Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sex, Drugs and Princess Leia: Attack of the Geeks... True Stories of Societal Disenfranchisement and Action Figures

I've never really considered myself a true part of any social or cultural organization except, of course, for the International Community of United Masturbators.  At one point I even considered running for president of ICUM until I realized that my competition, Jorge Valenzuela had broken the Guiness World Record for Average Daily Masturbation (87, in case you were wondering).  With dreams of presidential candidacy shattered I had to resign myself to toiling in obscurity at the one job I was actually good at (no complaints so far).  Aside from this little anomaly I have been consistently on the outskirts of human social interaction for as long as I can remember, although now it has consistently become more and more a conscious choice.

I enjoy it.  I like being on the outside.  I just can't summon up the requisite interest or passion necessary for entrance into the inner circles of any socially constructed unit.  I just don't feel that emotionally invested in anything the human race has to offer.  It's a difficult tightrope to walk, though.  It has become necessary at times to associate myself with certain culturally constructed groups, for example at work.  It is necessary in order to reap the benefits (ie. the money, booze, and/or hookers) that are associated with that particular group.  So in some ways I have to construct myself as an insider.  However,by self-marginalizing myself I don't get caught up with any of the thousands of pointless games that are played within these social constructs and absolve myself of all responsibilities when the group I am (loosely) associated with A) Pisses off another group and/or individual or B) Inevitably fucks up (like all human individuals and organizations eventually do).  I can reap the benefits in times of plenty and keep my distance when the proverbial shit hits the fan.  

This can be a potentially dangerous zone to inhabit -there's always some self-righteous douchebag ready to start "calling people out" for not "getting involved" or "caring enough" about whatever- but just like any socially constructed status it has its rewards and its own subtle satisfactions.  All in all its a good place to be.  It's the philosophical equivalent of mooching, but applied to my entire life.  It may sound easy, but it takes total dedication and complete commitment in day to day life in order to maintain social relationships you have absolutely no interest in maintaining (outside of whatever personal gain you are in a position to receive) while putting forth the least amount of energy possible to maintain it without the other party/parties involved realizing your lack of interest.  Usually it's fairly easy because most people are either A) too stupid to notice, B) too caught up with themselves to really notice anyone around them, C) too drunk to care, D) busy banging your best friend at the prom while you were waiting by the punch bowl.  But in anticipation of those few people who might actually be paying attention it's important to practice important life skills like lying and feigning interest in conversations and refraining from strangling people and not referring to your waitress as a "serving wench" apparently.  

This is a shade of grey, however.  The two basic modes for constructing identity within a societal group are the same two modes of existing in a world where herpes exists:  yeah or nay.  You either exist in harmony with a social group or in rebellion to it.  You either have herpes, or you don't.  Of course human society is only slightly more complex and interesting than genital warts, but only just.  The simple fact is that most people inhabit that first space of complicit, passive acceptance.  It's just easier to do what everybody else is doing and agree with what everybody else is thinking.  This is really the cornerstone not only to representative democracy in the West, but basically of a (relatively) peaceful coexistence in Western society.  Many might call it apathy, but it is really just passive endorsement.  The truly apathetic wouldn't wipe their asses after they shit, or even gotten off of the couch.  Passive endorsement is taking a shit, wiping your ass, knowing that your waste is being pumped into the drinking water of a village in the middle of the African desert and doing it anyway.  It's easier not to argue.  There are a few who try to exist in opposition to societal norms, railing against "the establishment" condemning our use of fossil fuels, proclaiming their love of bands nobody's heard of because nobody's heard of them and then deriding these same bands when they achieve some modicum of success, or protesting outside of fast food restaurants.  These people see themselves as outsiders, but are ultimately still constructing their identities based on what they perceive to be societal norms.  So whether you act in accordance with or in opposition to societal norms you are still just existing on different sides of the same coin of societal construction.  

The only true way to escape this paradigm would be to ascribe to the tennets of nihilism, which is extremely hard to do because by definition you have to literally have an intrinsic belief that there is no value in anything.  This is surprisingly hard to do.  The only person I know who has personally almost succeeded in removing himself from the equation is my friend Adam.  First off if you asked him if I was his friend he would probably not answer in the affirmative.  He would probably question the institution of friendship with a jest about the chastity of your mother, a hearty laugh, and some homemade explosives rigged to go off when you started your car.  But he doesn't view friendship the way you or I do at all.  He doesn't seem to feel the need for social interaction the way most people do, outside of maintaining dialogue with those few people he deems "acceptable."  The rest of the world he holds in complete disdain.  While I have striven to maintain bare minimum levels of emotional investment in human proceedings (much like a Vulcan meditating for the IDIC), he seems to have the innate ability to refrain from emotional investment altogether.  He is one of the lucky few.  If I was to sever all ties to him tomorrow I honestly believe he would not bat an eye.  If one of my wife's friends severed all ties to her, she might be devastated.  I would be somewhere in the middle.  A psychoanalyst might say that my friend Adam has sociopathic tendencies.  I wouldn't necessarily be in a position to disagree with this analysis.

It was about three or four years ago that another friend of mine, the notorious Ryebone, who having recently been cleared of some charges involving a high-powered telescope and a window to the room of his neighbor's daughter across the street wanted to celebrate his newfound liberty by indulging in a passion of his: crystal meth collecting comic books.  I awoke in the hospital one day to the news that someone had apparently stolen one of my kidneys.  Human kidneys, Ryebone tells me, can go for upwards of fifteen grand on the black market.  The doctors told me I had traces of rufelin in my system, though when pressed for an answer Ryebone had no explanation despite my last memory being drinking with him at his apartment.  He said he had been drugged too because when he woke up he discovered that someone had stolen his wallet as well.  As a way to cheer me up he told me about something called "FanExpo" that was held each year down in Toronto and that he wanted me to go with him.  So it was in order to try to keep Ryebone sober for 48 hours and to distract myself from my severely weakened immune system that we made our first trip down to FanExpo.

Fast forward three or four years to August 29/ 2011.  Our third or fourth time down.  We were becoming experts.  For instance we had learned through bitter experience that first year that it is essential to prebuy your tickets online lest you end up standing in line for upwards of two hours with a bunch of smelly, whiny, stereotypically sexually unappealing 30-something comic book geeks who (admittedly) still lived in their parents' basement (sadly I didn't even make that up and am still confused as to how it comes up in casual conversation and how the confessor of such a thing is not mocked and ridiculed by his friends).  It was situations like this, however, that brought to mind these questions of identity vis a vis the inclusion/exclusion social model I discussed above.

For those of you who have not been initiated into the fold the FanExpo is a convention whereby fans of comic books, movies, anime, horror, and video games can come together to meet celebrities in these fields and buy various products.  Mostly the commerce thing.  The main event is the "selling floor": basically a giant open room with a bunch of vendors set up their wares and hundreds of people buy Force FX lightsabers and have impromptu battles.  There is always a section in this main area where some celebrities charge exorbitant amounts to sign autographs.  There's also a fairly expansive video game section where this year they were previewing the newest Assassin's Creed game giving hardcore fans a chance to play it before it hit store shelves.  But the main part is the vendors: commerce and consumerism at its finest.  Walking in this year I felt the same kind of marginilization that I felt in all previous years.

First off I am not a huge comic book fan.  I'm a movie fan.  A video game fan.  Not a fan of casual drinking.  (If something's worth doing, it's worth doing right, goddamnit.)  Like any red-blooded male in North America over the age of one, I have a general knowledge about super heroes and have red and/or owned some comics or graphic novels and have masturbated at least once to some iteration of Catwoman (or a picture of Kristin Bell with a Catwoman mask drawn over her face with a marker).  I knew I was on the very outskirts of the comic book community, but I was unaware of how close I was to the brink.  Diving into the crowd at FanExpo I realized I was on the fringe of the fringe.  I didn't collect runs of individual comics searching through bins to find the numbers I was missing, I couldn't tell you the name of a single artist who drew in my favourite comics (even Alan Moore's collaborator on The Watchmen escapes me at the moment), and I certainly wouldn't have spent money buying the same edition of a comic with slightly different covers.  I knew the classics: Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Wolverine.  I had a modest collection of graphic novels at home.  I wore t-shirts with super hero logos on them.  But I was obviously not one of These People, though nobody really seemed to notice but me.  I was acutely aware of the fact that I simply did not belong there.  I was a mere pilgrim: a tourist at best.  While others walked around in various costumes for no good reason other than "they felt like it" (or "their wife/girlfriend wasn't around to nag them") and seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves I was experiencing a strange euphoria brought on by a combination of awe, wonder, and a strange, black substance I had eaten off the floor at lunch mistaking it for a pepperoni that had fallen off my pizza.  (The pepperoni was never heard from again...)

It was an odd spectacle to see pure consumerism laid bare with none of the usual trimmings or social proprieties in place to keep to mob in check.  It was nothing but bare bones stalls piled high with merchandise while the hungry jackals crowded around, pushing, teeth bared, their sweaty fists holding out wads of cash in exchange for some shiny new treasure.  It was intoxicating and I wanted everything to do with it.  I tried my best to join in the frenzy and suddenly I realized another absurdity, a consumerist paradox that only we here in the West would even claim to understand.  For most people the selling floor was The Thing to go to, but in order to get in you had to pay at least $30 for a ticket.  You had to spend money for the privilege of spending even more money inside.  It was bizarre and perverse and not something I think I could ever rationalize to anybody at any other time and place (including myself) but here it just made sense.  You have to spend money to spend money, as the old saying goes.  

In years previous I had tried to make a go of things as a fringe comic book fan, but I swore to myself this year that comics be damned I was here for the deals.  I wasn't going to start randomly buying comics or graphic novels like I had in the past "just because."  I was looking for a few specific things like a few volumes of The Walking Dead, and I was looking for some kick-ass deals, which it turns out I never found.  Instead my first kill was six Star Wars figures for the bargain basement price of $10.  One of them was Lando (Lando!) and the another was the medical droid from EMPIRE who helped Luke after Han rescued him from a cold death on Hoth and spent a (totally not gay) night with him in an improvised shelter waiting for Wedge Antilles and the rest of Rogue Squadron to locate them.  I can't remember the rest, but ten fucking dollars!  That's the shit that gets me hard.  The deals.  I also managed to find my new favourite toy: a twelve inch fully articulated model of Quentin Tarantino as Mr. Brown from RESEVOIR DOGS.  It was totally kick-ass.  It came with sunglasses, two guns, a holster, a pack of cigarettes, a lighter, and a tiny model of a CD of Like a Virgin that can actually be removed from its tiny case.  I ended up buying a couple of movies and a Superman t-shirt to replace the the police still have.  But no comics or graphic novels of any sort.  It was liberating.  I was finally only buying the shit I really wanted to buy.

Ryebone's adventures were not so visceral however.  He was always the mastermind behind these trips, but this year he seemed to be off of his game.  See, for some reason he's always totally stoked to go down (yes, in that way too) but when we get there he seems to get all flustered.  We'd been there for three hours and I'd joined in the frenzy, but he was still walking around empty-handed.  It was only with my encouragement/chronic beratement that he finally grew some balls and bought the Knightfall series.  I'm not sure why, but Ryebone seemed a little off the whole trip.  Later as we were scouring Toronto for board and video games he ended up driving on a raised platform with tracks intended for a system of streetcars.  About halfway down the street he suddenly swerved to the right over the edge of the platform -a good ten to twelve inch elevation from the street below- screaming like a wild banshee about "the end of things."  At first I was scared, but then I realized we were both buckled in so if we did die and they found our charred corpses no one would ever wrongly suspect the accident of being caused by a case of highway head gone terribly wrong and I was able to calm my already battered nerves.  Then after our little joyride through downtown Toronto we stopped at a small games and hobbies store where after spending three hours at the FanExpo he only reluctantly spent forty bucks on some comics it took him less than ten minutes to decide to spend a hundred dollars on a hardcore edition of Settlers of Catan.  It was well worth the money, don't get me wrong, it was just his erratic behaviour that worried me.  

Perhaps the energy on the selling floor had overloaded his circuits somehow.  Fused his brain.  Besides the raging tides of people pushing us ever onward there was a bevy of characters walking around that had previously only existed in our imaginations or had been separated from us by some kind of transparent screen.  It was a veritable carnival where Freddy Krueger could be seen standing next to Boba Fett.  The Joker could be seen mingling with Lara Croft.  Ghostbusters were rubbing shoulders with Starfleet captains.   Various -and mostly Asian- dudes and dudettes were dressed as anime characters with giant swords that I had no idea who they were.  And young women in varying degrees of hotness (and notness) could be seen rocking every fanboy's ultimate fantasy: the Princess Leia slave outfit.  Ryebone said he felt "kinda dirty" after looking at some of the hotness there, but I didn't really understand.  This was coming from the man whose measuring stick for a mature, adult relationship was the size of the "vag gap" of a potential mate.

All in all the trip was successful insofar as we left hundreds of dollars poorer, had probably caused serious structural damage to Ryebone's car, punched a storm trooper in the nuts, Ryebone had managed to stay sober for almost 34 hours, and I had had my little epiphany about estrangement and marginalization as a philosophically acceptable means of constructing one's identity.  Can't wait for next year.  I'll see you there.

(Just a note: all pictures in this article were taken by me... at last year's FanExpo.  I forgot my camera this year, and I was just going to let it slide, but for the sake of artistic integrity I thought you should know the truth.  Or, at least, whatever version of it works best for now.  Tits.)         


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Why Zombies are So Fucking Cool

The crowbar is the perfect weapon for fighting off hordes of zombies.  I'm not sure exactly when I decided this.  Maybe it was after reading The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, or maybe it was after watching SHAUN OF THE DEAD for the hundredth time, or maybe it was on that strange and terrible night that Ryebone passed me that crack pipe and I got The Terror and I spent eight hours on the roof of his apartment building trying to explain to the police on the ground below how the faces in my coffee warned me of the impending space zombie apocalypse and that the only person in the universe perfectly equipped to deal with it was some kind of cybernetic being created by surgically grafting components from R2D2 onto Peter Weller and then injecting him with alien DNA from the alien from ALIEN and finally arming him with a crowbar with laser sights.

Most people don't spend a lot of time thinking about the (as far as we know) extremely unlikely event that the planet will be overrun with zombies let alone what would be the best way to do away with this undead threat or if having sex with a zombie (who is technically undead) would technically be considered necrophelia. (Technically unnecrophelia, right?  And therefore not morally reprehensible.)  But these are the thoughts that run through my brain periodically throughout the day or night when I'm not thinking about breasts or STAR WARS or breasts.

 As much as I hate to be lumped in with the popular crowd, it seems as though I am not entirely alone in my (slight) obsession with zombies.  There seems to be an entire subculture developing around our walking dead friends and the entire genre of zombie literature (books, movies, graphic novels) has really become mainstream to the point where zombies now rival vampires for popularity in our collective unconscious.  As soon as some hack of a writer out there churns out some tween novel where the female protagonist falls in love with a zombie then proceeds to cocktease him and his mummy rival for three or four sequels (yes, that was a veiled TWILIGHT reference) then I'll have to start hating the whole thing on principle alone.  Teenage girls are a good social barometer: anything they like I know I have to hate.  Zombies + teenage angst = me strangling myself with an extension cord.

But until Stephanie Meyer or someone with even less talent (Hey, J.K. Rowling, even your shit looks better by comparison) comes along and reduces the zombie to a veiled metaphor for repressed teenage sexuality and uses the idiom of the zombie merely as an excuse to have some angst-filled zombie wander around without his shirt on to show off his six-pack abs I will continue to enjoy me some zombie action.

The interesting part about zombies isn't that I -and so many others- seem to enjoy their gluttonous rampages of disembowelment: it's why.  What makes these these undead fiends so appealing to our conscious and our unconscious?  What makes us shell out hard earned cash to buy the literature and go to the movies?  What is it about these shambling corpses that seems to have captured our imaginations and our hearts (both metaphorically and literally)?  Well, as usual, I have some unsolicited thoughts on the matter.  Without further delay here are a list of reasons why I think zombies are so fucking cool.

#1: Visceral Evisceration

The first reason our culture seems to love zombies so much is pretty simple: we love to watch terrible things happen to people.  We eat that shit up.  With a gore-covered spoon.  There's a certain adrenaline rush that comes from witnessing gruesome events that the entire genre of horror movies is based on.  A lot of people (like, say, your grandma) don't like to admit it, but we -both as a culture and as homo sapiens- are fascinated with the macabre.  We love watching movies about some chainsaw-wielding maniac chopping people into tiny pieces.  We love to slow down to look at an accident on the highway to see if we can see any carnage or destruction.  The best stories we have are when somebody got fucked up.  Think about it.  A story about a car crash where everybody survived is uplifting, yes, but infinitely more boring than a story about a car crash where everybody meets a terrible end and the inside of the car was decorated with somebody's internal organs.

 It's a rush.

 It's a high.

Most fans of zombie literature will tell you their favourite parts are when the human characters get eaten by the zombies.  That's kind of the whole fun of it.  A zombie movie where all the survivors work together, kill all the zombies, then escape to an island paradise, then sit around the campfire and make s'mores and sing Kumbaya would be boring as shit.  As fun as it is to watch the human characters dispatch their undead pursuers in increasingly inventive ways, it's still not half as fun or emotionally satisfying as watching one of the human survivors be ripped in half by a dozen ravenous zombies.  I get so much more (potentially sadistic) pleasure from watching a guy's face get ripped off of his skull in DAY OF THE DEAD than I do from watching some fucking stupid zombie get his head chopped off by a helicopter's spinning blades in DAWN OF THE DEAD.  It's always way more fun when the heroes get royally fucked up.  Deep down, we want the hero to lose.  We want the world to go to shit.  There's something satisfying in believing in some kind of apocalypse.  Like no matter what happens we can always be assured of one constant: things will always get worse.  No matter how hard we try we will grow old and die.  There is no way to escape it.  Which segues nicely into my second reason zombies are so fucking cool...

#2: Shuffle Off That Mortal Coil, Biatch!

I seem to recall reading some essay by Simon Pegg (yes that Simon Pegg) about how zombies are the physical embodiment of death though of course now I can't find it to save my life.  And in retrospect I'm not even 100% sure it was Simon Pegg.  I'm not sure if it's my age catching up to me or the brain damage caused by that small dose of anthrax Ryebone sent me in the mail last April Fool's Day.  Whoever wrote the essay they were right.  One reason our culture is becoming obsessed with zombies over other monsters like sasquatches or gremlins is because zombies represent one of our oldest, most primal fears: the fear of death.  Ultimately any fear is really the fear of death.  There is perhaps no concept more terrifying and intriguing than our own mortality (except maybe waking up in the body of Rosie O'Donnell).

Death is inevitable.  It is also the Great Unknown.  We're terrified not of leaving this life, but of not knowing what -if anything- happens next.  Everybody dies alone.  While you might have some kind of emotional support system dealing with other fears and phobias, once you die you're on your own.  For better or worse. It's not the dying that we have problems with it's the uncertainty of what happens afterwards.  The concept of death is really the driving force behind our concept of Fate or Destiny.  One of the major cornerstones of any religion is how it explains what happens after death.  People need to cling to something.  They want to be reassured that there's something on "the other side."  Not only do people seem to want to believe in an afterlife but a lot of people -particularly in Western society- need to envision the afterlife as Place of Justice where the righteous are rewarded and the wicked are punished.  In reality you probably just end up hanging out with a decaying Micheal Keaton who keeps trying to look under your girlfriend's skirt for all eternity.

Zombies are such a satisfying metaphor because they allow us to personify death.  Along with this personification comes the ability to quite literally fight back.  By giving death a physical body it allows us to crack open the skull of that body with a fucking crowbar.  At the same time as zombies represent the unstoppable force of death, they also empower the survivors in the narrative as well as the audience experiencing the horror vicariously through them.  In the zombie narrative the characters can quite literally kill death.  Humanity can fight back against a physical enemy much more effectively than a metaphysical one.  Until the time comes, of course, when scientists develop a metaphysical shotgun and we can blow Death's brains out for good.

#3: Sweet Zombie Jesus!

Zombies not only represent our own, inevitable (and in the case of zombies, probably quite grizzly) death: in some twisted way they also represent a sort of triumph over death.  What are zombies?  They are the reanimated corpses of dead human beings.  You know what that is?  That's what they referred to in the bible as "resurrection."  Think about it.  Jesus was the first zombie in Western literature.  Now some of you might argue that Lazarus was actually the first zombie who after several days rotting in a cave somewhere in the Middle East was brought back to life by the aforementioned Jesus.  First of all I would respond by telling you to get a life and stop reading the bible in your spare time.  Reciting the ten commandments never got anybody laid.  Ever.  Second I would have to point out that only a zombie can create another zombie and if you allow that Lazarus was a zombie and Jesus was the one who turned him into a zombie, then Jesus would have to be a zombie in order to have turned Lazarus into zombiekind.  Or at the very least he would have to have been some kind of Typhoid Mary-style carrier of some zombie virus.  The entire story of Jesus' death by crucifixion and subsequent resurrection is basically a prequel to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.  Jesus is tortured and murdered to death then buried in a cave for three days after which time he comes back to life.  And you know how he proves to the disciples who he really is?  He shows them the wounds in his hands and in his side.  Yes, Jesus now comes complete with authentic battle damage.  The very fact that he still has those wounds tells us that -just like zombies- his body is incapable of healing.  The fact that he is a zombie and can still talk is probably just one in a long list of ridiculous exaggerations that plagues the bible and really keeps it from being taken seriously.

#4: What are the Philosophical Implications of "All You Can Eat"?

Another thing that zombies represent is irrepresible hunger, or if you're Catholic, then gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins (AKA the best parts of being human).  These theme was really driven home by the video game Dead Rising where in an attempt to produce more beef for the American fast food industry scientists accidentally bioengineered the zombie plague.  The resulting zombies in this case become a metaphor not only for gluttony, but also for American (and by extension Western) consumerist society.  In the game this clearly had negative implications, although I didn't hear any stories of anybody selling all of his worldly possessions and donating the money to charity before going off to live in the woods like Survivorman after playing Dead Rising.  Although Les Stroud is pretty fucking cool and I would pay big bucks to see the Survivorman: Zombie Special where he's stuck out in the woods and has to fashion his own zombie-killing instruments using some sticks and rocks and his own shoelaces.  I guarantee that he would find no less than ten invaluable ways to use the defeated corpse of a zombie to survive including using its intestines to lash together a shelter, removing the femur bone to use as a weapon for killing even more zombies and somehow starting a fire.  Dude can start a fire with just about anything.  Sorry, where was I?  Oh yeah, number five...

#5: Cursed By His Own Hubris

Zombies are fucking cool.  I mean, they never lose their shit.  They remain calm and collected.  Even when they sense their prey nearby they don't feel the need to quicken their pace.  Zombies are like the Clint Eastwoods of the horror world.  (Except when they're not, like in ZOMBIELAND where they run around like crazy.  But even when they're running it's not because they've lost their shit.  They've got their shit under control.)  Perhaps the scariest part about any zombie movie isn't the zombies themselves but the human characters who always manage to fuck things up royally.  No matter how good or bad things are going the human characters always manage to make it worse either through malice of intent like the biker gang in DAWN OF THE DEAD, by losing their shit and fucking around like Roger in DAWN OF THE DEAD when he was blocking off the doors with the trucks, or whether through plain, good old-fashioned fucking up like when David smashes the window of the Winchester in SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

For some reason no matter how good the survivors have it they seem intent on screwing themselves over.  The perfect example of this is DAY OF THE DEAD where through infighting, massive personality clashes and a whole lot of pent up sexual frustration these survivors who are safe and secure in a heavily fortified military base somehow manage to allow themselves to be decimated by the zombie hordes.  While it made for a much more entertaining movie than if they just sat tight and had a few orgies while they waited for the zombie thing to just "blow over," it's still frustrating to watch the last hope of humanity (ie. cooperation for mutual self-preservation (and eventual repopulation (ie. sex with all the hot survivors of which there will be many because it's usually the ugly who are the first to go))) go up in smoke like the burning corpses of your family and friends to make sure they don't come back to life.

#6: Can I Get Your Autograph?  Just Make It Out To ARRRRRRGHGGHGGHGGGHH!

OK, here's the part where I kind of feel super clever because this is one insight about zombies that I have never seen mentioned anywhere else and I feel that I came to this conclusion completely on my own (although seeing as my consciousness is merely the conglomerate of countless social and cultural codes and concepts, I suppose "originality of thought" is something of a paradox).  Are you ready for this?  Are you sure?  Here we go.  Zombies represent our modern conceptualization of celebrity.  Millions of mindless drones trying to claw their way towards those bright beacons of light known as survivors.  The zombie/survivor relationship is the perfect analogy for the fan/celebrity relationship.  We -as fans- are like emotional zombies who swarm around celebrities whenever they make a public appearance trying to get a piece of them, usually in the form of an autograph or a lock of their perfectly groomed hair.  Or maybe their underwear.  Or a sperm sample.  Or something personal of theirs that ended up in the trash.  Like a used kleenex.  Nothing too crazy.  Perhaps this idea is best summed up by a quote from an as-yet-unnamed character from an as-yet-finished and unpublished piece of zombie literature (how's that for some meta post modern bullshit?):

"You don't get it, do you?  You still don't know what this is.  Those things out there they want us.  Us.  And nothing else.  They want us so bad they can practically taste it.  They don't even know why.  They see us and they want us.  Because we're special.  And they're not.  They're the faceless masses clawing at the chance for a piece -just a piece- of something bigger than themselves.  We are the bright shining light that they swarm around.  Just like when people used to line up to get an autograph from their favourite sports hero or movie star.  Well I'm not going to turn them away.  I'm going to sign their fucking autographs.  I'm going to write my name in the side of their heads with a fucking baseball bat and a shotgun.  I'm going to sign my name in their blood and they'll love me for it.  This is our time now.  And nobody's going to take that away from us.  We already got our place in history.  We're the survivors."

Alright, there you have it.  My small contribution to zombie historiography.  I think we've all had a lot of fun and even learned a thing or two along the way.  But before I finish off there is the small, but important, matter that we still haven't covered in discussing the cultural significance of zombies: but first, the whores!