The political undead

What’s the hottest thing in horror right now? Yes, even hotter than the poop we discussed the other day. C’mon, you know this.

Yes, it’s the zombie. There’s plethora of zombie movies that have been released recently or will be coming soon. Some were good, most were bad. There’s also been a glut of zombie books over the past few years. And video games. Why do you think that is? Could the popularity of the zombie be symbolic of something else going on in our culture? I think it is.

Look at the rise of the vampire in the 1980s. What’s the nickname for that decade? The “Me Decade.” (Yes, okay, Big Hair, too, but wasn’t that really just another way of drawing attention to yourself?) The ’80s are remembered as a decade of greed. Who is more greedy than a vampire? They go about preying on others, feeding on the very thing that keeps us alive.

The vampire carried over very well into the ’90s. Why not? Personal fulfillment at any cost was still the way to live your life, as evidenced by corporate mergers that led to downsizing, and a president getting it on in the Oval Office with his intern. All that, particularly the political scene, set the stage for this decade of the zombie.

In the 1970s George A. Romero used the zombies of Dawn of the Dead to symbolize our mindless consumerism. Today, though, I think the zombie is a reflection of our political agendas. The Clinton Administration, followed by the Bush Administration, I think, has polarized Americans to the point where we blindly shamble along our party lines, unwilling to consider the value of anything that comes at us from the other side. Spin from our own party is the warm flesh that keeps us moving, while anything coming from the other side is immediately attacked.

Are the purveyors of current zombie fiction and movies thinking of this? Probably not. Especially in Hollywood, where any minor success simply spawns diluted imitations. I think Romero might have been thinking about it with his recent Land of the Dead film, with Dennis Hopper’s Kaufmann character representing the conservative Republicans unwilling to acknowledge the changing times other than to profit from them. But I’m not sure who represented the other side — the street people or the zombies. Perhaps the zombies were an emerging third party.

What do you think? Am I way off base? Why do you think zombies are so popular right now?

0 responses to “The political undead”

  1. zombies
    Dare I say that perhaps zombies bear a striking resemblance to the man currently residing in the oval office? I think he’s the one, forging on who can’t admit that he’s made a terrible mistake – meanwhile the body count keeps rising.
    Hey, I guess it is a lot like a horror movie after all….

    • Re: zombies
      I’m tempted to reply to this, but I’d rather go to sleep. Maybe the zombie in me is numbing my mind.
      (Is this the same as talking to your friends?) This is my first reply and I am not sure how to leave my name, so here are my initials: PWW.

      • Re: zombies
        Ooooo. It took me a while, but I finally figured out who you are, PWW. hehe Glad to see you making a post. We must work harder on bringing our lost lamb back into the fold.

    • Re: zombies
      Ah, Gayleen … I think it goes deeper than just Bush. I would go so far as to say that Bush is merely a symbol of the Right’s stonewalling of the Left, much like Gloria Steinham (sp) is symbolic of the Left’s refusal to consider ideas from the other side. Gloria once said that men would have a hard time justifying their existence now that we have cloning. (Did she notice that it was two men who cloned Dolly?) That’s an example of our fixation on whatever cause that drives us. For Bush, maybe it’s Iraq. For many it’s gay rights, women’s rights, religion, removing religion … whatever. There are people, for example, who may disagree with everything Bush has done in regards to the war or the economy, but voted for him because he’s against abortion. You know my thoughts on abortion, but if you choose your candidate based on one issue you may as well be a zombie fixated on finding and devouring living flesh.
      And c’mon, if you want to talk about a politician who looks like a horror movie icon, Kerry as Frankenstein’s monster or Hillary as the Wicked Witch of the West are more obvious choices. 😉 Bush is more like the police chief who won’t believe the kids who come in from Lover’s Point to announce the aliens have landed.

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