Teens, Vampires, and Seventeen magazine

If I were still teaching magazine writing, I would be sending students to this blog (which I found on Rod Dreher’s blog).

What a great feature-writing idea, albeit in blog form. (Which all goes to show how publishing is changing, &c. &c., and I am glad not to have to be the one to explain it all.)

In essence, high-school senior Jamie Kelles is attempting to live her life according to the dictates of Seventeen magazine—and blogging about it at The Seventeen Magazine Project.

At one point she realizes that a majority of the mag’s “hot guys of summer” are “associated with a vampire franchise.”

Must be super weird for devoted Seventeen readers when they finally follows all the tips, achieve the perfect tan and “healthy” sun-kissed glow, and then realizes that the ultimate Hot Guy of Summer is just a sexed-up, long-haired version a of pale, nocturnal Xbox gamer .

And then there is more about the senior prom, &c. &c.

If you want more on the literary history of vampires, Michael Sims assesses it  in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

So, wondering how I would find a new angle on vampire stories, I said yes. Anthologizing is a dusty sport, half antique hunting and half literary gossipfest, and I love it. I went home and prowled my shelves and realized how many of the Victorian-era stories I had already read. Why, here’s that pasty-faced bastard Lord Ruthven, by Byron’s doctor and hanger-on, John Polidori, and so obviously based upon Byron himself. Here is Théophile Gautier’s crazy priest, in love with a vampire courtesan and wrestling with his naughty soul. And there were many stories I hadn’t read before—gay vampires, child vampires, even an invisible vampire.

Teen Witches and Sociologists

Cover of Teenage Witches, by Helen Berger and Douglas EzzyTeenage Witches: Magical Youth and the Search for Self, a sociological study of young Pagan Witches, will be shipping in a few days from Rutgers University Press.

I have heard co-authors Helen Berger and Doug Ezzy give presentations from their research, which is excellent.

From the Rutgers University Press catalog:

As Helen A. Berger and Douglas Ezzy show in this in-depth look into the lives of teenage Witches, the reality of their practices, beliefs, values, and motivations is very different from the sensational depictions we see in popular culture. Drawing on extensive research across three countries-the United States, England, and Australia-and interviews with young people from diverse backgrounds, what they find are highly spiritual and self-reflective young men and women attempting to make sense of a postmodern world via a religion that celebrates the earth and emphasizes self-development.

Not to be confused with Silver Ravenwolf’s Teen Witch.

Teen Witches

Some people are saying that the “teen witch” craze, symbolized by the 1996 movie The Craft, has peaked. I don’t think so. My latest Llewellyn Publications reviewer’s catalog recently arrived, and I saw that Silver Ravenwolf’s Teen Witch had been redesigned. Whereas the former cover art had something in common with the poster/box art for The Craft, the new cover seems more in common with last year’s movie Thirteen.

It’s all about Pouty. Adolescent. Sexuality.

In his review essay “Sifting the Ashes,” an expose of the tobacco industry (collected in the book How To Be Alone, Jonathan Frantzen desconstructs the industry-funded anti-smoking ads aimed at teens and comments how “several antitobacco newspaper ads offer . . . the image of a preadolescent girl holding a cigarette. The models are not real smokers, yet despite their phoniness, they’re utterly sexualized by their cigarettes. The horror of underage smoking veils a horror of teen and preteen sexuality.”

Witchcraft, the new cigarette?

On a more positive note, a Colorado Witch describes sitting in on an interview of several teen Wiccans by a National Public Radio reporter.

“I spent the afternoon in the upstairs of the Oh My Goddess coffee house in Denver, listening to Barbara Bradford Hagerty of NPR interview 6 teenage Wiccans and one Christian teen learning about Wicca. She was amazed at how articulate, intelligent, and self-aware they were. She’s planning on doing a segment or show about teens and Wicca. They wouldn’t stop talking! She used more than one minidisc to record, which she says never happens in an interview. The 6 Wiccan teens were all raised Wiccan, more or less.

“She spoke briefly to most of the parents and to me; she may talk to me again in a couple of days if she can on her way to the airport. She is a colleague of Margot Adler’s, and therefore actually knew something about the topic. She asked each of the Wiccan teens if they thought it was a phase that they would grow out of, and the general consensus was ‘No. This is who I am.’ It was an amazing experience.

“Based on the kids that were there today, I have to say I think that the future of Paganism is in pretty capable hands.”

UPDATE 4/29/07: I had not looked at this post for a while, but it appears to me that the cover displayed, which is on Llewellyn’s web site, is not the one that I described as “pouty” a couple of years ago. Does anyone know for sure?