True Blood: Selling Your Soul in a Buyer's Market

Categories: Gothtopia

Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood - which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston.

What is a soul and, more importantly in this rough economic time, what exactly is it worth?

There's plenty going on in True Blood right now. Jason has to deal with the fact that he's been raped, and who does that make him now? Tara has been living life as a lesbian cage fighter from Atlanta; now that her New Orleans girlfriend has found out, she must choose which reality she will inhabit. Most importantly, Eric, who in his amnesia has been stripped of everything, is forced to hear repeated testimony of acts that to a stranger, as he is to himself, sound monstrous and unholy.

Only the affection and faith of Sookie, who herself is torn between her feelings for the vulnerable vampire and her remembrance of pain suffered either at his hands or because of his actions, keeps him moving forward. He spends most of the episode exploring his emptiness.

It's peaceful, but it's not soon to last as his progeny Pam accidentally lets slip that she knows he is hiding at Sookie's to former Sookie love interest turned vampire king Bill Compton, who rushes off to confront her. It's a deal with the devil for Pam, who is attempting to save herself from a spell causing her flesh to rot that was cast by this season's big bad, Marnie.

Deals with the devil should make all music fans think of the one and only bluesman Robert Johnson.

Johnson is part of the 27 club, a group of musicians who died at that young age, and which Amy Winehouse just joined. Details on his nomadic life are sketchy, but his recordings' influence on generations of blues musicians is undeniable. The most enduring aspect of the man, aside from his talent, is the fact that he sold his soul to Satan for that talent.

They call it a legend because, well, the world is a needlessly boring place, but Johnson woke in the middle of the night and was compelled to a crossroad, where Satan himself taught him to play the blues in exchange for his immortal soul. Some claim that this was not the Christian devil, but instead the African trickster god Legba. This seems like splitting hairs to us, since by definition all other gods are demons in the eyes of Christ.

Johnson was poisoned for flirting with another man's woman in 1938.

His song, "Me and the Devil" was picked up and ran with by the late Gil Scott-Heron in 2010 on his album I'm New Here. Scott-Heron is known for two things. First, he did a lot of cocaine. Seriously guys, he did a LOT of cocaine.

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Justin P. Mouton
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