The Zombies of the Age

This will be one of those quirky posts. If you don’t like horror movies or TV just skip it.

I’ve had a whole bunch of fun watching AMC’s The Walking Dead. Let’s just say of all the things that go bump in the night -zombies are the most fun. Vampires – snooze. This culture has drained the last drop of sexual heat out of everything. Werewolves – not relevant. We are a cool culture and werewolves are hot. Stephanie Meyer of Twilight fame got that right. The heroine of the age would take the un-sexed vampire over the werewolf. But zombies, zombies are cool and removed from sexuality. Zombies force us to look at ourselves and how we live instead of our distractions.

The last episode of the this season gave us a little of the worldview of the writers and it shouldn’t be surprising if it was a little dull. They had the CDC (Center for Disease Control) doctor say the line as the time clock ticks down, “the whole place runs of fossil fuels for God’s sake.” At least for that character and the writers, the zombies were just the placeholder for our stumbling toward death by environmental catastrophe. Zombies are a blank slate to draw parallels. The zombie apocalypse is a physical representation of something going on in the culture. George Romero’s zombies were even then a representation of the hollow commercialism of this culture. His zombies when reanimated returned to the mall. With I Am Legend, the fast zombies are an updating of Frankenstein, the dangers of technology moving faster than wisdom.

Having that CDC doctor give that line was perfect for this culture. The “man returned from the dead”, the main character southern sheriff’s deputy, natural leader, doesn’t have the authority. The typical guy who would, the old guy character, has the wisdom, but they had revealed him earlier as a fuddy-duddy true believer. He quoted Shakespeare (I think, it could have been another poet) and that some things were worth preserving (or something like that). His character has the fatal flaw of believing in something. But the highly credential CDC doctor – doesn’t believe in anything. His wife believed. She made him promise to keep working. He kept the promise in law but not in spirit. But in this age, the CDC credentialed doctor is the one that could pronounce judgment. I hope the writers just leave it there – a false read of the truth, words without the spirit.

Ultimately, why I love zombies, is that the question they pose is one of hope or death, or better hope amidst death. (That is what the main character was pondering in the show when he took them to the CDC.) Do you believe that life is worth something? That something separates you from the walking dead, or are you just a different type of walking dead? Are the zombies the resurrection (the word used by the CDC doctor), or just a fun-house mirror view of that word? Matthew 8:22 and Luke 9:60 both have a zombie-like saying of Jesus. “Let the dead bury their own dead. You go proclaim the reign of God.” Zombies are highly theological. They put before you life and death. Choose life, even one carrying a cross.

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