Sunday, October 27, 2013

Anxiety Is My Bread and Butter



Some necessary housekeeping and clarifications from last week’s episode summary, “Infected.” I misspelled “Hershel,” adding a “c” where there should have been none. Also, the young doctor who correctly identified the nature of the outbreak is known as Dr. Subramanian, or Dr. S for short.
Just when you thought the visuals on The Walking Dead couldn’t get any more disgusting, they have. Every week our eyes are subject to rotting corpses in varying states of decomposition, and now we have to watch live subjects hacking up blood and sputum. Which is more disgusting, you ask? My bet is on the swine flu victims. As long as they stay away from actual puking, I’ll be fine.
I spend a lot of time thinking about why I am both drawn to and repelled by The Walking Dead. Recall that I watch it with the sound on only very reluctantly. For the longest time I stayed away from the show, because although I am infinitely intrigued by zombies, I am deathly afraid of what they represent: the end of civilization as we know it. Now that I have viewed seasons one through three (twice), however, I am obsessed. 
In Ranger Rick’s world, there is no insulin, no doctors, and no health care system (save for Dr. S). Before I could get bitten, my diabetes would kill me. I suppose that’s a small comfort. Still, my children and husband would survive the zombie apocalypse without me. Tim is highly capable; I trust him implicitly to weather the food shortages, harsh weather, and a life constantly fought for. He’s a stoic, after all. Hopefully, the kids won’t whine too much about having to walk long distances. That would drive Tim absolutely bananas; the undead he can deal with. Whining kids—not so much. My daughter Ayla would develop new anxieties about “walkers” biting her after abandoning her long-held grudge against bees, flies, and mosquitoes. David would take it all in stride, acting as a leveling influence. I picture him fleeing the undead in a wobbly manner, shrieking.
Do you see what this show has done? With its realistic depictions post-zombie apocalypse, it has rendered the entire scenario more plausible and thus more horrifying. Every worthy vestige of human culture would be obliterated, and replaced with a void. There’s no such thing as “zombie culture.” Their society is driven by the desire for blood. They don’t produce anything of value, merely consuming the living—not to mention the cute baby pigs from the last episode.
I suppose we are all attracted to what we fear the most. Thankfully, there is no virus that turns people into mindless, flesh-craving zombies, but unfortunately our world is threatened by other forces that can consciously and unconsciously transform our lives as we know them. Terrorists, tsunamis, the Kardashians, all are terrible forces that have already exerted negative influences upon us. Yet we bear on against the tide, hoping all will be well for ourselves and our offspring, as we simply wait for the next episode. 

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