The Political Economy
of Non-Coercive Vampire
DOUGLAS GLEN WHITMAN
In a Season 5 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy discovers the existence of a vampire brothel, where thrill-seeking humans pay vampires to suck their blood.1 The vampires benefit from the arrangement because, as Buffy’s friend Anya observes, “they get cash, hot-and-cold running blood, and they don’t leave any corpses behind, so they don’t get hunted.” An angry Buffy eventually burns down the brothel. But her Watcher, Rupert Giles, adopts a more accommodating attitude, noting that all the brothel’s customers are “willing victims” and suggesting that Buffy’s efforts might be better spent combating a “less ambiguous evil."
In the movie Blade, occasional reference is made to blood banks that take deposits from humans and allow withdrawals by vampires.2 Although the movie does not state clearly whether the donations are mandatory or voluntary in nature, the strong implication is that the human government requires humans to contribute blood in order to placate the vampires, thereby forestalling a war between the two groups.3
The Buffy and Blade scenarios present radically different templates for interaction between humans and vampires. The
1 Marti Noxon, “Into the Woods” (2000). The script refers to the vampires’ nest as a
"drug den,” not a brothel.
2Blade, directed by Stephen Norrington, 1998.
3 This is only my interpretation of the situation in Blade, as the script only hints at the
nature of the arrangement. Another possibility is that humans are duped into contribut-
ing blood, believing it will be given to other humans. Even if my interpretation is off,
the hypothetical case of mandatory blood contributions is a useful one.