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August 7th, 2012


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05:13 pm - The Walking Dead
I have just watched the finale to the second season of The Walking Dead on Channel 5. This is another AMC program. It's not in the same league as Mad Men or Breaking Bad, but I like to watch it. The next season begins in October, and it has David Morrissey in it.

I find zombies super-frightening. More frightening than werewolves and vampires. 'Zombie apocalypse' is a great modern horror trope. It plays on our awareness that there are too many people on the Earth and not enough resources, and that we might end up fighting each other to survive. That's my feeling anyway. Unlike werewolf or vampire it does not dramatise the threat of an evil outsider, but the evil weight of numbers and dumb hunger. And the way people stop being like people, and don't relate to each other in a humane way.

I think the politics of the show is a bit weird. The zombie apocalypse story justifies a lot of stuff that right wingers want to be true, but doesn't really work in modern society. For example, I have seen Americans online saying that the British would be greatly disadvantaged if there were a zombie apocalypse, because we don't have ready access to lots of guns. My feeling is that this is absolutely true. However - let's be honest - there isn't going to be a zombie apocalypse. But rather some more complex slow apocalypse, which we may be able to negotiate and compromise our way through. We might have rationing and national service and social welfare to get through the worse times.

The zombie story cuts through all of that liberal lefty crap. It imposes on the world a bizarre circumstance which means that right wing values - don't care for those outside your group, because they don't care for you - are plainly correct. Never negotiate, don't co-operate, keep the outsiders out, they aren't even human. If there really were a zombie apocalypse then it would make sense for the women to be kept indoors, resources to be guarded, and a woman walking around on her own would be crazy. It would probably make sense for men to have multiple wives. There would be no crap about democracy or gun control. It wouldn't merely justify conservatism, it would mandate fascism.

Anyway, in real life there isn't going to be a zombie apocalypse. There will always be a better way, a bit more lefty, because the other humans will still be human and you will be able to bargain with them. But it is kind of fun to imagine a world where life really is nasty, brutish and short. And by 'fun' I mean frightening and disturbing, but really exciting.

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:nostalgia_lj
Date:August 7th, 2012 04:21 pm (UTC)
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I have a bit suspected in the past that the popularity of zombies is from people assuming they'd be leading a pack of zombie-hunters and basically getting to be bastards to everyone. Nobody seems to imagine themselves getting eaten on the first day. I'd probably get killed by the bastard people for being too much effort to keep around, which is disturbing.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:August 7th, 2012 05:05 pm (UTC)
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They wouldn't kill you but you would probably have to marry some oafish survivalist, so thank goodness it won't happen.
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From:executrix
Date:August 7th, 2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
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I'm not worried about how I'd survive a zombie apocalypse, because if there were one I wouldn't want to.

However, I'm much less interested in zombies than in vampires, who can be classy and seductive. Zombies are just gross.
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From:communicator
Date:August 7th, 2012 05:23 pm (UTC)
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They are gross, but I am super-scared of them, so a somewhat mediocre show has an extra veneer of emotional charge that gives me nightmares.
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From:white_hart
Date:August 7th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
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We might have rationing and national service and social welfare to get through the worse times

There's a Le Guin short story set in a future where the population of Earth has been massively reduced by plagues and food shortages where a character mentions that the British lost fewer people than some nations because they were happy to queue and take their share and didn't fight among each other.

I don't like zombie films at all. Except Shaun of the Dead.
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From:communicator
Date:August 8th, 2012 04:14 am (UTC)
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I wonder whether we have lost that (queue and share) or if it would resurface in a crisis
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From:executrix
Date:August 8th, 2012 01:26 pm (UTC)
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I saw a quote from a survivor of a WWII Japanese prisoner-of-war camp that you could always tell the chaps you had been to public school because they felt right at home.
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From:azdak
Date:August 8th, 2012 04:53 am (UTC)
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It would probably make sense for men to have multiple wives.

Although if the underlying real-world paradigm is that there are too many people and not enough resources, this makes no sense at all.

I think you're absolutely right that zombies, like orcs (and, very often, Nazis), are a convenient way for people to have fantasies about fighting for Good without any of that messy awareness that the bad guys are human, too, and that some of them might even be good people (as good as me, anyway).
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From:communicator
Date:August 8th, 2012 05:19 am (UTC)
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Yes. I don't mean sexism makes sense in our world - the real world with overcrowding - but in this zombie world which is a right wing fantasy, where only 'our' group is important, and the rest can go to hell, and women need to stay home and men should be in charge and all the rest of it.

(none of this is about open relationships, quite the reverse, I'm talking about a fascist fantasy)

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