Vampyre vs. Vampire – The Eternal Rant
Am I a vampire, or a vampyre? This question has been the subject of debates for more than 20 years now. One would think that we have somewhat come to terms with that already. Sadly, this is not entirely true.
While in the US, there is something like a viable agreement that the spelling ”vampyre” describes the lifestyler section catering to the image of the mythological or Hollywood-promoted vamp image, while “vampire” would be the correct term for any “real” vamp dealing with real life problems.
However, the European scene, especially that part that predates the US scene, handles it entirely the other way around. Here, a “vampyre” is the real thing, whereas “vampires” are well... just everybody else. Now, I am part of both scenes. Does this make me a vampire? A vampyre? Both, maybe, or neither? Or does it depend whom I am talking to?
While one would think that spelling should not be a subject of heated and partly insulting debates, but rather of conventions and habits, this has indeed caused severe misunderstandings and problems in the past and does so still even nowadays. Even more nowadays, since different spellings from different countries collide. Only recently, a member of the older European scene attacked me verbally for not using the “y” version of the word, resp. simply assumed I was talking about fictional vampires without asking. I know of people being thrown off message boards for using the wrong spelling without knowing that there is actually IS a difference. And this is not a European problem alone. It is a problem of perception.
My personal perception of this problem is that people having intense problems with this spelling issue have problems not rooted in the spelling issue itself.
The first problem would be that of self-confidence. I mean, sure, it is annoying being constantly mistaken for a fictional creature. It is even more annoying when people who try to convince the public such mythological creatures would exist mock the real vampires out there. It is really annoying when such people twist your own words against you, in order to prove that you are the freak, not them. It is friggin’ desperately annoying when such people try to prove their propaganda by means of spelling, wording and phrasing tricks.
But honestly, we all know who these people are. We know their spelling tricks, their empty phrases and their misinformation. Why would we open them a door into our consciousness by catering to their tricks and playing their spelling games? We have developed our criteria how to distinguish between “them” and “us”. And these criteria are more precise than a single letter. I would believe that a vamp with a somewhat healthy self-perception would not care about this.
Secondly, my experience is that especially people from older sections of the VC, no matter in which country it is rooted, have a problem of “self-indulging anachronism”. In the good ole days, where here was no internet and the countries did not communicate with each other, where the scenes were secretive, close-knit and little known, it was easy to promote a certain wording or spelling to create a sense of community and identity. But things change. And sometimes, people become dogmatic about those things that defined their identities in the past.
While this is an all-too-human reaction and somewhat understandable, there is a limit to good taste. This limit is reached when people are being hurt. This limit is reached when people are marginalized and insulted. This is only a few steps away from discrimination.
Honestly, what sense does it make to dogmatically use the spelling of a word in order to marginalize people with the same background? Especially since we are a multicultural scene, were this spelling is used differently while meaning the same thing? I do not understand this attitude. I do not understand being shouted at for using one letter differently, while meaning exactly the same thing. We are a scene that has an intense need for support. This support is part of our culture. There is no good reason to hurt each other for no better reason than a personal taste of spelling. And I personally support every effort to overcome this spelling-based discrimination.