Arts & Culture

Ask a Goy: The Vampire Craze

When I was two, I was convinced The Count from Sesame Street was actually my Romanian-born grandfather, and I’d cry my eyes out as soon as his segment on the show was over.  That was the extent of my interest … Read More

By / July 12, 2010

When I was two, I was convinced The Count from Sesame Street was actually my Romanian-born grandfather, and I’d cry my eyes out as soon as his segment on the show was over.  That was the extent of my interest in vampires. 

Cut to present day: we have Twilight movies making billions at the box office, my friends are throwing True Blood parties, and I’m playing the part of the curmudgeon, wondering what the hell everybody is so excited about.  Am I wrong to not care about trendy bloodsuckers?  

Werewolves, on the other hand, I can get behind.  Maybe it’s because I like dogs more than bats, or because I get the feeling that there is something a little off about Dracula

Ritch Duncan and Bob Powers also like werewolves — so much that they wrote The Werewolf’s Guide to Life: A Manual for the Newly Bitten.  I figured that maybe their interest in spooky creatures could help me understand the current monster craze that’s sweeping the world, and clue me into what and when the next one will be. 

Why are people so fricken obsessed with vampires? I think it’s different for men and women. Women’s interest in male Vampires is similar to some women’s desire to hang around gay men. Both lead exotic, very different lifestyles, and while there is an exciting sexual attraction, it comes with the safety of an unbridgeable divide. Men are different. Men find vampires compelling because they are reacting to a deep-seeded fear that a wealthy European is going to brainwash and steal their girlfriend, even if he’s wearing something ridiculous, like a cape. In New York City especially, this is a legitimate concern.


You recently wrote a book called "The Werewolfs Guide to Life."  How did you research it?  Both Bob and I have a longstanding relationship with the lycanthropic community. We have promised to keep our sources secret, as it is still not safe for werewolves to live openly without persecution, but suffice it to say, both of our lives have been touched by good, decent people who are living with with the condition. Hopefully, this book will be part of a larger national dialogue promoting understanding and acceptance. As we say in the book, ignorance creates monsters, lycanthropy does not. 

Is the werewolf the only good thing about Twilight? Twilight’s not my cup of tea, but I don’t want to slag it, which is where I’ve had some disagreements with my co-author. Bob refuses to even acknowledge Jacob Black as a werewolf, preferring to call him "a rough trade go-go boy who occasionally gets angry and turns into a sled dog." While he has a point, I don’t think anybody is going into the Twilight movies expecting a documentary. Even if the werewolf were to be presented accurately, it would still be a story about a love triangle between three teenagers, one of whom is dead. If you’re into that kind of thing, go for it. I’ve started watching True Blood, and there are nazi werewolves: is this an unfair portrayal?   Well, a werewolf is a person, people have free will, and some people happen to be Nazis, so unfortunately it isn’t unfair. However, it does seem incongruous that a werewolf would be a Nazi, especially considering that group’s zeal for dehumanizing people, engaging in eugenics and performing scientific tests on humans. As we detail in the book, werewolves have good reason to fear this treatment from all governments, including America’s, but throwing in your lot with the Nazis seems particularly asinine. But you never know-  lycanthropy brings a lot of change,  but it doesn’t help much with stupid. I’m a hairy dude and my grandfather comes from near Transylvania.  Is there a possibility that I have lycanthropy?

While it’s true that lycanthropes tend to be on the hairier side while in their dormant forms, there are quite a few more aggressive symptoms you can watch out for. Where your Grandfather was from isn’t a factor either, unless he was bitten by a werewolf himself and passed the condition on to you genetically. If this happened, your first transformation would have happened shortly after puberty, so if you didn’t massacre everyone at your Bar Mitzvah, you’re probably in the clear. But if you are seriously concerned that you might be a werewolf, check out the "Am I Werewolf" section on our website for the first five questions you’re going to need to ask yourself.

If after answering these questions, you feel there is a good chance you are a werewolf, you should purchase our book immediately, and determine when the next full moon will be.