Donna Parker's Reviews > The Ultimate Walking Dead and Philosophy: Hungry for More

The Ultimate Walking Dead and Philosophy by Wayne Yuen
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it was amazing

There’s a slight possibility I could handle the horrors of the zombie apocalypse with slower-paced zombies, but express zombies are just too much. Think about it, you don’t have to outrun the zombies, just slower people, but with rapid zombies I know I wouldn’t last long. I don’t think we’d like The Walking Dead nearly as much if they were The Running Dead, or The Sprinting Dead, or even The Jogging Dead.
People are obsessed with books and movies about dystopian societies. Why? We’re already living in a dystopian society. There aren't any physical zombies, doesn't mean it's not scary, it's still a society controlled by money, a society controlled by those who destroy the very world that gives us life, for short-term profit and power. Worse than that, we let them. Maybe worse than that, we are them. Rick's famous We-Are-The-Walking-Dead speech is really about us, but it doesn't have to be, things can be different, we're not actually living with zombies yet, well, not technically.
Old school zombie guy George A. Romero tried to use zombies to get people to understand rampant consumerism and how it’s going to destroy us all, but somehow I think the message got lost. That hasn’t diminished its popularity, zombies have been slowly spreading through books, movies, TV shows, video games for decades, so before the zombie fad draws its last breath, we should examine the philosophy behind it all. I went to The Ultimate Walking Dead and Philosophy edited by Wayne Yuen, part of Open Court's awesome Popular Culture and Philosophy series. I took a bite out of it. It's a bloody delight. Many think of philosophy and picture dusty old books, ancient guys in togas debating the wisdom of the ages, but philosophy is alive and well. Not all thoughts are being condensed to 140 characters, or a status update, a vine, a meme, a gif, etc. I always think of pop culture as a form of philosophy, a way to examine life and all its meaning and non-meanings and submeanings and fauxmeanings and everything in between, safely, in pages of books, on the big and small screens and all the screens in between. I urge you to treat yourself to this or any book from this series, you won't be disappointed. They have just about anything to do with pop culture: Seinfeld, Buffy, Breaking Bad, GOT, Soccer, Baseball, Poker, Girls, Facebook, Simpsons, South Park, Sherlock, iPod, Dexter, Anime, Doctor Who, U2, Matrix, Halo, Harry Potter, Monty Python, The Beatles, The Princess Bride, Homeland, Planet of the Apes, Jurassic Park, Monk, World of Warcraft, Hip Hop, Lord of the Rings, Zelda, Star Trek, Downton Abbey, Sopranos, superheroes, Peanuts, Deadpool, Battlestar Galactica, Superman, Batman, Dracula, Sherlock, and more.
The Walking Dead is a mainstream hit, a soap opera about a post-apocalyptic world where people are being ripped apart by zombies, fighting each other, and still finding time for romance. It’s more about the people, their interactions, what they will do under horrible situations, the zombies are just to make it different than an actual soap opera, well, sort of. Based on a comic book series by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore w/ Charlie Adlard, Rus Wooton, Cliff Rathburn, Stefano Gaudiano (Image Comics), TWD follows a group of survivors, the main focus Sheriff Rick Grimes (played in the AMC series by Andrew Lincoln), in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. But I think in many ways Carl (played so well by Chandler Riggs) is the main focus of the show, why, because he represents the future, as does Asskicker, I mean, Judith. Carl’s had a tough time. Really confusing parenting issues, noticing members of the opposite sex, remembering where his hat is, helping raise his baby sister, learning to kill, farming, eatin’ too much puddin’, hunting, wandering in the woods (don’t pet the deer, Carl), lack of adult supervision, and of course, zombies.
If it takes a village to raise a child, what does it take during a zombie apocalypse? How many times have people asked where Carl is? Where’s Carl? OK, how many times has he actually been where they said he was? Parenting during the zombie apocalypse seems just as challenging as when a poltergeist takes your child into the TV. Carl wandering off has been a major plot device in this series. Let me give you a clue…he’s probably not in the house.
Strangely, it made me think of the parallels between Carl’s growing up in the zombie apocalypse and a child growing up with Autism. Both are growing up in a scary, confusing world where everything shifts and changes within seconds. They feel insecure, perplexed, and feel that something is always about to jumping out at them. And because of the way people react to them and other issues with understanding, yes, even their lives are in danger, at times.
It'll be curious to see where they go with Carl’s character (I know what happens in the graphic novels). So far Carl has seemed to thrive despite all he’s gone through. I reckon he’s sure doing better than some.
The Walking Dead isn’t just about zombies, but it would be cool to see a more realistic version of it - zombies searching for gluten-free brains, zombies not wanting to eat a cow because they're lactose intolerant, zombies trying to put together IKEA products, zombies and people having withdrawal from technology, coffee houses where zombie baristas who still spell your name wrong, zombies catching you because of your piercings, people unable to endure discomfort or lack of status symbols, dodging hyperbole and blame, Segwaying or hoverboarding away from zombies, vaping, zipping, nerding, oh lord, how will we live without selfies, oh wait, maybe it will become a trend to take a selfie with a zombie, er, nevermind. At least we won't have to worry about dieting. Maybe what the zombie apocalypse really needs is some common sense, I wish we could've had Andy Griffith on The Walking Dead as like, Rick Grimes’ Grandpa – he could’ve just charmed the zombies, talked some Matlock sense into them. I’d now settle for The Christopher Walken Dead, or maybe Shatner could show up and Kirk them. Fear the living indeed.
George A. Romero’s original vision of zombies were an allegory about consumerism run amok; zombies were about each of us consuming each other by over-consuming.
We find them fascinating because we see ourselves in them, the darkness inside, the monster within, a ravenous beast who lives only to consume, to devour, to munch through or chomp down.
There is something strangely admirable about zombies, they are who they are. No lying, no cheating, no deception, no manipulation – they want to tear your flesh apart and eat it and they make no bones about it. Are they even the bad guys or is it the humans who terrorize and torture each other?
“I expect a zombie to show up on 'Sesame Street' soon, teaching kids to count”, funny, yes, but is George A Romero's quote that far-fetched? Not really. His point? That’s how mainstream they’ve become in our attempt to accept and somehow justify our insane consumerism.
Not saying I don’t like this show, I love it, since the first moment it aired and beyond, and I thought I was a tad obsessive, even writing about it on my blog, yadadarcyyada (Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure) extensively, but nothing like some Deadites. These contemporary philosophers: Cole Bowman, Lea R. Lesinski, Richard Greene, Gordon Hawkes, Angel M. Cooper, Steven B. Cowan, Sabatino DiBernardo, William J. Devlin, Greg Littmann, Michael Da Silva, Dave Beisecker, Robert A. Delfino, Brandon Kempner, Robert Arp, Wayne Yuen, Rick Morris, Seth M.. Walker, Marty McKendry, Melissa Vosen Callens, Heather L. Castro know their dead, or maybe undead, definitely walking dead, biters, lurkers, cold ones, lamebrains, floaters, creepers, rotters, skin eaters, roamers, monsters, geeks, dead ones, whatever you want to call them. This book, like all the others in the series I've been lucky enough to read, is TWD is so voluptuous, so delectable, so splendidly substantial, so deliciously flawed but earnest, it’s impossible not to view and enjoy.
Let's examine zombies and what will happen if if they were somehow magically were real, hey, stranger things have happened, Donald Trump is running for President of the United States.
Zombies might rule because...
1. Zombies won’t just be dangerous because of the biting flesh part, they’re rotting corpses. Think about all the diseases they would cause, not to mention all the scavengers and parasites they would attract. Like some people you may know, zombies are toxic, but literally.
2. Zombies don’t need to sleep.
3. They’re not distracted by TV, the internet, cell phones, etc.
4. They don’t have any vices.
5. Zombies don’t get sick, I mean eventually they decompose, but who knows how long that will take?
6. Society will fall apart if they don’t have cell phones, the internet, TV, etc.
7. Sadly, Zombies will kill off children and probably their parents quickly, come on, think of how long it takes to get the average toddler to put on their shoes, get to sleep, etc…and how would they stay quiet enough? How would they be amused without technology?
8. Zombies don’t get bored and don’t need entertaining, they just wait around for food to be delivered to them or they wander around looking for takeout.
9. So many people are too apathetic or lazy to even get out and vote which effects your life just as much as zombies (have you seen some politicians?). How are they going to survive?
10. Statistically as there are more zombies and less humans, well, you do the math…the odds are against us.
Zombies won't rule...
1. Zombies are, so far, an analogy for over-consumption. We don’t have to worry about zombies, we’re killing ourselves off quite effectively.
2. Zombies seem relentless, but have no ambition, sort of like teens at a mall.
3. Zombie genre is hyper-focused on what zombies would do to humans. Not much about what nature would do to these walking smorgasbords. Nature doesn’t need fresh meat, many love decaying flesh. First the blowflies, flesh flies and maggots. Also, vultures, burying beetles, lions, wolves, dogs, eagles, hawks, coyotes, crows, raccoons, tigers, hyenas, etc. And cockroaches – they can live up to a week without a head, can’t say the same for zombies.
4. They’re dead and only getting deader. Weather, nature, and decomposition works wonders on the complexion and can make the average zombie into a sticky puddle of botox-won’t-help-that-sweetie-mess in no time.
5. Think of the zombie apocalypse as a Home Alone movie, but with zombies instead of inept burglars. They can’t strategize, they’re easily tricked, they don’t notice traps. Try sandbags, fences, walls, doors, boarded up windows, spikes, barbed wire, fire, or maybe even marbles, icy stairs, hot door knobs, paint cans, etc. would work.
6. No one really explains how zombies overcome the military. Zombies move toward armies, have no defenses, don’t retreat. This doesn’t even work as a Risk game.
7. As free-range humans become more scarce so would the food source; we’re just not that reliable. Also, we fight back.
8. Humans could get to islands, fortified or remote locations, and structures to wait until the zombies decompose.
9. Humans generally know more about survival now, ie. Water purification tabs, weapons, decoy camps, Dakota fire pits, how to purify urine to drink it, making a stove out of a soda can, etc.
10. I think Nerds will save us. They have special skills, right? Video games have taught them survival skills, including using a sniper riffle, crossbow, etc. Most already exist on processed foods. They’re used to staying up for days on end, they’re patient, and they don’t feel the need for a companionship. Also, they can figure out a way to start getting power back on, etc. They can read maps, are used to quests, and really, it’s as though they’ve been training for an apocalyptic event since the first time their hands touched a controller. Let’s hope these video game skills translate into life skills, wait, maybe I shouldn’t pin too much hope on this.
This is all speculation, zombies are impossible (maybe more like, highly improbable) and are still an allegory about consumerism gone wild. We find them interesting because we see how our over-consumption is really consuming us and the planet. We’ve brought them into the mainstream so we can accept them, accept ourselves as devouring, consuming, ravenous beasts. I guess.
Check out The Ultimate Walking Dead and Philosophy you'll feel after Thanksgiving dinner full...yum.
As we see in The Walking Dead zombies aren’t necessarily the scariest part of the apocalypse. I mean, they are who they are, right? They don’t lie to you, cheat, steal, manipulate, rape, taunt, torture, terrorize. They’re creatures driven by instinct. They just want to eat you (and they make no bones about it).
This just isn’t the right time for us, Apocalypse. We can still be friends, as long as you don’t keep trying to kill me. I deserve better.
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Reading Progress

May 30, 2016 – Started Reading
June 23, 2016 – Shelved
June 23, 2016 – Finished Reading

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