Society feeds zombie hype

 Bryan Mangieri


During Halloween of last year, several reputable news sources reported the Center for Disease Control trained US Marines and Navy special operations forces how to react in case of zombie apocalypse.

It was no joke, rather a guise to draw attention to the purpose of the CDC.

So said the CDC.

This, however, does not explain the ebb and tide of the popularity of zombies in society.


Zombies: Why should you care?

Weston Standridge, clerk at Vintage Stock, said he carries a copy of “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks in the glove box of his car. He said he has done so for four years.

“Everyone who enjoys this horror genre has asked themselves, ‘What would I do?’” Standridge said.

Vintage Stock, a store specializing in entertainment, carries fodder for the zombie enthusiast, such as a collection of the “Walking Dead” television series and the comic book from where the show found its origins.

Zombies as a metaphor


At least two schools of thought exist about zombies in fiction. First, zombies are a menace easily understood because zombies only care about survival (the thrilling reason) or second, zombies reflects what society fears most (the metaphorical reason).

In the late sixties, if a zombie bit somebody, that person joined the undead, according to the vision of director George Romero, whose film “Night of the Living Dead”, who first brought zombies to the silver screen.

In the eighties, the characteristics of zombies changed and arguably represented mindless consumerism of yuppies. The fear stemmed from a national identity crisis, where the public feared becoming the same, or in other words becoming a “sellout,” a term to be popularized in the following decade.

Today, zombies generally develop from an exposure to disease or a mutant strain of vaccine. Perhaps, as those who pave the path of the future worry how the health care system will survive.

So their popularity exceeds entertainment. They serve as a punching bag for society’s woes, metaphorically speaking.

Or maybe not.

“I just like zombies,” Austen Young, another clerk at Vintage Stock said. “I think they’re just cool.”

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