Vampires and the law:

I've just started reading Sundays with Vlad: From Pennsylvania to Transylvania, One Man's Quest to Live in the World of the Undead, by Paul Bibeau. As the back cover explains:

At eight years old, Paul Bibeau had the footie pj's scared off of him when his sister sprang out of a crawlspace in the dark wearing plastic fangs. It was the start of a lifelong fascination with vampires. Now a "grown-up" journalist, he has embarked on a quest to discover how a second-rate Wallachian Prince named Vlad, inserted into an odd little nineteenth-century book by some guy named Stoker, became such a pervasive cultural icon.

I'm about fifty pages into the book now; the early chapters, mostly about Romania, are very good and funny. But for now, let me share with you one passage from the book (pp. 34-36), about why Romanians haven't been so keen to capitalize on the international fame of their native son Vlad Dracula.

As of 2000 almost half of Romania's population lived in poverty . . . . But the country also had a potential fortune -- a character whose legend had launched a multimillion dollar media empire. Romania was like a homeless guy carting around one of those stolen supermarket carts filled with bags of aluminum cans, a pile of dirty laundry, a half-drunk bottle of Night Train, and a framed Van Gogh original in mint condition. It just didn't make sense. Why couldn't the country cash in? . . . .

Sighi┼čoara [a Transylvanian town that at one point was going to be the site for a Dracula theme park] had already seen its share of Goths . . . and locals wanted none of it. At a rock music festival a few years ago, it was mobbed with up to 90,000 people. . . . [T]he rock fans actually scrawled pentagrams on the gravestones at the local church . . . .

[I]n late 2001 . . . a Miramax crew filmed a series of movies called Dracula Resurrection there. Locals reported stumbling over fake-blood-soaked mannequins in their town square. "My daughter was terrified," said one townie.

It wasn't hard to see their point. To Romanians Vlad was a national figure, not a vampire. Imagine foreigners coming to visit the Lincoln Memorial by the thousands -- wearing stovepipe hats, false beards . . . and plastic fangs. They love Lincoln. They love how he can turn himself into a bat. How he freed the slaves and rises at night to suck the blood of the living. Imagine you know you could make major bucks off these freaks if you chiseled a pair of wicked-looking teeth on Lincoln's statue.

You'd have to be desperate to even consider it.

As someone whose middle name begins with "Vlad," I may be blogging in the future about my own interests in vampires and the law -- what Buffy has to do with property law and the law and economics insights of Angel.

Buffy, Vampires, and Property Rights:

Co-blogger Sasha says that he intends to write about "what Buffy has do with property rights" and "vampires and the law." I just want to point out that I have already contributed to the growing literature on these important issues myself.

Still, I am happy about Sasha's entry into the field. Welcome to the growing club of Russian immigrant law professors writing about property rights issues involving vampires and vampire slayers!

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. More about vampires:
  2. Buffy, Vampires, and Property Rights:
  3. Vampires and the law:
More about vampires:

In my last post about vampires, I recommended Paul Bibeau's Sundays with Vlad: From Pennsylvania to Transylvania, One Man's Quest to Live in the World of the Undead.

I've now finished the book, and here are a couple more funny snippets:

"I was having parties, orgies with hot Dutch girls, and going to England on weekends," [said Father Sebastiaan, a creator of the vamp club scene]. "One day I went to a music festival and did so many drugs I woke up in Sweden." (p. 155)

The following is about Tray White, a documentary filmmaker who covered the Minnesota gubernatorial campaign of vampire satanist (and impalement advocate) Jonathon Sharkey:

"At first I wanted to pull all these crazy-ass pranks on him," White says. "I wasted a couple of days just fucking with him, making up names and saying, 'So Sir Furrington of East Timor has threatened to nuke the state of Vermont. If you were president right now what would you do?' He'd start talking about how he was going to feed off the children of Sir Furrington." White threw in Thom Yorke, the name of the lead singer of his favorite band, Radiohead. He pretended Yorke was a political leader in Britain who had said he would invade the state of Minnesota.

"I have him on camera saying, 'I'm going to kill Thom Yorke.'" . . .

"He kept saying he was going to kill George Bush," says White. "I told him, 'Okay, dude, you can't say that. You can say when you're elected, you're going to try George Bush, and once he's found guilty, then you're going to impale him . . ." He doesn't know how much good it did. (pp. 172-73)

And finally, discussing an article called "To the Parents of a Sanguinarian," which is "filled with tips for a parent whose child has just come out of the closet as a vampire":

This makes me have a flash of my son growing up and having the Most Uncomfortable Conversation Ever with him.

Son: I want you to know something about me.

Dad: I think I know what you're going to say, and I want you to know, it's all right. Your mother and I love you just as you are. There's nothing wrong with being gay.

Son: I'm a vampire.

Dad: (Pause) There's nothing wrong with being gay.

Son: I'm not gay, Dad. I'm straight. But I have a need for fresh human blood.

Dad: (Longer pause) You and your boyfriend are always welcome to come home, and I want you to know . . .

Son: I don't have a boyfriend. I have a girlfriend. She's a dental hygienist, and she's Type O Positive. Dad, we're vampires, and we're happy together. We drink each other's blood. Vampires, Dad.

Dad: Couldn't you just try to be gay? For your mother?

This concludes my plug for the book. The author, Paul Bibeau, also points out that he has a new blog, The Dracula Innocence Project. "Was Dracula framed? Why did a small group of people chase a terrified Transylvanian dignitary through the streets of London, and fatally run him through with a blade? We'll examine the evidence. You be the judge." Check it out!