Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Gospel According to Braaaaiiiiiinnnnssssss

Yes, I am very late to this party. You will live. Or eat someone's brains, preferably not mine. I recently read World War Z over the course of two days in which I accomplished practically nothing else. As you may or not be aware, the book is a fictional collection of oral accounts in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. I have also been listening to the Zombies! The Living Dead in Literature podcast through iTunesU. 
The podcast is enjoyable as it combines one of my loves (scholarship) with one of my interests (zombies). How can I not enjoy it. This podcast contains multiple references to zombie survival plans, often with a comment on how the plans contain real world, practical applications. They also note how some individuals have said they wish for a zombie apocalypse for a chance to be heroes, to stand out from everyday life and do something. I cannot argue either statement, but I found World War Z, in particular among zombie works, to be more than chaos and brain-devouring.
World War Z was a gospel in the sense Dr. Paul Danove defined the gospels in the Bible. The gospels are, "a proclamation of the teachings, actions, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that demands a response." One may argue the elements given are all contained in WWZ save the resurection, which is obscenely parodied by the zombies' refusal to deanimate upon death, the important part here is the reaction. The writing in WWZ felt real, dictated and recorded by real people going through an apocalypse. The real feel coupled with my brain's primal fear mechanism and forced me (and, I posit, others) to contemplate an aztual zombpocalypse (which Google just informed me is a real word Zombies are pervasive little canibals, aren't they).
While the rational part of one's brain can dismiss fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanoes as natural disasters, zombies are different and may require addressing. A nagging, "yeah, but what if. You don't want to eat your friends, do you" thought that arises from zombies necesitates a response, a zombie survival plan. At least these plans are beneficial, fires and zombies both force survival reactions and escaping a burning building is infinitely more likely than braining one's mother because she won't stay dead.
One may find all manner of scholastic discussion of zombies, but I have yet to see the notion of a zombie gospel addressed. The unnatural elements of undead invasion can force the human brain to address survival in a laughably unlikely scenario precisely because the situation would be horrific in ways mundane disasters cannot be. Natural disasters elicit fear, but do not typically force one to reexamine one's cosmology. A zombie apocalypse surely would. 

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