Short Post: Today in Zombie News

Posted on May 19, 2011

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While reading the news today, I found two headlines about zombies. Two major headlines. Surprised by this, I conducted a quick sweep of news I wouldn’t typically read and found dozens of headlines about zombies from today alone. Not Rob Zombie or zombie computers or anything like that, but some serious voodoo zombie shit in the news.

I’m not too surprised, given that zombies are such a cultural meme. On at least three separate first dates I’ve been asked what my preparedness plan for a zombie apocalypse is (I kinda just expect that question now), and an old friend used to drive around in a minivan with a zombie preparedness kit under the seat. Even I have been known to keep a machete near my bed for all my rapid decapitation needs, just in case there’s something to the hype.

But the Center for Disease Control? Seriously, this is a legitimate government agency looking to assure Americans that it has a valid reaction plan for a zombie apocalypse scenario. If this is a reaction to “The Walking Dead” and its portrayal of the CDC, it’s a bit late. And it doesn’t seem that tongue-in-cheek. It looks like the CDC actually wants to calm some half-joking, half-serious angst about sudden disease outbreaks, plagues, apocalypse scenarios, etc. But in the process it just legitimized an intense and growing cultural zombie obsession/fear that I will admit really took hold in me too after I first watched “Night of the Living Dead.”

The other major headline is a little more humorous: an announcement that Judi Dench and Ian McKellan might be working on “The Curse of the Buxom Strumpet,” an 18th century period zombie piece … which has a name so awesome and a cast so strong that I’d definitely watch it. But we really do have a huge thing for zombies and pandemics these days.

America is in the grips of an eschatological obsession right now. True, that existential fear isn’t uncommon is history … but to have a perpetual, multi-layered, fanciful conception of the end times reaching critical mass really worries me. At least it’s not a scatological obsession…

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