Allegory of the Walking Dead

In order to write this post I must admit something that may raise a few eyebrows...I watch the series The Walking Dead. There I said it. Yes, it is grotesque. Yes I watch a good portion on mute because I cannot stand the gargling zombie sounds. Yes I look away or even read blog posts during particularly bloody scenes (which is 3/4 of the show). And YES it irritates me to no end that these loud and clumsy zombies are always sneaking up on everyone...come on people, these are not exactly stealth ninjas you're dealing with here. But there is something I really like about the show. It helps me reflect on the current state of humanity. And if I am being 100% honest, the story just kind of sucked me in.

Recently, while watching the show, it occurred to me that the world that is depicted in The Walking Dead is not so different from the real world, at least in an allegorical sense.  I do not think a zombie apocalypse is coming, but in a certain sense I think the zombie apocalypse is now.

In the show society has collapsed. People are isolated and community is very rare.  The un-dead roam about the world seeking human flesh and converting the living into horrible ungodly eating machines. The people who survive are unsure of whether they should show mercy and maintain a sense of humanity or treat everyone as an enemy and give up on compassion and civility. Cannibalism among the living has cropped up as resources are scarce and people have become desensitized to the horror. There is widespread distrust and a near complete loss of hope.   

Is it just me? Can you see the allegory? As we approach Thanksgiving and the infamous Black Friday we have a perfect illustration of what I am talking about. Go ahead and watch it on mute it is mostly just gurgling and screaming. 

This is what we encounter more and more these days. Perhaps not always stampedes. But the spirit is the same. Black Friday is simply when we see it en masse. The zombie virus? Sin. Sure it has always been around. But by and large society has ignored its existence and we are suffering the consequences. With so much of the world cutting itself off from the grace of God they walk around as undead, little more than consuming machines. There is little care for one's neighbor. In general the people that are still holding on to some notion of decency have a sense of distrust and an every-man-for-himself-mentality is creeping into their hearts.  In the show the zombies pursue human flesh no matter the consequences. They do not reason, they do not love. So too today people pursue their own pleasure regardless of the damage they cause to themselves or others (see clip above). I was on the phone with someone the other day about a medical bill that had been missed by my insurance. The man was rude and talked to me without compassion or care. I tried to remain calm and collected but I was simply shocked at his inability to see me as a person with a real problem that he had the power to help me with. It was that conversation that inspired me to write this post.  

Now I know you are probably thinking this does not seem an appropriate post for a blog called Our Merry Little Way. And you are right, it isn't really merry or bright to say we are living a zombie apocalypse. It is cynical and kind of a bummer. And my allegory has plenty of holes. Thankfully one of those holes is that our current zombie apocalypse is very different in an important aspect and that makes things a little less bleak: the un-dead we encounter can be healed and the antidote is readily available in the sacraments.

*UPDATE: I am not sure I can continue watching the show. I really have enjoyed it but it seems that the longer it goes on the more grotesque it is going to get. I realize they need to keep viewers interested but the character drama that made the show so interesting to me before is getting thin and the show is more and more about the gore (which has never been lacking). We will see if this next season can provide some redemption. For any zombie show fans out there I thought Z Nation was kind of a fun one. It is a bit more low-budget but it has a comedic element that I thought was refreshing. Season 1 is online but I am not sure they are continuing with a season 2 so watch at your own risk because season 1 gives absolutely no closure.

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