Saturday, November 19, 2011

The zombies are us

Like me, I suspect you've wondered: What's up with our cultural obsession with vampires and zombies? Hollywood and the book industry can barely keep up with consumer demand for these monsters. I'm still largely clueless about why people (mostly young women, I hear) are into vampires, especially the sexy, romantic variety. Color me confused. However, novelist Alix Ohlin sheds some interesting light on the popularity of zombies. He writes: "If postwar fiction and popular culture were haunted by the technologies humans had made and the danger that they might backfire and destroy us completely [think Godzilla in the 50s], our own moment’s fears seem to take on a more manageable, face-to-face, if no less terrifying character. We live in an era of rampant overpopulation, ever-increasing consumption, and limited resources, and our monster of choice, today, is the zombie. The current zombie renaissance ... is a clear descendent of the kind of displaced cultural anxiety Dickstein diagnoses, but with a difference. Zombies aren’t space invaders or giant insects; they’re not 'others' in the way most monsters are. They’re human victims, really, who can’t control what they do. They are uncomfortably, uncannily close to being just like us: our zombies, ourselves." Perhaps when romantic comedies again reign supreme at the box office we'll know that all is right with the world again. Here's hoping for a big-time Jennifer Aniston comeback soonest.

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