Saturday, October 20, 2012

the zombie paradox

They're everywhere. They've invaded history from Jane Austen's  1810s to the Beatles' 1960s. There are zombie-themed parties and zombie-themed library programs. The CDC -- a most serious bunch, indeed -- has even used the meme.

It's ironic that the metaphor was perhaps more appropriate when the defining movies came out -- the 1960s and 70s -- but didn't catch on as extensively then. That was, after all, the heyday of couch-potatoism, of people coming home from work and sitting, zombie-like, in front of the tube for hours. (O.k., the metaphor isn't exact, but substitute "munching potato chips" for "munching brains" and it comes close.)

But aren't we even more inactive now? People certainly spend more time on their butts in front of flickering screens. -- Ah, but there's a difference. Everything is interactive. They're surfing the web, meeting with friends through social media, playing videogames. In other words, actively thinking in a very nonzombie way.

So what makes the lumbering semi-dead so much more attractive (as it were) now?