Friday, February 18, 2011

Zombies and Vampires and Virgins, Oh My!

Every once in awhile, an idea comes along that is truly revolutionary. The idea is presented to the world in a book or a treatise, in a film or television show, in a product or an invention. The creator of the idea stands, full of pride, and shouts “Behold!”

Then the world sort of squints at the idea and says “Gwrgh?” The world plays around with it, pokes it with sticks, turns it upside down and shakes it. “Gwrgh?” inquires the world. The new idea confuses the world. “Gwrgh?” the world asks again, with mounting frustration. Finally the world takes the idea and smashes it on a rock with a self-satisfied “Gwrgh.”

Then another type of genius comes along, not a creative genius, but an exploitative genius. The exploitative genius picks up the tattered remnants of the idea and says “Ahhh!” He makes the idea lose ten pounds and get a personal stylist. He removes the harsh edges, the controversy, the depth. He whittles the idea down to a shallow reflection of itself, different enough to be interesting, bland enough to be popular. He gives it new packaging and a new name, and he crouches slyly and whispers “Hey, hey! Check this out.”

And the crowd goes wild.

That mutilated, bastardized shell of an idea becomes the coolest thing ever. The world puts away its Crocs and Vibrams and goes whole hog for the half-assed version of the idea, insisting that they always liked the idea, that they liked it before everyone else did, that they will love this idea and no other until the day they die.

Opportunists capitalize with off-brand versions of the idea, yet another level of distilment, of distortion. They put the idea in an American flag bikini and a burka. They put it on boxes of cereal and loaves of bread and talk shows and magazine covers. They find the idea on grilled cheese sandwiches, in cloud formations, and on cows’ buttocks. They tell you that if you really love the idea, you will buy t-shirts and hamburgers and bumper stickers and vote Democrat.

At this very moment, we are at the crest of a wave of just such opportunism: the wave of Twilight.

The idea of Twilight is as old and corrupt as pedophile priests, and for the same reasons. It’s a rehashing of the classic platonic perspective: sex is bad, the physical is impure, humans are hopelessly flawed. The fulfillment of sexual desire literally turns men into monsters who will eat your face. Only the purity of virginal platonic love can be considered true.

These are the messages being sent to the prostitweens jerking off their boyfriends in the back row of the theater, and they are lapping it up. It’s all been said before, but this time they care, now that there are vampires involved. I guess Plato’s dialogue just wasn’t as scintillating as this:

Stupid Twilight Chick: Blah blah blah I’m a virgin.
Stupid Twilight Vampire: Stay away or I will drink your blood!
Stupid Twilight Werewolf: Hey guys, not really sure why I’m here, but bark! Bark! Grrr…

Wow, yeah, I can really see how that adds to the culture.

At the same time, popular culture is being overrun by zombie hoards, in the sense that we are being flooded by wave after wave of mindless, soulless works of art produced by figurative zombies, that are about mindless, soulless literal zombies. Not even ninjas or unicorns were as cool as zombies are today. We've got Zombie Strippers!, Zombieland, even Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. That's right, even the novel that all women are genetically pre-programmed to love sells better when it has zombies in it.

These two trends, Twilight and zombies, are utterly pervasive. So what if some diabolical genius (i.e. me) combined the two? The result would be a cultural juggernaut of infinite proportions. It would be an unstoppable Behemoth capable of evaporating the brains of all teenagers on sight. I say, as long as these trends are here, we may as well do it right. I find it utterly intolerable to do anything halfway. So here’s my contribution to the Twilight/zombie craze. I swear it’ll be the next big thing.

Here is an excerpt of this literary gem for your enjoyment.

The Loving Dead

By: S. Misanthrope

Cover art by: M. J. Kelley

Book I of the Loving Dead Series

Chapter 5: Awakening

Virgin leaned against the mausoleum and peered into the shadows of the woods that edged the cemetery. Why does he always want to meet here? she wondered. The thin mist that always hung a foot off the hallowed ground caressed her calves, like the clammy hands of a lover. Or at least that was how she imagined a lover’s hands might feel. No man had laid so much as a finger on her milky legs since the doctor pulled her from the womb almost fifteen years ago.

Her heart somersaulted in her chest when she heard the rustling again. “Hello?” she called to the darkness. Black clouds shifted across the mournful face of the moon, moonlight parted the night that enveloped her and penetrated the edge of the wood.

The tall, dark shadow of the man she awaited appeared. He moved through the foliage with a shuffling gate, one shoulder raised to his ear, his arm bent and elbow held tight against his side, his other arm hanging limply, swaying with the halting motion of his walk. Virgin thought back on the first time that odd stride had caught her eye in the hall of the high school outside the home ec room. She blushed when she caught herself wondering whether that left arm really was as useless as it appeared. As he moved toward her, she fought the urge to run straight into his arms- or at least into the one that seemed functional –and give herself over utterly. But she resisted, remembering why she had come, the question she needed to ask.

Robby approached her. “Stop!” she exclaimed. She felt overwhelmed by his nearness, his presence. The sight of him- his unkempt hair, strange parchment-colored skin, and the gaping, oozing wounds that never seemed to heal. The smell of him- that musky odor with no trace of sweat, but oddly reminding her of death and decay. The feel of him- she stopped herself short.

“Robby,” she said, “I need to know.”

“Mrrhl,” said Robby, picking a scab off his ear.

“How can you say that?” she cried. “You know I trust you, but I deserve to know the truth. Don’t I have a right to the truth?!”

“Grwlgh,” murmured Robby, as his earlobe detached and fell to the ground.

“Of course I’m afraid,” she replied. “I’m afraid that, that there’s something wrong with you. When you got hit by that semi, the paramedics said they couldn’t find a heartbeat, but you got up and walked away as if nothing had happened. When we went to have dinner with your parents, you took me to a secret underground lab of the military-industrial complex in the quarantine zone. You’re always getting in trouble for biting other kids at school, and after you do, their grades suddenly tank and they start hanging out all together doing the Thriller dance. Any one of these could just be coincidence, but all together! If it’s true, it’s what I fear, then you are a…a…”

“Hrglwr!” exclaimed Robby.

“Alright, I’ll say it!” Virgin sobbed. “You, the man I love, you’re a zombie!”

Virgin collapsed, sobbing, on the steps of the mausoleum. Robby picked an overlarge stink beetle off a bush and sniffed it before popping it in his mouth and chewing thoughtfully. He scratched the hole where his ear had been and frowned. After a minute, Virgin’s sobs grew quiet.

“Oh Robby, what do we do? I know our love is real.”

Robby turned his eye back toward Virgin, a single beetle leg hanging from his lips.

“Oh my dearest love, you’re such a messy eater,” Virgin cooed affectionately.

“Eeeat,” said Robby, searchingly. “Braaains!”

“That’s it, Robby!” Virgin exclaimed. “That’s why our love is good. That’s why it’s worth fighting for, worth waiting forever for! Any other boy at school, he would want me for my body, my sinful, corrupt body. You, you love me for my mind!”

“Brains!” cried Robby. Virgin cried, too, tears of love, of youthful joy, the pure, exhaultant tears of sexual frustration. She felt something in the air, an intangible force drawing them together, closer, closer…

“No!” she exclaimed. “We must wait! Forever, if necessary. But I will wait for you, my darling. Always, I will wait!”

Virgin withdrew toward the wood, turning at the last moment to stand on tiptoe and blow her love a kiss before dashing off home, where she would flog herself seven times for her impure musings about how Robby’s decaying penis might hold up in reverse cowgirl.

Robby stood alone in the cemetery, bathed in moonlight, searching the grass for his missing earlobe.


Look for The Loving Dead in bookstores soon!


S. Misanthrope
P.S. Special thanks to M. J. Kelley for creating the cover art. Check him out at:


  1. Extra special thanks to M. J. Kelley for the inspiring cover art, the perfect complement to my masterpiece!

    Check him out, he's a funny writer and talented photographer and you can see his stuff here:

  2. Thanks for the creds! The post turned out well. My favorite part is the excerpt.