When, more than a month ago, Slate labeled the vampires of Stephenie Meyer’s paranormal teen romance Twilight “vegetarian,” I hoped that Slate was unique in publicly–and I say “publicly” because the term was first produced in the novel–misidentifying the vampires’ “compassionate” diets. But a small newspaper in London, London!, picked up the misnomer as recently as yesterday morning.
So I’m thinking: Really. Really? Come on.
For those of us—and I include myself in this group—who have painstakingly, and probably unsuccessfully, tried to avoid every gaping cultural footprint of Meyer’s novel, the story is one of a 16-year-old girl and a vampire named Edward who fall in love but have no outlet for their desire, since Meyer, a Mormon herself, has fashioned a Mormon-friendly, sexless (but maybe kind of erotic!) story. One of Edward’s many points of appeal? He spares humans and drinks the blood of other animals instead. See? He cares.
That’s the insult, and here’s the injury: the term is being haphazardly vomited up all over the media. There’s a Twilight fan club called Vegetarian Vampires. There’s a wikiHow article, “How To Look Like a Twilight Vampire,” that advises fans what color contacts to sport for true vegetarian vampire authenticity: “Put on gold contacts if you are a ‘vegetarian’ vampire. If you do not want to be vegetarian, put on burgundy/red contacts. This step is optional. If you’re a hungry vampire your eyes should be a dark color.” And, worst of all–because teen girls are always worst of all–there are girls everywhere swooning at the thought of an anemic-looking, long-toothed fellow sucking on rabbits because, you know, he’s a nice vampire.
So next time you’re hungry for, uh, vampires, watch True Blood, where the blood is as artificial as the breasts.