On True Blood

Working Class Heroes

The Blue-Collar Politics of True Blood

By Nick Mamatas

Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.

–Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1, chapter 10

What do television characters do for a living? There are plenty of doctors, more police than even a police state would deploy, corporate lawyers and brave prosecutors, spies and superheroes, and in old sitcoms, the very many men in gray suits who kept their occupations a secret even from their children. There are also store owners, and a few members of the cast might be cabbies or waitresses, but all of them will be portrayed as little more than broad types. And today we have The Office. TV is white-collar. When there are working class people on television, they are often portrayed as socially backwards, politically retrograde, and more than a little stupid–the abusive loudmouth Ralph Kramden, cranky racist Archie Bunker, Slobbo-American Al Bundy. There are more starship captains than longshoremen on television. True Blood’s depiction of working-class characters is refreshing, and that’s even though some of them are malcontents, or drug addicts, or just not very bright. Because as bad as some of the working class people are, True Blood’s ruling class of vampires is so much worse.

One of the great secrets of modern society, according to the anarchists, socialists, and other working class radicals is this: workers don’t need the bosses. We could organize our own labor and reorder society itself, if  …

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