Monday, May 6, 2013

The Zombie Apocalypse

People sometimes ask how I write these blogs and the answers are varied. Often, I have some experience that merits reflection or I read an article or poem or book that invites further thoughts or I write simply to survive, to sort out the seeds of a situation. But sometimes it happens that a title presents itself to me and then I figure out what to say about it. When my daughter casually mentioned something about surviving the Zombie Apocalpyse, I knew a blog was soon to follow! Great title! (And also a good name for a rock band.)

First, I had to do that painstaking 10-second Google research. I thought Zombie might refer to people walking around brain-dead and be a great metaphor for the victims of conformity education. But hey, it’s the U.S. of A and nuanced metaphor isn’t our strong suit. Instead, I found the references to all the horror films like The Night of the Living Dead and some tips on how to outrun the ghoulish creatures and such, with the tongue not wholly in the cheek.

So it turns out that Zombie isn’t the most accurate description of one who is sleepwalking through this life. There is a Haitian Voudoun version that came from earlier versions of the Congo and some of these descriptions are similar to the Buddhist Hungry Ghosts. What I’m thinking about, though, and running into more often than I care to, is best described in the movie The Stepford Wives, a Grade B underground classic about women in a suburban town who undergo an operation to be robotic non-thinking obedient husband-pleasing companions. They look like us and talk like us, but there’s not an original brain-cell in their body. They’ve always been with us—both men and women.  I’ve met them at the Russian Consulate, Heathrow Immigration and all those places where people are trained to go by the book when the situation demands reading in-between the lines.

But now they’re creeping into places they don’t belong. Their arms aren’t outstretched, there is no blank, vacant stare on ghastly faces. In fact, they might be smiling. There’s always something up their sleeve and it’s not their heart. They hide behind the official language of doublespeak and claim to be transparent when they couldn’t be more opaque. 

How to survive the Zombie/Stepford-Wived Apocalypse? It ain't gonna help to get expensive running shoes. Just raise children to think, question, critique, imagine, speak up, to give language to their heart and to put heart into their words. The only way to de-populate the Living Dead is to people the earth with living, thinking, feeling folks. And that starts with the kids. 


  1. But it's scarey to be real! Like the Velveteen Rabbit, we'll get worn, tattered and old.
    If we express ourselves online we have to make sure what we say will be acceptable to our grandmother, our children, every employer we'll ever have and every student we'll ever have. What's left? Zombie material. risky to be real! Like apples from the supermarket, coat yourself in wax.


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