The Roundtable – Education, Discretion and Decorum

roundtable editorial picture

By

Tim

Good evening,
Ever since I was approached by John Reason to head up the staff writing team at Real Vampire Life, formerly Real Vampire News, we have tried to present timely, topical and relevant articles, editorials and interviews to create a magazine style experience for the real living vampire sub-culture. At times there have been popular items we have presented and, equally, there have been unpopular ones but it’s not about “popular” it has always been about presenting the words, the images and the opinions of members of the wider VC/OVC.

Reading the “edicts” from particular formations of “leaders” of the so called “community” one could be forgiven for thinking that we have been living in some sort of oligarchical society where the “power” has been vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; however, the fact remains that the sub-culture is made up of thousands of unique, talented and dedicated people and along with this go several thousands of unique perspectives, viewpoints and opinions.

Two of the most topical considerations have always been, and will continue to be, whether or not we should be attempting to educate those not of the culture of the vampire, and or otherkin, and what level of decorum is required, demanded or needed within such a social framework as the VC/OVC occupies.

In essence the questions both define and command the sub-culture and, by association, the people involved in it and that is where Real Vampire Life has stepped in in order to give voice to those who may not otherwise have one. This editorial interview has been probably the most difficult to compile, to edit and to present in all the time that I have been a Staff Writer for RVL but, in the end, also one of the most rewarding.

There are those who are going to say, of this article, “yes but you’re only looking at the part of the picture presented by the ‘great unwashed’”, so to speak, which at once seeks to set the author of such statements apart, and above everyone else and that, above everything else, is what creates more problems in the VC/OVC than anything else.

Our guests this evening come from across the spectrum of the VC/OVC and are welcomed to RVL… if it is their first visit with us, and re-welcomed, if they have given of their valuable time previously. Either way we at RVL are very grateful to our guests today and always indebted to those that have supported and worked with us in the past.

Please join us to welcome, and welcome back,

Devora Cortois a self-identified Fae who has been involved with The Community, as Other, for several years.

Evening’s Child, who relates, “Allow me to introduce myself, for those that don’t already know me. My name is Evenings Child, I am a Pagan/Witch that has been practicing the Craft for eight years this Samhain. I am an enrolled college student that will be transferring to the Denver area to attend the Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology to acquire my Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology.”

Dr. James Lyon Ph. D., our renowned friend, author and contributor, who received his Ph.D. in Balkan History at UCLA, and came to vampires via a rather circuitous route. Dr. Lyon tells us, “As a Balkan historian, it was difficult to overlook the fact that the first recorded use of the word “vampire” (vampyr) came from Serbia in 1725 (not Romania), and that the region was rife with rich vampire-related folklore.” Dr. Lyon is, in addition, an accomplished author, editor, and political analyst, he has written three books, many scholarly articles, dozens of published reports, and has testified before the US Congress on several occasions. His most recent publications include a historically accurate vampire-themed novel Kiss of the Butterfly, which is set against the background of collapsing Yugoslavia.

Tania Amethyst Moon, Paranormal researcher, modern living Psi Vampire and community Elder. Lady Tania tells us, “I am a modern living Psi vampire and energy worker. I am an Elder this title was bestowed on me by others within the V.C. I am the leader of the Vampire Serious Crimes Unit” (V.S.C.U.)

Kalina Red One Alati who describes herself as, “a student of the occult and various related communities for the past decade.”

And,

Chairperson Elect/ Executive Officer and founder of the International Council of Elders and Patriarch of Clan Resurrectus, Stefan Resurrectus.

RVL: Good evening everyone and thank you very much for agreeing to participate in this Round Table editorial… we also wish to express our sincerest thanks for your patience while we have been developing and compiling this piece.

Devora: I am honored to be here.

Evening’s Child: Greetings and Merry Meet to everyone! Allow me to introduce myself, for those that don’t already know me. My name is Evenings Child, I am a Pagan/Witch that has been practicing the Craft for eight years this Samhain. I am an enrolled college student that will be transferring to the Denver area to attend the Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology to acquire my Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology.

‘Thank You’ to both Tim and the members of the Vampyre Community/RVL for having me. I hope everyone is doing well this evening?

Dr. James Lyon: Thanks for having me back. It’s a pleasure.

Tania: Greetings and blessings, thank you for inviting me to take part in this discussion.

Kalina: Thanks so much for including me! I’m really looking forward to this.

Stefan: Always a pleasure to be here.

RVL: Firstly, we would like to get a picture of how everyone here relates to the Real Living Vampire Sub-culture if we may.

Devora: As mentioned I self-identify as Fae. I have been involved with The Community, as Other, for several years.

Evening’s Child: I am a Pagan/Witch that has been practicing the Craft for eight years this Samhain. I am not a vampyre, but I do have friends that are. I don’t really consider myself as being a part of the VC, I tend to stand outside of the circle peering in with the utmost ‘respect’ and willingness to learn with an open heart and mind.

James: I identify myself as an historian specializing in Balkan History, and since the Balkans are ground zero for the historic vampire, I have become acquainted with the vampire “community” on this basis.

Tania: Yes I do identify myself as a modern living vampire. I am an Elder within the OVC. My connection to the Community is that I lead the Vampire Serious Crimes Unit. (V.S.C.U.)

Kalina: I am a student of the occult and various related communities.

Stefan: I am the Founder and Chairperson Elect of ICE, Founder and Patriarch of Clan Resurrectus.

"Vampires" ~ by Mr. Jack on Deviantart (mr--jack.deviantart.com)

“Vampires”
~ by Mr. Jack on Deviantart
(mr–jack.deviantart.com)

RVL: Thank you and now. If we may, we would like to address our first questions to the matter of Education versus Discretion when it comes to revealing details about the real living vampire sub-culture. The archetypical vampire has been shrouded in mystery and has classically been perceived as a creature of secrecy, why do you think this perception has changed?

Devora:  I am not sure the perception has changed, per se, unless you refer to a desire to live more openly, which is far less about perception, and far more about an individual’s need to live openly and honestly in all facets of their existence. 

Evening’s Child: We can ‘thank’ the various types of negative media, for exposing the things that should have been kept sacred or a “secret” within the Vampyre Community.

Tania: Books, movies, T.V. Hollywood has a lot to answer for. Too many misconceptions are due to these films, TV shows and books. Examples, vampires sparkle, (Twilight Saga) Vampires never age (Vampire Diaries) Always hungry for blood (True Blood)

They are just a few examples.

James: Much of what people consider the archetypical vampire is a construct of 19th and 20th century pop culture. Taking it back to its roots in Balkan folklore, we find a different type of creature, a revenant that had to die prior to becoming a vampire, and would then arise from its grave to feed on the life force of living creatures, both via suffocation and drinking blood.

RVL: Would you consider there to still be deeply held social taboos amongst the ‘mundanes’, or non-vampire, about the drinking of the blood of another person?

Devora:  Yes, I think clearly there remain taboos surrounding the drinking of blood.  Even from the perspective of a mundane, blood is mystery and life, containing the essence of a being, and the idea of taking that essence from another will probably always be repugnant to some.  In the mundane world this has an underlayment of religion, where blood is ritualistically powerful, but has morphed into the sanitization of modern life where most mundanes are not even aware of where their own food comes from beyond the cellophane wrapped packages at the local Wal-Mart.  It also is embedded into the deeply held taboos surrounding sex especially in the western world, where even the touching of skin, and certainly the exchange of fluids, is shameful and secretive and something to be hidden and disavowed outside of certain ritualized bondings (marriage, for instance).  How can freely given and accepted blood as sustenance be demystified and itself become commonplace in a society that shames a basic biological function?

Evening’s Child: “Mundanes” have no desire to take the time to fully ‘understand’ the concept of vampyres drinking the blood of another. In the few short years that I have respectfully been peering in, the only “mundanes” that truthfully chose to learn and understand are those whom chose to be Donors.

Tania: I actually asked two mundanes what their viewpoint was on this matter. The response of one was, “no way, it’s horrible..” The other one said as long as they have no blood diseases then they should be able to do this whenever they (vampires) want to. So again there are mixed views.. However it doesn’t help when some members of the V.C do this in public places like nightclubs. I know some in Texas have been participating in such behavior with no checks in place whatsoever and are one opening themselves to infection. And also giving mundanes the misconception that all vampires do this..which again can put members of the V.C in danger if they are seen as being predatory at all times. Some may think vampires who behave like this in public places are a threat and may decide to attack innocent vampires in the vicinity. The actions of the minority can have a huge impact on the majority who do follow the rules.

James: Some of the major world religions restrict or ban the consumption of blood of any type. Given that blood can only be produced by a living organism and that draining that organism of its blood could lead to death or illness, the taboo is understandable. The increased scientific understanding of how bodily fluids can transmit diseases would seem to reinforce such taboos.

by Anarkyman at Deviantart

by Anarkyman at Deviantart

RVL: As we mentioned at the start of this editorial, the other subject that goes hand in hand with the question of education versus discretion when it come to the modern vampire sub-culture is the question of acceptable decorum which certainly comes into view in the online side of the sub-culture. We would like to ask, Kalina and Stefan, to begin, I think we are all aware of the majority of ‘human; or mundane, society’s’ requirements for acceptable conduct. Do you think that the real living vampire subculture has special circumstances that require extra attention to such things?

Kalina: I think that, in addition to the “mundane society’s” requirements of us, there are definitely one or two unique aspects within our own community that should be given a little bit of special attention. I feel that the relationship between Vampire and any applicable Donor comes to mind for me on this one. There seems to be a unique kind of courtesy that a Vampire has with their Donor. The relationship between the two of them tends to be pretty special, but, it also requires a different attitude and set of behaviors that are not common in other elements of society. It’s not unlike a friendship, or otherwise romantic relationship. Your conduct is very important in the way a Donor responds to you. And it is very important that your Donor responds to you positively. Many Vampires need donors. I myself would be in very bad shape without one. That is why I always step up my conduct and behaviors with my Donor to make sure they are feeling VERY well taken care of. Outside of our communities, it is something you might do with someone you are close with – perhaps family or friends. But when we have poor conduct with our Donors, it can be very dangerous. Which is why I think it’s so crucial to pay attention to the way we treat them. This is one of the main differences, in my opinion, between conduct in “mundane society” and the conduct of our community.

Stefan: I would say so.  To me, there is a right and a wrong way to be.  Just because you’re in this culture and you have certain abilities, contacts, freedoms, etc. does not necessarily mean you are above decorum.  I’m all for having a good time, protecting one’s self and ideals, etc. but once you get into vile, inappropriate behavior and statements, when you begin to tear everyone else and theirs efforts apart just because they don’t line up with your concepts or didn’t “ask your permission” then you become no better than any other offensive person in the world.  We should be above that.  Sadly, some are not.

RVL:  Dame Margaret Thatcher is quoted as saying, of good conduct, “Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.” ~ How much attention to self-discipline, in general, do you think guides the behavior of many in the VC/OVC today?

Stefan: To a large degree, I believe so.  It comes down to the few, really.  The biggest enemies in this realm are hubris and arrogance by my observation.  Even in the face of that, one should be able to put aside their personal thoughts as they relate to that and be able to communicate and associate in a civil manner.  Not that I wouldn’t want them to express their views (as I have been accused of on many occasions) but express them in a way which is not insulting or confrontational.  Logic should be the guide, not emotions or ego.

Kalina: I think that many people do their best to maintain self-discipline for the sake of being civil with one another. It seems to me like the vast majority of the VC/OVC has figured out that this is the best way to approach most discussions, so that they can prevent, or at least minimize misunderstandings between members of the community. When one practices self-discipline, you can catch yourself before you say something you don’t mean. That’s important, and I think that many people already know this in the Vampire Communities, online or offline.

RVL: In your opinion what are the key elements of “good conduct”?

Kalina: In my view, good conduct has many components. Some of these components are things like: good communication skills, assertiveness (as opposed to aggression or passive aggression), objectivity when necessary, and, above all else, recognizing others as your equal. All of these behaviors and attitudes are very healthy, and very conducive to the kinds of discussions which are often necessary in communities like ours. It is our job to treat each other with kindness, honesty, and equality.

Stefan: Short answer, humility, mutual respect and open-mindedness.  Ours is a very free thinking culture and not everyone is right, or wrong for that matter.  It boils down to being able to agree to disagree, regardless of the incident.  We feel things much stronger than the average person and have a tendency to take things personal.  That is the cause of most disagreements we have today.  This turns into mudslinging, slander, cyber and actual stalking, violence and escalates sometimes to legal action.  This should not be.

RVL: If you are a self-identified vampire may we ask, are you “out” of the coffin, “in” the coffin or partially out? And to whom have you revealed yourself, if anyone?

James: I like the phrase “out of the coffin”. It is quite clever.

Tania: I am out of the Coffin.. Everyone who knows me knows what I am. The first person I told was Jason Stanton my boss and founder of Eternal Dead Paranormal. He was actually relieved he has had vampires with paranormal issues and didn’t know how to respond to them so he was relieved that I could understand and deal with cases involving vampires. Some vampires have paranormal issues too, and he has two of us on his team and is grateful for our presence within Eternal Dead Paranormal.

Devora: I do not self-identify as Vampire. My nature is revealed to those who I trust however, and that trust extends to them not revealing things about me to others who might find me somehow threatening – or, a very real possibility – less than sane *smiles*

RVL: Have you ever tried to “educate” someone who is not a part of the “community” / subculture as to what a real modern vampire is and what, in general, they do? What was the outcome?

James: I have stayed away from that for several reasons. Firstly, I do not feel sufficiently knowledgeable about the topic to educate others about it. Secondly, I am often uncertain as to the intentions of those who ask such questions, and feel it best to avoid the topic entirely.

Devora: I have had discussions about non-humans walking among us.  On a theoretical level most mundanes are open to the discussion. A smaller subset are open to the possibility. A smaller subset still crave this knowledge and want it to be truth, or are in the process of an awakening and are relieved to find themselves not alone.  Several times someone has circled back and re-introduced the topic in conversation, privately.  But some laugh, reject the concepts, assume I am talking in terms of Jungian archetypes, or the theoretical, and I let them.  One cannot force knowledge upon another – it is always unwelcome, and faced with facts which do not support a specific worldview, the typical response is not to become open to the facts, but rather to double down on the existing worldview. There is some fascinating research in this area in fact.

Evening’s Child: As a Pagan/Witch, I have chosen to take the Path of respectfully “backing up” my brothers and sisters within the VC to help where I am able with educating those outside the VC.

Tania: Yes I do, I see education as a key to remove misconceptions and to show the truth of who we really are.

I have educated some mundanes. They approached me with questions and I answered them honestly truthfully and without hesitation they were grateful for the truth. Once misconceptions are removed it is easy to bring truth and understanding. I have also made it known to a local priest. We have a working relationship I help him deal with rogue vampiric attacks that are reported to him.

 raven

RVL: From everything you may have seen, heard or read within the OVC and the mainstream media what do you perceive to be the most usual ‘mundane’ reaction to the existence of modern living vampires?

James: That’s a real tricky question, because it leads us into stereotypes. As we are all aware, the typical stereotype associated with a “real” vampire is one of dental modification, tattoos, heavy/death metal music, or clothing associated with Goths, 18th century New Orleans, or Steampunk. One doesn’t associate a buttoned-down Wall Street banker or a politician wearing a bespoke suit with vampirism, even though they may indeed practice the worst form of vampiric behavior.

Tania: Apart from the few rogues that create problems for the wider V.C. I find that most mundanes are in fact more curious than fearful of who we are But again you get the minority who see vampires as a threat and want to see all vampires dead as the Slayer group that hit New York a few years ago did. They attacked all they thought were vampires. But in all honesty kin on kin attacks are more common and these are on the increase. The threats are now more within the Community than that from mundanes and outsiders.. This is one of the reasons why the Vampire Serious Crimes Unit has been set up.

When people claim to kill three people a day and claim to be a thousand years old in books then they create misconceptions. This author claims this is fact..not fiction.. This doesn’t help when authors out there are trying to bring truth and real facts.. So at the end of the day its people’s perceptions of these books that bring change. But when many are still so full of misconceptions and half-truths then the V.C is going to struggle to educate mundanes

On the whole. Now it’s more curiosity and not so much fear. But some the minority are still fearful and think we go around killing at every opportunity we get, but again that is a minority view.

Evening’s Child: There will always be the non-believers or those that view vampyres as being “monsters”. As time progresses into the future, I hope more “mundanes” will learn to show more compassion and become more open-minded.

Devora: That they are somehow psychologically damaged, and/or dangerous.  This is perpetuated by most sources being sensationalistic in their approach to the topic.

RVL: So, Kalina and Stefan, if we were to ask you to give an overall score, out of ten, to the general population of the VC/OVC for good conduct today what would your answer be?

Kalina: In the spirit of honesty, I could not give us a perfect score. Perfection in a world such as ours is rare, if it even exists. So it is with this in mind that I give the score of 8/10. This is because, while as a whole we seem to have very civilized conduct, there are also those who treat others badly, for whatever their personal reason may be. Some individuals are condescending, arrogant, etc., etc. But I’m happy that these types of people tend to be few and far between in the OVC. That score also gives us a little room to improve. There’s always room to improve. *winking smile*

Stefan: About a 7.

RVL: A large number of members of today’s VC/OVC consider ‘manners’, ‘good conduct’ and the like to be ‘old fashioned’, ‘out of date’ and ‘irrelevant’ to today’s “community” and point to the protection of “freedom of speech” or “freedom of expression” as the ruling order of the day. What’s your opinion on this?

Stefan: LOL…it kind of goes with the old “respecting your parents and elders” that seems to have disappeared.  Just because you can do something or say something doesn’t mean you should.  I’m all for free expression.  I love having a good debate that has a logical progression and exchange of ideals.  I learn from it each time.  It all boils down to respect, which is earned not given.  In fact, the more you demand it the less you get.  Sometimes speaking your mind regardless can reveal much about you as a person.  We usually try to over speak each other because we feel we’re not being heard.  Oftentimes actions speak louder than words.  The old saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is quite correct.  This is not a competition to see who can spout the most idealism or philosophy or who can be the biggest asshole.  If that’s who you are, fine, but remember that the idea is to coexist.  You can’t really do that with “Do unto others BEFORE they do it unto you.”

Kalina: While I can be the first to acknowledge the constitutional rights of Americans to free speech and the like, there are more things to take into consideration here. Firstly, that not all of us are living in the USA. Many, many Vampires live abroad and thusly do not necessarily have this right included in their government. Many governments do have this nowadays, but many also do not. Aside from this fact, yes, you may have the right to freedom of speech (with an exception or two). However, that doesn’t mean that everybody has to automatically like or agree with what one person says. It is a good thing to take other people into consideration when you talk and act. No, you do not have to, and nobody can force you. But if having friends and being seen as something other than a jerk is important to you, you might want to keep it in mind. It is definitely not “out of date” to treat people with good manners. It isn’t “old fashioned” to be decent to people. It’s not any of those things. It’s just human decency.

RVL: We have, I would risk suggesting, come across people within the “community” who are rude, obnoxious, purposelessly argumentative and so-forth and who hide behind the concept of being ‘blunt’ or being ‘forthright’, ‘having an opinion’ etc. – What is your opinion of the prevalence of this and what, if anything, in your opinion, can be done about it?

Kalina: With any group, you will have people who are trying to use excuses like this to shirk responsibilities of general human decency. People can say, “I think you’re stupid, and I can say that because it’s just me having an opinion.” Well sure, you can say that, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should say something just because you can. I think there are a few who fail to realize this, in general. Our community is no exception to these types of people. The prevalence in our community is about average, I’d say, in comparison to other communities. We have a small, yet sizeable amount of people who do this. I don’t think there is really a lot we can do about it. Legally they are within their rights, freedom of speech and all that. And I can’t really tell anyone else what to do when confronted with someone who uses this kind of thinking. But I’ll tell you what I, personally, do. I ignore them. I don’t give them the satisfaction of acknowledging what they have said. I just pretend they do not exist and go on with my life. Reacting to people who use excuses for mistreating others just fuels them, and that is something I refuse to do. Others may choose to react to people such as this, and that is their choice. But me, personally, I don’t even give them the space in my head. They can’t afford the rent. *wink, smile*

Stefan: I covered much of that in my last response.  What can be done about it?  I don’t see what can be done except ignore and move on.  Blunt is fine.  Obnoxious, rude and insulting to the point of threatening is unacceptable.  Many people that do this nowadays are “leaders.”  I’m familiar with the concept.  Such as “Nothing ever got accomplished by a reasonable man.”  To me, this behavior is antiquated.  Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one… you see where that goes.  But, express opinions and be prepared for rebuttal or even a challenge.  But let’s not be aggressive or overly defensive.  Let’s learn from each other rather than spitting.

Bajina Basta, Serbia

Bajina Basta, Serbia

RVL: In the article “Real Vampire Community Personal Safety & Privacy Awareness“, the author wrote;

“We know that being different is a personal danger in our lives, and many members of the vampire community take steps to avoid having people who they know in a non-vampiric context discovering their nightside identities. To ensure our continued employment, involvement in our children’s lives, and avoid uncomfortable social situations, we’ve created a necessary aesthetic of privacy and of separation. However, when it comes to interactions within the vampire community, we don’t have explicit ideals about how much information to share with one another, how to trust or not trust one another, or what kinds of protections we might be wise to employ from one another. It’s not about being more honest and open nor is about having something to hide; it’s about keeping the power over your personal safety firmly in your own grasp at all times.”[2]

Do you think that this situation has changed at all since this document was produced?

Tania: Secrecy would mean less threats from within our own Community. In all honesty at present I have seen a huge rise on Kin on Kin attacks from within the OVC. It’s the odd one or two factions and individuals that are causing problems within the V.C. At present we are more under threat from our own Kin than from Mundanes. Secrecy would prevent such occurrences.

Evening’s Child: I think this kinda goes hand in hand with the question about the mundane’s usual reaction to modern living vampires… There will always be the non-believers or those that view vampyres as being “monsters”. As time progresses into the future, I hope more “mundanes” will learn to show more compassion and become more open-minded.

Devora: I do not think this has changed.  Especially in the western world, only certain differences are accepted and celebrated.  And just look at the struggles faced by minority groups, women, POCs, LGBTQ in the last 100 years – society is plagued to this day with those who will not accept even these groups which really are not very different in any substantial way from the mainstream.  To be pagan, to be Vampire, to be Other, to accept the role of magic and Will Manifest in the world – these are far away from who one has in one’s bed, or what color one’s skin is, and these signifiers of difference lead to all sorts of awful outcomes – how then will the world approach the truly different?

RVL: There have been quite a number of non-fiction titles written about the modern vampire that purport to relay “the truth” about modern vampires, how do you think such books might typically be received, in general?

Tania: When people claim in books that are non-fictional to be a thousand years old and kill three people a day for feeding purposes. This type of book creates real problems for the real authors out there who are trying to bring truth and understanding of what it really means to be a vampire. Books like the one afore mentioned bring more misconception. They create fear that vampires are all predatory and killers. The books that bring balance very often get overlooked. I think reader perceptions are important. And if a book is based in fact it should be just that real facts.

James: My sense is that the typical reader of such literature would not be a member of the vampire community, but rather a bored suburbanite looking for something a bit more interesting than hanging with the Kardashians or Honey Boo-Boo. For the small group of scholars that are interested in studying real vampire communities, they will usually be anthropologists or sociologists, and will do so from an academic perspective that discourages sensationalism, and would therefore look skeptically at anything written in a sensationalist tone purporting to tell the “truth”. And remember, anytime a book has the word “truth” in the title, it is anything but.

Evening’s Child: Maybe more “mundanes” will learn to be open-minded and some will take the time to realize that vampyres are NOT the “monsters” that the ‘negative’ forms of the media has portrayed them to be.

Devora: At this time, I think they are perceived as an oddity and not at all as truthful but anyone who is not inside The Community, other than those already seeking the sorts of answers provided in same.

Picture credit ~ http://analogicalplanet.com/

Picture credit ~ http://analogicalplanet.com/

RVL: What do you think is the most basic mundane reaction to the word “vampire”? and will such perceptions change any time in the near future?

Tania: The mundanes I’ve discussed this with say it’s more curiosity than fear. A lot of their perceptions are based on things like Twilight Saga, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Blade Series and Queen of the Damned and Interview with a Vampire. So getting past misconceptions is hard at first.

And no I don’t these perceptions will change without Education from real living vampires.

James: In the North America, Australia, and Western Europe, that depends on your demographic group. For the generation that grew up on the 1931 Dracula and the Hammer Dracula Films (Christopher Lee) of the 1950s/60s, it would have been one of terror and fright. The Anne Rice generation made it acceptable to get inside the head (and heart) of the monster. The Buffy generation made vampires evil once again, and the subject of butt-kickings from teenagers. Blade offered a slash-and-burn type vampire, and Salma Hayek demonstrated that vampires look good in bikinis when accessorized with Burmese Pythons. Then Twilight rewrote the genre entirely so as to make them boyfriend material. *Sigh*

Devora: Fiction. Or Pathology.  I don’t see it changing soon or quickly.

RVL: Over the years there have been myriad attempts to define what the term, “bringing the ‘community’ into disrepute” means, what are your thoughts on this? What sorts of conduct are likely to do this?

Stefan:  That list is long and varied, especially depending on whom you talk to.  I’ve always thought that agreeing to interviews with the common press or television is one.  No matter how well you try to represent, the editors are going to see it otherwise.  Constantly purveying yourself in public is another.  As I said, the list goes on.  We have enough to deal with internally.

Kalina: I personally think that we often get looked at unfavorably due to members of the community who misrepresent us to the public. I think that many members of the community can agree that when one person appears in the media in any way and claims to (perhaps falsely) represent our community and then proceed to give false ideas about us, it can be very irritating. I think part of this irritation stems from the fact that, as a community, we have great difficulty agreeing on anything concrete that applies to all of us. Until some light is shed publicly on the huge spectrum of what we experience, I think those on the outside will not understand, and those on the inside may be perpetually frustrated.

RVL: Do you believe that, in general, newcomers to the ‘community’ are afforded a favourable impression when they first arrive, or not?

Stefan:  Again, it depends on where they enter and who’s holding the door when they get there.  I think newcomers get a lot of flak and are met with impatience because they ask so many questions that we’ve heard over and over again.  We tend to forget that we were newcomers once.  They should be treated with more tolerance and kindness, patience.

Kalina: I think that, generally, people who are new to the community are viewed in a variety of ways, depending on their behaviors and attitudes. If they ask intelligent questions, with the intent of actually seeking to learn, then I think yes, they do get a slightly favorable impression. However, if they are dense and have difficulty understanding basic explanations, or are otherwise difficult in their communications with others, I think they are less likely to be seen with favor. It’s just like any community – people who are new, in my opinion, tend to be seen as if they don’t know what they are talking about. Which is true – you always have to start somewhere, and that’s okay.

RVL: From touring around the modern VC/OVC sites it can be seen that calm, clear and rational explanation of points of view and opinions do not receive as much attention as “rants” on the same subjects, why do you think this is?

Stefan:  Rants are more fun.  It allows people to vent, take potshots, start fights and drama.  It’s more attractive, especially to those that love to be blunt and express their opinions loudly.  I mean, it’s far more fun than actually learning something, right?

Kalina: I think this might be because it is human nature to be attracted to something that is more dramatic and entertaining, regardless of whether that thing is actually correct or rational. Many people like to see somebody act completely off their rocker, and can sometimes even prefer it to reasonable logic and rationale. It could also be because those who do not understand our community and wish us harm imagine they could use those rants as examples to others, and in misrepresenting us give us a bad image.

RVL: In your opinion, are there “excesses” permitted by website owners that help to sustain the combative nature of much intercommunication in the VC/OVC and what would be the best way to counter these incidences?

Kalina: I can honestly say that I’ve no idea what could pass for an excuse for such a thing. There is no excuse for perpetuating arguments and combative behavior within our community on purpose. At the same time, I’m at a loss for what a possible solution could be. Maybe one of the other people being interviewed will have some ideas as to how to address such poor behavior.

Stefan: It really depends on the people involved.  I think some website owners allow certain things to go on because it attracts more people to the site due to controversy.  I think some allow things because in a roundabout way it’s their way of striking out on subjects and people without sullying their name or getting their hands dirty.  It’s hard to say, really.  I try not to get involved on that level if I can help it.

RVL: Where, if at all, do you think answers to some of these issues might come from?

Kalina: I think that answers to questions such as why people act the way they do can be taken from plain old human psychology. Since our brains work essentially like any other human’s, I imagine the answers to why others act certain ways might answer the same question for many within the community. Using this knowledge and applying it to observations within the community could be really very helpful, in my opinion.

Stefan: It has to come from within, it has to come from open communication, it has to come with cooperation.

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RVL: What, if anything, do you see as being the benefits of Education of those outside the “community”?

Devora: I think the most important benefit is that good solid information is available to those who seek this path but can’t find it themselves because it is usually hidden.  For mentoring, and developing, and bringing into the fold those who have been lost from it, and who will make their way in any case but who won’t struggle so much if the right educational materials are available.

Evening’s Child: Educating those outside the VC may have its benefits or it may not. Its just a risk the community has the option to take. Keep in mind, vampyres are NOT the only ones whom endure those that choose to remain close-minded or ‘hate’. Pagans/Witches share the same situations as well, still to this day.

James: Given the closed nature of the community and the large number of wannabes out there who like to play dress-up, the question arises as to what value-added one gains from going public with an education campaign. Will going public lead to greater or fewer problems? Will it really change anyone’s minds? Will it result in a backlash? Or will it go largely unnoticed, except during sweeps week? And will it be taken advantage of by hucksters who want to get their 15 minutes of fame by playing dress-up for Oprah or Fox and Friends?

Tania: Give them facts and education will bring less fear and attacks from mundanes will decrease when they see we are not a threat to them or their families.

RVL: …and, on the other side of the coin, what, if anything, do you see as being beneficial about a return to discretion, or secrecy?

Devora:  I don’t quite believe in full secrecy.  More healthy discretion.  More mundanes are open to possibility than ever I thought would be, so full-on secrecy seems exhausting and overkill.

James: So much of the world today has turned into a media circus, with social media broadcasting everything everywhere 24 hours a day. I often long for more privacy, but that’s my own personal opinion.

RVL: As a final summation, which do you see as being most preferable for modern real vampires, education of those outside the “community” or, a return to the discretion and secrecy of the early stages of the “community”, and why?

Devora: I think I have seen movement toward less secrecy and more discretion, and this movement is generally in the right direction. Continued discrete education and small steps toward living in whatever degree of openness is desired by the individual seem admirable goals.  This is how I live.

Evening’s Child: Actually your question could go both ways, there are some vampyres that are all for educating those outside of the VC and there are some that prefer keeping that sort of knowledge within the VC. As for educating “outside” of the VC, sure it has its risks. What situation doesn’t?

James: I don’t feel I’m in a position to offer advice on this matter, as it is up to the group members to decide what is in their best interest.

Tania: As I said Kin on Kin attacks are on the rise. We are more likely to be attacked from someone within the community rather than by Mundanes. Secrecy would prevent such attacks. But if we take that route where would newly awakened vampires go for mentoring and teaching.

Kitchener

RVL: In wrapping up with Kalina and Stefan, someone once commented to me that the so-called “community” is a. “microcosm”, or smaller version, of RL and human society but that it is more noticeable in The VC/OVC because we are a relatively small social group. What are your thoughts on this?

Kalina: I’m not sure we’re really all that small in numbers. Unless there was some kind of mandatory global Vampire registry, it is impossible to know how many of us there are. And even then, that probably wouldn’t count any who have yet to Awaken to what they are. So I don’t think it really has any correlation to how many of us there are, to be honest with you. We aren’t a “smaller version” of human society. We are still human and still part of human society, after all! It’s probably just like with any other smaller group of people. You can notice patterns better in any smaller group. But I don’t think our numbers are that small to begin with.

Stefan: I’d have to agree.  We are a small cross-section of what’s out there.  In that respect, we have closer and quicker reactions to subjects that tend to fester outside us.  We are as diverse as anyone else, but because of our associations, we tend to bump heads faster.

 

RVL: Do you have any general comments or statements that you would care to deliver on this topic?

Kalina: I think I’ve said all I need to say on this right now. It seems like everything’s already been covered.

Stefan: Your actions and your words show who you truly are.  It can identify poor leaders, deep rooted fears and weaknesses or can show strengths and maturity.  Being blunt for blunt’s sake will not cover that.  How you are perceived can be good or bad, but it’s up to you.  A bad first impression is hard to overcome, and continuing a path of general rudeness and disrespect will only isolate you in the long run.

RVL: We would like to thank everyone who participated this evening, the ladies Devora Cortois, Evening’s Child, Tania Amethyst-Moon and Kalina Red One Alati and the gentlemen, Dr. James Lyon and Stefan Resurrectus. Their efforts and patience made this a truly rewarding project to work on.

Thank you, everyone, very much for spending this time with us this evening, we are grateful for your insights and I imagine that this topic is going to continue to be one that is fiercely debated for quite some time. Again, many thanks.

Devora: Thank you so much for allowing me a small voice in this matter. Blessings.

Evening’s Child: Hopefully I have answered the interview questions in an appropriate way and that I didn’t miss one.

Tania: Thank you for your time, Salutations and blessings to you all. With kindest regards and deepest respect as always, Lady Amethyst Moon

Kalina: It’s been a real pleasure. Thanks again for having me!

James: My pleasure. I look forward to speaking with you again.

Stefan: Thank you for having me.  Always a pleasure.

Two issues, tied together, inextricably… good conduct and education or discretion. Each one by itself worthy of attention but together they combine to create one of the most debated dualities in the VC/OVC. Constant references made to either one in order to support, deny, excuse or define actions and the use of approaches and choice of words.

Each one is a subject sufficient to occupy many minds at once but put them together, consider them as one and resolve the issues created through each will consolidate, strengthen and reinforce the ideal foundations upon which ANY social grouping can be built. The inescapable conclusion is that until we do get it right, or mainly right, we are destined to ride the wonderful cyber-go-round that is the VC/OVC indefinitely.

Copyright RVL, Devora Cortois, Evening’s Child, Dr. James Lyon, Tania Amethyst-Moon, Kalina Red One Alati and Stefan Resurrectus 2014

References:

1] http://www.topsecretwriters.com/2010/11/six-cases-of-crime-by-vampires/ “

2] Real Vampire Community Personal Safety & Privacy Awareness ~ Sphynxcat VP’s Vampire Support Board

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