My recent bout of Edward-Cullen-Obsession-Obsession has got me yearning for good old school vampire-related entertainment. No, don’t worry, I’m not sleeping in a coffin, wearing a cape or using fake vampire fangs – I’m simply dusting out old books and DVDs. Makes me sound a little boring, does it not?
I went through a couple of X-files episodes that had to do with vampires. It only reminded me of how much I miss Mulder and Scully (how I look forward to 2012…) so I turned to Supernatural. I watched a couple of vampire-related episodes, and, in the current context of international financial crisis related amongst others to greed and the struggle to differentiate survival from corruption, right from wrong, there was one episode in particular that resounded very strongly.
For those of you who watch Supernatural, remember Episode 3 of Season 2, ‘Bloodlust’? The plot is quite ingenious (stop reading if you haven’t seen it yet!).
The Winchester boys meet Gordon, a hunter hot on the trail of a nest of vampires. Gordon’s sister was attacked by a vampire when he was a teenager, and his anger against that vampire is what fuels him to keep hunting them. He is, in short, obsessed with killing vampires. He only sees black versus white, and doesn’t (can’t? or chooses not to?) see the various shades of grey that inhabit day to day life. So when it turns out that the vampires he currently is hunting are, well, ‘vegetarian’ for all you Twilighters (i.e. they only suck the blood of animals), he still sees them as ‘evil’ vampires.
The whole good vs. evil and all the in-between shades of grey debate is quite fascinating and worthy of its own blog post, but this isn’t what resonated with me. Or at least, it wasn’t what resonated the most. What really resonated was the closing conversation between the Winchester brothers, Dean and Sam:
Dean: I wish we never took this job. It’s jacked everything up.
Sam: What do you mean?
Dean: Think about all the hunts we went on, Sammy, our whole lives.
Dean: What if we killed things that didn’t deserve killing? You know? I mean the way Dad raised us, it…
Sam: Dean… After what happened to Mom, Dad did the best he could.
Dean: I know he did. But the man wasn’t perfect. And the way he raised us, to hate those things, and man, I hate them, I do… When I killed that [‘vegetarian’] vampire at the mill, I didn’t even think about it, hell I even enjoyed it.
Sam: You didn’t kill Lenore [the ‘vegetarian’ vampire Gordon was trying to kill].
Dean: Yeah. But every instinct told me to. I was going to kill her; I was going to kill them all.
Sam: Yeah Dean, but you didn’t. And that’s what matters.
This conversation was a powerful reminder of the importance of parental and cultural education, not only in its positive aspects but also (and perhaps, especially) in its negative sense. If we accept that everyone has prejudices, then so do our parents. If our parents are unaware of these prejudices or, even worse, are unaware of extreme prejudices that they have (i.e. racists, sexists etc), then we are most certainly affected.
Most of the time, we don’t realise we are wrong until we are faced with a situation so obvious that, like Dean, we can’t help but stop and ask ourselves questions. This happens often during our pre-teens and our teens; something tells us that what we are thinking isn’t quite right, that something is wrong with the logic our parents seem to be taking for granted. If we aren’t challenged to bring out these thoughts, deepen them and analyse them, we run the risk of developing the same prejudices that our parents have – perhaps inherited from their own parents.
The problem is three-fold: one, we must admit that we have the problem; second, we must identify it; and third, we have to figure out a way of dealing with it. It is impossible to hope that, without some powerful motivation, many would willingly embark on such an arduous life trajectory.
But the way things are nowadays, it seems that the only way humanity as a whole can survive is by finding the motivation and taking the first steps towards change. How many of us will be courageous enough to do so?
Ah, yet another reason to look up to Dean Winchester.