Your un-undead Weekend Politics Thread host reconnected with many friends and family members over the past month. Politeness required inquiring how people persevered throughout the pandemic. Probity prompted Uvular to reply truthfully that he watched upwards of 100 zombie movies.
He could not explain why. Until he could. To wit, he came round to stating six salutary sentiments conveyed by every speculative summation of the systematic sucking out of humanity marrow.
Lesson 1. Everyone dies, usually badly.2
Memento mori echoes across the millennia as a call to action for a very good reason. You’ll want to have no regrets as your neighbor’s incisors rip out you throat. Skip to lessons 3 and 4 for insights into what should flash before your dimming vision in those final moments.
Lesson 2. Believe the warnings.
When a sexy teen encased in ochre shouts “RUN!” run. When a film maker raises red flags over, for example, the untoward outcomes of unchecked greed, heed.
To make the broader and political point,3 no one needs an MFA in film studies to recognize that even bad zombie movies exist as allegories. Picking up what the screenwriter and director (very often the same people for a given zombie movie) laid down represents a nonzero part of the fun of settling in for 80-120 minutes of garish gore.
Uvular particularly pinged to the surfeit of scandalizing shooting through George Romero’s 1985 Day of the Dead. The script lurches from meta ruminations on whether scientists or soldiers should take charge of responding to existential threats to the workaday wondering of what happens when the only truly human traits a zombified person retains amount to craving cigarettes, looking at porn and firing handguns.
Lesson 3. You earn the life the fight to live.
Self-explanatory. Although not always the case in the lived world, winning your place in the word by dint of your own blood, sweat and tears definitely happens when someone sequences still images to flicker at 24 frames per second.
Lesson 4. Altruists and teammates live longest.
Every postapocalyptic thing you need to know, you learned in kindergarten. Teamwork makes the dream work. The love you take equals the love you make. Other cliches that rarely prove true in real life.
But, zombie movies play out in alternate realities where morality plays out as if the characters performed in plays. For instance, and no doubt winking at the Dark Age drama The Summoning of Everyman, each Korean zombie flick features at least one major female character whose name includes some version of Eun (Charity).4
Watching selfish and cruel characters get chomped real good satisfies in a way only seeing Donald Trump sentenced to jail for the rest of his life would. As a poor substitute, seek out the 2019 Hulu Original Little Monsters sinking its teeth into Josh Gad real good.
Lesson 5. Zombies inconvenience as much as they threaten.
Yes, zombies kill. They also prevent you from popping down to the shop to grab an egg salad sandwich and a soda. Surviving the first 24-48 hours of the zombie outbreak condemns you to a lifetime without hot showers and Uber rides.
Transliterated to today’s meat world, the pernicious propagation of zombie ideas such as Republicans’ dogma that government can do no good, cutting taxes for the wealthy grows economies, and experts know nothing hamstrings society to the point of paralysis. Paul Krugman writes about this, but a song also illustrates the point.5
Lesson 6. Zombies also re-die.
It doesn’t always have to be this way. Get off the couch and start metaphorically spiking some brain stems. Right after commenting extensively and checking Tubi for new uploads.