Sorry for the non-sequitur, but I can explain. Last Saturday, my close personal friend and sometime co-writer, Barbara L. Sorensen, posted an essay on her blog entitled America’s Love Affair with All Things Zombie. In this post, she notes the enduring and seemingly insatiable fascination with zombies as the focus of movies, television shows, and books.
She even pronounces herself to be “officially hooked” on the phenomenon. This is where she and I part ways.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love Barb like a sister and I respect her as an artistic collaborator, a fellow writer, and a person. So I don’t say it lightly when I pronounce her to be completely out in left field on this zombie thing. The fact that left field seems to be uncommonly crowded these days is utterly beside the point.
I just don’t get the zombie craze. I’ve seen a few zombie movies, but even the two I most enjoyed – Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland – left me merely glad that I had seen them, rather than with an unquenchable craving to see more such movies. And they certainly didn’t leave me with a desire to spend time reading books about zombies. I mean, books about zombies? Come on!
I understand the fascination with superheroes. Who doesn’t harbor the desire to have super powers and fly around all the time, whether that flying be accomplished with defying of gravity, slinging of webs, or high-tech gadgetry. Also, all the pressure would be off when getting dressed in the morning; you’d just open the closet and select one of a dozen identical lengths of colorful spandex. Boom! Choice made.
I also understand the popular obsession with vampires. Hey, wait, I hear you saying – how is an interest in vampires any more tolerable than an interest in zombies? After all, they’re both undead. Aren’t you being a little inconsistent?
To that, I sigh patiently and offer the explanation that, yes, both vampires and zombies are undead… but zombies are gross, mindless brainavores and vampires are – depending on whose work one is reading or watching – cool, mysterious, tormented, sexy, witty, charming, charismatic, magical, and powerful. Seriously, how can any one zombie shuffling along – arms outstretched, head lolling, decaying mouth agape – hold a candle to the power, the terror, the sheer mystery of a vampire? Even a vampire who (shudder) sparkles.
Also? Zombies are slowpokes. If we’ve learned anything from AMC’s The Walking Dead, it’s that one lone zombie is a piece of cake. (Okay, a moldy, disgusting piece of cake, but cake nonetheless.) You can outrun it, you can crack its skull with a shovel, you and a friend could torment it by tossing a brain back and forth just out of the zombie’s reach. The only way zombies truly become unmanageable is when they are present in large numbers, which I admit is terrifying. But I would still find a large group of vampires a whole lot more terrifying, because they actually can think, plan, strategize.
And frankly, isn’t pretty much everything terrifying in large enough numbers? I mean, have you ever been in a middle school corridor during a passing period?
So on this one matter, I find I must publicly and vehemently disagree with my good friend Barb Sorensen. She’s a sweet person, but maybe not quite as… what’s the word I’m looking for… discerning as I would like for her to be in her entertainment choices. I mean, the woman watches reality shows.
Thank God she has me to show her the error of her ways, kindly and discreetly.