On Zombies

First, I feel a bit like one. But, you know, light at the end of the tunnel and all that.

And then there’s the zombies. The zombies on t.v.

Right after mid-terms were over my Ethics prof made the announcement that we were going to be watching the entire first season of The Walking Dead in class.

It was a pretty major shift, to go from reading lengthly and dry theory: Utilitarianism, Contractarianism, Feminist Ethics of Care and the like, to suddenly sitting in a darkened classroom a couple of hours each week munching on snacks and watching television.

Also, she announced that in place of a second essay, we were required to log onto the class website and write an entry in our ethics journal twice a week for the rest of the semester. The point of which is to draw our attention to the ethical dilemmas we face every day. And you know, life provides a lot of ethical-journal material. Who knew?

Anyway, Ethics class got real easy, is what I am saying.

But to be honest, watching the zombie show was anything but easy at first. My husband got his hands on the first season last year and after I watched the first episode with him I decided it was not for me and he carried on alone. It was just way too sick. Just sick. Sick. Ugh. So when I found out we were watching it in class I wasn’t too excited about it. But I figured I would just suck it up, put on my big girl panties and deal.

Until we watched the first episode, that is. Even though I had already seen it, I left class that first day, marched straight to my car, pulled out of the parking lot and burst into tears.

I’m a giant wuss, is what I am saying.

It was just so horrific. I don’t know why we, as a society, find graphic and glorified violence entertaining. It got me thinking about how, in the distant past, people would voluntarily make their way down to the Colosseum to watch gladiators kill each other or see people be fed to lions and things like that. I know – you might say there is a difference between television and actually watching people be killed for entertainment. But really, don’t we like it better if it more realistic? Anyway. I just think it is a disturbing predilection that humans have. It grosses me out and makes me feel worried, deep in my soul. All of that combined with the fact that in a classroom full of people I couldn’t exactly moan and groan and shudder and flinch, I had to just sit there, and hold all the horrors inside… I don’t know I just let it all out in the car. I worried about how I was going to get through the other five episodes.

Anyway, over the course of season 1, the gore settled down and the (fascinating) storyline picked up. And I’m actually looking forward to catching up on season 2 now. My big girl panties are in place and cinched tight. I’ve joined the masses in their collective awe of the gruesome spectacle.

It’s pretty interesting is what I am saying.

The reason why we’re watching The Walking Dead is for the purposes of thinking about post-apocalyptic justice scenarios. What do members of society do with a complete break down of all the authoritarian structures of society, and there are scarce resources and real threats. The characters are sort of thrown back into a state of nature, only they still have the memory of societal structure and authority. Who makes the new rules? Who makes the tough decisions? Who decides what is right?

So I’m just getting ready to write my final paper. I have to choose three scenes from the show and apply three different theories to the action. Pretty easy and fun as far as analytical assignments go.

How about you – have you seen it? Do you love it? Or are you a giant wuss like me?

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6 thoughts on “On Zombies

  1. Linda (@Sundry) does Walking Dead recaps in her The Stir column, so I get to read what’s going on, without watching it.

    That said, Matthew and I started watching Dexter (I KNOW) over the holidays. There isn’t a whole lot of violence, really, and I close my eyes for those scenes, but the story line and the writing is amazing. Just waiting for Season 5 to arrive at the library …

  2. I watched season one, but gave up on it, partly because of the gore (I’m not a huge fan of blood and guts in any context) and partly because I didn’t really care for any of the characters and didn’t really care what happened to them. ha.
    I did hear all about everything that happened in season 2 though, because everyone at work watches it and talks about it!
    I LOVED watching Jericho (on netflix), which is super interesting to watch purely for that “post-apocalyptic justice scenario”. If you like that aspect of Walking Dead, you would love Jericho. Plus the characters are way better 🙂

  3. I admit it…I LOVE The Walking Dead. When I first started watching it last year the gore really got to me. But then I got all caught up in the storyline and I was hooked. I’ve already watched season two (amazing finale!) and don’t know how I’ll survive the wait for season three. In the meantime I’m getting my zombie fix by my recent discovery of zombie movies. (Resident Evil anyone?)

  4. total wuss here….haven’t seen it nor will I, heck that picture gives me the willies! And I agree with Jill ~ Jericho was awesome!! (season 1 anyway).

  5. Pingback: An Empty Threat « The Open and Closed World

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