Becoming a zombie

Modernity offers us few truly potent metaphors because it is an anti-metaphorical time. We like our truths cut up into little bits that we can control, not vast unsettling realizations that spur us on to do more with our time.

A simple Obey! Consume! Reproduce! Vote! Equality! is the kind of message we like, and not surprisingly it’s what we find in most of all movies, books, TV shows, YouTube videos, greeting cards, short stories, poems, plays and interpretive dances. Freedom means do these things and don’t rock the boat.

However, one metaphor that endures with us is that of the zombie. What is a zombie? A zombie is a human parasite, a person whose brain has been replaced by a mechanistic, repetitive and incessant need to consume and then seek more consumption.

Zombie movies are a subset of horror movies, and a good example of the genre’s metaphor. Whether you are watching a vampire film, insane murderer film, weird monster film, alien invader film or creepy disease cinema, each has roughly the same attributes of the zombie narrative, but not as clear in metaphor.

Some others on the right have started to realize how powerful this metaphorical vision can be:

The “liberation” of pornography runs in precise parallel with the “liberation” of the arduously suppressed appetite for blood-spectacle. Technology abets the moral slide by creating simulations of torture and murder indistinguishable from the actual thing. Nowadays, close-up cinematic exploitations of gross violence like the endless Saw franchise, aimed at high school and college audiences, pull in those audiences and pile up receipts at the box-office. The excuse for these is that the acts are “not real.” But because they are indistinguishable from reality, the excuse rings hollow. What the people who visit the theater or rent the discs to see such movies are saying is that they like to observe the torture and murder of human beings. – The Thinking Housewife

All beliefs can become so infested with distrust in the world that they become insular and self-referential, and therefore when they encounter something unknown, first generate dogma against it and only later try to figure out what it was about.

In this case, the writer of the text above is barking up the wrong tree. Horror films are about a simple idea, and if we are able to see that idea, we will see why Saw and other films do not qualify. Saw and its ilk are about frustration with humanity rising to a boiling point.

Horror films, on the other hand, descend directly from the Gothic-Romantic story. Who wrote the original plots? Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells. How do we categorize those plots?

  • Confrontation with the unknown. A new force arises that both science and religion cannot explain. Unlike humans, who live in a moral/commercial world, it plays by the rules of power and begins laying waste to the morally-hobbled humans.
  • Technology fails us. Whether we confront it with the flintlock rifles that were the best weapons of the day, or use nuclear weapons on it and watch them fail, it is beyond the reach of our devices and knowledge.
  • The herd tendencies of other people fail us. Confronted with something outside the social/commercial sphere, people panic and begin to act as mobs do, e.g. by obstructing those who might save the situation. Most also feature panicked people sabotaging each other.
  • Things get really out of hand. The threat needs to be big enough that society at large is threatened. That can either be a worldwide attack (War of the Worlds), a pandemic, or some idea or entity so infectious and powerful that if it escapes the local area, it will consume the world.
  • The evil is averted by subversion. The evil can either collapse from within, or be crushed by human beings who find its weaknesses, but either way the point is not to confront it head-on. Most protagonists in horror stories do this at first and watch in horror as it gets other people killed. The best horror films leave us thinking that but for a weakness, this evil would have conquered us.
  • The truth is then again concealed. In the best stories of this tradition, after a lone group of independent thinkers destroy the evil, they either decide to or are forced to conceal what has happened. In many modern films, there is no hope and total human destruction is assumed.

Where modern movies like to deliver a “message,” e.g. a propaganda/dogma item disguised as a homily, older literature liked to immerse us in metaphor. A metaphor is like an innoculation: it’s a simpler, more obvious, version of the situation in which we find ourselves.

Literature of this metaphorical bent tends to hint at where a cure might lie but never explicitly states it. It does this to avoid being propaganda; much as a textbook can tell you how to think, but not what to think, and propaganda can only tell you what to think, literature aims to inspire.

In particular, it wants to tell you the story of how an evil was conquered, a good learned, and how from this worldview there is hope of solving our problems and making clarity out of a world of ignorance and obscurity. At least, literature used to do this. Currently, it’s Crowdist propaganda like the movies.

The metaphor of zombie movies is that of modern humanity. They need to be in a group to have any direction, and cannot think outside of that context, so they become mindless consuming machines whose only purpose is to destroy those who have risen above that miserable state.

When people first decided to make horror movies, they turned for inspiration to a literary tradition that goes all the way back to Beowulf and Gilgamesh, as interpreted through the late writers of Romantic literature and their own Gothic horrors.

If conservatives take a long hard look at real horror movies (not hate porn like Saw) they will see what are essentially conservative documents in film. Our salvation is not in the herd or technology, as liberals posit, but in the moral struggle of individuals. And it can be beaten only through moral action.

We make zombies in our own image, says Durham University social scientist Dr Nick Pearce, and he reckons that the braindead machine-gun fodder zombies of today ain’t a good sign…He thinks we need to reassess the undead hordes… for our own self-esteem as much as anything else.

…Zombies used to have a fighting chance back when they first staggered onto our screens in 1932 film White Zombie, he argues. Yes, they were the demoralised, undead slaves of voodoo priests, but they were slaves who had a hope of breaking free, as they do in that film and several others from the era.

He says that now the zombies have no controller, they have no hope of ever being free. JUST LIKE US. “Zombies may well be popular today because they speak to a similar feeling of powerlessness shared by many members of our society.”

…”In the past, zombies wandered around consuming brains, but today’s zombies are encouraged to wander around consuming the latest, heavily advertised, branded goods.” – The Register

Almost all of Hollywood’s output focuses on the individual feeling mistreated by society, and so needing to create an alternate society (combine Fight Club and Napoleon Dynamite and you’ll see they are the same film) in order to overthrow the elites, take revenge and gain power.

In contrast to this degenerate propaganda, horror movies offer another insight: perhaps it is our feelings of being mistreated, and our own desire for “freedom” at the expense of common sense, that turn us into horrible zombies or weak creatures who cannot repel even the most basic monsters.

15 Comments

  1. EvilBuzzard says:

    ■Technology fails us. Whether we confront it with the flintlock rifles that were the best weapons of the day, or use nuclear weapons on it and watch them fail, it is beyond the reach of our devices and knowledge.

    Technology fails us because our institutions don’t have the courage to risk failure. They just don’t have the guts to really try anything new. We could probably all go to college for about $25,000 for a four year degree. It won’t happen. Too much would have to change. Therefore, we die instead of evolving.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north643.html

    1. Institutions? I don’t think our institutions are the cause. The cause is that our institutions live in terror of the voters and consumers who can turn on them at any minute like a mob of angry hooligans. If your business is on the line do you risk a fanciful new product or go with what just works? You have very little chance of getting what you risk for and a lot of chance of losing.

  2. crow says:

    Technology is an odd thing.
    I fully expect that someday, every kitchen will contain a nuclear can-opener. And people will wonder how they ever got along without them.
    Humans are far more frightening than any zombie.

    Oh OK, I almost didn’t get it: human=zombie.

    1. Agree with you here crow.

      Humans are far more frightening than any zombie.

      Zombies just try to eat your brains, but humans have credit cards and lawyers. Run for the hills.

  3. Zombie films are also cool because you can destroy zombies and smash them up. And then say: “I had to! To save my life. To free them from that contorted existence . . .” Killing zombies is basically letting out the destructive urge which we have to repress in civil society.

    Also those films like Saw etc, they’re not even properly scary. They just thrive on the anguish you feel by placing yourself in those characters as they’re slowly torn limb from limb by acid, eating glass or feeding it to others, or getting locked and impaled into some coffin. It’s some sort of biological stress it conjures up and it has little to do with the mysterious forces unsetteling us as they dwell on the edge of the cosmos and in abandoned landhouses.

    That photo cracks me up! With the kid and the rabbit holding him.

    1. crow says:

      It terrified me! Arrrrrgh!
      I have a rabbit, who just wandered in, out of the woods, the other day, and I do that to him. What if…
      WHAT IF???

    2. EvilBuzzard says:

      28 Days Later at least tried. The thunderstorm while the zombie ran-sacked the manor house and ate people was 1st rate.

    3. Splatter films are more like pornography. The viewers work themselves into a state of high excitement, then there’s a release of tension. The viewers go home feeling safer and content. To use Marxist vocabulary, these are bourgeois horror films. They make everything turn out OK. The people in them are people that most middle class married people would not like, sluts and slackers. The situations are unreal. These are not real horror films but they make us feel better about our fears.

      They just thrive on the anguish you feel by placing yourself in those characters

      That may be true but after that is the real action. When the movie runs its course and everything turns out OK it’s time to get in the bourgeois Ford Explorer and drive back to the suburban house. It will never happen to you. It happened to 1-dimensional characters from a world totally alien to yours. Why would the normal viewer care? Oh yeah they dont and that makes them feel better about their own fears. Which are probably not as scary as the ones in the movie,.

      1. YT says:

        I thought splatter and torture films were like Porno because they all make us horny? You saying that’s only me?

  4. Amerika.org I’m glad you took a break from the fevered communism in order to write some real articles again.

    Obey! Consume! Reproduce! Vote! Equality!

    Just because we are conservatives who defend social Darwinism, capitalism and the freedom of markets does not mean we people who think consumerism should take the place of culture. Hip-hop, junk food, pornography and drugs are liberal values, not ours.

    1. crow says:

      There’s something odd about this. Fevered communism?
      How do you justify this thing you claim to see here?
      You don’t have to say, but I do wonder.
      I suppose I am an oddball here, and probably the closest thing to a leftist. Although I am actually very far from that.
      I often feel I am in a den of right-wingers, although that is probably not accurate, either.
      Is there a way, do you think, to not be either one?
      But to rediscover what being human is about?

      1. YT says:

        He’s consumed too much propaganda disguised as independent thought in the past from talk radio or right wing blogs that regurgitate the same talking points as all the others.

        Thats why OWS and the Tea Party both started organically from similar complaints but quickly devolved into the lowest common denominator social issue. They were both captured by “the usual suspects”

        1. Sabretruthtiger says:

          Sigh, it’s all about the Illuminati and world government. Once you wake up and put world events, the globalist-owned politicians, the Globalist media propaganda in this context you realise what it’s all about.

          There is no left and right, it’s a dog and pony show. Problem/reaction/solution, research it.
          Globalist agenda: World government technocratic feudal serfdom. Depopulation.
          Methods: Attack religion and family to destroy allegiance to anything other than the state.
          Collapse society via Credit crisis, man made global warming scam carbon trading. Create ‘natural’ disasters and oil spills to poison environment and destroy industry. bribe politicians to take on unpayable national debt to takeover countries. Orchstrate 911, London train bombings, Bali bombings, etc to create bogus war on terror keep popualtions scared and take away everyone’s rights. Dumb down education and television. Poison food and water with aspartame, msg, fluoride, nitrates and other carcinogens. Degrade morality through pop culture, glorifying evil and death (Zombies, vampires).

          Wake up people.

          1. crow says:

            Some of us are awake.
            But that does not entail taking onboard your version of reality.
            If things are as you say, and they may well be, what do you plan to do about it? Do you have a plan?
            Mine is to maintain my sanity, my balance, and my constructive outlook, to give me, and mine, the best chance against increasingly difficult odds. I encourage visitors to this site to do the same.
            That seems to me about the best anyone can do against clearly superior/overwhelming odds.

  5. GoodNaver says:

    A very interesting work I found is “No Country for Zombie,” its unlike any other zombie piece I’ve seen in that it deals with previously infected people who are trying to recuperate back into society after a cure has been found

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