So, What's the Deal with All of the Zombie News Lately?



Now I am not one to promote promote hysteria or anything, but seriously, what is with all of the recent zombie stuff in the news.

I'm not, at the moment, referring to the people eating people because of bath salts thing. Wait, you know what? Let's address that for a second.

Bath salts are making people into zombies? Seriously? OK fine government. You just tell us anything and we will go right ahead and believe it. Fine, bath salts turn people into undead cannibals. I suppose enemas turn them into sparkly vampires.

Actually, that
would explain a lot.

Ahem.

I am not even referring to the resurgence of zombie material in the movies and television. I would have expected it to have died down by now, truth be told. Honestly, I think a large portion of the zombie's popularity at this moment in time happens to be a result of the backlash against sparkly vampires, emo vampires, and all of the other vamps (and to a lesser extent werewolves) being viewed as the perfect love interest. Sure, he's a bad boy, but he's gong to change for me.

Whatevs.

As far as the classic monsters are concerned, vamps and werewolves are the only ones which really work as potential love interests. No one wants to cozy up to the slimy gill-man from the Black Lagoon. A corpse reanimated by science? Eww, sorry Frankenstein's Monster. Hell, even the Bride that the good doctor created for you didn't want to plant smooches on your bolt neck.

Which is the same category our poor brain eating friends fall into. There are very few high school aged girls who are going to want to snuggle up to an animated corpse. It's hard to want to nibble on someones ear if there is the possibility that said ear is going to come off in your mouth.

Or that the owner of said ear might turn around and gnaw her face off.

Yeah, they may be bad boys, but no one is going to want to change them.

Which makes them perfect movie, TV, book, comic book, video game, you name it fodder. Zombies can be used to represent anything. In fact, they pretty much have been used to represent anything. The traditional Haitian voodoo zombie, which practically no one every thinks about when talking about zombies) represents a loos of control Cinematically it has been used as a metaphor for class struggle in a number of pre-Romero movies.

All of this changed with Night of the Living Dead. Zombies were no longer creatures created by magic and ruled by one person. Now they were mindless, soulless entities whose one drive was the consumption of living flesh.*

As such, they are essentially blanks** upon which we can project our own fears. Zombie films have addressed issues including but not limited to race, class inequality, mindless consumerism, the results of war (initially those returning from Viet Nam and later the various middle east conflicts), nuclear proliferation, the Soviet menace, fear of the body (becoming sick and no longer able to care for one self -- especially poignant in an aging population), loss of control, loss of loved ones, the self-centered nature of society, fear of death, a nihilistic concern for what lies beyond death, the list goes on and on.

As far as action films and video games are concerned, zombies are the perfect foils. If you need an enemy which can be eliminated in a number of gruesome manners, which seems to be never ending, and which will not engender guilt on the part of those watching the films or playing the video games, zombies are a good choice. They don't have souls so you can kill as many as you want. If you want to make a statement about people, animals, or whatever being treated as not having souls....well, look at the previous paragraph.

This blank template aspect has given rise to another phenomenon, one which people are already starting to complain about. Namely, the use of the zombie apocalypse as a means for disaster preparedness. The first instance I heard of was a few years ago when the Centers for Disease Control modeled their emergency preparedness awareness site along zombie lines. *** The zeds acted as a stand in for unchecked disease, natural disasters, or even technological failings. Since then most of the organizations which make up the alphabet soup: FBI, state and local governments, schools, and now the Office of Homeland Security has gotten in on the act.

My only concern is -- what if they know something we don't? What if they aren't getting us ready for the zombie uprising to make sure that we are ready for a natural disaster? What if they are getting ready for the zombie uprising because...





*Or perhaps just their brains, depending on which franchise you are following.

**Kind of like Bella.

***Include links here