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World War Z and Zombie culture

June 28, 2013

“Zombies” this week have been busy interpreting Brad Pitt‘s “World War Z” both for how it fits in the zombie genre and in relation to the current cultural milieu.

Wired: “Want to Understand a Generation? Look No Further Than Its Zombie Movies” by Devon Maloney (and refers to Professor Sarah Lauro):

That shift towards a lone-white-man-triumphing-against-the-hordes mentality goes against the dominant manifestations of zombie fandom, where often fans want to be join zombies swarms rather than be lone-wolf heroes. … And, yes, though often fraught with issues of causation, even more explicit troubles could manifest from the idea that the individual has an essential duty (and innate ability) to triumph over the herd.

USNews: “How ‘World War Z’ Stands Up to the Zombie Film Genre: Where ‘World War Z’ departed from typical zombie tropes, and why” by Tierney Sneed (and quotes Rob Weiner of Texas Tech)

They also play to anxiety about the downsides of how chaotic and interconnected our world has become. … “‘World War Z’ was saying we live in a world society, we all need to get along and we cant have these petty little wars anymore,” Weiner says.

Bloomberg: “Zombies of ‘World War Z’ Are Realer Than They Look” by Ezra Klein (focusing on CDC viral metaphors):

Zombies, of course, are the public health community’s favorite monster. If werewolves represent our fear of the wild, aliens our fear of the unknown and vampires our fear of sex, zombies represent our fear of infectious disease.

MarketWatch: “‘Zombie Capitalism’ a prequel to new ‘World War Z’: A metaphor for free market’s deadly war against planet” by Paul B. Farrell (reminding that ideology is viral too):

In its accelerating evolution this past generation — across America, across the entire world — the human race has actually created a symbiotic relationship with the virus. Yes, we are now all zombie capitalists. The virus has transformed into a biomachine incapable of stopping, endlessly inventing, advertising and gorging us with more and more new commercial apps and addictions, disgorging more profits for insatiable shareholders.

Slate: “Macroeconomic Lessons From the Zombie Apocalypse” by Matthew Yglesias, “serious contemplation of a total war scenario”:

socialism beats capitalism in terms of organizing efficient production… [but] socialism is not particularly egalitarian … The emerging society of naval flotillas and refugee camps is very much not a classless utopia—it’s a place where your living standards are determined by your political clout and perceived usefulness … poverty doesn’t cause unemployment … while a zombie apocalypse is obviously an enormous negative shock to humanity’s wealth, it doesn’t cause unemployment. If anything, annual hours worked per adult seem to be skyrocketing. …[and] money is irrelevant… Historically speaking, nation states committed to a capitalist ideology have tended to maintain a skein of monetary transactions even during wartime emergencies. But these transactions take place against a backdrop of rationing, quasi-coerced loans (“war bonds”), suspensions of gold convertibility, and of course conscription of soldiers.

NPR: “How To Love The Zombie Apocalypse” by Adam Frank:

zombies are our greatest teachers … The message is clear. The planet is falling into chaos while we blindly amuse ourselves: cue the Zombies and the collapse of civilization. … The Zombie Apocalypse is really trying to tell us about resilience.

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