Zombies invade popular culture

Jake Tapley

The idea of “getting in the holiday spirit” is by no means a new idea; however, the application always finds new ways of manifesting itself.

Some of these manifestations – if they catch on – will become ritualized and then contribute to helping define the culture of their era, forever instilled in history.

Here in Evansville over the past couple of years, many of our Halloween festivities have become centered on the notion of zombies.

Examples can be found in the local haunted houses: both the Newburgh Civitan Zombie Farm and Eville Studios Zombie Fest are currently in operation. The Zombie Walk and Zombie Pub Crawl downtown are also becoming annual traditions.

Here at USI we also have Humans vs. Zombies, which primarily involves a bunch of people running around campus with Nerf guns.

But it isn’t just a regional thing. If you haven’t noticed, it’s happening on a much larger scale.

In fact, zombies have become a fundamental element of modern pop culture, finding their way into movies, television and literature.

For those who are more paranoid or just bored, there are even survival and preparation kits available to purchase for a zombie apocalypse.

I’m not the only one who’s witnessed the surge of the undead, either. Fox News Columnist Dr. Manny Alvarez has noticed it and felt compelled enough that he decided to write a column.

In it, he claimed that the craze is taking attention away from “music, education, science or the classics.”

This is where he and I will have to disagree on the subject.

I find the opposite to be true, actually. Although I am not a zombie lover or gore aficionado, I can still see the merit in valuing zombie folklore or perpetuating the notion of these less-than-human characters.
And, I think they should be allowed to be incorporated into the fields of music or education, or even science.

I mean, why not?

If you have seen movies like “28 Days Later” or “I Am Legend,” then you know that there are more realistic and semi-plausible rationale for what triggers a zombie apocalypse. In these movies (along with others), it is the product of a mutation or infection.

All I’m saying is that I think they deserve a place in the public eye, along with any other fictionalized monster – or any creative idea, for that matter.

The beauty of the time we live in is that we’re all sharing it together, and adding to it. So, it can be anything and everything we want it to be.

We get to play a role in culture and in shaping the world around us, so why not actively participate instead of dwelling on yesterday?