Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stuff: Pause for reflection.

Over at The Atlantic, they're using a piece by Nathan Fox - artist of the comic ANTSS just posted about - to illustrate a lightweight think piece called Our Zombies, Ourselves. I'm not sure that writer James Parker drops any science the average ANTSS reader doesn't already know, though he gets points for correctly identifying the earliest known English appearance of zombies: William Seabrook's over-the-top voodoo study, The Magic Island. Plus, he opens with an interesting question to ponder. Why didn't the modern zombie arrive earlier?

The most surprising thing about the modern zombie—indeed, the only surprising thing about the modern zombie—is that he took so long to arrive. His slowness is a proverb, of course: his museumgoer’s shuffle, his hospital plod. Plus he’s a wobbler: the shortest path between two points is seldom the one he takes. Nonetheless, given all that had been going on, we might reasonably have expected the first modern zombies to start showing up around 1919. Twentieth-century man was already moaning and scratching his head; shambling along with bits falling off him; desensitized, industrialized, hollowed out, metaphysically evacuated—A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many … Had some trash visionary produced a novel or play about the brain-eating hordes, or a vers libre epic of viral undeadness, it would have gone down rather well, at this point.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure, individualism and even basic ideas about the self were nearly as prominent back then and/or markedly different. Brain-eating would probably also have been a bit too strong a trait in those days, but I guess that's a minor point.