I’m really sick of Zombies. Stories, movies and video games centered around Zombies. They are ruining our culture and making us stupid. I’ll explain.
Zombies: mindless, reanimated corpses with a hunger for human flesh and or brains.
Some of the first mentions of Zombies appear in the Epic of Gilgamesh poems in the (depending on where you check) 7th, 10th, 13th or 18th century BC.
Mary Shelly gave us the undead Frankenstein in 1818.
H.G. Wells’ Things to Come (1931) gave us a zombie apocalypse of a plague infecting others.
And then there is George A. Romero who gave us 1968’s Night of the Living Dead.
These 4 (and a quiet a few others) have given us the most used formula for these stories. Elements nicely pointed out on Wikipedia.
There are several common themes that create a zombie apocalypse:
Initial contacts with zombies are extremely traumatic, causing shock, panic, disbelief and possibly denial, hampering survivors’ ability to deal with hostile encounters.
The response of authorities to the threat is slower than its rate of growth, giving the zombie plague time to expand beyond containment. This results in the collapse of the given society. Zombies take full control while small groups of the living must fight for their survival.
The stories usually follow a single group of survivors, caught up in the sudden rush of the crisis. The narrative generally progresses from the onset of the zombie plague, then initial attempts to seek the aid of authorities, the failure of those authorities, through to the sudden catastrophic collapse of all large-scale organization and the characters’ subsequent attempts to survive on their own. Such stories are often squarely focused on the way their characters react to such an extreme catastrophe, and how their personalities are changed by the stress, often acting on more primal motivations (fear, self-preservation) than they would display in normal life.
What’s the Connection with Zombies?
- The desire to only want one thing? – braaaaaains
- To unite us against one enemy?
- The idea you can have a guilt free reason to kill humans?
- Desire to be numb and taken over?
- Fear of sickness/infection?
- Manifestation that society is out to kill us?
- Lack of authority to a point that a single group can take over?
- Lack of a feeling to fight for survival?
Why Zombie Stories are Making Us Stupid
- We are already zombies. Instead of feeding on brains and human flesh we feed on information. The media and social networks are out main tit, if you will. We don’t make things anymore, we share information. Information that either frightens us to we have to share with others or a desire for attention so we put out information about ourselves. We are zombies glued to our TV’s and computers feasting on fear and attention so we can function in social groups.
- Entertainment is a form of escape, and I get that. Zombie stories allow us to escape into an environment where it’s okay to kill another human being without consequences. And this is okay? “They are just zombies”. I’ll say the thing you’re never supposed to say in an argument; bring up that the Nazi’s. They though it was okay to kill Jews, Gays and Gypsy’s. It’s just not okay to escape into a world where it’s okay to kill people because they are different, this is how we spread hatred.
- Zombie stories allow us to think that average citizen are more powerful and adept than our local authorities. You’re not Outlaw Josey Wales or Jessie James. We need police, National Guard, fire and medical. We need the strength of trained and experienced professionals. Where would be if not for the help of the Port Authority on 9/11 to work around the clock to rescue victims? Where would we be without the resources of the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and local law enforcement for Hurricane Sandy? Yes, everyday citizens help so much in times of trouble but we still need the strength in large numbers, training and resources to help large groups of people. Zombie stories of one group trying to be more powerful than local authority just makes me think of Waco, TX.
- Zombie stories continue the ideas that other people make us sick and we should seclude ourselves from society. Humans are social creatures. When we withdraw from society, we are actually worse off. Depression and terrible mental illness occurs. Insecurity and paranoia arise. The inability to read basic human iterations. How many of the mass-killing gunman do we see in the news had recently removed themselves from society and had these mental problems.
- Think about how another culture would look at us if this is what we left behind. I think it would show that we are a selfish group of people. We retell stories of a group of undead individuals (because we are scared of dying) who are after our bodies. Seriously? Are we that obsessed with #1 our bodies #2 that everyone is after us? The answer is yes, we are. A new culture wouldn’t have to only dig up our zombie stories to know this. Body issues are in every facet of our culture, media, sculpture, performance, art, etc.
Why Zombie Stories Won’t Go Away
- Humans are fearful of biological warfare much like the 1950’s were scared of atomic bombs. It’s an underlining fear and it’s being triggered in zombie stories where a virus is unleashed and now we have a pack of undead chasing people to eat flesh and brains. A good number of us have survived the Bird Flu, the Swine Flu, Mad Cow etc. I think we’ll be fine but then again Zombie stories feed on fear and humans have a lot of that when it comes to viruses.
- Another reason why zombie stories won’t go away is because it’s an allegory for unplugging from social norms. I’m sorry, but that’s a childish rebellion. The quicker we grow up and realize we are the change or we are the problem, things will get better. Unplugging from a problem doesn’t ever make it go away.
- Human beings can’t accept death. I don’t know why. I just think it’s selfish to think that a human body is so important that it can’t die. It has to go to another place/space/time/energy. We have countless stories religious and otherwise of the Resurrection of a human body to escape death. Imagine, just for a second if we accepted that the meat sack that we live in will stop working and we will die and that will be it. We will be worm food and fertilizer for the earth. Instead of waiting for a resurrection of our bodies after death we allow a resurrection of our mind in the short time we are in our bodies. I always believed that this was the metaphor hidden in the resurrection of Jesus. That it was a less of a death of the body and resurrection of the body but more a metaphor of the resurrection of the mind, a new cause, a new purpose, a new destiny. We get lost in the details of the story and forget the message that we too can change our minds.
- Lastly why zombie stories won’t go away….they are one of the cheapest movies to make that has a commercial market. As long as there is cash to make, people will make zombie films.