American Prospect’s Paul Waldman argues that it takes a village to stop those zombies, and therefore zombie movies should be viewed as testaments to mankind’s collective subconscious dreaming of purposeful communitarian action.
[(M)ost people who love a good zombie romp aren’t too interested in political subtext — they want to see arms being gnawed and large numbers of the undead blasted to kingdom come. And they’ve got more opportunities to feed their (OK, I’ll admit it — our) zombie jones than ever. Wikipedia contains a long list of zombie movies made since the 1930s, and … we (can) see that the genre has exploded in the past decade. While there may be more films being produced overall, any way you slice it, if you’re a zombie lover, this is the time to be alive. …
(I)s the zombie genre fundamentally liberal or conservative? Does its increasing popularity serve anyone’s political ends?
While one can certainly use zombies to express all kinds of ideas, I would argue that at heart, the genre is a progressive one. It’s true that fighting off the zombie horde requires plentiful firearms, no doubt pleasing Second Amendment advocates. And in a zombie movie, government tends to be either ineffectual or completely absent. On the other hand, when the zombie apocalypse comes, capitalism breaks down, too — people aren’t going to be exchanging money for goods and services; they’re just going to break into the hardware store and grab what they need (and if you think your private health insurer is going to be paying claims for treatment of zombie bites, you’re living in a dream world). But most important, what ensures survival in a zombie story are the progressive ideals of common cause and collective action. A small group of people from varying backgrounds are thrust together and find that they can transcend their differences of age, race, and gender (the typical band of survivors is a veritable United Nations of cultural diversity). They come to understand that if they’re going to get out of this with their brains kept securely housed in their skulls and not travelling down some zombie’s gullet, they’ve got to act as though they’re all in it together. Surviving the tide of zombies requires community and mutual responsibility. What could be more progressive than that?
I admire the audacity of Waldman’s thesis, but we all know that in a truly Progressive society, there wouldn’t be any privately owned guns, chain saws, or edged weapons competing with the state’s monopoly of force, so the zombies would have munched everybody’s brain without serious resistance as a disarmed humanity waited passively for an answer to its 911 calls.
Barack Obama would be noting the long record of the living’s mistreatment of the dead, and apologizing, while calling for negotiations and predicting a new era of vital to post-mortem relations.
And finally, we all know whom the dead, particularly the vast numbers of deceased voters in Chicago and Philadelphia, supported in 2008.