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Just an American Boy, Raised on MTV

ouch. just did a forum post where
i used both hands. mistake.

been trying to understand what
is the interest in zombies these
days—what the interesting thing is
about a zombie. i still can't see it.
not that there isn't isn't anything;
it's all about process—surviving
the zombie attack. it's the survivors
that are the story, and the question
as to who will be the one
that survives.

I think understand that the vampire in
high school thing pretty well. it's
mostly about the fact that one or two
generations later, the dominant culture
is finally getting to terms with the
fact their kids are having sex just
like they did back at the same age.
the broad human condition of sex is
finally banal, common; even the u.s.
military has finally started to accept
that sexuality has little bearing
on the public-social aspect of life.
so the sexuality of teenagers is
all out in the open now, and
the fact that people's sexual lives
in the teen years has a profound
influence on what they consider
"sexy" or associate with sexuality
in their later life. so vampires,
who are always associated with sex
(no, really, even when it's the very
creepy and disgusting kind of
sex that nosferatu invokes)
are now running around in sneakers
because we can talk openly about
teen lust with teens or just harken
back to our own youth vicariously.

NB on other UF: werewolves, are, of
course, just dumber vampires with
poor impulse-control. and don't
you remember a few of those from
high school? or been one?

so seems to me that /twilight/
et al are bridging stories for both
parents and teens to share. it's safe
in the same way that SFF has always
been an indirect way of serving up
more contentious issues; a kind of family
tv for the modern age. it's ok to admit
that sex has become banal. and the
vampire has finally been killed by
banality, not garlic. twilight is the
twilight of the vampire.

like twilight, the zombie trend comes at
an opportune moment when it comes
to social evolution. the dominant culture
having had its governments hijacked
and crashed into the middle east
is now trying to deal with the fact
that hey! this is a whirlwind of complex
and competing cultures all intertwined
with fifteen hundred years of history.
after punching the tar-baby, the
dominant culture has learned that there
is more to the muslim world than
a bunch of maniacs with beards fisting
the air and trying to blow up airplanes,
which is what islam has been popularly
portrayed as since 1979. it is,
in fact, much more complex and vibrant
than the dominant culture.

and yet, observing from within the
dominant culture, the suicide bombers
keep coming, and affirming that feeling
that there is something deadly and
subhuman is still at work, ineffectively
but persistently throwing itself against
our defences in order to try to do
harm to us in brutal, indiscriminate,
and self-destructive ways. the zombie
represents that dehumanized force
that cannot seem to be eradicated
at its source and will not stop its
pathetic and yet very real attacks.
you cannot stop being vigilant against
the zombie, because the zombie
finally gets through once you let
down your guard. and that token
black guy who just lowered his shot-
gun and smiled to the white folks
with pride at having staved off the
worst of the attack? he won't make
it to the end of the film, but his sac-
rifice will not be in vain, because
they will find the escape-pod, magic
portal, or whatever that will take
them away from this zombie-hell-
planet.

well, at least that was the vietnam
version of zombie hell. the iraq
version has the deadly, beautiful
chick who is an expert at very large
and potent weaponry cleaning up the
mess left behind by greedy corporate
thugs who were so secure in their
wealth and power that they thought
they could experiment with our lives
and the future of mankind.

lately, as has been recently pointed out to
me by handfulofdust and others off LJ,
the trend in zombie stories seems to be
toward the humanization and the
'getting to know you' aspect of zombiedom.
i don't think this goes far enough. i'd like
to see things from the zombie's perspective
and understand why they have chosen
the life of a zombie. since that jives very
closely with the kind of story i like to read
and write, i'm getting ideas on where this could
go.

so i think i need to jump briefly on the zombie
bandwagon. i'm joining in a February
challenge with teriegarrison which
will involve adding what i hope will be 25K
to city of the sundering and will
also involve about five thousand words of
a short story. a zombie story. i'm really looking
forward to this, actually.

how about you? what's your zombie kink?

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
teriegarrison
Jan. 20th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
Drop my my LJ and read the comments. :-D
kmarkhoover
Jan. 21st, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I don't get the zombie fad, either.
barry_king
Jan. 24th, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC)
'Zactly. What's there to get? But again, I haven't read Dust yet, so I should maintain a certain level of open-mindedness.
orts
Jan. 28th, 2011 06:47 am (UTC)
How about this? Though if zombies are as big as all that now, then we're really living through another Republican administration...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )