(I know the featured image is not from TWD, but it’s a pretty zombie looking at “sky flowers,” as mentioned in the article. Relax.)
Am I getting too political with this article? Maybe. Is this a complex one? Again, that would be a solid maybe. I am posting this review review anyway, and hopefully you can follow along.
Before I really begin, I must confess that I am a left-leaning guy. I always have been, and most certainly always will be. This is one reason I am interested in Right Wing Watch (which I will abbreviate as RWW). Quite often they dig up startling stories that should not only frighten liberals and leftists, but anyone with a pulse (this isn’t to say liberals and leftists don’t create problems, but that’s another story).
All alarm aside, I was pleasantly surprised to see an article on Glenn Beck’s views on The Walking Dead. Being such a popular show, it’s fascinating to see how many public figures latch onto it and comment on it, hoping it will boost interest in their own careers. It inevitably does garner attention, but often for the wrong reasons. This is just such a case.
According to RWW, Glenn Beck is on a roll when it comes to false prophesies. In August of 2013, Beck apparently predicted the tensions between Russia and America would lead to WW3 within a year. That didn’t happen. He has predicted similar things about ISIS, of course. Basically, any terrible things going on (or things he sees as terrible) will merge into some mega conflagration, while Beck himself is gracefully leading us to safety (and isn’t that nice?).
Anyway, Beck claims the Walking Dead is evidence of his prophecies coming true:
“I think that we all know that the world is about to come undone… and so why are we watching ‘The Walking Dead’? We’re watching ‘The Walking Dead’ because we know the zombies aren’t real. And so it allows us to connect with what we’re really feeling but allows us to be in a safe zone because we know zombies aren’t real. Zombies are ISIS. Zombies is our economic peril. The rest of the show is what we say is coming”.
Now, here’s the M. Night Shyamalan twist to my Review Review: I actually agree with him. No, I don’t believe Glenn Beck has merit as any type of savior. I’m talking about the nature of the zombie genre, if not horror culture itself. Zombies do represent our fears, or at least will if they are done right. In fact, George A. Romero (an icon of the zombie genre), has always offered broad views of what zombies represent. For example, he has stated, “I always thought of the zombies as being about revolution, one generation consuming the next.” Then there’s this: “I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.” Also: “My stories are about humans and how they react, or fail to react, or react stupidly. I’m pointing the finger at us, not at the zombies. I try to respect and sympathize with the zombies as much as possible.”
As strange as it sounds, Glenn Beck hit the nail on the head. Maybe the zombies don’t perfectly represent ISIS, the economy, or what have you, but they are symbolic of whatever we fear can swallow us whole. They might not be the best symbol, and some of their depictions are more literal than others, but they are symbols. As a further example of zombie symbolism, I can cite Romero’s use of fireworks in “Land of the Dead” as a tool the protagonists use to distract zombies. The characters refer to them as “sky flowers.” In Romero’s view, it’s apparent that patriotic displays like fireworks are used to distract the would-be blue-collar revolutionaries from taking over. In Beck’s simpler view, zombies just represent something like ISIS. Neither view is 100% right, or 100% wrong. Most importantly, neither view should be taken too seriously. After all, zombies do not really exist. Yet.