Since Night of the Living Dead (1968), George Romero’s ground breaking zombie movie, zombies have been used as a vehicle for social criticism. In this age of interconnected sharing — everything from Twitter feeds to blood and organs, it makes sense to me that zombies are popular. We’re living with runaway consumerism, pollution, and consumption of our natural resources. Disaster response is so trackable that we’re very aware of the lack of adequate resources available for a growing population on a finite planet — making it easy to see why the apocalyptic, dystopian and survivalist ways of thinking are on the rise. It’s in our face everyday. “Run for the hills, get the shotgun, Jeb, we’re all doomed!”
On the flip side, kinda sorta — stay with me on this — the response to this is red lipstick, well coifed hair, and stilettos. War paint. Yep. The retro look is in, and if you ask me, China is the new Russia and we’re headed for a new kind of cold war. Incredible consumerism and mechanization is leading to a rebirth in atomic age paranoia. One that looks a little more Robocop than Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon. And if China is the new Russia, then maybe Zombies are a metaphor for the worker drone: Welcome back to Metropolis via The Fountianhead where we end up in Twelve Monkeys and die 28 Days Later.
Here’s a collection of interesting links about Zombies, some silly, and some intellectual.
An awesome articulate article on the history of zombies and the use of the zombie as a metaphor for various social anxieties and degradation in society.
The CDC’s Novella on emergency preparedness
Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis
A favorite book of mine, but the movie kinda sucked. Ethnobotanist Wade Davis arrived in Haiti to investigate two documented cases of zombies — people who had reappeared in Haitian society years after they had been officially declared dead and had been buried.
Radio Interview with the author: http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/science-technology/the-unexplained/the-unexplained-general/wade-davis-on-haitian-zombies.html
Zombie as Political Metaphor Daniel W. Drezner
NYT columnist Gail Collins
“But we’ve entered the era of zombie politics: a small cadre of uninfected humans have to band together and do whatever it takes to protect themselves against the irrational undead….”
A chemical warfare mental incapacitant agent known as “Agent 15” was supposedly a threat during the Gulf war. Turns out they experimented with it, but didn’t use it. Now, we stockpile the stuff. “George Robertson, then defense secretary, described it as “one more filthy uncivilised weapon of war in [Saddam’s] armoury.”
Culture of Poverty and Zombies
A rural vs intercity look at zombies.
George Romero’s latest and greatest
Five Scientific Reasons A Zombie Apocalyspe Could Happen
Byte Sized Biology about Zombies
The Mathematics of Zombies
What do you do if there is a Zombie attack? Can mathematics help?