“Go ahead, make my day.”
Familiar? Of course it is. Then there were Charles Bronson and Chuck Norris and Shaft and a slew of others. They were our heroes. Before them were a host of others from the Humphrey Bogart era. For the most part, they each did the same thing: they went up against a bully or bullies and helped people who could not protect themselves who were being picked on. Evil was defeated by good. We were reminded that if we worked at it, we did not have to be powerless.
In those movies the world wasn’t coming to an end. The victims were individuals, part of the rest of us who were just normal people, the cows in the pasture who went to work every day. We were regular regulars.
Perhaps the advent of the nuclear bomb set us on the zombie train. They told us if we hid under our desks (public schools in the 50s) we would be safe from a nuclear blast. They told us if we lined up along the wall between the windows we wouldn’t get cut by the glass. And silly us, we believed them. Perhaps then the true sense of the end of humankind was not yet real.
The end of humankind as a theme, mass destruction of everything, comes later. Films like this existed and played all along. Nuclear destruction was one of many themes in them. Godzilla, King Kong and natural disasters were others. Mutations heading toward zombies weren’t in the picture yet. Of course we had Frankenstein, anther precursor to zombies, but the other themes were the ticket up to a point, until we moved to the apocalypse movies and zombies.
Space exploration and continued nuclear developments changed the nature of the mass destruction scenarios, as did scientific advances. Human error and folly, normally based in greed, began to lead us to mutants that make us zombies.
So here we are. We get remakes of the shipwreck movies and more technologically advanced monster movies. But the latest, biggest fascination are the zombies. Some devastation alters who and what we are. Or a greedy corporation led by a selfish mad scientist makes a grand mistake. Most of us are killed but not really. We come back as zombies, those poor, pathetic beings wandering endlessly for food.
The very rich are safe in their underground cities, or their segregated, gated cities, like in Hunger Games, or they are in their own city in space. We regular regulars are relegated to food for zombies, only to become zombies ourselves.
Why did we go here? Why do our movies and mass entertainment go here? Having gone here, are they leading us here? Where are we going?
Follow politics, follow the money and understand the simple mathematical concept of the least common denominator. These will provide indications of the answers to the questions above.
The fight between liberals and conservatives as a philosophical fight is about least common denominator. But our politics in general is Kabuki Theater, a show for the zombies-to-be. More than 50 percent of our leaders are millionaires. All the leaders, including the Hollywood elite, will have entry to the gated cities. The lefties preach least common denominator while they stockpile their own wealth. It’s the Al Gore hypocrisy: conserve energy so I can use yours. The righties preach self-sufficiency knowing they’re pretty protected and the odds are stacked in their favor, the favor of the already rich.
We, the regular regulars, are zombie food soon to be zombies. It’s a metaphor of course. Yet here we are and deeper and deeper into it we go.