Several years ago I wrote a blog post that explored the American fascination with zombies. I linked zombie entertainment (books, movies, games, dressing up like a zombie and rolling in the mud for charity, etc.) with the lack of control Americans felt due to the threat of international terrorism. I argued that the fiction zombie apocalypse rose from the ashes of the World Trade Center, giving Americans back the sense of control they’d lost in the face of an enemy they couldn’t hope to fight.
Things have changed, since then. I haven’t changed my mind about why the zombie apocalypse rose, but I have a new theory about why it has, if anything, gained steam. People fly without fear, again. They don’t think twice about attending crowded, high profile events. Some Americans are still afraid of and hate Muslims, but they deal with that fear by being racist asshats. Sure, there are homegrown enemies who are shooting people in schools, but white people are doing most of the shooting, so that’s less scary, and the answer to the problem is we need more guns, so there’s the solution, right there.
With Americans feeling safe to go out again, why does the zombie apocalypse roll on in popularity? I’ve seen the comment made more than once recently that we secretly long for the zombie apocalypse to actually happen. I originally dismissed the statement as a flippant, thoughtless remark made by people who will never experience living a poop pile life in a nation torn by war or marked by famine. However, there is a lot of truth to the statement, and when I’m honest with myself, I wouldn’t mind a little zombie apocalypse, either. My scholarly exploration of the idea that we want the zombie apocalypse to happen follows, and I’ll be making my points with examples from the AMC series, “The Walking Dead,” which returns tonight, and boy have we missed it.
We long for the zombie apocalypse because:
- Money would mean nothing. In the zombie apocalypse, we wouldn’t have to deal with rich bastards lording it over everybody. We would all be driving nice cars we boosted and living in mansions we invaded. No bills to pay, so it would be a financial clean slate for even the most indebted among us. Congresswoman Deanna lives in a gated community because she held it through the zombie apocalypse, not because she kept her mortgage paid up.
- Everyone would be equal. Would a lot of us had hung out with Daryl pre-zombie apocalypse? No. Daryl’s many rabid fans can argue this all they want, but it would take a serious lapse in judgment to be friends with pre-zombie apocalypse Daryl. Open hearts be damned. Friendship with Daryl would have meant Merle coming over to grab your wife’s ass and steal your shit. In the zombie apocalypse, everybody could be friends with Daryl or anyone else they took a shine to.
- Good jobs. In the zombie apocalypse, there would be no more struggling to find a job that won’t kill your mind, body, and spirit. Rick Grimes has plenty of jobs that are all about cracking skulls. Everybody gets paid the same.
- Adventure. No more years of drudgery, trying to save up for that week in Disneyland. The zombie apocalypse is one big adventure. Carol had no life at all before the Walkers. Look at her now. She’s a gun-toting badass, and even her fucking cookies are scary.
- The family we all want. Most of us would probably lose most of our families in the zombie apocalypse, but we’d get new ones. Your zombie apocalypse family wouldn’t compare you to your handsome, smart brother with the pretty wife. Your zombie apocalypse family would die for you. T-Dog. Enough said.
Let’s hope for an excellent season opener of “The Walking Dead,” this evening. It’s our cure for the modern world until the real zombie apocalypse comes along.