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Everything’s coming up zombies lately! So much so that one of my favorite New York Times op-ed columnists, Gail Collins, devoted an entire column (“The Zombie Jamboree”) to these flesh-rotting creatures recently, calling this fall “the era of zombies” and, after waxing on about the popularity of tv shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ and spoof books like “Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies” she used zombies as a way into political talk:
“Our horror movies are mirroring the world around us. The increasingly passé vampire story is about a society full of normal people threatened by a few bloodsuckers, some of whom are maybe just like you and me, except way older. It was fine for the age of Obama. But we’ve entered the era of zombie politics: a small cadre of uninfected humans have to band together and do whatever it takes to protect themselves against the irrational undead.”
Zombie politics? Who knew zombies were such a potent metaphor for the state of things.
But let’s get back to AMC’s new show ‘The Walking Dead’ which I did not plan on getting addicted to but am. In addition to the incredible special effects, great acting and storytelling on the show, plus the wonderful use of irony (an essential ingredient for anything zombie in my opinion), what fascinates me most on the show is how long it’s gone on now without any attention to why. Why are there zombies everywhere? What happened exactly to cause the world to be overrun with them? Who (or what) in the world would allow such a curse to spread across humanity, of forcing people to persist is such a horrific state?
And why isn’t the “why” a part of this show’s storyline? Why aren’t the characters themselves explicitly pondering this question? Is it that they are simply to busy surviving to wonder? And then, why hasn’t anyone on the show mentioned god yet? Any show about a zombie apocalypse seems ready-made to have at least one seriously religious character, but so far no one has stepped up to the plate, not even to wonder out loud why a world with a god would allow such a thing or to question the existence of god given, well, the zombie apocalypse.
The show can’t go on too long without addressing such questions and I look forward to the episode when they do. In the mean time, though, I will continue to be riveted every Sunday night. And you can catch up online at iTunes if you’ve yet to discover this awesome show.

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