I am a horror movie fan. Monster movies, Vampire movies, slasher movies, psycho killer movies, ghost movies, but my absolute favorite genre is the Zombie movie. You see, I view the zombie movie as a hyper visceral interpretation of the human spirit. To me zombies are everyday 'normal' people. And the protagonists of the zombie film genre are the free thinkers, the artists, the revolutionaries doing anything and everything they can to keep from drowning in the sea of mass conformity. All that, plus there are usually naked breasts.
But the analogy for me has grown even more complex recently. Over the last year I have begun to accept a truth more frightening than any movie. We as a nation, have no choice but to willfully become zombies ourselves if we wish to survive. We must feed on the flesh of the living in order to live ourselves. I don't mean this literally of course but the signs of our cannibalism are all around us and growing every day.
I'll start with our most resent examples in the news.
A resent story in the New York Times reported that although the United States makes up only 5% of the world population, we house 25% of the world prison population. 'What the heck does this have to do with zombies?' Our prisons, indeed the prisoners themselves are a huge source of revenue. In fact, there are whole towns employed by private prisons in areas that used to manufacture anything from steal to sweat socks. And prisoners themselves are employed by large companies for pennies on the dollar and no benefits, a convict probably booked your last domestic flight for you. For profit private prisons with political ties to local, state, and federal government are obvious violations of conflict of interest. So how has this problem gone unchecked, unchallenged and almost completely unreported? It's because we need the money. Money made on other peoples misery is still money made.
The food crisis now just beginning to be reported in the media has been brewing for decades. It was as predictable as it was unavoidable. There are a number of factors that are contributing here but the most obvious are ethanol and genetic engineering. 'But zombies eat brains.' When energy prices first started to rise, who suggested burning our food for fuel? Who designed food crops that are genetically engineered to not seed? The answer to both questions is big corporate agriculture, specifically Monsanto. Be sure that there are people in these corporations celebrating the death of Haitians starving for a bowl of rice. So how has this problem gone unchecked, unchallenged and almost completely unreported? It's because we need the money. Money made on other peoples misery is still money made.
What better metaphor than a zombie can accurately describe the Wall Street stock broker? Commoditized debt? It is described in many ways by an army of talking heads but what it boils down to is money made out of thin air. The stock market itself is nothing more than a glorified game of hot potato. "Predatory lending" was practiced by some but ultimately benefited all of Wall Street in the short term. And now that this house of cards falls who will pay the check? Everyone and their children with the exception of those original practitioners will. And we will do so with real labor. So how did this problem go unchecked, unchallenged and almost completely unreported? It's because we needed the money. Money made on other peoples misery is still money made.
These are just the latest examples. But just like zombies, we are slow to react and unable to think past our immediate need to consume. We can take these flesh wounds over and over and still stagger on still only wanting more. We wander endlessly searching to satiate our hunger. What was that? Is that a stifled whimper coming from that abandoned zoo? http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3802051.ece Wait a minute, I thought I saw a candle flicker in that window...let's get'em! http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/business/s_559207.html
The list of examples of our zombie like willingness to feed on each other is long and growing. But why is this happening now? Well the truth is it has always been going on but it's faster and more prevalent now. What I see is a confluence of finite resources and exponential population growth. Did you notice how fast the food shortages occurred after the prices went up? From the first food riots in Hattie to the rationing on US shelves there was what?.. a day?
But what is to be done about it? Real solutions would be, in many cases, even more painful than the problems themselves. If all our progressive dreams came true and we ended the war on terror we would suddenly find ourselves with millions of out of work DOJ contractors, soldiers, and arms manufacturers (one of the only real goods we still export). Hell, homeland security itself, the largest government agency in money and civilian employment, would have almost no purpose. If we triumphantly declare universal health care for all United States citizens what would the insurance companies do? How about all there employees? We need the money and money made on other peoples misery is still money made.
So at this time I am studying my zombie movies. I am taking notes and making color graphs. The heroes in the zombie movies don't win, they survive. They find a safe, quiet place to hide out. They do their best to quell the aggression of their spider hole co-occupants while always having an escape route planned just in case. And if they encounter these cannibals face to face they know – always aim for the head.