The wonderful journalist and Middle East reporter Michael Totten has raised the issue that we are in the era of zombies. He wrote an article for City Journal that summarizes the situation. It is fairly clear that we have gone through an era of popular zombie fascination. Many of my friends and my son are zombie fans. My son argues that a measure of democracy is freedom to make zombie films, which are still not made in China.
There is always a connection between a long term popular subject matter and contemporary life. The great masterpiece of this analysis was West of Everything. Jane Tompkins showed that the Western story and film were expressions of the emotional sentiment of an industrial society; men were required to persevere in the face of blinding boredom. There was no religion in Westerns, the cowboy was buried on Boot Hill. There were very few women except for warm hearted hookers. The moral of every story was the determination of the good cowboy to right the wrongs.
Michael Totten argues that the zombie issue of our day is really an expression of our sense that the world around us is far too complex; that it could fall apart at any moment. The apocalypse of a completely dysfunctional society is everywhere around us. It is Detroit, Somalia, Liberia, Argentina and Venezuela.
Totten argues that learning rudimentary survival lessons is the main story in the zombie world.
Many of my friends agree with Totten's analysis.
I find the issue to be much more political. I believe that both the Democrats and the Republicans have the sense that the opposition is blindly following ideas and emotional structures that are impossible to confront. That their opponents are aggressively belligerent but cannot be defeated with logic or argument. On the conservative side it appears that the entire media structure supports the zombie position. On the Left side the hostility is toward Fox News as a mouthpiece for zombie values
That's my explanation of the zombie era that we are in. It is also my sense of what leads me to suggest we are not far from a Civil War encouraged by a president who inflames racism and class envy.