All right, despite the fact it was a week-and-a-half ago that I wrote a silly piece related to a series of zombie movies…and now my first post since then also talks about zombies…I promise this blog isn’t going to become “Zombie Sh!+ from Deacon Blue.”
But zombies do play an important role in me making a point which, as usual, I will get to in a highly roundabout manner.
A couple weeks ago, I made some (theoretically) humorous response to something my wife said in which I referenced “the coming zombie apocalypse.” Rather than laugh (which often doesn’t happen where my jokes are involved anyway), my wife asked very seriously and gravely, “What is it with you and zombies?”
It was asked in a manner along the lines of, “Why would you hit yourself in the face repeatedly with a meat tenderizer?”
Now, it should be noted that my wonderful wife is a bit of a literalist. She likes fiction in video and written form, but she deals with concrete, real-world things. Fantasy and science fiction rarely appeal to her at all; if it doesn’t relate to things she can see and imagine in her day-to-day, she often won’t understand the appeal. She’s been trying very hard to continue to create an atmosphere for our daughter to believe in magic and let her imagination soar, but she’s somewhat less willing to sympathize with my love of things fantastic and out there in fiction.
After explaining to her that I’m not personally all that much into zombies except with some specific tales out there, I did my best to point out that zombies are a meme, and a metaphor for a lot of things in society. Yadda yadda yadda. She still doesn’t understand, and I now avoid using the term “zombie apocalypse” in her presence.
But it did get me to thinking: Why are zombies such a big thing right now in novels, TV series, movies, etc.?
Sure, they’ve been around since “Night of the Living Dead” made such an impact on our collective psyches and launched an entire franchise for George Romero on the big screen. But in the 1980s and 1990s, a lot of zombie stuff wasn’t apocalyptic. It tended to be a problem that was solved by the end of the movie, with just one zombie surviving to create a sequel in which the same pattern led to another sequel…and so on. But zombies rarely destroyed civilization entirely.
So that got me to thinking about apocalyptic fiction. That’s also nothing new. But in the past, a lot of it was around the idea of nuclear war, at a time when we were either still reeling from the aftermath of having nuked two cities in Japan just to be assholes or…more importantly…when we were in the midst of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
But even then, the apocalypse was rarely the focus. It tended to be a backdrop to let folks like Mad Max run around in leather shooting bad guys.
Today’s apocalyptic fiction and film (with zombies or without) seems to me something entirely different. Because now it’s often about civilization collapsing and people having to fend for themselves and try to survive when there’s little hope around them.
Gee, sounds a lot like the state many of us are in here in the United States right now, especially since the economic meltdown.
And that brings me to my right-wing ranting. It brings me to the thought of how conservatives with money are all too willing to let the entire nation suffer for their own gratification and the mutual support of the wealthy and privileged, and damned be the consequences. They seem willing to let everything burn down or collapse around all of us just so that they can get their way or make a point or come out ahead.
And that is why people have the zombie apocalypse on their minds.
Because deep down, most of us know that the people in Washington, D.C., who control so much of our lives (and on Wall Street, for that matter) are self-centered rich assholes who don’t care whether we live or die as long as they make a profit. The conservatives are most guilty of this heartlessness, but there are “moderates” and “liberals” aplenty who also don’t really care about much past their own comfort and their own wallets.
The thing is, many of them would be happy to see the world end. They’d be happy to seal themselves in well-stocked bunkers with soldiers and key staff to support their needs and rub their feet and suck their dicks while zombies are devouring the last few decent people left wandering about. They would be thrilled to know that they no longer have to deal with anyone needy or unattractive or poor or who isn’t white.
A safely sealed world to themselves, with few women trying to exert influence and no damned minorities and where they can eat, drink and be themselves without consequence.
The right wing wants shit to fall apart, as long as they still have access to the guns and resources.
That way, when they come crawling back to the surface, they can rebuild the world they want, with an angry, loveless, narrow-minded God at its center and all the non-white, non-male folks safely in their places playing their assigned roles.
And providing the distractions for the occasional zombie still left wandering around, while the fat cats waddle back to the safety of their bunkers for a little while longer.