“What dark and hidden parts of our psyche are aroused and captivated by the legends of the undead?” — Lyrics to the song Vampires by the band Godsmack
What drives the Western World’s persistent obsession with zombies?
A professor at Clemson University in South Carolina is asserting the growth in popularity of the shambling corpse is directly relative to the hard economic times and a general sense of societal insecurity.
“We are more interested in the zombie at times when, as a culture, we feel disempowered,” said Lauro, in an article from the Associated Press. “To me, it’s such an obvious allegory. We feel like, in one way, we are dead.”
In her remarks, Lauro draws parallels between the rise in prominence of the zombie in popular culture — in hit shows such as The Walking Dead, for example — and the start of the most recent economic downturn, suggesting that people who feel powerless are likely to look for an escape.
She also ties in the recent, international phenomenon of Zombie Walk events — like to the Zombie Walk that hit Moose Jaw last September.
While it is great to ask why zombies have become such a recognizable symbol of Western culture, it seems difficult to imagine that any one reason could be attributed to their rise.
Especially when that reason — essentially, to find an escape — could drive an individual any number of ways.
Certainly, some who feel disillusioned might tune in to an episode of The Walking Dead or put on their favourite zombie film, but it seems equally likely that they would just go for a hike or pick up an epic fantasy from the local bookstore.
There is no definite answer to a question of popularity in a culture — there will always be many. Still, it does behoove those who care to constantly ask the questions.
All editorials are written by the Times-Herald editorial staff.