O’ to Be a Vampire Bride

In the world of Amazon literature, one would assume that works with reviews numbering in the thousands and averages of four and a half stars would be limited to immortal classics like the Bible:

Holy Bible

Or period think-pieces like Go the F**k to Sleep:

Go the F to Sleep

They are not:

Vampire Girl

Terrifying?  Maybe not.  Not until one soaks in the knowledge that a statistical majority of 1,009 people like this book a lot.  In fairness, my wife and I might be among them, though for all the wrong reasons.  So buckle up, buttercup, because here comes the plot synopsis of Vampire Girl, quoted verbatim from Amazon:

My name is Arianna Spero. I was an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life, until my mother lapsed into a coma.  Now, I am her only hope. She made a deal with the devil, and on my 18th birthday he came to collect. But there’s a way to save her. There’s something the princes of hell want more than my mother.

Me.

So I signed my soul away and promised to pick a prince to marry. I would take the blood oath, become one of them, and give them an heir. I would become a princess of hell, and my mother would live.

If ever there was a book that needed a scene where the best friend, gay or otherwise, tried to talk some sense into the protagonist, this is it. Then again, Arianna does have a sassy, transgendered waitress friend (whom she is helping save up for gender reassignment surgery… because we’re a socially aware Vampire Girl, if nothing else).  But as you can deduce, that character seems to have a lot going on in his/her life and really wasn’t available to be the voice of reason this novel so desperately needed.  This acknowledged, we’ve taken the liberty of writing a new one in and plopping them down with the protagonist for coffee.  It goes about as well as you can imagine:

“So, my mom made a deal with Satan to save my life.  You know… when I was a baby.”

“That’s so sweet!”

“I know. But now she’s all, like, experiencing eternal torment in a lake of fire, and I feel really super bad. So… I’m making a deal with Satan to get her out.”

“Wait a minute… This all started because of a pact with Satan and you want to make another pact with Satan?”

“Uh… yeah?”

“…”

“…”

“Have you, maybe, considered that part of your family’s problem is that you keep making pacts with Satan?”

“I don’t get it.”

“…Father of Lies? The Beast? The Great Betrayer? None of this is ringing a bell?”

“Are we talking about the same Satan?  He seems super nice.”

“There’s only… OK. You know what? Let’s forget about Satan for a moment. So what’s this pact you signed on for?”

“Right, so I have to marry a vampire Prince of Hell and sire an heir.”

“…Vampire prince… Wait…”

“It’s cool. I get to pick, and they’re all really hot.”

“All? How many vampire princes of hell are there?”

“Seven.”

“Seven?”

“Yeah. Seven. They’re all manifestations of, like, the seven bad things.”

“Seven deadly sins?”

“Yeah. Glutton. Lust. Avarice. Pride. Sorrow. Pride. Sloth. War.”

“…Wrath.”

“What?”

“Wrath. The sin is wrath. You can be wrathful. You can’t really be warful.”

“But he’s War. See? Says so right here.” Time and space warps around Arianna as she pulls out a copy of Vampire Bride and points out that the Vampire Hell Prince is, indeed, the manifestation of War.

“…Huh. That’s… That’s something… Anyway, look, if you’re committed to this marrying a hell prince thing, why don’t you hook up with whoever is the embodiment of Lust, get as freaky weird as you can while still being a young adult novel, and be done in an afternoon?”

“Dean.”

“What?”

“Dean. His name is Dean. The manifestation of Lust.”

“…You’re !@#$in’ me.”

“No. See?” Again, time warps as she pulls out of the book. The name “Dean, Vampire Prince of Lust” appears repeatedly. “Besides, I have to spend a month with each.”

The best friend, whose sexual orientation is entirely moot, takes a deep breath. “Alright.  I’m going to summarize what I got. Because your mom made a pact with Satan, which ended–predictably–with her in a state of eternal torment, you’re going to make another pact with Satan, which involves shacking up with seven sin-inspired vampire hell princes for a month a piece. Then, you pick one to marry.”

“Right.”

“And then earn your mother’s eternal salvation by porking said Prince of Hell and having his kid.”

“Yep! And they’ll be the next King of Hell!”

“…Who’s the current King of Hell?”

“Satan.”

“…Isn’t he immortal? How can there be a next King of Hell?”

“He’s dead.”

“…Look, I want you to know that, as your best friend of ambiguous sexual orientation, I will support you no matter what you do.”

“Thanks!”

“But I’m still not coming to your wedding.”

“Awwwww! Well, that’s cool because vampire security is probably gonna be tight anyway, what with all the murderous fairies prowling around trying to kidnap me.”

“Fairies?  Like…Tinkerbell?  How would that even work?”

“More like Tinkerbell on ‘roids.  I totally don’t know what their problem is. The hell fairy slave trade is, like, so superior to the raping and pillaging alternative.”

“How did we get on the hell fairy slave trade?”

“I dunno.  Probably because I was about to tell you I’m also the Queen of the Fairies.”

“…This seems like information that should have been front loaded…”

“It comes out at the end of book one.”  Arianna grins and does her best jazz hands, “Spoiler alert!”

Advertisements

Popular Fallacies of 1924: Part One

Pulled from the musty archives of a library book sale, dusted off (slightly), and dragged into the light of day for the first time in nine decades, we present you with a selection of popular fallacies of 1924, as documented in Popular Fallacies Explained and Corrected, published in 1924 by A.S.E. Ackermann.

Popular fallacy number one: “That green wall-paper is the only kind that is likely to be dangerous on account of it possibly containing arsenic.”

Au contraire, “this is an absolute fallacy, for other coloured papers may contain arsenic.”

It ain't easy being green.

It ain’t easy being green.

Popular fallacy number two: “That cats suck the breath out of sleeping children.”

The author thankfully reassures us, “the formation of the cat’s mouth makes it impossible for it to interrupt respiration by the mouth and the nose of the child at the same time. Hence we see that while it is by no means desirable to let a cat sleep on top of a child, when this does occur it is not from any malice prepense on the part of puss.”

grumpy cat

Popular fallacy number three: “That glycerine is inflammable.”

“Being transparent and viscid it looks much like ‘refined liquid paraffin,’ the popular laxative, which is slightly inflammable, but glycerine is certainly not inflammable.”

Not a laxative. Not a fire-putter-outter.

Not a laxative. Not a fire-putter-outter.

Popular fallacy number four: “That only evil smelling odours are dangerous.”

“Chloroform has a pleasant smell, and a nice taste, but of course produces fatal results if too much is taken and the same remarks apply to sulphuric ether.”

The effects of liquid chloroform on Sir J. Y. Simpson and his friends.  ca. 1840 Chloroform: Not for candle parties anymore.

The effects of liquid chloroform on Sir J. Y. Simpson and his friends. ca. 1840
Chloroform: Not for candle parties anymore.

Popular fallacy number five: “That tobacco is a good thing with which to stop bleeding.”

On the contrary, Dr. Peter Shepherd (circa 1924) assures us, “The plan of trying to stop bleeding with tobacco must never be used, as there is great danger of the patient becoming poisoned.”

tobacco band aid

Popular fallacy number six: “That porpoise boots and shoes are made of material obtained from porpoises.”

Of course, we know this cannot be true since “porpoises have no skin, that is hide, the blubber or coating of lard which encases them being covered by a black substance, as thin as tissue paper.  The porpoise hide of the boot maker is really leather made from the skin of the Beluga, or ‘White Whale,’ which is found only in the far north.”

porpoise boots

Gangnam (APA) Style

by The Untamed Shrew and Rampage Productions

In the immortal words of Cleavon Little, excuse me while I whip this out.  This, in this particular context, is my APA style book and not… You know what – I’m going to abort this sentence.  Now.  Right now.

I’m not sure what the general familiarity is with academic citation.  Presuming none, let it be said that it’s a generally accepted practice in college-level writing that, upon making a claim, one references the book, magazine, journal, or cosmic vibe that put such a harebrained thought into your skull.  This is for the convenience of other academics who will then use the information to mock you in their own papers conclusively disproving your thesis, which you can then counter-use to conclusively disprove the academics who conclusively disproved your previous thesis while simultaneously implying they’re doo-doo heads.

And so the circle of passive aggressiveness continues.

I feel an Elton John moment coming on.

The CIRCLE OF LIIIIIIFE!

The CIRCLE OF LIIIIIIFE!

Returning to the act of citation – or, as it is known by college students the world over, “that thing you sometimes do when you’re mostly sober” – APA (American Psychological Association) style is something of an unknown to me, being an English major and having forged the steel of my literary ability in MLA (Modern Language Association) style, also known as “that thing they keep changing every other freakin’ year.”  Yet my entrance into graduate academia has brought the foreign scourge of APA upon our household.  Enter the internets and the Purdue OWL.

Grammar Owl says, “Whom?” not “Who?”

Grammar Owl says, “Whom?” not “Who?”

My findings, in relation to APA style, are as follows (quotations in italics):

1. Pronouns are, apparently, of the devil.

APA does not recommend replacing “he” with “he or she,” “she or he,” “he/she,” “(s)he,” “s/he,” or alternating between “he” and “she” because these substitutions are awkward and can distract the reader from the point you are trying to make. The pronouns “he” or “she” inevitably cause the reader to think of only that gender, which may not be what you intend.

Apparently, when using APA style, one’s target audience is an ambiguously gendered snail.

Apparently, when using APA style, one’s target audience is an ambiguously gendered snail.

They go on to recommend replacing the pronoun with a noun – person, individual, child, researcher, etc. – as if somehow that will be less annoying.  My husband, a veritable paragon of helpfulness, recommended I just replace all my pronouns with “yo’ mama”; however, I rained on his parade when I pointed out “mama” was gendered.  Instead, it would have to be something like “yo’ caretaker” or “yo’ guardian,” which I think we can all agree detracts from the overall intent.

2. Identify people, but in a way that no can recognize them.

Use adjectives to serve as descriptors rather than labels. When you use terms such as “the elderly” or “the amnesiacs,” the people lose their individuality.

No they don’t.

They’re the amnesiacs.

That is their individuality.  I’d venture to say amnesia is a relatively defining characteristic.

And the good news is that odds are against them remembering their offense long enough to get their disapproval published in any sort of academic journal anyone cares about.

Yay scholarly writing!

3. Don’t write in verse?  Just try and stop me.

Writing papers in APA style is unlike writing in more creative or literary styles that draw on poetic expressions and figurative language. Such linguistic devices can detract from conveying your information clearly…. Therefore, you should minimize the amount of figurative language…such as metaphors and analogies…; and avoid rhyming schemes, alliteration, or other poetic devices typically found in verse.

I think that I shall never see

A paper written coherently

That did not when eyes read it first

Wish was writ in metered verse.

Alliteration-lacking phrase

Leaves the eyes in great malaise.

Why waste time on such fodder?

Why not chug wine instead of water?

The proud, albeit unwitting, sponsor of my graduate thesis.

The proud, albeit unwitting, sponsor of my graduate thesis.