Saturday, December 6, 2008

That Vampire Thing

Most people are writing about holiday cheer at this time of year. That would be too easy. What better time to write about vampires?

Vampires aren't just for Halloween anymore. They've burst upon the scene, again, in the HBO series, "True Blood" (seen it--every episode--and loved it) and the recent release, "Twilight" (vampires on the teen scene-- haven't seen it--yet.)

No doubt, countless academic and sociological discussions are heating up around the topic of vampires. Why does the vampire theme keep re-cycling? Why do vampires intrigue us? And, most urgently on the need-to-know list: Why do chicks dig them? Check out this fabulous satirical exploration of the question by Sarah Haskins.

Since I write, live, and think about the Feldenkrais Method, I'm always interested in multiple perspectives and the power of exploring non-habitual actions. And it would seem that the whole theme of vampire attraction fits right into that. Women say that vampires are exciting, forbidden, the "bad boy" who is irresistible -- at least in fantasy. Why settle for a nice guy when you can have somebody dangerous and creepy? The vampire, and vampire culture, is novel, a break from the ordinary. It seems very non-habitual, but for the fact that these answers are so PREDICTABLE.

I think satirists like Sarah Haskins, and my other favorite, Stephen Colbert, are much better at tickling the part of our nervous system that craves true novelty. They begin with a habitual action or pattern of thinking, and just stay with it until the idea can no longer withstand the gentle assault of humor and reason.

It's sort of how Feldenkrais teachers work. We support a person's habitual movement pattern until it becomes conscious. Once the pattern is conscious, new options can be introduced. The new options can be easily and effortlessly incorporated for greater ease and grace, more comfort, and higher levels of functioning. It's "neurological diplomacy," as Feldenkrais protegee Ruthy Alon would say.

Nothing disarms an argument faster than agreement. By appearing to agree with the status quo, Sarah Haskins lets us see the sociological and feminist implications of the latest vampire craze in a challenging way. Satirists keep us from being "glamoured" by the narrowness of our habitual thinking patterns.

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