Thursday, April 15, 2010

Zombies, cont’d: the extinction of the liberal intelligentsia

Well, the zombie paper post certainly excited more conversation than this blog has seen in some time. In fact, my usually vacant comment sections have seen more traffic of late, mainly because I seem to have hit a trifecta: (1) post about terrorism, (2) post about zombies, and (3) post about an author and have that author respond. Well, in the interests of keeping up momentum, here's another z-post.

One of the phenomena associated with zombies in popular culture I didn't touch on is the subculture of enthusiasts who share contingency plans for zombie outbreaks and the imminent zombie apocalypse. Facebook is rife with them, from the close-to-home (M.A.Z.E., or the "MUN Association of Zombie Experts") to the humorously named "The Hardest Part of a Zombie Apocalypse Will be Pretending I'm Not Excited," which has in the neighbourhood of 150,000 members. Similarly, try plugging "how to survive a zombie attack" into YouTube and see how many homemade film shorts offering step-by-step instructions pop up. There are a lot of people out there who have devoted a great deal of time and effort to planning their contingency plans (the apex of which is Max Brooks' bestseller The Zombie Survival Guide), which is fair enough—after all, the numerous films featuring a small, embattled group of people trying to survive does tend to inspire you to imagine how you might fare in a comparable situation.

It did occur to me yesterday however, while chatting with a student about the zombie post, that the most likely demographic to survive the zombie apocalypse is a cause for distress and despair for milquetoast liberal intellectuals like myself. But only briefly, because we'd be the first to get eaten.

No, the people who survived would be total Tea Party types—gun enthusiasts, militias, Christian end-timers, the kind of people most likely to live in barricaded compounds well-stocked with canned food and ammunition. Unarmed urban types? Zombie fodder. Plus, we have bigger and tastier brains, so we'd attract the first waves.

On the other hand, there's the lovely irony that the Taliban and al-Qaeda would probably also fare pretty well, what with their mountainous hideaways and comparable weapons stock. The post-zombie world would be an interesting one.

There are a few story ideas here, I think. Imagine a scenario in which a liberal university professor rents a cabin in the Michigan wilderness, and falls in with a Christian militia when the zombie outbreak occurs. Oh, the psychological drama!

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