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100 Years of Zombies.

Its difficult to tell at times whether some people legitimately fear an impending zombie apocalypse or whether it just serves as some sort of running joke.

I mean, it sounds like one: legions of the undead mindlessly dragging their feet around the ruins of civilization in groaning, moaning herds, single-mindedly searching for a lively meal of flesh and brains.

Looking around, I have no doubt that shit is bound to hit the fan in any number of ways sooner rather than later. It seems to be that our global culture has a good number of “time-bombs” set to go off in half a century or less, as Jared Diamond has put it — climate change, overpopulation, dwindling resources, pollution, war. So there’s all that. I just don’t fear the zombies.

In saying all this by no means do I wish to come across as all anti-zombie. Truly, I am not. I enjoy the television show, The Walking Dead, and I liked the movies World War Z, Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. The current monster-fascination is clearly focused here and I’m not complaining at all. Though the previous cultural fixation on the vampire legend was fine at the beginning (thanks to Anne Rice) and stayed sexy for awhile (with Buffy), it took a nose dive into a steaming pile of dog doo with the Twilight plague in my humble opinion.

I am rather saddened that we did not spend so much time visiting the werewolf, as I find it to be a much more effective symbol for the aspects of human nature the vampire theme seemed to be exploring, but you’ll have that. The zombie is driven by instinct, but it is void of the romance of the vampire and the animalistic passion and raw sexuality of the werewolf. Both the vampire and the zombie also lack the dualistic nature of the werewolf that I find so appealing, too. This is why I think the werewolf would have made a good segue from vampire to zombie.

Rather than swinging between wolf and man, the zombie sits on the fence betwixt life and death. Though they aren’t really dead, they don’t constitute life, either. They take on the appearance of the hypnotized or the sleepwalker, or at least our common conceptions if the appearance. Half awake, half asleep. Half alive, half dead. They are the true creatures of the twilight, I suppose.

They don’t communicate or execute complex tasks — indeed, they seem to exhibit slow and messy movements, like a really drunk frat boy. They do not seem to feel a wide range of emotions, either, and show no signs of having desires higher than the drive for sustenance. They wouldn’t be too easy to outsmart or outrun, so what’s the fear?

Also important: zombies appear to be without the fundamental itch for a roll in the hay. This is an important point to consider, for if zombies do not reproduce, this would mean so long as no others were “turned” the zombie population would dwindle down to extinction within, say, eighty years or so. Unless zombies are immortal, of course, which would be fucking silly — about as silly as trying to imagine one of them riding a bike. Actually, one would expect them to have a shorter life expectancy given that their bodies, technically dead, would break down and waste away far more quickly. So maybe a hundred years of zombies, max.

That doesn’t sound so bad.


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