Sharia, deficits, Cleveland, fiscal Armageddon: We need to talk about zombies. Matt Robare, writing at Discourses on Liberty, has some thoughts on the political ramifications of the zombie-vampire controversy, and cites an earlier article on the subject about which I have an entirely unjustified number of observations.
#more#As hesitant as I am to take issue with America’s Web Site of Record — Cracked — I have some objections to the political analysis of S Peter Davis, who notes that periods of interest in zombies tend to coincide with Republican administrations while interest in vampires coincides with Democratic administrations, and argues that this is because vampires represent everything conservatives hate about liberals and zombies represent everything liberals hate about conservatives. I think he has this exactly backward, but then he’s Australian, so what do you expect?
Vampires may not be exactly conservative; it’s probably more accurate to call them “right wing” — elitist, hierarchical aesthetes with European roots, occasionally guilt-ridden but unable to deny their predatory nature, i.e. the secret right-wing id. Who would Lestat rather spend an evening with — Evelyn Waugh or some hippie dirtbags? Opera or Phish concert? Tuxedo, or jeans in a jailhouse sag? To ask the question is to answer it.
And of course you can drive off vampires with a cross. You know who you couldn’t drive off with a cross? Christopher Hitchens. (This I know; the only time I ever encountered him was in a church.) Vampire literature takes religion seriously. (Likewise, who among us admiring the revolution of 1776 could fail to sympathize with Milton’s Satan, a bold and cocky revolutionary who, like Thomas Jefferson, swore himself to eternal hostility toward tyranny?) Modern zombie literature, on the other hand, has mostly disposed of the supernatural, locating the source of evil not in the Fall but in an assortment of bugs and viruses.
Watching the tastes, the behavior, the rhetoric, the appointments, and the policy of this administration suggests to me that it is not really serious in radically altering the existing order, which it counts on despite itself. Its real goal is a sort of parasitism that assumes the survivability of the enfeebled host.
Not vampires, but leeches, ticks, bedbugs, etc. “Vampire” is the word we use for liberals when we’re trying to be nice.
On the zombies-as-conservatives front, Mr. Davis argues that zombies are all about consumerism:
The current incarnation of the zombie was given to us almost single-handedly by George Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead and its sequels. Specifically, it’s the second movie in the series, Dawn of the Dead, in which Romero decided his blood-and-guts horror movie was going to double as a metaphor for mindless, mass consumerism (it’s set in a shopping mall, a setting that was borrowed for Dead Rising).
Mr. Robare correctly notes that zombies are serial violators of Say’s Law, ideal Keynesian consumers out there deathlessly stimulating aggregate demand. Never mind that conservatives tend to identify with the producer side of the producer-consumer relationship, who can doubt that the contemporary stand-in for the much-hated Reagan-era shopping mall would be a Trader Joe’s in Brooklyn packed with hipster zombies in search of the right brand of brain-infused kombucha? And if you share the belief that zombies represent ruthless comformists who cannot think for themselves, I invite you to visit the thought-police division of the nearest university.
And I’d be willing to bet that buyers of Ka-Bar’s zombie-apocalypse toolkit skew conservative. Just a hunch.