Did you see in the news the other week about the zombie festival? Or the zombie concert thing? Or all the people shambling down the streets of Boston in a kind of zombie parade?

I mean really. Who are these zombie obsessed people?

It’s not just about zombies, I know. People will gather for anything that draws a crowd of their peers. Whether it’s a massive snowball fight in Dupont Circle or a Critical Mass bike ride in San Francisco.

Anything that breaks the rat race monotony is a welcomed and longed for change of pace. Especially if it has even a hint of a party vibe.

But there’s no denying the popularity and faddishness of zombies. It was vampires until recently.  Vampires/werewolves.  Oh, that reminds me.   Ladies.  Female fantasy/sci fi authors.  Could you please find something else to write about other than vampiric softcore porn love triangle yada yada?  K?  Thanks.  Please move on.

Now it’s all about zombies and book publishers especially are piling on. On Audible.com there’s a crap load of zombie fiction.  Historical fiction with zombies. Zombie comedy, romance, action, superhero movies, etc.  Zombie guide books.  How to survive a zombie attack.  Worse Case Scenario: Zombies.  Everyone is trying to cash in and find some new angle or hook.

George Romero’s “Diary of the Dead”.  A movie about a college film class making their way through an undead apocalypse.  Fast zombies, slow zombies, rage zombies, virus zombies, digging out of the grave zombies, extreme zombies, semi-intelligent zombies.  Blair Witch Project (in style) meets zombies. Ranging from cartoonish violence to dark realism.

Kind of weird considering that they’re not sexy like vampires. It’s not about seduction or abandon.  I theorize that it represents things like cancer or senility/alzheimers. Pestilence in general.  It’s not about fear of death.  Thanatophobia?  It’s about fear of worse-than-death including being eaten alive.

If you’re into all of this you’ll be in hog heaven. There’s no shortage of entertainment.  I thought this was pretty good, though, in a sick way.

It’s totally out of proportion, though. Macabre expression of existential angst that it is.

Maybe it’s something archetypally Jungian. I’ve had plenty of zombie dreams (with dream soundtracks) and apparently that’s not uncommon.  Still, I don’t get what all the hype is about.  Every fad or trend reaches a tipping point and we tipped a few years ago.

Besides, all it does is promote ignorance and romanticize the contagion.  If you’re lumbering around chasing people you are not dead.  Motor function requires a functioning nervous system.  Maybe it’s some kind of spongiform.  Mutated rabies.  Think about it.  If the body is a biological machine it requires a bio-electric energy source.  If the heart isn’t beating, say, then blood isn’t flowing.  If blood isn’t flowing then the digestive process can’t produce energy for muscles.  Uh … I’m just going to assume that’s an accurate over-simplification.

Allow me to do a little myth busting:

  • The CDC put out a press release the other week about one — count ’em — one zombie outbreak.  The only known outbreak in recent recorded history.  And that was in Central Africa.  One hundred percent contained.
  • I’ve read those Wikileak reports and there’s absolutely no truth that the British army has a Unit Zed that they use to flush out caves in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan.  The UN issued a report saying that it’s hysteria caused by an outbreak of rabies.Those kinds of unfounded rumors just make it harder on everyone, especially the soldiers returning home to anti-zombie protests.  That’s unacceptable, dishonoring their sacrifice.
  • It’s a known fact that 23% of all homeless people carry the zombie virus or genetic markers or whatever infection they’re attributing to zombie-ism these days.  Or vice versa.
  • No one has ever had their brains eaten by a zombie.  Living dead or not, the human jaw and teeth aren’t strong enough to bite through a healthy skull.  I’ve seen many zombie exhibits in many zoos around the country and I’ve never heard one wail for brains.  Never.  (Although, I did see one reach through bars and grab a school kid who was on a picnic and … well, I’d rather not go into detail but the kid was fine after getting the 47 courses of shots.)   Have you gotten your vaccination shots?
  • More people suffer from leprosy that zombie-ism.
  • You’re more likely to get bitten by a rattlesnake  made of lightning than to get bitten by a ZIV+ person.

So let’s keep things in perspective and not give in to glorifying and overblowing a relatively rare medical condition.

If you have any zombie facts to counter the urban myths please leave a comment below.

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