of death for his enemies. When Bram Stoker wrote his famous novel “Dracula” it was with Vlad (and other bloodthirsty Eastern European nobles) in mind. The now popular version of the vampire can be seen in oral traditions from about the 1600 on. The vampire gained all of his now familiar characteristics with the Stoker story. So why would teens be, not only intrigued, but idolizing the image of a remorseless breed of killer?
A vampire is strong and independent. Teens, by nature, are neither. They wish to become a shell to these attributes, but it is a wish not generally a reality. Maturity is something that happens with time, and a vampire is timeless. The picture of living forever is also attractive because we fear death. Vampires are also level headed and cool under pressure. These traits are desirable because the teen is escaping the sheltered bonds of childhood and entering the chaotic realm of adulthood.
For all of these reasons, and also because we are romantics and love a good love story, are the among the reasons for the vampires continued popularity.