Zombies Ate Our Brains

The zombies are here.  They have infiltrated only a small section of the population, but I fear that it may already be too late.  Although they appear to be an unorganized mass of brainless walking dead, they seem to have targeted what they see as the biggest threat to them; males ages 15 -30.  Phase 1 of their plan must nearly be completed, because we all seem to have zombies on our brains.

It is unclear what their next move is, but by all accounts it is uncanny how they were able to pull off the first phase.  Logically, the zombie genre should have jumped the shark on November 15th, 2001 with the release of Halo: Combat Evolved.  In this game, you not only battle zombies, but super smart, organized, and ancient alien zombies with space.  The most jaded demographic should have seen through what is obviously an overloaded mash-up of things that they would most likely enjoy.  Instead, Bungie was able to do what Spider-man 3 and so many other super-hero franchises failed to do.  They artfully and tastefully incorporated all these elements that we are prone to relish, and we believed it.  We adopted it as one of our favorites without knowing that at the same time it was weakening our bullshit detector.

Throughout history, our bullshit detectors have kept not only ourselves safe, but our sisters, girlfriends, daughters, mothers and wives as well.  From a very young age we teach ourselves how to be skeptical. We heckle magicians at our birthday parties, and question the legitimacy of cheap toys were supposed to like just because it has the Ninja Turtles logo.  We practice so that later on in life we dont fall victims to con-men or duvet covers.  We have these skills to warn (mostly to deaf ears) the women in our life that the only reason why they suddenly love vampires is because theyre so gullible.

We cant help them if we cant help ourselves.  We see movies like Quarantine on opening night, repeatedly watch our Zombieland DVD, and impatiently wait for a new George Romero film to come out.  When were not watching zombie films, were playing Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising (An all encompassing gender favorite is going to be in the new Dead Rising game; duct tape.  Anyone's bullshit sense tingling?).  When we cant get enough of whats already out there we make our own like, I Made a Game With Zombies In It, or any number of bad made-for-Youtube zombie movies out there.  If you havent made a zombie movie yet, I will bet with certainty there is a thought somewhere in your brain of making one in the future.
What really proves that were brain dead is that we basically watch and retell the same story over and over again.  A secret entity releases a horrific plague on the population, a small group of people fight to stay alive, and either they all die or only a few survive.  Its as predictable as an episode of Modern Family.  I do far more interesting things everyday.  For instance, I was at the grocery store during busy hours the other day and all four of the Robo-checker lanes were filled with people who decided that this was the perfect time for them to figure out how to use it.  I had to make it through that situation without swearing at anyone, stealing, or shooting anyone.  Now thats a story that pits one man against all odds!

Do we really love zombies that much?  Are we really going to sit through a version of Pride and Prejudice just because it has zombies?  I dont know about you, but I am scared shitless of the thought that zombies are making me willingly sit through a chick flick.

Ironically, despite being obsessed with zombies, we seem to be completely unaware of what a real infestation looks like.  Remember the Swine Flu epidemic? There was a vaccine almost as soon it started, and it only killed as many people as the normal flu usually does each year.  Why such a quick response?  Because theres so many paranoid neurotic moms out there demanding solutions to the slightest of problems.  You think they wouldnt notice a band of half-dead citizens biting people?  You think they wouldnt demand some solutions immediately? (Its funny how mens sanity can save women from their paranoia and womens emotional responses can save men from their over complacency.)  I would imagine a real plague would be more like a chirp from a low battery in a smoke detector, or a single light bulb of three being out.  Theres something slightly wrong, but sometimes you just learn to live with it.

We are all entitled to our own opinions and fantasies, and the zombie genre seems to be doing a good job of satisfying the fantasy of being justified in going on a killing spree.  Whats disturbing about this is not the possibility that we all seem to have the some latent homicidal tendencies inside of us, but that we all want so much of the same thing.  When some asshole in a suit looks at his reports for the day and sees how much we really love zombies, guess what were going to be getting for the next ten years.  Once they give us what the research says we want, good shows usually get pushed to the side.  Shows like Dollhouse and Fringe, which have a sandbox format and are really good at exploring a wide variety of different topics and monsters, inevitably get pushed to the side to give us more of what we want.

So lets take it easy on the zombie thing for a while and try to think of new ways of scaring ourselves.  After all, being frightened of ever-changing threats that dont exist is what keeps America moving forward.
Uploaded 10/20/2010
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