Zombie movies are not my cup of tea, but they sure seem popular, almost as popular as ‘vampire are just misunderstood blood-sucking murderers yearning for love’ movies. So, clearly, we’re in the presence of Deeper Truth, wherein popularity among people who can’t follow an argument going 2 miles an hour accompanied by flagmen, lights and sirens is seen as conclusive evidence that Inner Truths are being explored, Existential Uncertainties being unfolded for our catharsis, and Yearning Hearts are being touched.
Do I have a theory? Why yes. Yes, I do. Does this theory bear any shadow of resemblance to reality? You’re never going to get an ‘A’ in this class with that sort of attitude, mister.
How do zombie movies both touch and reveal our Inner Selves and explain our Place in the Cosmos? Let me count the ways:
– We’re surrounded. Zombies are undead in some sense; at least, they are not as alive as my friends and me. Ain’t *that* the truth!
– Zombies want to eat our brains. Who among us has not felt our brains being slowly devoured by yet another sitcom, talent show or State of the Union address? Also, notice how you often can’t come up the name of that guy, you know, the one you were just talking to yesterday? *Somebody* is eating our brains.
– If we’re not careful, we will become one of them. We shall start staggering about, lusting for brains. We will be unable to relate to normal people. Nancy Pelosi will start making sense.
But this is very superficial. Let’s dig deeper. Zombies are a metaphor for how your typical American experiences intellectuals. (Hey, you’re gonna have to work with me here a bit, OK?)
Normal people aren’t lusting after brains. In fact, in the words of B.O.B.: “Turns out; you don’t need one! Totally overrated!” Clearly, B.O.B. has been watching recent federal politics. Be that as it may, for anyone just getting by, doing their job, living their lives, it seems these socially clumsy and somewhat repulsive intellectuals are somehow after them. After their brains.
Why brains? Well, that’s part of the problem. Modern intellectuals, most often found in universities, are really after our minds, driven inexorably to make us all into mindless sycophants and slaves. But – and here’s some irony – the process that turned them into zombies in the first place did so by insisting that they deny that there even is a mind. Their chief tools – Science! and the various flavors of dialectical materialism that constitute the dogmatic foundation of all the soft sciences and fill_in_the_blank Studies departments both assert that there is no mind – it’s turtles all the way down! What I mean is that what we think of as a mind is asserted to be an ’emergent property’ of brains. So, in their confusion, they want to eat the *brains* of all the undergrads, who, having already fallen into their clutches and being bribed by grades and the promise of acceptance into zombie society, lay their heads on the table right next to the cutlery. Figuratively speaking.
How? They start by assaulting our grasp on reality, attempting to loosen our grasps on our minds, which they think of as brains, by shrouding every idea in a debilitating verbal miasma:
– Orwellian euphemisms. Why say somebody’s poor when you can say they’re socioeconomically disadvantaged?
– Impenetrable circumlocutions. Whatever you do, don’t talk about reality using short, concrete nouns in simple declarative sentences.
– smug dismissiveness. Make sure the students know when they been stupid, but don’t ever explain how, exactly, what they said is wrong.
Once enough confusion has set in, you can start shoveling on the theory, confident that the teenagers in your charge completely lack the desire – let alone the mental tools – to refute you.
Here’s where things take two paths. On the science side, Materialism is conclusively assumed. In the words of the imortal Ted Nugent: if you can’t bite it, it doesn’t exist. Since the unbiteable includes just about everything that gives any meaning whatsoever to existence, we just dismissed any excuse for studying science – except for a pure act of Will, which happens to play nicely into the other path. Every been unhappy about anything? If you’re not a white male, you are the oppressed victim of an oppressor class. Once this position has been granted – and you are unlikely to graduate unless you grant it – then everything else falls into place. Now, since the early steps in the process removed even the idea of objective reality from the realm of possible explanations, you’re now free to expound this theory or these theories (flavors vary to fit the need) unencumbered by any facts whatsoever. Were your mom and dad deeply in love? Your mom was the unwitting victim of male domination, no doubt suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
And so on. The end products of this process are intellectual zombies, half-dead in their minds, prowling for more funding. Victims, I meant victims.
So, now, assume you’re a relatively normal guy or gal. Whether you went to college or not, how could you avoid the deep, chilling feeling that you are being stalked? And so as dread and foreboding grow in our minds, we conjure up some sense from all this – and we dream we’re living in a Zombie Apocalypse!
Never having watched a zombie movie in my life, here is my reckless prediction: the next great trend in Zombie stories will be two hideous tribes of zombies, to the living all but indistinguishable from each other, at war, each hell-bent on annihilating the other. Except they instinctively unite to pursue the living, only returning to devouring each other when there are no living available.
You know, because it kind of follows from the theory and all.