Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Everything You Wanted To Know About The Zombie Apocalypse
(But Were Afraid to Ask)

If you're like me, a zillion years old and late to the whole blogging Twitterverse, you've undoubtedly seen all kinds of references to the Zombie Apocalypse.

Yet, because you didn't want to seem uncool, you didn't want to ask, WTF?  (You probably wouldn't have put it quite that way, either.  More like, "Prithee, my good fellow, what meaneth this "zombie apocalypse" speech amongst the good people of yon fair village?")

It's okay.  I will be uncool for you.  I was born uncool, and remain proudly and defiantly uncool to this day.  (You doubt?  See my fearlessness in using adverbs.)

Besides, the other day, somebody saved me from having to ask what the hell "steampunk" is.  So I have that favor to pay forward.

Zombie Apocalypse is everywhere.  Check Twitter - #zombieapocalypse and you'll see thousands of Tweets. Google "Zombie Apocalypse" and you'll find millions of hits.  Serious.

Okay, so what is a zombie, anyway?

Traditionally, a zombie is the reanimated corpse of a dead person.  Dead, buried, then just play some Michael Jackson tunes and it's brain-eatin' time.  (After some fancy dancin', of course.)

Zombies have been legendary in African and Caribbean voodoo oral traditions.  Then along came pop fiction and Hollywood (from Wikipedia): 
The founding work of the genre was Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend (1954), which featured a lone survivor named Robert Neville waging a war against a human population transformed into vampires.[1] The novel has been adapted into several screenplays, including The Omega Man (1971), starring Charlton Heston. George A. Romero borrowed the idea for his apocalyptic feature Night of the Living Dead (1968) but substituted vampires with shuffling zombies.[2]

PopSci explains how scientists could, theoretically, create a "zombie virus" that kills off some brain cells and leaves others intact.  Good to know they're not wasting time on that curing cancer thing or defeating diabetes.

The "apocalypse" generally relates to the end of the world.  A zombie apocalypse is the End of the World (as we know it) brought about by the zombification of the population.  Whether that's viral, brought about by one zombie biting a "regular" human being (will the vampires sue for copyright infringement?) or by the eating of brains, is something yet to be disclosed. 

I did not realize that even the CDC (Center for Disease Control) had a zombie plan:

At the same breath the CDC recommends how to avoid hungry zombies and how to escape natural disasters:
Plan your evacuation route. When zombies are hungry they won't stop until they get food (i.e., brains), which means you need to get out of town fast! Plan where you would go and multiple routes you would take ahead of time so that the flesh eaters don't have a chance! This is also helpful when natural disasters strike and you have to take shelter fast.[3]

If you want to analyze whether you could survive said zombie apocalypse, there are many online quizzes. Here's one, and here's another.  (Disclaimer: Survival rating per linked tests implies no liability or responsibility on part of blog author re: actual survival rates during certified zombie apocalypse.  Just sayin'.)

For some years, rumors have percolated that the Mayan calendar predicted 2012 as the end of the world.  (Apparently, even if this isn't total BS, which modern Mayans say it is, we've misplaced a decimal point or something.)  In 2009, yet another Hollywood movie was released with this premise, because the only thing Hollywood likes better than blowing shit up, is a disaster flick where they can blow shit up.

Then yet another fruitcake, Harold Camping, predicted the Christian Rapture/End of the World on May 21, 2011. If you're reading this, you'll realize that God got the date mixed up in his DayPlanner.  According to Camping, it's now been rescheduled for October 21, 2011.

So, here's the thing: old apocalypse legends have been conflated with old zombie legends, and so we have - ta-da!  the end of the world courtesy of zombie apocalypse.

It's a joke, ladies and gentlemen.

Now, is the end of the world truly coming?  Via global climate change, nuclear war, asteroids, swine flu, or some other really bad thing?

Perhaps.  In any event, if a major tornado or earthquake drops a house on you, it'll be the end of the world - for you.  (Meaning no disrespect for those who have lost a loved one to any natural or unnatural disaster in this century or the previous one.)

Take what precautions you can, be good to the people who love you, and get your writing done today.  Because you never know, tomorrow could be the zombie apocalypse.

Your thoughts?  Fears?