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Vampires, werewolves, zombies and the economy

Is the rising werewolf a victim of the recession or an empowered creature fighting back?

By Teresa Mears Nov 18, 2009 3:42PM

Are you wondering why you’re hearing so much about werewolves lately?


It’s the recession, say Bob Powers and Ritch Duncan, authors of "The Werewolf’s Guide To Life -- A Manual For The Newly Bitten."


In a post at The Huffington Post, they say, “We believe that the plight of the werewolf reflects the American economic mood at the current moment.”

The story of the werewolf is about personal struggle over adversity. No one chooses to become a werewolf. You're afflicted with the condition as a result of dumb luck. If you're unlucky enough to be walking down the wrong wooded path when the moon is full, a hungry werewolf just might jump out and change your life forever. The werewolf has no concern for how much money you have in the bank or how many people are counting on you, and he definitely isn't concerned with how attractive you might be. Anyone can be turned.
Many Americans are dealing with a similar feeling of helplessness as they study their bank accounts and listen to the workplace rumors about more layoffs coming down the pike. The pervasive feeling is that at any moment, a little bad luck can send everything spiraling out of control.
The reality of the werewolf lifestyle is all about making do, and finding a way to keep in control.

The vampire, so popular just a few years ago, has gone the way of the spendthrift years of the middle 00s, “when money flowed like blood from a jugular and no one had any idea that the vein might run dry.” Vampires, Powers and Duncan say, are the elite, a “creature of the country club.”


That’s unlike the poor werewolf, who is a victim of his circumstances, can’t afford health care for his unfortunate condition and, in a time of 10% unemployment, will have a hard time finding a job because of his inability to work certain nights.


This economic analysis was spurred by a report Sunday on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” when NPR’s Guy Raz refereed a “Werewolves Vs. Vampires” debate between Powers and Joe Garden, co-author of “The New Vampire’s Handbook.” The segment was related to Friday’s upcoming release of the film "New Moon," the second installment in the Stephanie Meyer “Twilight” series, in which our protagonist, Bella, splits with her vampire love interest and takes up with a werewolf.

We must confess that the last vampire and werewolf story we watched was “Dark Shadows” in the 1960s, featuring that poor, tortured vampire Barnabas Collins. Still, we can see how the economy could be seen as turning from the vampire toward the werewolf –- with the unemployed werewolf fearing the financial vampires sucking the money from his accounts.


But not all agree on the economic symbolism of the rising werewolf. "If vampires are popular, it follows that werewolves must soon arrive," Brad Steiger, author of “The Werewolf Book,” told The Independent of London, which reported last month on the rising popularity of werewolves in film.


Steiger sees the werewolf not as a poor, hapless victim of the economy but as an empowered creature.

What could give one more of a sense of power in these troubled times than being able to shapeshift into a wolf and run off into the night, howling at the moon, and being able to demolish one's enemies and anxieties?

Bruce Watson, writing for Daily Finance, doesn’t even consider werewolves in his analysis, looking instead at the economy as zombies vs. vampires. He sees the vampires as the creatures of the recession, with the zombies as the symbols of wretched excess.

If the rampaging zombie represents unrestrained, exuberant consumerism, then the sadness of the bloodsucker could function as a form of buyer's remorse. Put another way, the early 2000's zombie ate up the equity line of credit and maxed out the cards, while the 2009-2010 vampire is left with the bill and a lingering sense of guilt.

Perhaps NPR needs to set up a second segment to delve more deeply into the place of the vampire, the werewolf and the zombie in economic analysis. As a start, Flavor Wire offers us “The Top 5 Werewolves for Your Recession Blues.”


What do you think? Does the vampire, the zombie or the werewolf best represent the average American in today’s economy? Or would you rather just take a break from economic analysis and go to the movies?


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