ZOMBIE WALK 2008A mass of people dress up for the Toronto Zombie Walk. (photo: Sam Javanrouh/Flickr, cc by-nc 2.0)

For some reason we’re experiencing a zombie moment. From zombie crawls across the globe to the record-breaking 11 million people who tuned in to watch the season premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead, zombies are seemingly everywhere this season. Even sober institutions like The Centers for Disease Control are using zombies to teach us about disaster preparedness.

As we get ready for next week’s interview with Diane Winston, the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the University of Southern California, we’re wondering about this collective obsession with the walking dead. Why do you think zombies (not to mention other semi-humans like vampires and werewolves) are so appealing to our imaginations right now? Is it campy escapism from our economic woes? Or could it possibly be a reflection of how many people are feeling at this moment — like the walking wounded?


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5Reflections

Reflections

Once, years ago I went through the worst time of my life. Stress anxiety and fear overwhelmed and numbed me,  until I felt I was "dead", just too dumb to lay down. Everything passes. The message? It gets better. Zombies seem to be the perfect image of collective anxiety. Like they say,"Keep movin."

John

I like walking wounded but I suspect it's something deeper. I think there has to be some kind of guilt in there for the outrages that happened after 9/11. Like how do you deal with evil when you have been responsible for part of it. Zombies, vampires - these beings embody evil.

I think it's helpful to look at supernatural creatures like all supernatural things: as answers for forces beyond our control. Each kind of creature poses questions about unchecked human impulses, taken to their most extreme expressions: vampires illuminate the strength of our desires; werewolves examine our fear of our own capacity for rage and guilt; and zombies suggest that we've got real concerns about lack of freedom, if even death doesn't represent a release from our bodies' needs.

Zombies symbolize emptiness and their present popularity could be prophesying our future. Since 'Eve' asked "Why am I?" and discovered the void our ancestors created a history of trying to fill it. For millennia they tried but failed to fill the void with increasing numbers of religious/philosophical answers. Their efforts to fill in the gaps created seven other ways of trying to fill the void. Fairly recently the always dominant religious/philosophical reaction to the void was replaced by our effort to fill the void with money and all the stuff it can buy. However, the economy that evolved to support our materialistic reaction is on the verge of collapsing. Occupying the world's streets without apparent focus could be predicting the consequence its collapse. It is difficult to focus on emptiness. If my analysis is correct there are two possibilities for our future. We can let the increasing sense of emptiness destroy us or we can finally decide to end all efforts to fill the void and allow the "ideal reaction" those efforts have long suppressed, to return us to life. http://www.thelastwhy.ca/poem/

Zombies are the 99%?

apples