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Do The Zombie

March 21, 2013
Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

OK, let's make it perfectly clear I've never been all that great a fan of horror movies or the old "slash and scream" type of shows, such as Halloween and the Texas Chainsaw Masssacre. I do admit, Ive watched some of the old Alfred Hitchcock thrillers such as "Psycho" that some consider tame in terms of scare factor.

But back to the slash and splash movies - Those are just not my personal favorites , but I understand that there are those who absolutely enjoy have the living bejeebers scared out of them by a movie.

After all, movies are supposed to entertain, right?

But, anymore, I can't watch television at night without being bombarded with news accounts of Zombie Fest or Zombie Night at the Multiplex, or even the latest hot trend in Zombies - the TV series, "The Walking Dead." That's a series where humans struggle to escape from a pack of zombies hungry for flesh.

OK, not my cup of tea, I'll find a rerun of Duck Dynasty and enjoy myself, Jack!

Anyhow, I ran across an article the other day that tried to explain our society's current fascination with Zombies, or to be more politically correct, the undead.

To me, it's all goofy. But, to Professor Sarah LAuro at Clemsen University, the fascination with zombies could be tied to society's dissatisfaction with the way our society is going.

To be more specific, Lauro says all this isn't a random or harmful fad, but its more of a historical trend mirroring certain cultural dissatisfaction and economic upheaval.

Professor Lauro started her studies of zombies as she was working on her Doctorate at the University of California at Davis. She studied various zombie movies, TV shows and of course, the typical video games, but focused more on the new fad of "Zombie Walks" where large groups of people gather, dressing up in tattered clothes, made up to look dead, staggering around and moaning like the undead.

These Zombie Mobs, or Zombie Fests, as you will, started back in Canada in 2003, specifically in Toronto. The fad grew in the U.S. in 2005, fueled by public unhappiness over the war in Iraq. At that time, participants claimed it was their way of showing the Bush administration that the public wasn't being listened to.

A few years later, the release of movies depicting life after an apocalypse such as "Dawn of the Dead" and "28 Days Later" would re-spark interest in zombies, so much so that zombie walks have expanded to 20 countries across the globe. But of course, the United States still is the biggest and best at it, with over 4,000 undead massing at Asbury Park, New Jersey, to moan and stagger in 2010 to earn a Guinness World Record for Largest Zombie Walk.

Oh Boy!

Through her studies, Professor Lauro says that the interest in zombie walks is tied directly to the times when people are experiencing economic crisis situations, they feel like the entire culture of people have lost their power. By playing dead and acting like a zombie, it provides people with an outlet for their discouragement and frustration.

But event that sometimes isn't enough. People still truly feel like they're dead, the professor says.

While the idea seems like a reach to me, I can sort of understand the professor's theory. Over the past few years, our society has suffered through massive economic upheaval, as evidenced by the financial meltdowns and automobile industry's collapse and subsequent government bailouts. Sure, those loans have been paid back, but when you add in the continuing gridlock in our nation's political process over the past couple of years and the current fiscal fiascos of our government, it becomes very easy to seed how people could feel like no one in government listens to the people anymore.

So, it might not be all that out of the realm to soon see a tribe of zombies on a street near you.



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