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Thread: The Zombie Craze -- What does it reveal about us?

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    The Zombie Craze -- What does it reveal about us?

    I've been thinking about what zombies represent for us and why there seems to be a growing zombie craze these past few years.

    It's said, by whom I do not recall, that the Japanese film craze for giant monsters, such a Godzilla and Gamera, represented for them their fear of the wide spread destruction they suffered at the end of the Pacific War. Also, their fear of the long term effects of radiation.

    In the 50's, Amercian sci-fi movies that dealt with world conquest (War of the Worlds for one) might be considered a fictionalization of the fear we had at the outset of the Cold War and the fear of Communism. Later, in the 70's, films like Logan's Run, Soilent Green, Planet of the Apes could be seen as dealing with suspiciousness of our own government or perhaps the fear of its trend toward collectivism or corruption in general.

    Vampires seem highly romanticized in today's culture. Maybe they represent wishes more than fears--the wish for unending life, thus unending love.

    So, what does the zombie craze tell us about ourselves?

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    That we'd love nothing more than an excuse to smash other people's skulls in or blow their heads off with shotguns, but we don't want the moral implications of actually killing a person.
    You dumb bastard. It's not a schooner, it's a sailboat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flu View Post
    That we'd love nothing more than an excuse to smash other people's skulls in or blow their heads off with shotguns, but we don't want the moral implications of actually killing a person.
    You're such a cynic.

    Elections are no longer a useful agent of change. Our politicians are
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    I think Flu is partly correct.

    I also think our overly "civilized" society wants to touch base with our primal instincts. When I watched "The Stand", and played "Fallout 3", I couldn't help but let my imagination wander and ask myself "What would I be able to contribute in a post-apocalyptic world? How would I survive? How would I hold up?"

    Zombies (specifically "The Walking Dead" right now) have me asking the same questions. How would I fit in with the crew of survivors? Would I be Rick? Most likely, I'd be Dale - who knows?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Trogdor View Post
    I think Flu is partly correct.

    I also think our overly "civilized" society wants to touch base with our primal instincts. When I watched "The Stand", and played "Fallout 3", I couldn't help but let my imagination wander and ask myself "What would I be able to contribute in a post-apocalyptic world? How would I survive? How would I hold up?"

    Zombies (specifically "The Walking Dead" right now) have me asking the same questions. How would I fit in with the crew of survivors? Would I be Rick? Most likely, I'd be Dale - who knows?
    OK, for you and Flu the zombies represent society's latent desires for violence, mahem, destruction; while at the same time , for you, it's a force against which to measure one's strength of character. These are ideas that never crossed my mind.

    I look at zombies and what makes them fearful to me. I find their mindlessness and their relentlessness, two forces which nullify the effectiveness of reasoning with them, to be their most terrifying attributes. Then I ask myself, what in real-life has these same attributes? What, in real-life, can role over me, destroy my life without the least moral compunction? I immediately think of corrupt governemnts and their Kafkaesque courts and bureaucracies. I also think about activitists and their clamouring for the most ridiculous injustices in the name of "social justice". For me, zombies represent that mindless group mentality that's capable of all levels of violence, oppression, and injustice.

    Elections are no longer a useful agent of change. Our politicians are
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    I think we established LONG ago that you don't think like most people, E.
    You dumb bastard. It's not a schooner, it's a sailboat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enteleki View Post
    I look at zombies and what makes them fearful to me.
    I never found Zombies to be fearful. It's kind of strange that you pointed that out to me. I always saw Zombie stories as stories about the survivors; I never really give the Zombies a second thought. To me, they're a tool to push the plot forward and tell us about the survivors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enteleki View Post
    I find their mindlessness and their relentlessness, two forces which nullify the effectiveness of reasoning with them, to be their most terrifying attributes.
    Definitely can buy this part - this seems to be the distinguishing characteristic of Zombies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enteleki View Post
    Then I ask myself, what in real-life has these same attributes? What, in real-life, can role over me, destroy my life without the least moral compunction? I immediately think of corrupt governemnts and their Kafkaesque courts and bureaucracies. I also think about activitists and their clamouring for the most ridiculous injustices in the name of "social justice". For me, zombies represent that mindless group mentality that's capable of all levels of violence, oppression, and injustice.
    I can see where you got this from. For me, Zombies are even less reasoning than that. What is it that is completely unreasoning - will not respond to reason, evidence, or appeal? It seems that any dogmatic creed that demands unquestioning obedience fits the bill. A lot of religions spring to mind.

    I think that there's a bit of over-thinking going on here, though. I suspect that what's really going on is that people really want to see other people, preferably bad guys, killed in entertaining ways - but it's very difficult to find an unambiguous bad guy that someone won't stick up for, unless you remove their humanity by making them Zombies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enteleki View Post
    ... I find their mindlessness and their relentlessness, two forces which nullify the effectiveness of reasoning with them, to be their most terrifying attributes. Then I ask myself, what in real-life has these same attributes? What, in real-life, can role over me, destroy my life without the least moral compunction?
    Old ladies running after the Blue Light Special at K-Mart?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flu View Post
    I think we established LONG ago that you don't think like most people, E.
    Yeah, it was an unfortunate accident...birth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Trogdor View Post
    I never found Zombies to be fearful. It's kind of strange that you pointed that out to me. I always saw Zombie stories as stories about the survivors; I never really give the Zombies a second thought. To me, they're a tool to push the plot forward and tell us about the survivors.
    That's an interesting perspective. If you think about movies featuring monsters, The Blob for instance, you're right. The movie is about Steve McQueen and how he and the other humans react. The blob just creates the tension and conflict. Same thing with Night of the Living Dead. There's no explanation of how the dead became animated, they are just the thing that puts the humans in a jam.

    But, the zombies have to inspire fear in the humans in the story otherwise they are just so much moving meat. There is something about that mindlessness in a thing that is unrelenting in its pursuit that makes it a fearful experience for me when I identify with the humans being pursued. It was the same way as a kid when I watched The Mummy or Day of the Triffids or Halloween. The mummy, no matter how slow he walked, you were not going to get away. The Triffids too. Jason never seemed to die no matter what you did to him.

    Elections are no longer a useful agent of change. Our politicians are
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