The Civilizational Significance of Zombies – Michael Vlahos – The Atlantic

Thought I would share this, who knows you folks might like it.

“Independent of its film adaptation, Max Brooks’s 2006 novel World War Z is high literature: a case study in what mankind gains when forced to confront annihilation.

When large numbers of the living start dressing up as the undead, they are announcing a true cultural phenomenon. It may seem like a fad, but zombies matter–not just in the sociology of pop culture but in how we collectively orient ourselves toward the future of civilization itself.

Pondering the zombie apocalypse is a form of shared emotional preparation–a collective therapy–for facing bad things to come. It is also, ironically, society’s only working pathway to real-world, worst-case strategic analysis. And as Americans, in particular, it is our clearest window into our own dark side–and at the same time, a potential key to national renewal.

The civilizational significance of zombies is there in all cultural treatments, AMC’s The Walking Dead being a revelation among them. But only Max Brooks’s World War Z elevates zombies to high literature. Yes, high: like Tolstoy’s War and Peace, or Graves’s I Claudius, or Orwell’s 1984. It is a history with the full sweep of a grand narrative directly addressing every one of life’s big questions.”

Read the rest here:

The Civilizational Significance of Zombies – Michael Vlahos – The Atlantic.

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