• Surviving the zombie culture

    by Matt “Naj” Najmowicz

    With the recent events that transpired in Connecticut, I feel as if there was a sign leading up to the slaughter of 26 people and the suicide of one: the zombie culture.

    Ever watch Walking Dead?

    The Walking Dead is a weekly TV series about a group of people trying to survive against a swarm of undead mindless zombies who only have the goal of consuming the living flesh of people. Within the show, every week illustrates the struggle of the living versus dead, the human versus inhuman, society versus chaos, and the transformation of seemingly good-natured people into “evil monsters.”

    I believe this show, movies of the same genre, books, and other forms of media depicting zombies are what I call the “zombie culture” and it is within that ideal of the zombie culture that perhaps I can truly offer some critical analysis of what the hell is going on and why it resonates in my generation.

    Imagine a world in which the fabrics of society have totally unraveled. In this world society has faltered into chaos, lawlessness reigns, and there are no rules. Imagine, if you will, the only thing you see is just the few human beings left that are not zombies simply trying to survive. All there is around you is unspeakable horror; this unspeakable horror is what the zombies do to sustain their existence. There is nothing more to a zombie’s existence than that: existing only to feed their base consumption, seemingly endless and never satiated. They could be full of human flesh but it never seems to end.

    You fight the zombies, you band together with your friends, and yet you are absolutely outnumbered. There is a carnivorous swarm that has no morals, no ethics, no rhyme and no reason, that only wants to feed on your succulent flesh.

    The zombies devour what makes you human; they strike at your core humanity. Without any reasoning, they wish to destroy all that makes you alive inside. All your senses and physical abilities are threatened because the zombies consume at an alarming rate and it is never enough for them.

    It sounds scary, right?

    What if the zombie was a metaphor? What if I replace the zombie with something else a bit more familiar?

    What if the zombies were consumers? What if the zombie culture was in essence a glimpse into the ugly side of our hyper capitalism?
    Think of Black Friday, and imagine a world where the need to buy, shop and CONSUME trumps everyone’s ability to be a member of society. How many bizarre accidents of violence happen because the shopper masses are put into a frenzy and the only way to satisfy their supplanted need to consume is to beat someone else to the marked down flat screen television? The shoppers literally stampede over one another just for a bargain, a bargain they are willing to pay with a piece of plastic.

    Hey kids, ever play any of the Resident Evil games? Remember that the zombies in that game were infected with the “T-Virus”? What if the T-Virus was your debit or credit card?

    Armed only with a piece of plastic, watch your once loving mother turn into a ravenous monstrosity that only wants to beat the other person to a sale.

    Now, I am not going to sit here and say that the President’s Day Sale is the reason why evil was visited upon Sandy Hook Elementary. There were other issues that created such unspeakable terror and sorrow.

    What I am trying to suggest is that within a world where all you have is a constant subliminal ideas in which you have to shop till you drop, other things and experiences in life seem to be lost. When you have to constantly participate in a world where you just buy things and then work, pieces of you begin to die. You go to work only to be yelled at, you come home to a loved one who is truly too tired to show empathy, and the world flies by you at the speed of light.

    Sometimes I just feel like I am alive in a world that is infected with a T-Virus, and I need to survive the zombie culture.

    • I never watch anything about zombies but have wondered about the popularity of material about them. This opened up the genre for me. It was a very interesting read! Now I want you to write a column about vampires, another genre with which I am totally unfamiliar and yet it is madly popular.

    • No Zombie madness for me.

      • Maya North

      • December 24, 2012 at 1:27 am
      • Reply

      I remember reading an article–oh heavens, over 20 years ago now–about how we are so consumed with stuff and status that the only way to feel we are of worth is to have lots of both. And in such a society, when you simply can have neither, the pain is so great that only drugs will numb that pain. I believe that to be true. Interestingly, one of the best examples of what might happen if that were to be changed is the world of Star Trek. You can have pretty much anything you want if it can be made in a replicator, so there is no need for consumerism, for greed. You can have it. Free. So now what? Perhaps we might base our ideas of worth on something else–like how well we love, our creativity, the particular music of our laughter. I think we could do that without replicators, myself, as long as we have the will to change. That’d be the hard part…

      • Georgia

      • December 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm
      • Reply

      They are (zombies) and this is (zombie apocalypse) a metaphor…this so hit a chord…and I will reference my world literature textbook 1500 to the present. There is an excellent short story regarding cannibalism and red China…about a man gone mad…metaphor regarding collectivism/communism…only in the United States it’s capitalism/consumerism. I’ll get back to you with the title and author of the story.

    Leave a Comment