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We Are All Vampires, Especially Don Draper

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

mad-men-hamm32-1.jpgIn case you haven’t noticed, vampires have invaded. Given, it’s October, so this month generally does see a rise in the prevalence of vamps, zombies, witches and axe murderers on TV, but what I’m talking about is something beyond that. Besides our fascination that hearkens back to Nosferatu (or “Thriller,” or Buffy, depending on your generation), when I started thinking about it more expansively, maybe we’re all vampires.
At this week’s 140 Characters Conference (a conference of Twitter enthusiasts and social media professionals) in Hollywood, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest was a speaker. The person who introduced him, remarking on Seacrest’s TV and radio projects, said “he’s a vampire.” The implication was that, to be able to achieve everything that he does, Seacrest was something other than human. Many audience members undoubtedly felt the same way about their lives, too: we’re up at all hours of the night, Tweeting, Facebooking or doing whatever to manage our busy 24/7 lives, conducting our business in the dark, sinking our teeth into the projects about which we’re the most passionate.
Vamps on TV and film are nothing new, a fact of which we are reminded every October: Buffy, Angel, Blade, Dracula, The Vampire’s Assistant, Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Diaries. But what’s really interesting is that even non-vampires are vampires. Journalists are hungry to get to the juicy stories first, before they’re reported over Twitter, and Twitterers and bloggers are salivating over potentially scooping mainstream media. Many spiritual movements speculate about the idea of a life after death, post-mortem curses, a second life, a reincarnation, or a resurrection. Politicians have always had a little vampire in them, seemingly seductive with a wicked afterbite.
But maybe the ultimate non-vampire vampire is “Mad Men”‘s Don Draper – a mysterious man with a hidden history and a secret other life. Don is in a business where his aggressive ambition is rewarded – he drinks and eats, but this is not what fuels him: he spends every moment pursuing youth and beauty, often in the middle of the night. All the while, his suburban life (and wife) sleeps, promiscuously preying on the necks of young women who desire him in a desperate attempt to find passion, blood, fuel for his life. Don is the king vampire at Sterling Cooper, itself a nest of vamps (the ad execs) and victims (the women apparently powerless to resist their charms).


Maybe we view vamps as our ultimate escape, mysterious, both cold and passionately lusting for life. They’re like the new Calgon, and we beg them to, please, take us away from all of this. Or maybe we’re looking for someone to blame for all the bad things – the things in life that literally (although maybe not lyrically) suck.
It seems like vampires are here to stay, both in our entertainment lives and our metaphorical lives. So as you go into Halloween weekend, give it some thought: what or who sired our undead love for vampires?
Mad Men



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