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Zombies and Us

 

The sky had a copper hue when I woke up. It convinced me just enough that it was too early in the morning to wake up and I needed to go back to sleep. So I did. I woke up an hour later to the combination of the wind howling outside my room and my phone alerting me that I had a message.  My friend had written me saying it wasn't worth meeting today because of the poor weather. I looked at the coppery sky and my mind slowly added one and one. The coppery hue was not the sun rising. It was sand making its way from the Gobi desert. It was a sandstorm, cool.  I quickly made a list of things that I shouldn't do in sand storm. I shouldn't do my shopping, or get my haircut and probably I should play it safe and not do my lesson plans as well, in case sand broke through and swept away my papers to someplace imaginary like, well Missouri I suppose.

  I chatted on the internet. I was able to chat with several friends  whom I normally did not chat with on the weekends because by ten in the morning, if I am having a good day, I am already long out of my apartment.  But soon everyone was on their way to their days and I was still stuck in my apartment.  I pondered cleaning my apartment but remember reading somewhere that the best defense against sand storms is piles of papers that haven't been moved in six months. So they won a reprieve. I took a quick a shower and a thought dawned on me. I could read a book. Not just any book, one with words and not just drawings.  I had a choice that needed to be made. It was between a book about language acquisition and one about zombies. Hmmm the tough decisions I am faced with, it is a miracle I survive.

I started and finished reading the book in a few hours. It was a nice brainless read. Good guys were good, bad guys were bad and zombies got killed for the most part. There wasn't much moral ambiguity about any of it. I looked outside and noticed the sky had turned blue again. If I remembered from anything from my zombie books is that daytime was the safest time to venture outside.  I still needed to get a haircut and more importantly food.

I went to the hair salon. In my part of town there are dozens of hair salons, and no normal barbers, and  on Saturday they are all full. So I had time to think while I waited my turn. I wondered why I liked zombies so much. I guess it because there is no way an author, or anyone else for that matter can defend them. Vampires are cool. The men are slick and suave and the female vampires are as sexy as they are deadly. Don't believe me? Watch a vampire movie and count how many overweight vampires you see. Werewolves are cool because they aren't always what they are and lead normal lives most of the time.

But zombies are gross. They communicate on with howls. They smell like rotting flesh. They are basically like New York Yankee fans if New York Yankee fans ate people (and I am not entirely convinced they do not). There is nothing good about them. I truly doubt you would see the ACLU defending zombie-rights on Fox News. Although if they did it may go something like this:

Talk show host : Now you do realize that zombies are literally destroying the human race?

Rights Activist: For crying out loud ! You say that about everything, last week you were blaming Sporks for the downfall of American society.

TSW: Listen I just call it as I see it. But Zombies, the eat people. That is actually all they do.

RA: Well no and to prove it I let one loose in your studio a few minutes ago now see they are perfectly safe.

TSH: Aaargh he is attacking all my staff...why did you do that? See I am right ...haha I was right ...oh I hope I don't die.

RA:  Now that is just the kind of discrimination I am talking about  people see their loved ones eaten and turned into brutal undead monsters and then they think zombies  are all the same. That is why I released another one in your studio

TSH: Oh nooo they are both coming after me...noooooo.......

RA: Oh! I didn't expect that to happen...well, yes I did.

I guess the thing that intrigues me the most about zombies is how much they resemble their human counterparts. Zombies exist to consume. Humans are no  different in that respect. If you do not believe me just look at any economist and they will say the only way out of the current economic Armageddon is by consuming more. Never mind that over consumption is the exact reason we got into this problem to begin with. It is much like hurting oneself when grabbing a hot handle and grabbing it again and again only to surprisingly be scalded again and again.

Americans in particular have become so involved in their iLives (ha another one I beat you to Mr. Steve Jobs) that we stop cooperating with each other. We do not do much with our families and friends anymore. All our relations are kept in a virtual context. We send e-mails instead of letters. We live in virtual communities and no longer know our neighbors. We even have virtual pets. In short all the things that make us living breathing beings are being replaced.

What was most striking to me in the book was how the zombies communicated. When they found a target they howled to each other. Much the way civil discourse has been reduced to yelling at each other and mass protests. We act first without thinking. If some talking head on TV says that a certain group is evil then without weighing the facts and discussing things in a rational manner, we tend to get violently angry against whatever is the current threat to our existence is. Although to be fair we have , for the most, stopped from resorting to violence it is only a matter of time before we do and other countries over the past decade people have lost their lives simply for presenting a different point of view. There are elements that have found ways to justify these acts of violence. It is this trend that has become prevalent in the west as well as other countries that have me most convinced that we don't need some plagued army of undead to become zombies.

By demonizing and dehumanizing those with disagree with us, we actually dehumanize ourselves. Look at the debate on healthcare. There is never a justification for dehumanizing someone, they bleed and feel pain just the same as we do. We do this without thinking. We do this because someone else told us too. In essence we become mindless beings only capable of destruction instead of people capable of finding solutions together.

---------------- Epilouge-----

The plan had originally been to get my haircut and then head home and write a blog and complain with my fellow netizens about the direction the world is going in. Instead I took a nice walk down and up the street and enjoyed a relaxing and delicious dinner in a restaurant. I enjoyed seeing the moon. I enjoyed tasting my food. I even enjoyed feeling a fresh wave night time  cold pass over my body.  It felt good to be alive, enjoying the senses that the world has to offer. Being free from virtual worlds and angry mobs I found myself at peace. No zombies would get me.

Comments
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Zombies and Monsters

Joshua,

I tried to read this blog a few times, and I finished reading it. I especially like the epilogue. It was getting more and more serious, and at the epilogue, I felt rewarded because of your humor about haircut.

About monsters, I've just learned that my generation in Japan is called Monsters! I guess what we tend to blurt out to our younger generation makes us monsters. I don't know if the word is selective to certain percentage of us. But I must be definitely included, and I'm proud of it. I feel useful here.

By the way, I'm learning Chinese. So, I envy you being in China. Wo xianmu ni.

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I noticed that also

Actually I wrote the more serious bits right before the vote on healthcare when "dialouge" had been replaced by "yelling at each other". This particular blog was originally supposed to be quite funny. I am doing quite poorly at learning Chinese. I am a above average(I hope) teacher but a lousy student. But the Chinese is slowly comming around. I can at least figure out bits and parts of menus (as long as they are written in Pin Yi). It is a delightful challenge and if I stay in China another year I am going to actually take *gulp* lessons.

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Chinese Menus

Joshua,

Well, if you can read Chinese menus whatever way they are written, that's one accomplishment. Besides, that's one great excuse you can give to your Chinese students for the reason you do not cook. Hee hee.

I always wanted to learn Chinese, and I had Chinese friends around me when I was working in Los Angeles. Now I'm in Japan, and I don't have any Chinese friends here, but now I really want to learn Chinese. So, we'll never know when we become good students.

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Oh I like that

It is so much better then the truth. Usually I tell them I don't cook because ...well...I am not what one would call a good cook...yes yes I will tell them I am practicing my pin yi