So what got me started on this? I am in a two week training session at work. I was telling my friend Jillian Rossi, who works for Fagan Door in Coventry, Rhode Island, about my training. I’ve learned I can count on Jillian for a funny response. “What are they training you for, the Zombie Apocalypse?”
Read the following from Wikipedia, where I will add my comments.
Intimately tied to the conception of the modern zombie is the “zombie apocalypse”; the breakdown of society as a result of an initial zombie outbreak which spreads. This archetype has emerged as a prolific subgenre ofapocalyptic fiction and been portrayed in many zombie-related media after Night of the Living Dead. In a zombie apocalypse, a widespread (usually global) rise of zombies hostile to human life engages in a general assault on civilization. Victims of zombies may become zombies themselves. This causes the outbreak to become an exponentially growing crisis: the spreading “zombie plague/virus” swamps normal military and law enforcement organizations, leading to the panicked collapse of civilian society until only isolated pockets of survivors remain, scavenging for food and supplies in a world reduced to a pre-industrial hostile wilderness.
OK folks, you are telling me, I am going into training, so I can help people lead a Pre Industrial Life? Jillian, so much for helping people with their garage door openers. I am not sure, I am the best person for this training and who am I supposed to train? You can always expand shows like Survivor.
The usual subtext of the zombie apocalypse is that civilization is inherently fragile in the face of truly unprecedented threats and that most individuals cannot be relied upon to support the greater good if the personal cost becomes too high. The narrative of a zombie apocalypse carries strong connections to the turbulent social landscape of the United States in the 1960s when Night of the Living Dead was first created. Many also feel that zombies allow people to deal with their own anxiety about the end of the world. One scholar concluded that “more than any other monster, zombies are fully and literally apocalyptic … they signal the end of the world as we have known it.”
Due to a large number of thematic films and video games, the idea of a zombie apocalypse has entered the mainstream and there have been efforts by many fans to prepare for the hypothetical future zombie apocalypse. Efforts include creating weapons and selling educational material informing people on how to survive a zombie outbreak, although most of these are tongue-in-cheek and do not represent an authentic belief that a zombie apocalypse in the near future is likely.
The night of the living dead? Many are already there!
There are several common themes that create a zombie apocalypse:
- Initial contacts with zombies are extremely traumatic, causing shock, panic, disbelief and possibly denial, hampering survivors’ ability to deal with hostile encounters.
- The response of authorities to the threat is slower than its rate of growth, giving the zombie plague time to expand beyond containment. This results in the collapse of the given society. Zombies take full control while small groups of the living must fight for their survival.
Night of the Living Dead established most of the tropes associated with the genre, including the unintelligent but relentless behavior of zombies.
The stories usually follow a single group of survivors, caught up in the sudden rush of the crisis. The narrative generally progresses from the onset of the zombie plague, then initial attempts to seek the aid of authorities, the failure of those authorities, through to the sudden catastrophic collapse of all large-scale organization and the characters’ subsequent attempts to survive on their own. Such stories are often squarely focused on the way their characters react to such an extreme catastrophe, and how their personalities are changed by the stress, often acting on more primal motivations (fear, self-preservation) than they would display in normal life.
Government and media response
On 18 May 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) published a graphic novel, Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse providing tips to survive a zombie invasion as a “fun new way of teaching the importance of emergency preparedness”. The CDC goes on to summarize cultural references to a zombie apocalypse. It uses these to underscore the value of laying in water, food, medical supplies, and other necessities in preparation for any and all potential disasters, be they hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, or hordes of zombies. The CDC provides a Zombie Pandemic graphic novel.
So the Centers for Disease Control are in on this too? Sounds like the Ten Plagues from Exodus, with no Pharaoh and no Moses. Where are Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner when you need ’em?
On 17 October 2011, The Weather Channel published an article, “How To Weather the Zombie Apocalypse” that included a fictional interview with a Director of Research at the CDD, the “Center for Disease Development”.Questions answered include “How does the temperature affect zombies’ abilities? Do they run faster in warmer temperatures? Do they freeze if it gets too cold?
Frozen zombies. Are they Cryogenic? Weren’t zombies originally Haitian? Inquiring minds want to know.
- Zombie Apocalpyse Alert Shows System Hackable, Firm Says (cio-today.com)
- Replacing Urban Decay with a Zombie Apocalypse Theme Park (wholesalehalloweencostumes.com)
- ‘Zombie’ Alert Shows Emergency Broadcasts Can Be Hacked (scooprocket.com)
- 5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen (njcscitech.wordpress.com)
- World War Z (2013) (chadwickhsaxelid.typepad.com)