Well, I can’t compare with Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics speaking to the philosophical ramifications of the living dead, so I’d best stick to what I am good at and once again look at the Zombie as political/ economic metaphor for class struggle, and the inherent devauluation of individual existence in a Capitalist social structure. I came across an extremely interesting article recently from a while back written by Tim Cavanaugh of the libertarian Reason which goes into some depth about the basic structure of the zombie film (we all know what it is, I won’t rehash it) and some of the manners in which it’s been interpreted as politcal statement, outcry against patriachial societies, investigation of cannibalism as metaphor for capitalism, parody of Catholicism, and symbol of racial oppression to name a few. From the article:
“The spectacle of an advanced society laid low by a Third World catastrophe is the zombie film’s stock in trade —the “return of the repressed” in a modern, death-denying culture.”
The more value we are taught to place on the idea of a greater good, that is, a valuation of ourselves only within the context of a larger socioeconomic framework the more we become one of the dead and possessed of only one characteristic, a desire to consume. So neccessarily then the Zombie film serves as metaphorical reminder of the ultimate outcome such a system and a polemic against the slippery slope that causes us to pursue consumption long after our own desires have been met. Cavanaugh writes:
“it gets to the heart of what makes our zombie friends such paradoxical creatures: metaphorically potent because they’re grounded in a mundane reality, spiritually provocative because they dispense completely with spirituality, symbols of class warfare that posit a classless society as the ultimate horror. The zombie embodies the greatest horror of death: the inescapable sameness of it.”
It becomes all the more ironic of course when you examine the fact the the medium itself used to present this message is one designed specifically for passive consumption, as David Foster Wallace points out in his essay titled E Unibus Pluram from A Supposedly fun thing i’ll never do again. To take a spin on G’s earlier post could it be that conscious consumption, as opposed to rote or unthinking consumption, could then be the only economic alternative?
Link to the full Reason aticle.