Here at Classically Educated, we think that everyone takes themselves much too seriously. Hell, we’ll probably be accused of taking ourselves too seriously. In fact, the very name “Classically Educated” reeks of pretentious big-headedness. So we are officially declaring this week the “Week of Not Taking Ourselves or the Week of Easter Seriously”, also known by its simple acronym, WONT OOT WOES. Our article on Thursday will probably poke some sort of fun at something around Easter, but we had no article for today.
So, in the time-honored tradition of blogs everywhere, we asked a vampire to send us an article about how to party to run on Easter week. I imagine all the other blogs are doing the same thing. Well, at least those that recognize the universal truth that vampires haven’t been overdone. Anyway, H’s post is below. You may have read it before, but we don’t care.
As someone who’s seen it all over the past few thousand years, the most surprising thing isn’t that I’ve seen everything once, but how often I seem to see the same thing, over and over again. History, in my opinion, doesn’t move in great cycles, it repeats itself once every generation as new teenagers ask the same questions.
I am always amused by how every generation believes, firmly, that it invented the out-of-control, call-the-cops and get-excommunicated-immediately party. Ninety percent of people between the ages of thirteen and twenty-five would probably tell you that their parents were the sort of people whose idea of a good time was dinner, a movie and home by ten. Teens today would be hard-pressed to picture younger versions of their folks in a typical 1980′s cocaine blowout. They’d probably have an even harder time with the image of their grandparents at Woodstock.
The reason each generation believes that theirs are the best parties, is because they are clueless (and mortal, which means that most of them can’t even begin to imagine what real parties are like!). They feel that, having finally gotten beyond the bounds of childhood, they are doing things never before permitted to anyone else.
Over the past few millenia, I’ve observed several truly golden eras of debauchery, and I feel that a list of the great eras of the party is justified. Of course, I will limit myself to those parties at which an undead person would 1) not be ashamed to be seen at and 2) not cause a panic. I’m certain there have been some enjoyable orgies among illiterate goatherders in unregarded rural villages in the Appenines, but we need not concern ourselves with them for the nonce.
I present, in order, the great party epochs you shouldn’t have missed if you were alive, or undead, at the time:
5) Babylon under the rule of Ishtar. The energy of budding civilization – there were no rules for anything back then – great-looking city walls and the best setting for a garden party ever made the nightlife noteworthy. The fact that the largest prostitution ring was run by the official religion (giving you an idea of what ‘morals’ meant back then) made it legendary.
4) Pericle’s Greece. Have you seen the movie Caligula? Yes? Good. Well, remember that they were Romans, and the Romans learned everything they knew from the Classical Greeks. They stole their gods, their alphabet, and their ethics from the declining Hellenes, but something was lost in the transition. The Greeks remain the true masters of the decadent orgy.
3) The court of Louis XVI. Talk about throwing everything at a party. These people had the entire wealth of a nation to spend on their blowouts – and they did. Each noble saw it as his duty to bankrupt his duchy to purchase wine when his turn to host the proceedings rolled around, and the dress code was strict: brand new clothes produced to that week’s fashion would get you in – anything else would get you sent around back to the servant’s quarters, although this banishment would likely only last until the inebriated nobles – male, female, undecided, undead, whatever – came around looking for something to add variety to the revelry. It was a time of parties well worth losing one’s head over.
2) Victorian England. Let’s just say that neither Charlotte Bronte nor Jane Austen got invited to the good parties. The late 19th century was a riot behind closed doors, and the upper classes went further and farther than anyone had dared before or since. If I weren’t sworn to secrecy, you’d be shocked at the truth behind Jack the Ripper. The only thing keeping this epoch from taking the top spot was their insistence on using opium-based drugs. Not much of a party when one is too relaxed to stay upright.
1) The roaring twenties. American Robber Baronesses meet the landed European gentry – and seduce it. Women’s liberation finally brought what had been happening forever out into the open. We were introduced to the vamp, the femme fatale and the powerful female figure, much to the distress of the middle class, who have always been the only ones to believe in morality in the first place (which is unsurprising, since it has always been a tool to control them). Hard drugs and slinky dresses, impeccably dressed men and fast cars all performing to the beat of the foxtrot at eleven, and the tango at three – a prelude to other things. If you moved in the right circles, prohibition was a joke – something that happened to strict churchgoers. Black Tuesday robbed future generaions of the pinnacle of party – perhaps it’s just as well, because there was no way that generation would have survived much longer if they’d gone on like that.
Best of all, these epochs were undead-friendly, provided that particular undead didn’t smell and had gone to the right school. Imagine popping into even the best party today, and asking if the house had an excess stable boy whose blood you might suck – your host would grow pale and mutter some lame excuse. And you call that a party.
The bar has been set. I expect all of you to strive to clear it from now on.