Zombies and our Culture
In trying to understand the influence zombies have on the society, it is relevant to know the origin of zombies. The first mention of zombie was in Haiti to represent the returned body. Then films began creating this monsters, and one thing led to another. The word monster can be defined as fear taking a physical form. The society makes a physical form of something that is perceived to cause concern. Zombies, Vampires and even Godzilla’s are all created due to the common fear of something. The culture creates an obsession with a type of fear, and it is brought to life. Different forms of similar monsters exist this indicates that people have various kinds of obsessions. The modern-day zombies have a different outlook from the past zombies. The manner in which zombies have become popular goes to indicate the level of passion that our culture has with these monsters (Do Vale, 191).
The purpose of this paper is to try and understand zombies in general, reasons for their popularity and what they represent in our culture. These monsters symbolize shared cultural fear. In observing many films about zombies, they mostly result from scientific experiments and technological catastrophes. This fascination represents the fear we have from the technical progress that the social experiences with the fast-paced technological advances (Sills, n.p). Most of the zombie movies are set in a way that represents a massive catastrophe. The zombie effect is expected to be a global event. The fear of ecological disasters, large-scale nuclear wipeouts, artificial viruses just to name a few. Zombies could be a way that the society tries to show what they fear most. The cultural phenomena addressed by Albert Einstein that technology advances would come around and be the end of humanity also plays a role in these monster creations.
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Furthermore, the zombie obsession goes beyond just fear of zombies harming the society physically. It can be more about what technology and capitalism can do to the society mentally (Do Vale, 191). This goes to explain the process of becoming zombies differ in the modern era to the earlier days. Back then these monsters were created from voodoo or black magic. These were in most countries that practiced magic like West Africa and the Caribbean. Now zombies are set up in technological settings. The zombie obsession could be used to show how the society fears what technology does to them. Technology limits the human use of their abilities and becomes brain dead, just like zombies. This goes to represent human fear of technology destroying the society mentally.
The fear of consumerism. The society is afraid that consumerism is replacing our humanity (Harper, n.p). The zombies are a real representation of consumerism. These monsters are driven by the need to feed. Zombies are entirely monsters because of their insatiable appetite according to Harper. They just want to consume. Likewise, humans too when driven by consumerism become zombies in some sense. For instance black Friday shoppers. How many people do you witness getting trampled upon by others in the process of getting goodies? The human desire to consume is metaphorically represented by zombies.
That this desire may go as far as turning people into zombie-like if consumerism takes over. Zombies also represent the fear of terrorism. The setting of most zombie films is a contamination infects people, spreads, governments fall, and people turn against each other leading to the world ending. Post 9/11 signified the change of the general zombie outlook (Conrad, n.p). Before those zombies were cartoonish but after that, they took a more human-like form. They conform to become strategic and smart. This new monster signified the fear that people of the United States had, they represented fear coming from outside (Sills, n.p). Terrorism also represents infected individuals and how if not noticed early the world might get wiped out. Metaphorically zombies account for the decay of social order that might result from terrorism. This is one of the many fears that zombies represent in our culture.
Nonetheless, another reason that the society produces these monsters could be the desire to channel excess stress by all means. Fascination about zombies becomes a way to mass subconscious channels out societal problems related to life stress (Conrad, n.p). It is like that the reason why our culture is fascinated if not thrilled by zombie idea is that in the society observe and adopt things that are taken for granted or those issues that are not disputed. The popularity of zombies shows just how much the culture shares common morals and values.
In conclusion, monsters over the last decade have been created more in the popular culture. Monsters like vampires have been on the trend for a long while. However, the zombie effect has become more popular due to them signifying the end of the world. The reasons for this popularity remains open, and many reasons have been brought up in the attempt to explain it. The simplicity in zombies make the society associate zombies with anything they want. This makes understanding what zombies represent to be a difficult task. What remains for sure is that zombies represent our fears. Fear of many things ranging from technology, terrorism to science. In general, zombies account for the end of the world as the most feared anticipated event.
Conrad, Peter. Zombies: A Cultural History Review“ a Grave Injustice. The Observer, Guardian News and Media, 17 Aug. 2015, www.theguardian.com/books/2015/aug/17/zombies-a-cultural-history-roger-luckhurst-review.
Do Vale, Simone. “Trash mob: Zombie walks and the positivity of monsters in western popular culture.” At the Interface/Probing the Boundaries 70 (2010): 191-202.
Harper, Stephen. “Zombies, malls, and the consumerism debate: George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.” Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture, 1900 to Present 1.2 (2002).
Sills, Davia. What Does the Zombie Say about Who We Are and What We Fear? “ Davia Sills | Aeon Essays. Aeon, Aeon, 26 Sept. 2017, https://aeon.co/essays/what-does-the-zombie-say-about-who-we-are-and-what-we-fear