Thursday, November 07, 2019

Private Equity Vampires Are Killing Everything


thenation |  There are many, many different versions of the vampire’s tale, but in its most timeworn Eurocentric telling, vampires are evil’s upper crust: beautiful, blue-blooded aristocrats draped in velvet, exuding idle menace. Dracula and his cursed kin are the undead 1 percent and act accordingly: terrorizing villages, murdering peasants, siphoning off others’ lifeblood, and turning up their aquiline noses at the slightest hint of dissent.

An entire cottage industry operates around their stories, and vampire lore does not always confine itself to the page. In the 17th century, the very real and very sadistic Countess Bathory—she of Hungarian legend and historical infamy—is said to have broken the bodies of more than 650 village girls and bathed in serf blood to retain her youth. For that, history remembers her with a strange sort of fondness: as an unfathomably wealthy, castle-dwelling noblewoman always depicted as lavishly dressed and dripping in jewels. She was monstrous in an elegant sort of way, the kind that inspires gothic novels and Swedish black metal records. Vituperative inhumanity, but made fashionable. 

Vampires’ modern-day counterparts, on the other hand, leave much to be desired from an aesthetic standpoint. Unlike the ancient Romanian moroi, Irish dearg-due, or Ghanaian sasabonsam, today’s vampires are parasitic new money. Vulgar, ugly, and smug, their wrists are cluttered with hideous statement watches, their torsos clad in power suits or, worse, upmarket hipster threads. Some call them vulture capitalists, after the great birds who feast on carrion. While catchy, this term doesn’t quite fit; these monsters do not focus on the dead—they go after the living. They run hedge funds, trade stocks, and manage private equity firms, flush with generational wealth but always hungry for more. Instead of hot blood, these fancy fiends hunt for cold cash—and much like their spiritual predecessors, care little for how others must suffer in their pursuit thereof.