Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Blog of the Dead.

There is nothing in the world like zombies. Well, sorta. You don't have to dig deep into the genre, especially Romero's part of it, to see that it is a repository of cultural reflections, with enough metaphors and allegory to explode your brains.

This weekend, during our brunch and zombie movie marathon, I'm sure someone (me) will have enough beers to start the conversation about what the best way to survive a zombie apocalypse would be. And, while I love these conversations as much as everybody else, they are really easy to have, something missing in the conversations about what zombies usually represent.

Putting these thoughts together makes me wonder. If zombies really represent our endless hunger for blind consumerism, or to show how easy it is to lose our ability to think (brains anyone?) when it comes to religion or politics (not like there's much of a difference these days), what really is the best way to survive when you're surrounded by the unknowing dead? (answer: shotguns and cocaine!) I have to say that for both of those scenarios I just don't know the answer. When I was talking to people about the health care debate, the sheer amount of inaccurate information that they believed as fact was depressing. What good is a democracy when the people are just too damn lazy to educate themselves? And it is impossible to illuminate someone to your world view when they openly state that their version of the 'Truth' (what an evil word) is just as valid as yours and must be respected.

Imagine a zombie movie where the only weapons available are reason and persuasion, where our band of unlikely survivors have to talk their way through an urban landscape just to survive. Not only would this movie really suck, it would never work. Zombies don't listen, zombies don't reason, zombies only feed and die. Maybe this is why people paint me the cynic, I belong to a long tradition of thinkers who have stared into the abyss and have seen that it was us. And if history is any indicator (hint: it is), the future is only more of the past, but with bigger explosions and titties (I'm sure god is a big fan of Michael Bay films).

So what's the best way to survive? Do you barricade yourself in with the other survivors, hoping that the zombies don't smell you out and overwhelm you? Do you flee into the mountains armed with the knowledge that fewer zombies means easier victories? What if the success of the Tea Party is the vanguard of the 'new religion', the synthesis of blind faith and blind nationalism (incidentally, the only necessary ingredients for a fascist state)?

I'm not saying that it will happen that way but, once a certain tipping point was reached, it has before. Zombie movies traditionally don't end with the heroes riding off into the sunset. Usually they are picked off one by one until all that's left are the lucky, doomed to wander a dystopian landscape until their fates catch up with them. I'm also not saying that blind consumerism and the empty worship of capitalism is leading us down a path where multinational corporations can purchase elections without limitations and get to help us paint our political landscape (okay, that I really am saying).

We live in the future now, damn it! With all the progression that our species has made in the last few thousand years, I hope we don't stop before robots get a chance to steal it all from us. We are so close, on a large scale, from leaving the confines of our planet and exploring the entire galaxy. Every year scientists get closer to understanding their theory of everything, arrogantly named but pretty cool nonetheless. It won't be much longer before nanobots are performing our heart surgeries and we can grow replacement limbs from our own cells. There are a million ways for us to fail, but only one way to survive, and that is together. Maybe the solution isn't in defeating the zombies, but co-opting the system for ourselves. I understand the inherent conflict necessary for opposing world views, but pretending that it doesn't exist or believing that rational conversation alone is a good long term survival practice will not assist us in reaching our species' potential.

We should fight back, not always just with words, but with action. Weird that this whole rant just boils down to an appeal to action, but if you don't vote next week for something that you believe is important, or if you don't know enough to tell the difference, than I guess you're just another zombie.

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