Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why We're All Actually Pretty Scared of Zombies

You are either one of two things: a vampire person or a zombie person.

If you are a vampire person, please get up from your computer right now, feed your three cats, go outside and get in your car, drive to the nearest bridge, and throw yourself off it.

Vampires have only ever stood for shame and sin associated with sex and sluttiness. Vampires are the AIDS of the monster world.

Also they're not real. If all you ever drank was blood, you would get scurvy and your body would die off from malnutrition, not live forever.

But zombies are real. Because all you need for zombies are lots of bodies and a virus, and those two things already exist. It's only a matter of time before something like human rabies or human mad cow appears. I mean, I'm not entirely convinced we're not already eating things containing people. I don't *really* think so, but *if* that story broke, I wouldn't be, like, *shocked*. And geez, we can't even CURE viruses yet, so we're just like helpless against that. It's a magical, inevitable combination, and those of us not too busy jacking off to True Blood trailers have already figured that out.

Let's look at the conditions needed to be present for a zombie apocalypse:
1) overcrowding - done
2) high transient population that can spread quickly without notice- homeless, mentally ill, etc - done
3) low access to immediate healthcare and therefore early warnings or at least early tracking - done
4) low international regulation on genetic alteration of foods and medicines - done
5) corporations with the ability to keep the regulations that way through buy-offs and elections - done

AND THEN my friend Louis made THIS point: it's even more likely that the government will at some point just use the Zombie Infection as an excuse to cull thousands of people to decrease the economic pressure of overpopulation. Like, we know you crazies won't approve any sane population control measures, so we'll just fake outbreaks on TV, and then kill lots of people and claim they were zombies.

So that could totally happen.

The point is, zombies are the sane monster, if sanity means seeing the perversion of reality around you and understanding that we are completely and totally fucked, and just hoping it doesn't get too bad in your own lifetime so you can keep enjoying cable and iced mochas until someone shoots you in the head with a rifle and you're off screen.  We're not scared of the ocean, or volcanoes, or ghosts. Aliens maybe a little, but aliens aren't really monsters, they're a different kind of inevitability. We're not scared of sex, or at least we shouldn't be, unless we're deliberately keeping our understanding of science in the dark ages because someone promises us acceptance if we do, *ahem*. But zombies make sense to be afraid of. They represent what's really left in the unknown - the future of ourselves as a species.

Zombies as an idea were created by cultures that had been invaded and enslaved - South Africa, Haiti. Places where society had been replaced with Society - the corporate empire - the railroad, the coffee plantation, the tobacco farms, the mines. The very basis of the fear is that you can somehow be made not in control of yourself. It used to be through death and sorcery, now we've adapted it to the much more modern idea of disease and law. Look! These people can do this thing to you and you will be out of your mind! You will do anything they tell you! You will buy that detergent and attack and kill your loved ones! Not even death will be able to save you! The brainwashing will follow you beyond death! Heaven is a Starbucks serving brains, where you don't have to even make the decision of what you want, it's just all brains.

I mean, it's not a coincidence that the soul-less victims of Society are hungering for the mental capacities of the uninfected. Romero did that on purpose. That man was a genius. Why did none of us ever start a weird Scientology-like religion off of him? Dibs.

So we joke, a lot, about being prepared for the zombie apocalypse. But we're not really joking. When I say I'm hightailing it back to the Great Lakes and holing up in a salt mine, because a) fresh water b)food preservation and trade-friendly natural mineral, and c) easily defensible one point of entry....I am not joking. I'm sorta joking. But I'm not joking. This is what we're doing, you're either with me or against me, and that's why so many people have their Survive the Zombie Apocalypse plans posted on their OK Cupid profiles. Do I think it's likely that having a mate who knows how to hunt and owns several firearms is going to really be integral to my survival? I mean, probably not? But...I mean, that sort of thing is always useful right? I'm just being prepared.

We're joking, but really what we're doing is mentally preparing ourselves. That's what a population does when they realize they are trapped, cornered, and there's no way out except chewing our way out of the shackles and getting to the nearest cave with a weapon. One that doesn't require ammunition because that shit will run out eventually. (Arrows are good.) We are bristling our hackles, and laughing it nervously off. know...pretty TENSE time to have an election huh? When we're all just starting to go fucking insane with the realization we are no longer in control of our lives? That should put us just a little bit back on the track to unity as a nation, united in our fear, only seriously? Fuck unity as a nation, that's how the fucking zombie apocalypse happens. Also wars. Where people develop biochemical agents? Right?

Anyway, Happy Halloween, and you should still vote for Obama cause I want school loans and birth control.


  1. Happy Halloween to you, Bridget...

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  3. Nice to see someone admit things. You're not joking, no-one's joking, and there's a lot very serious about the thought of zombies.

    In another sense, I have to say I think you're only scratching the surface. Science fiction talks about real life in ways normal discussions and language contexts just can't really. The zombie apocaplypse started, in actuality, a long time ago. Put the zombie films with other similar films (such as the opposite zombie, or "posh" zombie world of the Stepford films) and this may give you something of an idea. Put these suggestions with the now much accepted knowledge that "dumbing down" was central to reality in the last decade or two, and we are now "post-dumbed down" (only a really dumbed down world would disguise the neverending nature of it!), and there is a little suggestion of the zombie reality in every day life. Just a little, for I don't think it's any small thing.

  4. You've been prolific so I'm way behind in offering my rebuttal, even if you never notice this - well at least I'll have recorded my opinion - which is the most important thing a person can do on the internet.

    Okay! So it's interesting you compare vampires and zombies. You're going for aristocrats vs. hoi poloi right? The Vampire's an aristocratic figure - probably resembling a king or a businessman or a gangster - since these are parasitic professions that form our ruling class. Even today, that's who we've got - so it makes some sense that we'd have them around as the monsters still. Maybe you're right - people might not be afraid of them? I didn't care for the Joss Whedon version of vampires because they were too punk-rock, too, well cartoony really - Dracula rules a whole country of frightened peasants, he's the scion of some ancient royal bloodline - hey - just like Queen Victoria! Vampries = Nobility. Also, gangsters and businessmen.

    Zombies as the proletariat? Well - Maybe. You were right to go with Romero - Night of the Living Dead is one of the few zombie movies that isn't clandestinely about the end of the world. You might have noticed that the end of the world is a common theme to contemporary entertainment - and I'd suggest that Zombies are just more photogenic and interesting than Towering Infernos or alien motherships etc... End of the world is the thing- the zombies are just a portion of it. Not always, zombies and zombie love are a peculiar breed of fandom all their own - I speak up for Wild Zero - if you really want to know what zombie movies can/should/must be.

    But the Post Apocalyptic aspect - isn't that the drawing thing? The compelling issue of these movies is surviving in the overthrown world. People, we, don't watch these things to watch people survive to the end, we watch to see the last people die, as the new world arrives. You know why the end of civilization is so interesting to so many people? I'm going to say it's because it doesn't offer a lot for a lot of people, maybe most people - it's getting there sure. Now - you can say you're trying to survive the zombie apocalypse - maybe you are. You know how I survive the zombie apocalypse? I eat as many brains as I possibly can. Right? Join the winning team - the survivors in those movies are the real-world's vampires - they've got some investment in the status quo - so they're fighting to maintain the right, or at least just survive while the world changes around them.

    You're going to say I'm confirming your point about zombies and the unwashed masses getting shot in the streets - but I will undo your point by asking you this - are we making movies about the end of the world because we love the world and worry that it will end or because we're done with it and wouldn't mind seeing the frightened remnants of the old vampire classes turning omega-men?


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