Toothless Vampires (Transcript)

Raquel: Welcome to Rite Gud, the only podcast that helps you write good. I’m R. S. Benedict. There’s a trend in contemporary speculative fiction to soften or humanize monsters. We have nice vampires who don’t kill people. Sad ghosts who don’t torment the living. Succubi who don’t fuck anyone. Some people find this charming.

But here at Rite Gud [00:01:00] we like it when monsters are monstrous. Here to talk about this is returning champion, Karlo Yeager Rodriguez.

Karlo: Hello, Raquel. I just want to say that I do not drink vine.

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: I instead drink seltzer.

Raquel: Oh, very nice. Very nice. We were recording this the day after Henry Kissinger’s passing.

Karlo: Speaking of.

Raquel: So I assume you drank something nice that day.

Karlo: Yeah, yeah.

Raquel: Yeah, I had an apricot wheat ale. It was quite good.

Karlo: Sounds good.

Raquel: Yeah, it was pretty good. It was good. So, anyway, on that note, let’s talk a little bit about that trend, and, and this is, I shouldn’t have said speculative fiction, I really should have said sci fi and fantasy because horror generally tends to prefer monstrous monsters, but I’ve noticed that there’s this general trend of kind of sanitized monsters in a lot of popular sci fi and a lot of [00:02:00] popular fantasy, so let’s talk about that.

Why do we think Where, where is this coming from? Why do we think we’re seeing so much of it? Why is it so popular?

Karlo: Personally, I don’t have any issue with, like, it’s fine. BuT, but I don’t prefer it, right? It brings to mind, I forget who, who this is attributed to. But it’s, it’s that old saying where, yes, your dragon can be a metaphor, but it must also be a dragon.

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: I think that’s a great jumping off point because we, you could apply this to just about any one of those, like, just call them the Universal monster, movie monsters. You have little, you know, hug box vampires that just want to, they feed off of hugs.

Isn’t that great.

Raquel: Yeah, I mean, I know it started as a subversion of old tropes, I guess, but now it feels like that’s become the main trope. So when we say, “oh, a werewolf who’s friendly,” I’m not really[00:03:00] surprised, it’s not a subversion anymore. Now that’s normal. Actually having a werewolf who was really, really bad and scary I think would be a lot more subversive or a lot more surprising in a way.

Karlo: So I will also say that, one of the things as I was thinking about this, one of the things that I felt sort of accelerated this particular trend was the movie. I have not seen the show, but the movie, What We Do in Shadows, which very enjoyable, quite funny at times.

Raquel: yeah,

Karlo: But at the same time, representing sort of this mundanity, of having to, basically it’s The Real World, but if The Real World were just a bunch of vampires living together.

Raquel: right,

Karlo: But I will say that the, the original movie does have a couple of moments where it’s like legitimately sort of creepy and scary and they have like a big Count Orloff looking motherfucker that is just horrific [00:04:00] looking. You’re like, oh yes, keep ’em down in the basement.

Raquel: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I mean, I like the show. Well, the show kind of mid, I like the movie and I think that’s fine, but it, that was funny. The many, many, many imitators aren’t as interesting or funny to me. And I think there’s a sort of, at least in SFF, there’s A little bit of a political thing to it. The thinking is that monsters represent the other.

Right? Monsters represent the horrifying other. So portraying monsters as monstrous is demonizing marginalized people. So we’re gonna make monsters friendly and cozy as a way to be kinder to marginalized people. But my issue with that is that reading a story about a friendly wendigo probably isn’t gonna make you less racist.

If you’re racist,

Karlo: So the other thing that I think about, and I think this is also something that has been adopted very [00:05:00] much, I think in sort of like Queer circles regarding, the othering of queerness, and I totally get that, fine with that, that is not an issue. However, I do think that this is simply the new version of, we’re gonna include a bunch of marginalized people, but they’re gonna be aliens and or robots, and I think that the, the problem that I see with this is something, uh, this isn’t original, this, I, I remember reading something that Silvia Moreno Garcia said that, uh, that at the end of the day, you can present this terrible situation.

You know, who humanized this alien or robot, to make them empathetic and they can suffer these oppressions, but at the end of the day, the people put down the story or the book or whatever, and then they go, wow, sucks to be a robot. And they don’t make the connection because you’ve, you’ve just eliminated the marginalized person.

The marginalized person has [00:06:00] become a metaphor within the story rather than becoming an actual person and character within the story.

Raquel: right. And also a lot of the times these stories don’t handle marginalized human characters very well either. I mean, this is a video game, but Detroit Become Human is really not great about gender or race at all. I mean, Quantic Dreams got into a ton of problems with accusations of sexual harassment. And even within the games, the way they portray people of color is pretty stereotypical.

The portrayal of women is not great. David Cage is kind of a creep. Or Twilight, the Twilight series portrays indigenous people as literally animals. They’re primitive beast men frolicking in the rain like uh okay

Karlo: Adding a, like a, a wrinkle to an already marginalized group where they, oh, if, if they get too excited, they [00:07:00] can’t control themselves and turn into a gigantic raging werewolf. And you’re like, I mean, granted, I think that this, I would not, I would probably not consider, Stephanie Meyers, particularly woke in the, the, as they say, right?

So I don’t think, right, right. Even if she was trying, if she was meaning well, she’s got a lot of baggage that comes with the, her background that sort of, she didn’t handle that very well. Even if she meant well, it’s not good.

Raquel: yeah

Karlo: I do want to point out that I don’t think that she was trying to go for like a, she, she was trying to make the, the vampires less threatening in part because it’s like YA and I don’t know and she, she had issues with whatever her issues were exactly.

I do think that it was interesting that, she does make the leap that, That sort of, continues on from Anne Rice’s depiction of [00:08:00] vampires where, where the, the vampiric act of drinking blood becomes sort of like sex. Food and every, every pleasurable thing that you would experience as a human is just flattened into feeding.

So you do feel like this almost, sublime pleasure when you’re feeding. So she does make that, but then she goes like, nope, poke those fangs down. Gotta get those, gotta get those tooth boners down. Ha ha ha.

Raquel: yeah so so we’ve got that we’ve got the There’s the monster as marginalized person, there’s also the monster as trauma, monster as trauma victim, monster as a symbol of trauma, or something like that, and I would like to point out that a few things. First is that a monster can be sympathetic or pitiable because of its traumatic past, and still also be incredibly dangerous and scary and bad.

Like, I don’t know, a [00:09:00] lot of murderers were probably abused as kids. That that doesn’t mean that their murder is sort of soft or okay

Karlo: yeah, exactly. Like again, to, to the point where you could make someone, even a regular human being, who is dangerous, empathetic, but they’re still dangerous in a certain way. It’s, it’s hard to sort of thread that needle sometimes, but it can be done.

I think that you can present like, okay, you don’t have to have everything be this black and white morality where, yeah, traumatized person, always good . Because sometimes people that have trauma, like, isn’t that the whole point of, not a speculative or science fiction fantasy work, but is that the whole point of Carmen Maria Machado’s, memoir In the Dream House that, just because you’re marginalized doesn’t make you like immune or special in, in that you can never abuse anybody. So, [00:10:00] it’s just such a strange thing. It, it almost feels like the contrarianism that you get when you want to, you immediately take an opposite position to what, whatever the, whatever the, the, your opponents say. And you’re like, mm, uh uh, they’re good actually.

Raquel: Another frustration for me with that is that it’ll it feels like it softens how bad trauma and mental illness can be. And I understand why some people might feel it is necessary to portray this in a way that’s safe and manageable and good, like, here’s a therapy story, but I kind of find, at least in, in, In fiction, I find it more cathartic to just let it be completely huge and horrible because that is how it feels sometimes.

Karlo: Mm?

Raquel: And just, let me sit with it. Let me, let me feel this for a little while. I can put the book down or leave the theater and [00:11:00] then go about my life managing my issues and trying to be good. But let me just vicariously let it all hang out for a little while in art.

Karlo: I think that that’s a sort of scratches at a, from another angle, right? Pokes it pokes this issue from another angle here, right? I have seen people talk about like, well, you shouldn’t try to traumatize your readers. And granted, I’m not within reason, obviously you can, you can like, to your point, Raquel, the, the element of fiction or art in general is , sort of a self contained area, a safe space, if you will, right where you can engage with

traumatic things, um, in a safer environment, you’re not in the world. You’re actually, you’re using sort of the escapism in a different way to then engage with a certain trauma or certain traumatic event. It doesn’t even have to be your traumatic event, but there’s, I feel like there’s such [00:12:00] a

shrinking away from dealing like doing, anything that would require a content warning. Because that could traumatize your readers and alienate them from, from your work. It completely defangs the entire project, right? It feels like you can’t really engage with things like traumatic events in the way that they feel because you’re, you’re busy thinking about, well, what is my reader going to, you know, I, I really hope that this doesn’t trigger somebody.

My frustration with that line of thinking is that at the point when I’m writing, and I’ve said this before, so it’s not particularly original for me, but. At the point when I’m sitting down and writing, I am not thinking about the reader at all. Period. That, that happens perhaps later. And even then, it’s very distant.

I need to figure out how this story works and what exactly I’m trying to say. And what angle I’m trying [00:13:00] to use within that fiction to work something out, because the funny thing is, writers also generally write to work certain things out as well.

So it just seems to me sort of not helpful if you’re engaged, if you’re trying to do things in that manner to then try to cosify, your traumatic, whatever your trauma is that you’re trying to engage with in the fiction. Yeah.

Raquel: some monsters who get a little bit defanged. Why don’t we start with just vampires. We’ll start with vampires. Cause they’re, they’re so popular. They’re always popular. And they’re not really scary anymore. They’re not scary anymore. ” My vampires don’t drink blood.”

Fuck you. If your vampires don’t drink blood, fuck you. That’s all. Except the one acceptable version of this that I will tolerate is the energy vampire from What We Do in the Shadows. That’s pretty [00:14:00] fucking good. That’s pretty good. I like that guy. It’s just the worst fucking co worker you’ve ever had who just makes you want to kill yourself whenever he talks to you.

Like, that was pretty fucking good. I really, really like that. But everything else, I, I do not like. “Oh, I’m a vampire, but I don’t drink blood.” Fuck you. Fuck you, fuck you. That’s weak. That’s weak bullshit. I– find some way that they need blood. I, I don’t care. I don’t care how you portray it. I know there’s the, the Ann Rice portrayal of it, of, of this is the most pleasurable thing.

Andy Warhol had it kind of an interesting portrayal of it where. It’s not a I don’t even know if this is really Andy Warhol’s movie, his name was attached to it. It wasn’t a great movie, but the portrayal of Dracula is as an aristocratic junkie. Like he’s just a he’s a pathetic junkie. He is a blood addict.

Not just really, really pathetic and scrabbling for it. Not like [00:15:00] noble or beautiful or anything. He’s just sort of a sad junkie who’s lost everything to pursue this addiction. Which, I like that interpretation, that’s a pretty cool interpretation.

Karlo: It’s an interesting angle. He’s a sad, instead of just a sad sack, he’s a sad blood sack.

Raquel: Yeah, he’s just like a piece of shit rich guy who’s blown all his money on heroin or something. And he’s just running out and it’s just like, oh, oh fuck, I don’t know.

Karlo: Speaking of the queen herself. For all her flaws, uh, that was one of the things that was most enjoyable about reading like Interview with the Vampire was just like, fuck you, Louie, just fucking drink, drink some human blood, your motherfucker. Because the thing is that, that

for, for all her flaws, and, and I’m sure that she, she had many, and I’m sure there’s plenty that I’m, that I have blind spots to, but, but at the same time, like, the fact that she made Louie this fucking loser, [00:16:00] Just like, sad sack, sorry for himself all the time, just sucking the blood off of rats.

Could you imagine he actually has the talent to call animals to him. And he just calls rats over and drinks each one like a, a watered down Capri Sun. And, and the thing is that she was, she was very, clever in that that continued his continued abnegation of the hunger that he felt was something that actually put all of them in danger because when he finally lets like he finally gives in to the craving or he can’t hold it back anymore he just becomes like a fucking animal. He just like tears through a bunch of people and you’re like what the fuck

Raquel: Like when people who are trying to do diets finally eat a pancake,

Karlo: yep Yep, just go, go on a binge. Go on a binge, yeah,

Raquel: Go on a crazy ass binge.

Karlo: I just found that really fascinating because it’s one of these points of contention where, [00:17:00] in the early parts of that book, Lestat just like mocks him mercilessly. Just like, “Oh, Louis, what are you doing? Come on.”

Raquel: now, now I know I’ve seen some discourse. People were a little complain y that Anne Rice portrayed Louis as a slave owner in the books, I believe, and there is this trope of the Confederate vampire, and I’ve seen a lot of people say, “why do they love Confederate vampires? Why are there so many confederate vampires?”

Well, I mean, vampirism is a parasitic relationship in which a person violently exploits another human being in order to benefit and strengthen himself.

Karlo: Hmm?

Raquel: That is very much in line with an evil like slavery. It just seems kind of weird to me like “yeah It’s okay to be a parasitic murderer, but not a racist one” like what what

Karlo: look,

Raquel: why would he not be?


Karlo: okay? I find, I [00:18:00] always found that to be a real head scratcher because he’s like, did you, did you not read any history? This is happening like in the 17th century.

What are you, not in the, it’s the 18th century, I believe it’s like 17 something. And I’m sitting there going like yeah, slavery wasn’t abolished then. I’m sorry, dude. He lives in New Orleans, which was also a slave state.

Raquel: This is a rich guy who kills people to get an erection. He’s, he’s gonna do this. We’re not saying that this is cool or good, but if you’re perfectly fine with murdering people and treating people who are less powerful than yourself as expendable, then yeah, you’re gonna be okay with this. You’re not a good person, I’m sorry.

Your parasitic blood drinking monster is not nice. He’s

Karlo: Yeah, you know, it’s, turns out that, uh, the ethics of, coercing someone to give you their blood directly into your mouth with your teeth, pretty, pretty, uh, pretty shaky, pretty shaky ethics.

Raquel: I mean, Karl Marx [00:19:00] openly compared capitalism to vampirism. I think what he said was, Capital is dead labor, which vampire like survives by feeding on the living.

Karlo: Yes, exactly right. And that’s, I believe is one of the lines that the late Mark Fisher also used to draw a line and, and name a, an essay, you know, Exiting the Vampire Castle. So, so yeah, it’s such an interesting thing and, and granted, we’re talking about, like, the post Bram Stoker Dracula vampires.

Um, just, just to be clear here, because there are apparently all sorts of other vampires, even within, like, yeah, even within Romania.

Raquel: on Western kinds, too. I, I do not know enough about the Southeast Asian hopping Buddhist vampire things enough to really get in go I do not know enough about those to comment on them at all.

Karlo: or the ones that, I forget the name. I don’t want to butcher the name. So I’ll just say the ones that are basically [00:20:00] like a head with entrails. And they have to sort of like, that’s, that’s awesome. It’s so cool.

Raquel: That’s cool, that’s metal.

Karlo: It’s like a vampire beholder. Just. Fly, floating around and grabbing you with its entrails.

Like, how cool is that? Um, and using vinegar to shrink their entrails back down so I can fit into this little plug itself back into their body. It’s so great. It’s such a great

Raquel: heh heh.

Karlo: ” I’m, I’m a head on the body. Look at me.” Um, so, so yeah, uh, it’s, it’s so weird to me because, also I, I did want to point out that I believe, Alex Woodrow from over in Tenebrous press has mentioned that, she lives in Romania and says that like, there’s easily,

count the amount of towns there are in Romania and that’s as many different customs regarding vampires there, there might be, or, or the living dead. So, yeah, it’s just very, it’s very, like Bram Stoker just took and did [00:21:00] a mashup of a bunch of stuff, including some of, some witchcraft, some werewolfism, because, the Count has at one point, hairy palms, um, Hey, um, but also, um, sorry, 12, 12 year old me surface there for a second.

Um, but, but so yeah, there’s a bunch of different customs, and if you go far enough back, it’s funny that, vampires and zombies were almost indistinguishable from each other. Which is very strange to our modern, to a modern audience who is used to the mainstreamization of both, right?

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: whereas I think that, zombies are just slowly decaying bodies that just shamble around. They’re just, either nonverbal, almost nonverbal or incoherently verbal, uh, in most, most cases.

Raquel: Yeah. Yeah, vampires are very aristocratic. Zombies [00:22:00] are a lot more, I don’t know, proletarian. Which is why I find it kind of interesting and a little annoying that vampires kind of get the, “oh, we’re just a misunderstood minority” treatment, while zombies are always just expendable and bad. They’re just gross and bad and gross.

I feel like that kind of says something about our attitude about social class. Oh,

Karlo: one of the things that, for me specifically, I’ve always had an issue with zombie stories specifically is mainly because it’s, it’s a reverse invasion story that basically poses zombies as an externalized threat that can then overpower quote civilization, right?

Raquel: in World War Z, it’s very, very overt. Zombies are the Palestinians.

Karlo: yes, I mean, but, but then

Raquel: is doomed by allowing too many of them in.

Karlo: yes,

Raquel: wow, okay. Oh.

Karlo: let’s not forget that Max Brooks, works for [00:23:00] like, uh, I forget exactly the think tank he, he works with, but it, it, it’s a Murder Inc, you know, War Crimes, Inc, think tank, I’m sure. And, yeah, absolutely. I remember reading the book and, and as the, the, the further in I got, while there were parts that were interesting, the, the more I started getting, like, and granted this is when it came out way back when so I wasn’t even I wasn’t even this is borderline woke period for Karlo so I was sitting there going like “what is it about this that is just setting off alarm bells in my head” and I just like “I’m not interested in this anymore.”


Raquel: It’s interesting to contrast that with, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, et cetera, are movies in which the z the zombies aren’t necessarily an inferior, it’s, it’s really they’re us. And as the movies went along, they were kind of making zombies more [00:24:00] sympathetic, like, Day of the Dead, there’s Bud the zombie, who, you actually kind of feel bad for Bud.

Bud is a little more likable than the U. S. military guy. Colonel, what’s his fa Colonel Rhodes, I think it is. Like, you’re feeling for Bud. You really like Bud more than you like those military guys. Bud doesn’t know any better, he’s just a zombie, it’s not his fault. And, and

In Land of the Dead, there’s a bit where they’re kind of like, almost respect them, as just, “this is just another way of life.”

I think John Leguizamo plays this sort of, zombie, or sort of a cop for zombies, and he gets bitten at one point, and the protocol is to kill yourself, and he finally says, ” You know what, nah, I’m not gonna do it, I wanna know how the other half lives, fuck it, let’s do this.”

Karlo: amazing.

Raquel: “I’m in it. I’m, I’m doing it.”

Karlo: So I, I do want to point out that this is, when you said that it reminded me of, when I read the, the, the former, book club, uh, book, I Am Legend. This is a big point towards the end of the book where, uh, finally, [00:25:00] shit, I forgot the name of the, the protagonist’s name,

Raquel: Neville, I think it was.

Karlo: Yeah, that’s right.

That’s right. He has the neighbor that keeps on. “I’m gonna get you Neville”

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: Because as as he’s been basically going out during the day and just murking as many of these zombie slash vampires he can find

Raquel: kidnapping their women, bringing them back to his lair, and doing unspeakable things to their bodies, too.

Karlo: That too. Yeah. Eventually he sees, one of their envoys, and she’s just walking around the day and she, invites him and they capture him and he realizes, yeah, they tell him that this is, they’re the new society. Right. And that, he in fact, is not, Human, you know, like they don’t view him as human because he’s been busy trying to kill everyone and They’re the new society. Granted while I was reading that I was thinking to myself So did Matheson live through like [00:26:00] the summer of love or like is this some sort

Raquel: It’s hard not to see that in there. Yeah, I definitely think there’s a little bit of a hint of that in there.

Karlo: It is interesting because at the, at the very last moment, he has the realization that he is the monster that, he thought the vampires were. He’s simply become their, their legendary monster, and that’s, you know, that’s where the, the title spoilers for a very old book, uh, this is where the title comes from.

Man, I, when I also, let me just say. Slight detour. When I heard the ending of, uh, the Will Smith one.

Raquel: so fucking angry. I’m so mad. How dare they.

Karlo: Speaking, speaking of defanging, this is, this is one where it’s like, “no, he was trying to do good.” And you’re like, Hmm.

Raquel: That a book written, I think, in the 1960s was still too subversive for Hollywood. Really?

Karlo: they wanted to make it nice.

Raquel: A trash [00:27:00] pulp novel. Yeah, a lot of the adaptations of it can’t let go of the idea that Neville is not a hero. They cannot let go of the fact that, like, no, this guy sucks, actually. He’s a

Karlo: This, this guy, this guy’s like fuckin the Mengele of vampires. What are you

Raquel: kidnapping women!

Karlo: Yes!

Raquel: women and experimenting on them. That’s bad, dude. That’s not cool.

Karlo: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Raquel: It’s super bad.

Karlo: At the end of the book they needed to have like the vampire Nuremberg trials on him or

Raquel: Yeah, they straight up do. They, they subject him to a trial and he is executed. He’s not hunted down, he is executed because they are a civilized people now. In, in their own way.

Karlo: Yes, exactly. I think that that’s, that speaks to Something, that can be scary, right? The fact that the culture could turn on you and then suddenly you’re the monster.

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: Is, is really something that, that can give you pause and, and it’s, it reminds [00:28:00] me of something that, the late gadfly and general all around asshole Harlan Ellison

Raquel: ha ha ha!

Karlo: which is, he’s, he’s not wrong.

He said that basically he, he wanted to make sure that, that the next, the next generation would view their elders as monsters. And that’s more or less what the book is about, right? It’s like what you accepted is just unacceptable to us. And that, that can be a good thing.

Raquel: Yeah. Yeah. So a little bit about Zombies too. You’ve brought this up in conversations before, but it’s kind of interesting how we’ve gotten far away from the original idea, or the, an earlier idea of the zombie as an undead slave.

Karlo: Yeah. Like,

Raquel: of zombieism coming from, I think, Haiti. This is, this is a myth, or a monster that comes from colonized, enslaved people in the Caribbean.

And what could be scarier to an exploited population than the idea that even [00:29:00] being dead will not free you from exploitation? Even if you’re fucking dead, they will still make you harvest sugar. Like, gah, that’s, that’s terrible.

Karlo: small portion of yourself still in that body, just shambling around still doing. There’s no rest. There’s no escape. Could you imagine the horror of the Arawaks or the Tainos who, like, the Taino women who dashed their, their poor children’s heads against rocks to avoid the Conquistadors getting their hands on them and watching them be risen, like, watching in horror as their children are risen from the dead to go do what they, they want, they wanted to do to them anyway?

That’d be horrible. Horrible.

Raquel: That would just be the fucking worst shit.

Karlo: It also speaks to what the history actually was. And just unvarnished. You’re using actually, it’s one of these things where the, if that [00:30:00] is the, the absolute genesis of that, at least in, as we know it now, It, it, it certainly speaks to a, a real fear that black people in the Americas really fucking had.

And it was a fear that was based off of an actual real world fear of “God, please let me be free, at least in death.”

Raquel: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s horrific and I think it’s kind of sad or a little frustrating how we’ve forgotten that side of it.

Karlo: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Uh, I mean, I think it, it’s hard to talk about because I don’t think that as a state, as a society, as a culture, I don’t think, the US has ever really, really grappled with that in a way that

could could threaten to shake the, the status quo, you know? It’s very difficult.

So then it becomes very difficult to really [00:31:00] get at it in fiction in a way that will be palatable to people out there, readers who don’t want to look at that stuff.

Raquel: yeah. I mean, we’ve still kind of done that a little bit there. There. There’s that famous case of Henrietta Lacks, the woman who will never die, who, she was a woman who, a black woman who died, I think, of ovarian cancer or uterine cancer. Some of her cells were taken, and these cells are still used in experiments and in scientific studies.

They’re, they were called like HeLa cells for short, because they’re unusually hardy. They reproduce themselves unusually well. And because

of this, she’s called the woman who will never die, because there’s still living tissue of hers going around, but like, She, she did not consent to this, her family didn’t consent to

this, and weren’t, I believe they weren’t even paid for this.

And she had a religious faith, a religious belief that your spirit can’t really rest [00:32:00] until all of you is laid to rest.

Karlo: Mm hmm.

Raquel: So she’s not, her spirit’s never gonna be able to get to rest.

Karlo: And, and,

Raquel: That’s like a zombie kind of shit. It’s fucked


Karlo: That was, that was conducted. Actually, I believe initially the HeLa cells were first used in, Johns Hopkins in some of the earliest Cancer research. I will point out that if I remember correctly, the specific statistics that they used in the book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, uh, the cells that have been used of hers in medical research, if you put them end to end, these tiny, microscopic, you can’t even see them.

If you put them end to end, they would leave the surface of the earth, circle the moon and come back

Raquel: What the

Karlo: at the, that is how many cells of Henrietta Lacks have been used over time. It is wild. And like you said, part of that book was [00:33:00] sort of pointing out and shedding light on the fact that while all this research that has benefited all of us to a certain degree or another and, and may fill the pockets of many, many companies doing medical procedures and stuff like that.

Her family was just living in abject poverty and I believe in West Baltimore.

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: So, you know, Is that, is that just? I don’t, I don’t think so. I don’t know how to fix that either. But also it’s like, it’s just an injustice that it can never really be redressed. I mean, at this point, I believe most of her immediate family has, has died.

Died of natural causes or of, or not so natural causes, you know. It’s bad.

Raquel: Yeah. Yeah. Alright. Okay, calm down, Harley. I know. He’s outraged. He’s outraged. He’s

Karlo: That’s that’s right. Harley.

Raquel: [00:34:00] that woman rest.

Karlo: Yes, absolutely.

Raquel: Okay, so let’s move on from vampires and zombies to The succubus. The problem with the wholesome succubus. And this has been, this isn’t anywhere near as widespread as the defanged vampires or the, or the zombies, but Most portrayals of the succubus in pop culture is really, really watered down.

A lot of portrayals, first of all, are just “Oh, it’s, it’s like a, it’s like a sexy lady, it’s like a sexy devil lady,” and that’s it, which, no, it’s not. It, it, it’s not generic hot girl with, like, wings, it’s, more of a, a night terror’s rapist thing? It, she’s not nice, she’s not your friend, portrayals of succubi in, in older culture tend to be a lot more grotesque and frightening.

Karlo: uh, often they were portrayed as very old women.[00:35:00]

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: I know it’s not, it’s very insensitive, but very hag like, right?

Raquel: Yeah, yeah. It’s not, this is not from a politically correct era. Society hadn’t invented the MILF yet. We didn’t know about them. So it was just like a gross, kind of horrible woman who, who sperm jacks you when you’re trying to sleep. And yeah, obviously, obviously this is portraying some fears of, of female sexuality, but that is the source of the, that is kind of what the monster is.

And the generic portrayal is like, “look, pretty, hot girl with wings” is kind of, kind of weak. And it, it kind of suggests this idea that women cannot be predatorial sexually. And that men cannot be victims, which is very like. It’s, that’s not actually a progressive idea at all. The idea that women can’t be predators, men can’t be victims.

It’s very, it’s very TERF y. So [00:36:00] there’s the generic, sort of, “look at this hot girl” version of the succubus. There’s also the, there have been some recent fantasy stories with, with chaste, wholesome, almost virginal succubi thinking, “Oh, I guess it’s feminist because we’re subverting this fear of female sexuality.”

again, it’s, I think it’s portraying this idea of female sexuality as inherently passive, inherently an object to be consumed.

Karlo: mm hmm,

Raquel: I’ll notice there’s not a, I have not seen any wholesome male incubi with any of this. There’s no, “ah, look at this generic incubus. It’s, it’s like a generic hot demon,” or, “ah, here’s this nice incubus who’s saving himself for marriage” or something.

We don’t really get that, because I think there’s this idea, this, maybe it’s rather Victorian, that female sexuality is inherently passive and an objectified. Male sexuality is inherently active and predatory, which is not It’s not [00:37:00] actually a feminist idea. It’s kind of a crummy idea that hurts sexual assault victims of all genders.

It hurts people who are victimized by female perpetrators, which does happen to children, especially to children, more often than you’d think. Like, yeah, obviously, I think men are, more often predatory, but it’s not only men and to me it ends up reinforcing these reactionary gender attitudes that lead to ideas like women have to cover up to avoid tempting men into, you know, doing bad things.

Karlo: well, yeah, those ankles, they, they, I can’t control myself around their bare ankles, Raquel. I also think that the, speaking of, where’s, where’s my incubus gang, bro, where, where, where the incubi . Yeah, Incubi Rock, . Do you think that that’s a saying in hell? But yeah, like, like, it’s such a strange, um, it, the lore behind it is just so [00:38:00] bizarre.

Raquel: It’s super weird. Do you wanna, do you wanna go into detail? What is a succubus? What is an incubus?

Karlo: So, so, uh, Succubus is basically a, a, I guess they do believe in the gender binary in hell. That does seem to track.

Raquel: Except for Baphomet.

Karlo: I guess.

Raquel: Baphomet is non binary. Good for them.

Karlo: Good for them. Uh, well, I, I guess also, uh, Beelzebub who is definitely a, a them, them.

Raquel: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Karlo: uh, So the, the Succubus and the Incubus are supposed to be like male female versions.

I should say respectively female male. Succubus is female, Incubus is male. And then what happens is that they will, like you said, Raquel, generally it’s been attributed to night terrors. They will wait until someone’s asleep and then basically, yeah, like coerce the sleeper into, uh, either having sex with them or just simply sitting on them, which also, you know, I guess maybe, [00:39:00] maybe if you’re Mormon, you just soak,

Raquel: Yeah, you just soak.

Karlo: you have a couple of other succubi, uh, show, show up so that they

Raquel: Yeah, they jump on the bed so that stuff happens. But it’s not your fault.

Karlo: but then this is where it gets very strange because it’s not just general human sex that’s happening here. The succubus will then take the sperm jack, hold it inside, and then, I forget, they have to transfer it to an incubus, and then the incubus reinserts it, and that’s how they have weird half demon babies.

Raquel: Right.

Karlo: When I was reading up on that, I was like, holy shit, this sounds like, I’m not sure if it’s all dragonflies, but I do know that, I read that dragonfly females have a, a way to sort of a holding area for the, for the sperm. And when they, they’ve chosen their ideal mate, they will make sure [00:40:00] they will scrape out.

They have a little thing, I guess, some sort of, um, some organ or, uh, appendage or something that scrapes out the unwanted sperm dumps it and takes in the other, the, the wanted sperm.

Raquel: Good for her.

Karlo: Indeed. This is

Raquel: Girl boss. Gaslight Gatekeep.

Karlo: they figured this out 650 million years

Raquel: Good for her.

Karlo: But yeah, it’s very strange in the, in that it’s just so convoluted, but it also shows you just how the specifically, I guess, the, whoever the, the people were thinking about this were actually thinking about.

How demons would reproduce and it’s just so weird Just inhuman. You’re like, okay. Yeah, that’s that’s strange

Raquel: yeah.

Karlo: Shoot a load up into the sky where it lands. No one knows

Raquel: Yeah, [00:41:00] it’s, it’s strange and fascinating. Yeah, obviously it has some anxieties about sexuality and about, about womanhood. But, I mean, isn’t that kind of the point?

Karlo: Yeah, yeah, absolutely

Raquel: that’s kind of the point.

Karlo: So so are there are there any dudes rock or women rock succubi?

Raquel: Yeah, there, I have the one portrayal of a celibate succubus that I’ve actually seen that I really legitimately liked. And this is so embarrassing because it’s not in fiction, it’s in a fucking video game. Planescape Torment, it was this game that came out in, like, I think 1999, it’s very Disco Elysium is kind of an ode to it, but there’s this character, a major character, who’s a succubus who, who gave up that life to, to study the life of the mind and a very virtuous life.

But there’s a question asked. As to [00:42:00] whether, is this a genuine change of heart? Or is this character just playing on the fact that patriarchal societies fetishize female purity, and this is just another way to kind of ensnare and control men? It raises the question, and it never really answers the question, which I really, really, really do appreciate.

Karlo: The horny energies are off the charts. She’s harvesting it.

Raquel: Exactly! Well, it’s kind of like those early 2000s, you know, Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears, where it’s the “I’m not that innocent” kind of virginal sexpot.

Karlo: Yeah.

Raquel: Kind of that.

Karlo: I think about sex a lot. That’s about as far as they would go. But yeah, like straight edge succubus. That is, that is a good one. I gotta admit.

Raquel: Yeah, like, it’s really a really clever way of doing it. And I, I’m sorry, but I’m sad to say, but that video game from, what, like, 24 years ago is the [00:43:00] best example of it that I’ve seen. And you can’t do better than that? Can’t, can’t do better than a video game? You gotta write better than a fucking video game. It’s a well written video game, but it is a video game.

Karlo: I have not plumbed the depths of the, what is it? Is it paranormal romance? I’m sure that there’s plenty of, plenty of portrayals there, but, but that is just not my, not really my thing. I have not read widely in that area. Please forgive me if you have read, I don’t know, like, The Succubus That Pounded Me in the Butt.

Uh, An Ode to Chuck Tingle, I don’t know, whatever.

Raquel: at least that would make sense to me, and be more consistent With the tradition. What I’m talking about is Succubus as just kind of generic pretty girl. That’s boring. That’s so weak. That’s so weak. You have no imagination. You’re not gross enough. You need to be grosser. I’m sorry.

Karlo: Actually now that I think about it, that [00:44:00] upcoming, Nick Cage movie sounds very much along the lines of an incubus type of thing, right? What is it, Dream, Dream Project, or something like that? Anyway, the, the point being that, he just starts showing up in people’s dreams.

And he doesn’t know why. It just sounds, it sounds like a fascinating concept. I don’t know if they’ll pull it off, but that’s another story. Yeah, there, there’s, there’s plenty to go with there and generally speaking of general demonic creatures, creatures that just, shake their fist at you and,” oh, you got me,” that’s not really, I don’t know.

There’s so many different types of weird demons and devils that, uh,

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: like one of the reasons that Hereditary was so good was part of the fact, partly because it delved into like, “Oh, I’ve never heard of this name before. Who is Paimon?” But yeah, so, so, uh, what else? What, what other supernatural creatures

Raquel: Oh, we gotta talk about [00:45:00] fairies. We

Karlo: Oh, hell

Raquel: I’m so, um, the way Americans write fairies is just appalling. Americans suck at writing fairies. Traditional fairies are creepy, chaotic, impulsive. They’ll steal your baby. They’ll steal your name. They’ll steal shit. They’ll, they’ll fuck you up. They’ll enslave you.

I mean, they’re nature spirits. I feel like it says something about our attitude toward nature when the assumption is that This, this exists to serve me like a Starbucks barista.

Karlo: I think it’s partly, uh, slow, Well, yeah, yeah, Disney is definitely accelerated that, but, but I think that there was something happening before then, where some of the, even the, the Grimm’s fairy tales have been slowly been sort of sand–. The really gross and gnarly bits of it have been sort of sanded away so that they, they’re much more.

even the narratives that won’t disturb the humors, if you will, right? So you, you can’t [00:46:00] tell your child at bedtime, the Juniper Tree story and expect them to, to just go to bed, you know? That’s sort of a disturbing story. I think that there is something to be said, there’s these classifications that also get, flattened.

Like, back in the day, they were usually divided. I think, I don’t know if it’s, it probably predates, Shakespeare because he’s using it in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But, like, the Seelie and Unseelie courts were sort of like these different factions of fairiedom. And granted, even then it’s, it’s already being flattened into like, “it’s, it’s a giant kingdom and it’s, it has some sort of order to it.”

No, imagine, imagine if it’s just a bunch of everyone just doing their own thing and maybe they, they will respond to, to a fairy that’s more powerful than them. But, do fairies, have actual monarchs, and nobility? I don’t know. I would hope not. Even in [00:47:00] Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titania and Oberon are, both figures of legend slash myth, but Shakespeare’s using them very much like he would use a king and queen in, in, a play, right? They have a nominal control over their, their subjects, if you will. but yeah, like. I would say that, even, most people would say, even the Seelie Fairies, they’ll fuck your shit up, man. You’ll end up like, mad, drunk off your ass, all night, wake up 20 years later thinking that you’ve got a pouch full of gold and whoops.

Nope. They turned into little flowers when the Sun came up, shit. You go back to your town and nobody recognizes like oh, yeah some some guy with a long beard Oh, yeah, you look like Rip Van Winkle. We haven’t heard of him in 25 years We thought he was dead.

Raquel: American fairy stories are so, so [00:48:00] annoying. So.

Karlo: I Mean

Raquel: I’m, I’m just bitter. I’m I’m just grumpy because I don’t know if I’ll, will, would you be comfortable if I knock on Codex a little bit here? I know you’re still in it.

Karlo: It is, it’s fine, whatever.

Raquel: uh, just cause, I’m so annoyed because when I wrote my story, The Fairy Egg, and put it up on Codex, which was this writing group that I’m no longer a part of because it’s terrible, for feedback, one of the reviewers got mad because they said, “oh, this fairy, it’s, it’s not friendly, it sounds like it just, it’s only interested in exploiting her to get at her baby,” like, yeah, that’s what they fuckin do!

Talk to an Irish person! Are you kidding me?

Karlo: Have has no one here read any Hell Boy stories.

Raquel: Like, that’s, they love human babies, it’s their favorite thing, it’s like currency over there, man.

Karlo: The Hellboy comics are great for this because there’s always a, there’s a series of vignettes where he runs up against, there’s one that I remember very, very clearly where [00:49:00] he’s like, “Hey, you know what baby’s like, right?” He goes to a, some remote cottage where the couple thinks that their baby’s been switched.

It’s a changeling baby. And just, if no one knows, I mean, if. If you have actually been kidnapped by fairies and lived under an actual rock, for a year and a day, let me just say that, uh, changelings are what Raquel is saying, basically fairies will take children and leave a fairy in its stead with a glamour over it so that it will, a glamour being an illusion of some sort, so it looks like your kid, but then your kid becomes sort of, Um, you start noticing that your kid starts doing uncanny shit or just knows things.

It’s just very creepy and a gradual thing that, that can just, basically, creep you out. You could, rip apart the marriage because, “who you’ve been sleeping with with this kid is demonic or something. Have you been sleeping with incubuses [00:50:00] again?

Goddammit.” So the, the, the point being that, Hellboy gets called to this cottage. The couple’s just sitting there going like, “Oh, my kid’s a changeling.” And it’s like, you know what babies love? Iron horseshoes. The kid just like gives him a look. And he’s like, touches, touches just the corner of the horseshoe to his, to his heel and it just transforms into this little wizened, horrible looking little thing.

He’s like, ah, let me go, let me go. And you’re like, fuck. That’s great. It’s, it’s such a great little vignette of, of exactly what you’d expect, right?

And he’s always bumping up against weird fairies that have, weird powers and shit like that. Uh, so, so yeah, there’s shit tons of fairies out there. Some of them will just want to eat you. Some of them will, for instance, not exactly a fairy, but a definitely a supernatural creature.

A puca will, is a horse that will, as soon as you, I think it’s the puca, [00:51:00] um, as soon as you mount it, it will immediately run to a cliff and just jump into the ocean with you on it.

Raquel: heh heh, what a dick.

Karlo: It’s

Raquel: Rude. Heh

Karlo: got you exactly where I wouldn’t want you buddy on my back. Bye

Raquel: heh heh.

Karlo: Um, yeah, I mean, it’s it’s just great.

There’s so many different little, critters that live within the margins of what we’d call fairydom, if you will. That, that do not look like those stupid cottonton fairies that, uh, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got scammed into believing.

Raquel: dumbass, my god.

Karlo: You, you’d think that the creator of, of Sherlock Holmes would have been a bit more judicious,

Raquel: Not even remotely skeptical. W who was his friend? Was it Houdini? Wasn’t it Houdini who was his friend who was like, “Bro, come on. You dipshit.”

Karlo: Don’t forget that he was also involved in the Piltdown Man’s, hoax as well.

Raquel: And he was super into [00:52:00] seances, too.

Karlo: I mean, I, I think that that was also speak, ectoplasm was in the air at that point in time, it’s just everywhere. Um.

Raquel: you’re embarrassing.

Karlo: Yeah, it’s, it’s, out of character or out of the character that you’d imagine. Right. But yeah, like, uh,

Raquel: Sherlock Holmes suddenly going on a rant about chemtrails.

Karlo: “By the measurements of this skull, I’ve realized that this is truly the, the Piltdown man is the original man and he lived in England. He’s a good British caveman.” But anyway, I, I did want to point, if we were to wrap up the, the fairy talk, I did want to point out that over, on Pod Side, we are still reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell that captures, honestly has, a, terrifying and utterly delightful character called The Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair, who, uh, is in fact just very capricious, very much like what you’d expect a [00:53:00] fairy to be like. Just, he, he, he is always chipper, but then he’ll be chipper about like, “Oh yes, this is, we’re going to reenact an ancient ritual where in our, our tribe, our clan of fairies, defeated our enemies and then forced their children off the edge of the castle ramparts onto this flagstones below until everyone was dead” and someone says, “Oh, well, Quite a striking image, we’re gonna do, we’re gonna do it in effigy to this, uh, tonight.”

He’s like, it must be a very striking image. I was like, oh, yes, it was much more striking the, the first time we did it though. You’re like, what the fuck?

Raquel: So I want to stress here that the reason why we’re talking about this isn’t because we’re being sort of canon nerds. That’s not the original canon. We get it. Folklore evolves. Shit changes. My issue with a lot of this stuff is more like, it’s a lot more boring. To soften it, it’s really kind of boring and weak, and I don’t really see the point of calling something a vampire, calling something a whatever, [00:54:00] if you’re not gonna do anything cool or weird or gross with it.

That’s more my issue, not like, “you’re not doing it the way you’re supposed to,” okay, I don’t, that’s not what I’m interested in, but you’re making it kind of boring.

Karlo: Yeah, I, I think that it’s the old argument about like, what color is the imaginary creature? So who cares? But, but I, to a certain degree. Given the fact that you are working within the realm of imagination, it might behoove everyone to use their own imaginations to make things a little bit more, put a new, put a new wrinkle into it, or perhaps a new wrinkle based on old, uh, things, like for instance, if you wanted to portray one of the weird things about, I don’t know, like Baba Yaga, Baba Yaga has a thing where if you throw seeds on the ground before her, she needs, she’s compelled to count them.

Raquel: Mm.

Karlo: [00:55:00] needs to count them. And I mean. Then, okay, that, that’s really cool. I mean, I think I’ve also heard that attributed to different types of creatures, including vampires, a certain, but then you have, okay, so hold on. Is this like an obsessive compulsive? Is this a monster that is suddenly neuro atypical?

That’s sort of an interesting wrinkle, you know? You just have like a weird compulsion to do certain things. Is it a compulsion? Is it something that is innate? They have to do it because

Raquel: Vampires just have sensory issues. That’s the whole thing about the sun. That’s all. “I have sensory issues. I’m sorry. I gotta drink blood. I don’t like the, I don’t like the feeling of biting on food.”

Karlo: course

Raquel: it’s tough.

Karlo: Of course I can see myself in the mirror. I just look so ugly to

Raquel: It looks so bad.

Karlo: I pretend, I pretend not to see myself, okay?

Raquel: Yeah, yeah, been [00:56:00] there. I don’t know, but, but it’s just my, my, my point here is that doing the most generic watered down thing is not interesting. It just, just do more. So before we go, I want to talk about one last monster that’s becoming a little bit more popular. Wendigos. Now, I fucking love a Wendigo.

Wendigos rock. I think Wendigos are super cool. However, there’s a lot of bad Wendigos

Karlo: Wait, are we talking are we talking about the author, Chuck Wendigo?

Raquel: No, that’s the worst Wendigo. Terrible Wendigo.

Karlo: He, he, he would be like the worst Wendigo, but like, the sequel to The Worst Witch.

Raquel: Yeah, that Wendigo, the myth is that if you eat too much epic bacon, you become a Chuck Wendig and you run around in the forest. Making really bad posts. No. No, but we’re referring to the, to the traditional Indigenous creature. In a lot of pop culture, it’s just a fucked up deer [00:57:00] monster, and like, that’s, I don’t know where that’s from, that’s not from anything.

That’s not

Karlo: Did, um, I, I have not, I have not read it. And I, I know that you guys just read, uh, it recently for the book club, uh,


Raquel: Only Good Indians?

Karlo: Only Good Indians, right? Is, is that

Raquel: good.

Karlo: Is, is that a

Raquel: that’s a different thing. That’s like a, a variation on, on, on a spirit called the Deer Woman,

is, which is sort of a tempting female spirit who lures men to their doom. But no, wendigo is a different thing. But the, the big thing about Wendigo is that I, I find that the generic movie monster ignores is the, the cannibalism taboo.

It’s a huge part of the monster, the fear that if you, if you commit cannibalism, even out of desperation in the winter, you’ll become this thing with an insatiable hunger that, like, cannot stop eating and is never full and has to go crazy eating [00:58:00] human beings. That’s sort of more, my understanding, is what it’s about, not just, look, it’s a fucked up deer monster that attacks you, like, oh, okay.

This is something that served a really important purpose, an important cultural purpose, which was reinforcing cultural taboos and cultural attitudes and, and the taboo about cannibalism isn’t just about what you’re eating, but more, but a lot about how you treat other people and how you treat people who, who you belong to.

It’s like, don’t eat your own, you know? Don’t be greedy, don’t be selfish, don’t exploit other human beings like an animal would. That’s kind of the important thing, and so many of the generic monster stories don’t really get at that. Although, I mean, I can’t weigh in on the debate, is it acceptable for a non Indigenous

author to write a Wendigo story? I don’t know. I’m not Indigenous and I’m not really planning on writing a Wendigo story. I did like [00:59:00] that movie Ravenous, which was made by a white English person, which uses the Wendigo figure as a metaphor for Manifest Destiny and white American culture. And I think it uses it very effectively.

But just turning it into generic monster with antlers, like that really fucking sucks.

Karlo: Ravenous is fantastic. We, uh, ran an episode over in Podside for Thanksgiving of all. Uh, uh, I thought it was appropriate for a holiday,

Raquel: It’s a perfect Thanksgiving movie.

Karlo: It is a perfect Thanksgiving movie because Thanksgiving is the holiday dedicated to gluttony. But yeah, like I thought that that was a, although still appropriation, I did think that it was effectively deployed to sort of poke

in the eye of like weird imperialist, the frontier needs to expand and you know weirdos. I love that movie. I had not I’ve seen it in ages and, rewatched recently and [01:00:00] it was great. But yeah, I also, not, not my lane, really, I’m not going to really comment, uh, on whether, I’m going to leave that to good Indigenous authors and artists, uh, to, to say. Uh, as I understand it, uh, there have been plenty of appeals to probably not engage with it because you’re not going to use it in the correct ways.

So. You’ve been warned. Let’s put it that way.

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: Uh, it, uh, Harley’s, it wants to chime in

Raquel: Yeah, Henny, Henny,

Karlo: Oh, it’s Henny.

Raquel: This is Henny, speaking of ravenous animals that cannot get enough food and are just monsters who will not stop eating.

Karlo: Hell you know.

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: look, she, she left her brother’s food in the bowl for a full 30 seconds. And he, he didn’t go for it, so, fair game. I guess my, my final, thought about this was when, when I was [01:01:00] thinking about, earlier today when I was thinking about, what I wanted to think, talk about tonight on this, on this subject was that, the sort of like the, the coziness, the cozification or the comfiness of monsters, would have it’s sort of like logical end point with someone having, I don’t know, their, their imaginary friend be like a war criminal.

And then I remembered that Jojo Rabbit exists. And I, I, I kind of said “fuck” under my breath and, and went to do, go do a workout to blow off some steam because I was like, God damn it.

Raquel: Something that this, this, I’d like to bring this to a close by talking about another, a real life incident in which some folks tried to soften and sanitize a monster to a terrible end. I think a lot of kind of fuzzy writers seem to think that softening and sanitizing culture makes us [01:02:00] better and safer.

I would point to the infamous Slenderman stabbing of, I think it was the early 2010s. A couple of girls stabbed their friend because they wanted the, the internet creepy pasta figure, the Slenderman to manifest and like take them away because there, there’s sort of a subculture obsessed with Slenderman and part, part of the myth

in some internet subcultures, is that he I don’t know, it gets weird, but he takes children away from bad things and takes them to the Slender Mansion? W where they can live? And I guess it’s pretty cool, or something? So here are some kids who had a very kind of cutesy, watered down version of this imaginary internet monster. It sure as fuck didn’t make them better and kinder people to have this sanitized vision of, of a, of a creature. In fact, I mean, I mean obviously they were mentally ill, and this was [01:03:00] not the sole motivating factor, but what I’m gonna point to is that softening and, and sanitizing a monster really doesn’t make it safer, and that sometimes we have these fears, or, or Sometimes it’s good to be afraid of something.

Sometimes being afraid or disgusted by something serves a very, very valuable purpose, culturally or morally or socially. taking that away is not always a good thing.

Karlo: Yeah, I, to that point, it always reminds me, I think, uh, I said this before, ages ago, that sometimes, a lot of these stories, have their genesis in people sitting around a campfire or whatever and, the darkness outside looks, it’s full of eyes or, eyes reflected from, you know, reflecting the light from the campfire and people are afraid of that and, and they’re probably correct to, to stay [01:04:00] near the fire and that’s, I, I think that the issue isn’t the fear itself.

It’s who, who they blame. Or think is responsible for that, is more the problem. Which I think I’ve seen this recently a couple of times already and I, I understand the reasoning and I don’t, I think there’s missing steps to the, the idea that fear, I think it actually derives directly from fucking Yoda, where they, they think that fear actually leads to hate.

And you’re like, look, there’s not always. Being afraid to touch a hot stove does not mean that, the Italians are to blame for that, you know, uh, it’s a, a misapprehension of the fact that yes, people can be afraid. And the issue is that that fear can be leveraged [01:05:00] to to then, you know, say, Oh, well, these people did it.

But the people using that, leveraging that or in using that to make people afraid of and hate someone else. Those those people are not afraid. They don’t give a shit about those other people. That’s what

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: is. They don’t even think of them as human. Why are they afraid of them?

They can’t really be afraid of them. like you could be disgusted by a cockroach, but you’re not really afraid of a cockroach, you know? You don’t have any compunctions about stepping on it.

Raquel: Yeah.

Karlo: Yes, it can lead to some hatred, but it’s, there’s, there’s some steps.

Raquel: Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes it’s good to have a healthy fear of something.

Karlo: Yes, yes, like,

Raquel: it’s very good and reasonable to be afraid of stuff.

Karlo: Yeah, don’t, don’t,

Raquel: scary.

Karlo: Don’t do, don’t tap dance on the edge of a building. Don’t jump out of perfectly good planes, you know, that type of thing.

Raquel: Like I’m thinking of, I don’t [01:06:00] know if we, if we’re gonna sanitize every monster and make him misunderstood. Okay. The Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. Well, what’s that actually a symbol for it? I mean, it’s a warning about stranger danger. Is that something we should sanitize?

Karlo: No, not

Raquel: No. . I mean that’s, yeah, that’s a scary, that’s a, it’s a lesson to girls, but unfortunately that is a…

you know, that creepy guy who asks too many questions, do not answer his questions, keep fucking walking, is a very important lesson that you do need to learn when you’re a young girl.

Karlo: Don’t, do not fucking answer his questions

Raquel: Don’t fucking tell him where you’re going. Do not fucking tell him shit. Like, that is a very good lesson, and yeah, you kinda need a little bit of healthy fear. For that, unfortunately, which sucks. It sucks that we live in that world, but what are we gonna do? You try and sanitize that monster. “Oh, he’s misunderstood. He’s actually your friend.” No the fuck he is not. That’s not a good lesson to teach [01:07:00] people.

Karlo: Yes, exactly. On the flip side of it, I think that the, the other aspect of this is simply, I have a lot more respect for the stories that fully embrace the idea that if I am a monster, I can do all these things, you know? There’s a recent story that came out in The Dark, is it called The Gentle Wolves? Which is really good, . And it’s all about this sort of, grappling, in fact, it’s totally grappling with queerness and self loathing and then finally giving in to, the urge to be queer and act, and put into motion the action of queer sex and all that good stuff.

And at the end, he’s like, yeah, uh, I’m It’s cool to be a fucking wolf. Fuck that. If you want to have a power fantasy, then have a power [01:08:00] fantasy. You know, let’s do it. Go

Raquel: yeah, but just just own it just own it. Understand what you actually are

Karlo: Yeah, take a swing, man. Go for it.

Raquel: Yeah Okay, so we’ve been talking for about an hour, so why don’t we wind down before we go. Uh, what would you like to plug?

Karlo: Obviously, uh, I, I am the main host with my two co hosts, Kurt and Chris over at Pod Side Picnic. As I mentioned previously in this episode, we are currently doing a read through, which are all pre premium episodes of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell. We’re having a fabulous time reading it.

It is a very funny book. Think if you’ve never heard of it before, think, a return of English magic during Napoleon, the Napoleonic Wars era, as written by Jane Austen. It is a lot of fun. And I guess my only fiction out this year, [01:09:00] uh, is in fact, uh, a, a retelling of The Juniper Tree, combined with a historical event called La Operacion in Puerto Rico called Up, Up in the Hills

She Dreams of Her Daughter Deep in the Ground. That one’s published in Strange Horizons. So go check that one out. But that’s it. That should be it for me.

Raquel: Alright, well thank you for coming by and, and, for this monstrous episode. Ha ha

Karlo: but anyway, thanks for having me back Raquel.

Raquel: And thank you for coming on, and thank you all for listening. If you like what you heard, please head to patreon. com slash rite gud and subscribe. Until next time, keep writing good.