Monday, December 25, 2006

The Disturbing Popularity of Zombie Fiction.

Some time back I began to have some disturbing suspicions about the enormous popularity (albeit a niche market) of zombie fiction/movies/games. I think one thing that widely appeals to the folk who read and watch this stuff (I have to count myself as a fan) is that the heroes get to shoot other people with wild abandon. Think of it. Like a dream come true for the right-wing survivalist inside us all. A lot of the people who are into this material actually like the apocalyptic ideal. They get to gather up guns and blow the brains out of everyone who doesn't look like them, act like them, think like them. In fact, in these zombie-infested fantasies the bad guys aren't even exactly human, so it's okay to blow their brains out. The entire thing is just a kind of racist, xenophobic wet dream.

I've been able to talk to some of the people who write this material, and I don't think these guys are actively considering that they're writing neo-fascist propaganda. But I see a lot of disturbing parallels in the zombie fiction phenomenon and the rantings of the various racist groups who populate the internet and who often poke their heads up into the mainstream media and among the right wing of our current political system (the GOP).

My own attraction to the form has always been my tendency to look upon myself as an outsider. Thus, my sympathies with characters who find themselves isolated and threatened by the mobs of mindless zombies waiting to destroy them. But with the current popularity of the zombie-fiction media, I tried to take another objective look at it. And I don't like what I see. It's not that the fictions aren't well written or well produced. They largely are. And as I said I don't think the folk who are making this stuff are consciously creating neo-fascist dogma. But with the resurgence of Jew-hating, and racism, and the scapegoating of immigrants and non-Christians, I do see a connection.

At any rate, I've decided not to buy any more zombie novels. At least for a while. Until the racist/xenophobic mania that runs through our society abates.

And, dammit, George Romero's directing a new zombie movie that I really wanted to see. A back to basics film where the zombies are all really slow and stupid and totally brainless and waiting to be destroyed.

Bash 'em or burn 'em. They go up pretty good.


Andrew Heenan said...

I'm not saying you're wrong, but evidence, or at least examples, would be helpful.

James Robert Smith said...

Just hang out at some of the zombie fan sites. Click on a few offered links and follow them where they lead.

Don't get me wrong...I love a good paranoid fantasy as much as the next horror fan. But so many of the zombie fans are racist gun nuts. It's a frightening thing in its own right.