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Why We Use the Term "Mundane"

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By SphynxCat

In the early years of the online vampire community, there were many terms in use for describing non-vampiric people. Some of these terms included "mortal" (which implied that we were immortal), "human" (which implied that we were...well...something else), "nil" (which implies...braindead? or something...) and "normal" (which implied that we were abnormal or perhaps in need of psychiatric care). Because most of us do "mundane" things like pay bills, have doctor visits, go to work, etc., something that wouldn't generate such a wildly innacurate picture of us was needed.

I proposed the term "mundane" back in either 1998 or 1999 - based upon it's already established usage in other communnities - as a less inaccurate term to describe anyone who is not a vampire. I based my proposal on a similer usage within an organization called the Society for Creative Anachronisms, which is linked below. It had the advantage of already working, and working well, for general SCA usage, and I saw no reason it couldn't work equally well for the vampire community. It also has the advantage of not directly implying anything about one's vampiric nature to anyone who may be "listening in".

Note: There are individuals in the community who DO consider themselves inhuman. However, it is not the place of this article (or me) to agree or disagree with a person's sincerely held belief regarding his or her personal self. I am describing only the general usage of this term within the community at large.

Unfortunately, with the rapid growth of the online community, many of the newer people never saw, or have forgotten, the original messages detailing the original reason the term was introduced. As a result, there are rumors or complaints on various message boards that "mundane" actually means that we consider ourselves "superior" to non-vampires, when that is not the real meaning. So, let us take a look at what the term "mundane" really means, once and for all. For sources, we have our choice of the following:

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Definition: 1. Of, relating to, or typical of this world; secular. 2. Relating to, characteristic of, or concerned with commonplaces; ordinary.


Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

Definition: adj 1: found in the ordinary course of events; "a placid everyday scene"; "it was a routine day"; "there's nothing quite like a real...train conductor to add color to a quotidian commute"- Anita Diamant ... 2: concerned with the world or worldly matters; "mundane affairs"; "he developed an immense terrestrial practicality" ... 3: belonging to this earth or world; not ideal or heavenly; "not a fairy palace; yet a mundane wonder of unimagined kind"; "so terrene a being as himself"


Source: The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © 1993-2004 Denis Howe

Definition: <jargon> Someone outside some group that is implicit from the context, such as the computer industry or science fiction fandom. The implication is that those in the group are special and those outside are just ordinary.


Source: Jargon File 4.2.0

Definition: n. [from SF fandom] 1. A person who is not in science fiction fandom. 2. A person who is not in the computer industry. In this sense, most often an adjectival modifier as in "in my mundane life...."


Source: Society for Creative Anachronisms -- What is the SCA?

Definition Notes: There is no (easily findable) online dictionary for the SCA that I can point to, however anyone who IS in the SCA will be able to confirm that "mundane" is in common usage within the SCA to refer to one of two situations: (1) a person who is not an SCA member, or (2) Referring to any aspect of an SCA member's non-SCA life or identity.

As you can see, none of them imply "superiority" per se - only being different (or "special" as per one definition, but don't most people think they're special in some way?), and to set members of a specific group apart from those who are NOT part of that group. General usage of the term "mundane" is NOT meant to be insulting, and it's often easier to say or write than "non-vampire(s)".


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