Notes on the Zombie Apocalypse

by Eubie on June 23, 2013

World War Z is in theaters this weekend. The movie, based on the critically-acclaimed book, received generally good reviews, though most of the critics who also read the book were quick to point out that something of the latter’s depth was lacking in the film. Interesting side note: the book was written by Max Brooks, the son of famed Legend of American Comedy Mel Brooks, which only adds to the book’s mystique.

With another high-profile, culturally-relevant take on the zombie apocalypse making the rounds–complete with the usual chatter about what lessons can be drawn from this particular example of World-in-Chaos–we are presented with another opportunity to wax philosophic about Fate and Meaning and Dread. The most obvious thing-we-might-learn, though rarely referenced, is the old trope about humans being their own worst enemy. Zombies are us, after all, though we tend to group them along with those other ‘Others’ bringing cataclysmic destruction: invaders from space, the errant moon-sized asteroid, the tiny invincible virus, etcetera etcetera.

So tonight we were out in the yard staring at the sky in our little suburban hood far from the potential marauding hoards of the Big, Bad City’s As-Yet-Undead, and we noticed the ever-expanding colony of rabbits that have been multiplying like… well, like rabbits over the last few weeks. They’re everywhere, all the time, growing in numbers like a pathogen in mammal form. Without any natural predators, what’s to stop them?

And this set our mind to wondering. When nothing stands in the way of a living organism’s surviving and thriving, what often is its (or in our case, their) downfall is the very thing that allows it (them) to spread with impunity. On this spherical rock hurling through space, this Big Blue Marble, we humans are the apex predator. Yes, yes, Jaws could take us in a fair fight, but we are not known for fighting fair. Same with any other animal more agile or better equipped to flay flesh or digest bones. So this is the thought puzzle we’d like to pose: if we continue to be allowed to breed like rabbits, will this–and not some other monster–also eventually lead to our undoing? And we’re not talking about from a brain-eating reanimated versions of us. No. What if the world we’ve created, one of safety with nothing standing between us and Olympus except that great big boulder we have to push to the top… you know, the one that keeps rolling back on us… what if it is this that puts the four pound signs at the end of our story? What if too much of a good thing is not such a good thing?

 

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