The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

There is No Peace

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Dear Kathryn,

Oh, I feel guilty for watching this show sometimes! It’s so much fun, and I love the antics – but sometimes I wonder just how much of the implicit sexism and racism I can handle! We’ve already talked about Shane’s patriarchal control over Bonnie – now add to that the fact that his wife DIED because he was UNABLE TO CONTROL HER! Yeah, there’s nothing more dangerous than a woman whose husband can’t keep her in check [insert pained eye-roll here]. I can kind of roll with that stuff because it seems so silly most of the time (although I do worry what implicit messages get communicated to the young girls who watch the show!)…but what on earth was with those stereotypical “Islander” First Nations peoples running around the island in hip outfits with facepaint?!? Were they even supposed to be Indigenous people, or just white guys covered in the accouterments of exoticized Native culture? Pair this with the images of boats carrying Shane (who all of a sudden looked pretty Chris Columbus) and his crew up onto the beach prepared to steal some deep and ancient magic from the island, and it all felt painfully neo-colonial to me! 

Frustration aside, on to the story – the thread running through it all seemed to me to be this idea that humanity=goodness/salvation. Caroline points out to Klaus that his tiny piece of humanity is what allows him to love, and that anyone capable of love is capable of salvation (whatever that means?!). For Stefan, regaining humanity means an end to guilt and suffering…um, really?! Do humans do nothing of which we might feel guilty? Do we not suffer?? And Rebecca seems to equate being human with making babies – without which there can be no such thing as family in her view…again, really?

This does make me wonder why we never see vampires trying to adopt 🙂

Just as last week I thought they were opening up but not answering a host of interesting moral questions, this week I feel like the way they’re framing their understanding of humanity is an utterly idealized, strange vision of what it means to be human. But once again, is this missing of the mark the point? Will some of them get cured and realize it’s not all it’s cracked up to be? (And on that note, is the cure like an antidote – once you’re cured, can you ever become vamp again if you change your mind?).

The themes of belief were also really interesting – somehow it’s Shane’s belief in the magic that makes it work, and his ability to spread that belief that can seal the plan. Is this because belief makes one dedicated and willing to do anything? Or is there some mystical connection between the magic and the belief? I wonder if someone who didn’t believe bled on that spot, if they’d be able to see their loved ones? I wonder if the cure is somehow connected to belief too?

Of course, this leads me to wonder once again, why oh why does no one believe in magic? If the fact of their own supernatural existence doesn’t convince them, surely Bonnie’s presence in their midst – you know, always doing magic – would convince them to, um, believe in magic. Just what is it that they’re struggling to swallow?

A few stray thoughts – if Shane felt so guilty about killing “innocents,” why is it ok for him to convince someone else to do the work for him? This connects back to the nuclear option that I brought up last week…how is it so easy to put a thin moral buffer between oneself and the evil act? And just what is the show trying to say with the repetition of that move?

And second, why does vampire Elena require two jackets?? Can she catch a chill? And if she needs two jackets, how is Jeremy wandering around without a shirt?

You have a nice behind,

Written by themothchase

February 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm

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