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Beware the undead

Opinion Columnist

Published: Monday, February 25, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 15:02

We are all currently inundated with zombie literature, films, television shows and pop culture references regardless of our acceptance of the plague.

Zombies are everywhere and are invading quicker than vultures on a fresh kill. But where are all of these zombies coming from and what do they really want?
Zombies represent our biggest fears: isolation and abandonment as well as stripping us away from the very resources we currently depend on for survival.

We have become a nation almost completely dependent on others. Whether we are talking about fuel to heat our homes or water, the basic material essential to life, we have little control over the resources we depend on.

We have stripped ourselves of our basic survival instincts and replaced them with reliance on farmers, supermarkets, restaurants and the factory food production and distribution system of an industrialized nation.

We will be nothing next to helpless animals when the power shuts down and our cell phone signals vanish. Less than 3 percent of America’s population is employed in agriculture, leaving the rest of us starving, sleep-deprived and desperate to fend for ourselves in the event of an apocalypse.

Well, except for the extreme couponers who have several years of stockpile….

Zombies have always been a way to challenge social issues. We have but one man to thank for this: George A. Romero, king of the zombies.

Romero gave birth to the horror film as we know it today. While divergence from Romero’s themes is not punishable by death, Romero introduced the horror film as a way to confront social themes as well as individual fears.

Many films produced today follow the same rules that Romero set forth decades ago.

Romero’s films not only challenged civil rights issues by casting an African-American male in the lead role during the ‘60s but also gave notice to the generational counterculture of America.

These young nonconformists were the same adolescents protesting the authority of the Vietnam War and the disillusionment of our nation.

Film was simply becoming a way to question conformity and filmmakers like Romero took full advantage of their access to media outlets to spread the message and understanding of their world.

“Night of the Living Dead” became a cult classic because every viewer could take away something different from it.

Whether you watched it for the thrill of the show or the underlying social commentary, everyone took something away.

Of all supernatural entities – werewolves, vampires, aliens – I believe zombies are absolutely the most possible.

Man has always been determined to create the most powerful, destructive weapon, and I’m certain that biological warfare has not escaped the list of possibilities. The zombie virus is just that – a virus.

Think of all the viruses we are exposed to almost daily, many of them mutated animal strains.

Potential causes of a zombie apocalypse fall in the realm of science, not the supernatural.

Zombies are real people, your friends and neighbors, not thousand-year-old corpses possessed by the devil who come to life only at night to feed on the living.

Even the authorities at the Centers for Disease Control have jumped on the zombie bandwagon in an attempt to prepare us for the apocalypse.

The CDC’s website is complete with a zombie blog, a graphic novella called “Zombie Preparedness 101” and an educator’s website to provide teachers with the tools necessary to teach zombie preparedness.

Dr. Ali Khan of the CDC notes, “If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake or terrorist attack.”  
Your survival ultimately depends on how prepared you truly are for any type of disaster. All disasters are the same when you think about it, really.

Our biggest fear stemming from natural disaster is that we won’t be prepared to deal with the lack of resources and imminent danger to human life.

This fear can render us helpless, or it can help us rise above whatever disaster sinks its deadly teeth into us – as long as we’re ready.

While I’m not condoning mass hysteria and paranoia, it would be nice if there were more than a few hundred of us zombie aficionados left to repopulate the earth after the inevitable event.


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