Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's Not The Zombie Apocalypse, You're Just A Jerk

Well, here it goes, the post that makes all my friends and the Internet at large hate me forever. Nonetheless, it has to be written. I have to speak my mind, even if it means offending some people who I think are awesome. Sometimes you just have to stand up against things that everyone thinks are OK, because once you take a step back from them, you realize that they really aren't.

I'm talking about the face eating guy from the news. Sorry, I'm not going to link one of the articles on here because I don't have a direct URL and I really don't want to know what happens when I type "man eats face" into Google. Besides, if you haven't heard about this story by now than I'm surprised that you've made it this far into the Internet. In a nutshell, a crazy guy got whacked out of his mind on drugs and was shot by police while nakedly chewing off another guy's face in the middle of traffic. The pop culture response to this grisly crime was to sport a universal boner and excitedly announce that this of course marks the beginning of the long awaited Zombie Apocalypse, the coming of which seems to be the sole motivation in many more peoples' lives than seems logical. Since then I've been beset with people digging up and posting every gut-wrenching crime-related article that inductively supports this fictional calamity. Its just been so exciting to hear about all these violent drug fiends and schizophrenics who mutilate themselves and kill their own children because it means we're all going to be characters in Left For Dead 2 soon! Can't wait.

Here's the real news flash: Fucked up shit like that happens every single day. Cannibals, psycho-killers, and reality-altering drugs actually exist in the real world and do horrible things to people on a daily basis. The difference is that now the Internet fanboy culture has such a zomboner for these absurd doomsday scenarios that what should be a horrifying news story is taken and ironically re-purposed to be some "awesome" indicator that these wet geek-dreams are upon us. At least, though I say that, I hope that its ironic. Its entirely possible that some people are mired so deeply in this dogma of the dead that they've forgotten the fact that its all bullshit, that it is a fantasy based on movies, TV, comics, and video games. This is what happens when people trivialize tragedies down into the category of "craziest thing on Reddit today!" In fact, the word trivialize might not even be accurate, because what I've seen is more like celebration. Some people are legitimately excited that a man was shot to death while eating someone. Like, that guy's face was mauled. He's going to be a hideous freak for the rest of his life, if he even survived. I'm not sure. That fucking sucks. As far as I'm concerned, a reaction like this is a stone's throw away from those assholes who "really appreciate Dahmer's work". Hell, if the face eater hadn't been killed he'd be getting fan mail right now.

Look, I love crime movies. Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, Way of the Gun, Reservoir Dogs, Mystic River, The Departed... I think they're fuckin' awesome. But I don't actually get excited when I read news about people being gunned down in drug violence because it makes life like the movies. I don't fucking post online about bodies being dredged out of rivers and execution-style mob hits because it makes me happy. I even suspect most people would agree with that sentiment, but throw the word 'Zombie' in there and suddenly its funny and OK for everyone to do exactly that.

Am I overreacting? I don't know, maybe. If I am its probably because I'm already sick to death of zombie shit. When I was a kid you couldn't pay anybody to be a zombie for Halloween, it was boring and lame. Now we have zombie parades, zombie 5K's, zombie training camps, zombie survival guides, and probably zombie sex fetishes for all I know. Not to mention, while some is admittedly entertaining, a complete over saturation of zombie media of every conceivable kind. Not to mention the perennial Easter jokes about how Jesus was a zombie. OMG that's so fucking funny and original! I can't wait to hear it again next year! I don't even find it offensive except in how not funny it is. Its worse than when late night stand-up comedians default to midget jokes in order to get a guaranteed cheap laugh. Holy shit, midgets are short?? LOLLOLOLOL! Real cutting-edge stuff there, we've only been milking that one since what, the 12th century? What's next, "Yo mama so fat"? Anyway, I digress.

"Well just tell grandma I have 'other commitments' on Easter!"

 I just don't understand the complete and total obsession with it. I mean, I recognize that mankind has always been somewhat preoccupied with its inevitable extinction. Whether it be the Antichrist leading an army of probably Muslims now (you racists) or Skynet correctly realizing that humanity is an incredibly destructive force and nuking us into oblivion, we've always been fascinated with the End Times. Maybe it is an inevitable part of human nature, especially in modern times, to yearn for a post-apocalyptic world in which there aren't so many fucking people around and our daily responsibilities are simplified to "not dying horribly". The zombie ending could merely be the latest iteration of this. After all, its got all the familiar post-apocalyptic elements: scavenging for food, empty cities, useless technology, and people forming small bands in order to survive. Maybe there's a part of everyone that desires this regression to a simpler lifestyle.

Or, more likely, maybe people just want to shoot something that looks like a human but without the guilt (read: consequences) of murdering the people around them. Wouldn't it just be great if every wiener with a bone to pick could prove what a big man he is by pumping endless rounds into the walking dead instead of just simulating it on his PC? Finally, your chance to be a winner! And all it took was the complete and total extinction of anyone who could have possibly appreciated it. Isn't that wonderful? Yea, except it isn't going to happen, which brings me to my next point:  

You wouldn't survive the Zombie Apocalypse anyway.

 See, that's the thing about apocalypse scenarios: 95% of people die. That means you, Jack. It means me too. Unless you're one of the few people reading this with a working knowledge of how to fire and maintain weapons, hunt and prepare game, treat wounds and diseases, and survive for extended periods of time without plumbing, heat, or electricity, you're going to fucking die. Assuming you're in shape enough to escape the zombies in the first place, which you're not because you spend most of your time watching horror movies and playing Left For Dead, you're just going to break your leg or get an infection or something and die in pain on the pharmacy counter of an abandoned Walgreens surrounded by a maddening mess of unidentifiable white pills. See, there's a reason this planet had a fraction of its current population 100 years ago. Staying alive is pretty fucking hard without doctors and hospitals even without the ever-present threat of undead hordes. Why do geeks always think they're ready for the end of the world when it would be a miracle if most of them could pass a 7th grade Presidential Fitness Exam? Sure, it doesn't take an Olympic athlete to shoot man-sized, slowly moving targets, but at some point you might have to climb over something or run two miles without stopping. Unfortunately, these days that is a severe challenge for many people.

Good luck, man.

You think you're a survivor because you got a backpack with a first aid kit, a bottle of water, and some duct tape? Congratulations! You're as fully equipped as a retired plumber. You're going to be eating duct tape soup when the canned food runs out, assuming you can build a fire, which you probably can't because its a lot fucking harder than it looks. You're all ready to chop off some zombie heads with the dull replica katana you bought at the Berlin Mart? You'd be lucky if you could decapitate a head of lettuce. Hear me well, its not the geek who would inherit the earth in the Zombie Apocalypse, it would be the people who can fight and do useful things, and the only people who know how to fight/do useful things are the people who fight/do useful things now. That's not me, and I'm 95% sure its not you.

You know what, though? All of this is a moot point, because

Zombies are fucking fake!

None of this is going to happen. The face-eater from the news wasn't a zombie because zombies are the risen dead, an archetype in the same category as vampires, mummies, and draco-liches, which by the way are all also fictitious. How stupid would it be if people trolled news articles looking for proof that the Mummy Apocalypse was upon us? Its the same fucking thing, and exactly as likely. People who prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse would be far better served practicing 1950's style air raid drills, because it is a thousand times more realistic that a flimsy wooden table will save you from a nuclear explosion than that a single dead person will ever rise up in an all consuming quest to eat live brains. In fact, from Terminator to The Stand to Waterworld, pretty much any apocalypse scenario is far more likely to happen. After all, we are creating AI, experimenting with biological weapons, and melting the ice caps.

Also more likely.

Its sad that so many people are more prepared for this zombie garbage than for a house fire or a medical emergency. Moreso than prepared, in fact, people are champing at the bit for it to happen so exuberantly that we'll probably see a more aggressive movement in the near future. People want to kill zombies so badly I wouldn't be surprised if they started settling for the homeless and mentally disabled. Its all I fucking need to be gunned down by a Jeep full of losers fresh off of a 2000's zombie movie remake marathon while I'm stumbling to work hung over and groaning in pain. "But I swear, officer, he was saying 'braaaaains!'" Fuck you, you gangly nerd, I'm dead now! Arg!

We have created a wide multitude of ways to waste time in our society, but preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse has got to be the absolute worst. Besides being useless and sad, it also further desensitizes people to tragedies that give them the sparkle of hope that its actually going to come true. And if there's one thing we don't need in this culture, its to be desensitized any more than we already are.

So please, enough with this already. The dead can't come back to life, but I'm sure if they could, they would find something better to do with their time.