Patronia matrimonia allimonia
RANGE: Commonly found in art galleries and recital halls, these ghastly ancient female creatures also frequent vernissages and poetry readings, and occasionally stray into lofts and garrets in their relentless search for human prey. They infest grant committees and awards councils and often lurk behind the mastheads of small literary publications. How any given Culture Vulture can attend so many simultaneous openings, unveilings, lectures, meetings, and wine-and-cheese parties is a mystery; it has been conjectured that they travel from place to place on “old bat” wings.
HABITS: It is the horrible nature of the Culture Vulture to maintain herself in a state of eternal middle-age flush by ceaselessly draining the creative energies of young actors, dancers, sculptors, composers, writers, and artists. (Those who feed exclusively off writers are called “Inkubii,” artists are afflicted with “Paintergeist,” and musicians get “Harpies Simplex.”) The Culture Vulture can sometimes be found in the company of her fellow patrons, the Philharmonic Orc and (when there is nothing else to do) the Torontogre. Young geniuses are lured by the apparent interest, affluence, and generosity of the Culture Vulture into unnatural relationships, and then discarded upon the slag heap of last year’s trends. The Culture Vultures are eternally hungry for new “creative” blood. Thus, they perpetually create new “artistic” movements, fashions, trends, and schools, thereby transforming perfectly normal craftsmen, clowns, and idiots into “artists” whom they can discover, fuss over, celebrate, and then deposit in the trash with Op Art, Theater of Cruelty, twelve-tone music, nonfiction novels, hi-tech sculpture, and other used up passions. Not all Culture Vultures are female— but even the ones who aren’t pretend to be.
HISTORY: Even the youngest of today’s Culture Vultures (commonly known as “Groupies”) are descended from the “Furies” (then disguised as “Maenads”) who so loved the performances of the Greek singer-songwriter Orpheus that they tore him into little pieces.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: The shrill, crooning voice and mechanical laugh are dead giveaways, as are the rattle of bracelets, the ubiquitous, untasted glass of white wine, blue cheese breath, lipstick on the teeth, and knotted wads of darkened cartilage on the elbows. Culture Vultures are among the easiest to identify—and hardest to avoid—of all unearthly creatures. Culture Vultures swoop down from Connecticut, to feed on dying art forms