ALERT ALERT – new reports show that the zombie infection has spread beyond capacity – the public has yet to receive any data on how the pathogen has spread, but first responders around the country claim that the infection began in our nation’s hospitals – after spreading past patient zero, it’ll only be a matter of time before you’re next.
Thankfully, the Department of Defense in their 2011 “Counter-Zombie Dominance” survival plan provides easy to follow instructions – they say that hospitals will “become sources of zombieism in and of themselves as victims mutate.”1 They advise for an immediate elimination of all zombies that “will deny healthy humans access to medical equipment, medicines, and blood/tissue/organ banks necessary for survival.”
Healthy humans must also not “go back for family, friends” or anyone who cannot get away from zombies quickly enough. Those who fall behind must be left behind.
This survivalist narrative is not unique to the government, but also feeds status quo legal discussions of physician-assisted suicide – questions of the conscious choice and the horror of turning into the undead entangle rhetoric of the topic.
Anita DiGiacomo’s article exemplifies this fear in 2012 [Anita DiGiacomo, Esq.; “The Zombie Pandemic in Florida”; http://works.bepress.com/anita_digiacomo/1/]
“Calls for suicide are symptoms of a failing system, not solutions.” I agree. In the case at hand, the system will have failed and there will be no foreseeable solutions. It would not be constitutional to force the killing of people who are infected, butgiven the dire circumstances, stopping people who are infected from ending their misery and the potential to harm others as mindless zombies, would be against the interests of the human race and give new fire to constitutional claims. Due Process arguments to end one’s life in a dignified manner (through physician assisted suicide) will likely have a revival, given the considerably different circumstances one would be in, if left to die of natural causes. Faced with the option of becoming a gruesome sight and danger to society, or in fear of zombies, hopefully the Florida legislature will have a greater incentive to uphold the rights of individuals and act accordingly. The right to end one’s life in a dignified manner should also be extended to assisted suicide outside of the medical setting, done by those who may not be licensed physicians.There may be a point where hospitals are overrun, and those around an infected individual may be the only ones he/she may turn to help ease suffering. There is obviously a lot of room for abuse and there will not be a good system in place to protect would be victims of said abuse. Formulating a system to assure that no one may benefit financially (or otherwise) from the demise of another at his or her hands should be looked into immediately, before a zombie pandemic. As with most things in life, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” To even keep a system of government going may be difficult, so planning for the apocalypse should be done as far in advance as possible.TheCenters for Disease Control and Prevention have taken a “better safe than sorry” standpoint to preparing the supplies and an emergency plan necessary to survive this pandemic. They claim to have a plan in place, including isolation of those infected and a study of the disease, along with a promise to assist infected cities. Were the whole of the United States (let alone the world) to be affected by the zombie pandemic, it is extremely unlikely that the CDC would be able to help the individual very much in his/her struggle for survival. Each individual will likely have to care for herself/himself until help arrives. There will likely be foolish push back, by those who believe zombies to be living beings, against allowing assisted suicide. This, if left unchecked, will lead to further damage by the zombie pandemic.Eventually most people come to the understanding that zombies are not alive. For the sake of humankind [sic], I hope this realization comes sooner rather than later.
The zombie in media and government survival plans incites panic that floats through the air and mixes with the screams of those lost to the infection. The dominant story begins and ends with fear, but why are we so afraid?
Chapter 2 – The Process of Zombification
The figurative zombie on the screen of the cinemaplex represents an evolving trope that targets and thingifies different categories of existence – it was not created by lab accidents, but instead stems from a deeper, internalized fear of the overturnings of power that haunts survival plans past, present, and future, specifically, the settler’s horror of being “turned” into the colonized through being eaten by supposed cannibals. The colonizers concept of paradise lied in stark contrast to the fear of collapse into a hellish zombie apocalypse.
Watts, ‘14 [Eric King Watts, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; “’The Incessant Moan’: Reanimating Zombie Voices”; Carroll C. Arnold Distinguished Lecture, NCA 99th Annual Convention, 2014]
Both works show how the ghostly presence of oppressed labor haunts horrific rituals of bodily consumption; and this eerie possession has functioned as a condition of the zombie from its inception in Western imaginaries. The flesh-eater and the zombie slave are not distinct species of zombie tempered in different times and engineered through dissimilar technological capacities. The zombie slave and the eating machine are of the same genus; we must acknowledge that current grotesque displays of bodily mutilation and ingestion, conveniently indexed to Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and presented in shows like The Walking Dead, are preoccupied with repeating this longstanding insidious relation between avarice and abject labor. Second, these concerns are preoccupied with the postracial. Against more common notions, the postracial is not understood here as a transcendence of racial structures and feelings. Rather, it indexes two bonded phenomena: first, it registers extreme foreboding and optimism regarding how rapid social change might transmute the racial order; and second it notates hysterical attempts by racial chauvinists to fabricate new political and economic alignments among competing interests so as to resuscitate the privileges and disadvantages sustained by the late order. In short, postracial is the name presently assigned to the intense experience of these twinned phenomena. These concerns can be traced to the colonial invention of the very idea of the Caribbean as a space of tropical delicacies for North American and European consumption, the exploitation and mutilation of labor, and the severely felt potential of white insolvency. Schuyler was not oblivious to this context. As a keen journalist of U.S. political affairs, Schuyler was knowledgeable of the implications of the U.S. occupation of Haiti between 1915 and 1934; as a critic of the New Negro movement, he mapped the ways that governmental agencies and cultural outlets like the Guggenheim Foundation conspired for and against black artists and intellectuals’ access to that emerging Black Republic. Many of the earliest and most widely circulated images of Haitian culture, voodoo priests, and zombies were invented and moved through networked archival projects.35 As for White Zombie, it is important not because it is the first film illustrating the zombie; rather its significance is due to its unabashed demonstration of the integral role that Empire played in popularizing the zombie. The making of the Caribbean as an exotic space of warm sunshine, sweet fruit, and chocolate was bound up with the fabrication of the white imperial self.36 Lurking in the shadows, however, were feverish nightmares concerning white degeneration, infection, and black suffering bodies. In some ways, it makes perfect sense for these projections to eventually find themselves on big and small screens. But before that cinematic and televisual spectacle began, figures of abjection had to germinate and crystalize through colonial relations helping to bring forth the zombie. The space of this lecture is inadequate for an explication of this difficult and complex history, but I want to briefly introduce three topics integral to the invention of what we call the Caribbean. First, we should consider how our appreciation of the “tropics” is organized by the metaphor of consumption—by insatiable appetites and fears of being eaten. Second, we must ponder how this bodily breakdown corresponds to the presumed and actual transmission of pathogens and disease. Third, we should note how laboring black and brown bodies were effectively reduced to the status of the raw materials they worked—how laborers became objects that made other things and how they could be utterly un-made as things. Under different circumstances it might be amusing to imagine Christopher Columbus, lost and confused, meeting native folk in the Indies and considering them primitive. But that’s what he did and he was not alone. Just as peculiar was the sentiment that these savages were also cannibals, and if given the chance would gobble up the white conqueror. Of course, we all know that it was the colonizer who would do the eating and raping.37 Mimi Sheller put the matter like this: “In this ‘porno-tropics’ the crisis of male imperial identity was warded off by naming the unknown as ‘cannibal,’ thereby ‘confessing a dread that the unknown might literally rise up and devour the intruder whole.’” 38 The imperial craving for an abundance of goods not found in Europe was an impetus for constituting the Caribbean as a place served up by Providence as full of delicious things to eat.39 This delectability was raced, sexed, and held an immanent risk of infection, contamination, and illness. It came equipped with concerns over food poisoning, overeating, and vomiting. It also energized a potent principle of volatile convertibility that shows itself linguistically in the term “tropic.” Stemming from a Greek term meaning “turning” or “being turned,” tropical consumption is wound up, in its gut if you will, by a restless feeling that the eaten can suddenly become the eater, health can become sickness, master made to kneel to slave.40 This fear of being “turned” is immanent to appreciating the zombie relation. Considered as a crucible for imperial subjectivity, the Caribbean provoked torturous and unwanted reflection on the moral limits of limitless consumption. A recurring thematic of such contemplation was the spread of disease and rapid degeneration, which brings us to the second topic of invention. “In migrating to the Tropics and becoming slave owners white colonists placed their own bodies at risk. Besides the risks of fevers and death, they risked the effects of their unfettered exercise of coercion over enslaved bodies, with all the associated excesses of lust and power.”41 Contingencies of violence are points of transfusion as well as sites of contemplation; the risks faced by the white imperial body were multiplied, mutated, and injected back into the tropical social body in the form of “deadly new pathogens and feral animals, which together decimated the native populations.”42 My point is that anxious encounters with dark bodies, pleasures of gluttony, and an imagined degeneration of the social body brought about through widespread sickness are acute symptoms of the zombie relation. The third topic of invention was made manifest through colonial labor practices. Since much of the indigenous population of the Caribbean Islands was killed off shortly after Columbus and other early explorers from Europe arrived, the tropics were repopulated through a surge in West African slave imports. A global demand for foodstuffs shaping the Caribbean was energized by a rapacious appetite for exotic images, folklore, plants, and bodies. This tasting of blackness was mediated by the other senses. Black people and spaces were experienced as also feeling, smelling, looking, and sounding strangely.43 The fabulous wealth acquired through imperial possession was imprinted by aesthetic values produced by making extraordinary racial distinctions linked to body parts. One of the more savory ingredients of the Caribbean experience came in the form of the zombie slave, which seemed to embody the backwardness of black people, the mysterious capacity to bend people to the will of a secret sorcerer, the fantastic promise of a permanently laboring body, and the perennial threat of losing one’s freedom. The zombie figured a dreadful contingency—anyone can be turned into a mindless slave. But slaves can also revolt and be set loose. Elysium can degenerate into perdition where previously condemned souls may mobilize as the undead.By the time the United States put Marine boots on Haitian ground in the second decade of the 20th century, fantasies of black laboring bodies had been greatly mutated by the slow decay of the slave trade, the abolition of slaves, and the emergence of class struggles heightening anxieties regarding the insolvency of Empire. The zombie helped bring to life the modern horror genre at the very moment that an economic catastrophe formed a conjuncture with what felt like unprecedented black sovereignty. Tropes of the zombie capture and release these impressive affective pulses. I have written elsewhere that voice is the sound of these affective outbursts.44 And that voice can be endowed by a public acknowledgment of the ethical implications of these affective economies for the social body. I have also consistently maintained that the metaphor of the social body urges attention to the vitality and health of the social. And we all know that if one can afford a doctor’s visit, one can expect the physician to listen intently to the breath and breathing of one’s body. Despite serious risk of infection and insanity, let us put away the earplugs and endow zombie voices. Zombie Politics, Safe Zones, and the Incessant Moan Survivalism is not just a Red State psychosis, as Max Brooks suggested while considering the popularity of the ZSG; rather, it is a red-blooded condition that is more acutely experienced and more sharply expressed in times of rapid social change.45 Jean and John Comaroff have asserted that “zombies…have arisen in periods of social disruption, periods characterized as sharp shifts in control over the fabrication and circulation of value, periods that also serve to illuminate the here and now.”46 But I argue we must also enrich and embellish the sounds of our present crises by appreciating the screeches, yelps, or sighs venting the fears, joys, and anxieties of living with others. I have often been inspired by W.E.B. Du Bois’ work on the wails emitted by certain sections of the social body functioning as public address systems signaling potential calamity. Du Bois, of course, spoke from the space of blackness when demanding to be heard. Today, we must think in terms of interpenetrating social bodies and publics crying foul and whining in fear.
Fear of the undead stems from the anxiety and survival mentality of humanity – the zombie lacks any sense of self and lies in ontological opposition to humans still struggling to stay alive in the fictionalized apocalypse. Tracing the zombie narrative across cultures uncovers the ties between fear and the privileged conception of what constitutes ‘human.’
Boon, ‘7 [Kevin Alexander Boon, Associate Professor at Penn State, where he teaches film, writing, and literature, and coordinates the English baccalaureate program on the Mont Alto campus; “Ontological Anxiety Made Flesh: The Zombie in Literature, Film and Culture” From “Monsters and the Monstrous: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil”, edited by Niall Scott, published 2007 by Rodopi]
The zombie, as found in literature, film, and culture, is the most fully realized articulation of this dynamic interdependency between the human self and the monstrous other. The zombie myth embodies the monstrous, inhuman other and rightly locates the human instinct for the survival of self in issues of mortality. In the zombie, death is given agency. Fear of death is a primary human impulse, because death opposes the human instinct for survival, thus it is part of the survival instinct, not only because avoiding that which is deadly perpetuates survival, but also because of the biological payoff people receive for engaging in survival-related behaviours. As the ongoing research of Gregory A. Goodwin and Jamie Levison (Skidmore College) is examining, when animals engage in behaviours related to survival, their brains secrete opioids. This implies a strong biological base for the survival instinct. If the same is true for people, then a psychochemical reward for survival behaviours exists, which would offer possible explanations for the lure of horror in general and zombies in particular. Zombies are in direct opposition to the living. They embody physical corruption, thus reminding us of our own mortality. Because they are the animated dead, they represent an even greater danger to survival than a mere corpse by abbreviating the threat of death. Like physical death, zombies show no favouritism and exercise no judgment. Because they are the personification of corruption, zombies cannot themselves be corrupted. The army of the undead does not vanquish the enemy, it recruits them. To succumb is to become, and once you have become a zombie, self is lost irrevocably to the other. The zombie myth enters western consciousness primarily as a result of the US occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934. Toward the end of the occupation, zombies infiltrated American culture, through the publication of works such as William Seabrook’s 1929 piece The Magic Island and John Huston Craig’s 1933 Black Bagdad , which recounts trips to Haiti as early as 1912; through film with the 1932 production of White Zombi; and through fiction with works such as Theodore Roscoe’s A Grave Must Be Deep, serialized in Argosy between 1934 and 1935 (published in book form in 1947); Richard E. Goddard’s 1936 piece The Whistling Ancestors; and Roscoe’s Z is for Zombie, which was serialized in Argosy in 1937. The zombie has undergone transformations during the past ninety years, most notably the fusion of the zombie of Haitian folklore with the ghoul, which introduced flesh-eating into the zombie myth. But flesh-eating is older than the zombie myth and discussions of cannibalism in Haiti predate discussions of the Haitian zombie. Nineteenth century writers spoke of ritualistic cannibalism in Haiti. Sir Spencer St. John writes in 1884 of “rites at which dozens of human victims were sacrificed at a time” (Hayti or the Black Republic vii), but St. John’s work was highly controversial and marred by racial bias, as were many works of the period. Others, such as J.N. Léger in Son histoire et ses détracteurs, which was published in 1907, attempted to disabuse readers of their belief that Haitians were addicted to cannibalism. But the myth associating primitive cultures with cannibalism—a cultural taboo among westerners—had already been established by the time Seabrook’s accounts of labouring Haitian zombies lumbered into American literature. In the twentieth century, the Zombie of Haitian legend, the dead risen to work the sugar plantations and serve the needs of the Nganga (Haitian medicine men) and farmers, was fused with the ghoul of middleeastern origin. The ghoul, which in Arabic is a general term used to refer to any monstrous creature, equivalent to the English “Monster,” which is applied equally to Frankenstein’s creation, werewolves, vampires, bestial humans and human beasts, evolved into a term denoting a grave-robber into a term implying the cannibalistic eating of flesh. It is significant to note that the ghoul was a living creature eating the flesh of the dead. When zombies evolved into ghouls, they inverted this relationship – they became the dead eating the flesh of the living. This further characterizes the zombie as counterpoint to self, the opposite of us, always other. Like the term “Zombi,” which originated in central Africa’s lower Congo area as Nzambi Mpungu4 with the Bantu and Bakongo tribes, “ghoul’ originally referred to a disembodied spirit. Both terms were in use as early as the late eighteenth century: “ghoul” appeared in William Beckford’s Vathek (written in French in 1782 and published in English in 1786) and “zombie,” as Peter Dendle points out, can be found as early as 1789 in the writing of M.L.E. Moreau de Saint-Méry.5 Beckford’s novel includes several references to ghouls and from these references we can determine that the notion of the ghoul feeding on the flesh of corpses was already in currency in 1782. At one point, Carathis describes a cemetery at night as “So beautiful . . . [it] must be haunted by Gouls!” Her guides have died and she plans to “invite them [the ghouls] to regale on these fresh corpses.”6 By the twentieth century, the term “zombie” had ceased to represent spirit and came to represent an absence of spirit. This change is partially a result of mythology passed down from the Bakongo tribe. In the lower Congo River area, Nzambi was a term denoting the “sovereign Master”, the deity that placed man on Earth and takes him away at the moment of death. Men were expected to live under the nkondo mi Nzambi, or “God’s prohibitions”7. To violate these laws was a sin against Nzambi, or suma ku Nzambi, for which Nzambi might impose lufwa lumbi, the “bad death”. What is absent from the zombie as reshaped during the twentieth century by western culture, is its essential self—its human soul, those qualities that make a person unique among others - the very source of human privilege. A zombie lacks conscious experiences separate from physical processes, those events that brain researchers refer to as qualia. Zombies cannot retain a sense of self - a unique, human consciousness. This defining characteristic is often muddled in literature and film, but it is more central to the zombie myth than death, as you can have a zombie who is not actually dead, but you cannot have a zombie that retains its sense of identity. Zombie literature contains many stories presenting as zombies creatures with little or no conscious and volitional impairment. Stephen Jones’ 1993 anthology, The Mammoth Book of Zombies, for example, contains stories such as Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” in which hypnosis traps Valdemar’s soul inside his inanimate corpse, and Clive Barker’s “Sex, Death and Starshine,” in which deceased thespians return to their decaying bodies in order to perform Shakespeare on the stage. These stories tell of the living dead or the walking dead, but they are not properly zombie stories. Valdemar is dead, as are the characters in Barker’s story, but consciousness and volition continue after their physical death, thus they are more properly defined as ghosts. The reanimated dead are not proper zombies unless they lose some essential quality of self. If this were not the case, we might rightly refer to the stories of Lazarus and Jesus as zombie tales, a point that makes me titter every time I pass a church with a sign out front that reads “He is Risen.” To claim consciousness in zombies is to eliminate any useful distinction between zombies and ghosts (spirits that remain ensconced in their human flesh). Zombies in literature, film and culture fall into seven distinct categories or types, though all seven categories do not summon the ontological anxiety associated with the human survival instinct and the life/death, self/other binary, and thus not all are properly zombies. Nevertheless, they are labelled zombies and encountered in literature, film, and culture, and therefore it is necessary to consider them (even if only to dismiss their relevance to zombie studies). Among these is the “zombie ghost,” which I have just mentioned—a ghost or revenant that has returned (or in some cases, such as Poe’s Valdemar, never left) with either its whole self intact, or with enough self left to retain functional volition. There are few novel-length works that revolve around this type of zombie, Piers Anthony’s 1998 Zombie Lover, Christopher Moore’s recent 2004 work The Stupidest Angel, and Candace Caponegro’s 1988 The Breeze Horror. The pirates in John Carpenter’s 1980 film The Fog and Gore Verbinski’s 2003 release Pirates of the Caribbean, the lovers in the segment “Something to Tide You Over” from the 1982 piece Creepshow, and the decaying victims in the 1981 horror American Werewolf in London are all examples of zombie ghosts. Less frequent in film, but often found in literature, particularly young adult and children’s literature, is the “zombie ruse.” A surprising number of young adult and children’s titles contain the word zombie, works such as the 1993 work Gorgonzola Zombies in the Park. It is common to discover by the end of many of these works that the zombies were not actually zombies at all but the result of misunderstanding or deliberate misleading. The zombies in Roscoe’s 1937 work Z is for Zombie are a zombie ruse, and Harry Harrison’s 1991 Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of the Zombie Vampires doesn’t actually have any zombies in it. The remaining five types of zombies posit the potential loss of self and volition, thus more properly qualify as zombies. First among these is the “zombie drone,” a reanimated corpse brought back for the purposes of aiding production. These are worker zombies. Lumbering hulks, they bear no immediate physical threat to people they encounter, but they are a reminder that the self can be lost while the body continues to labour. Seabrook offers an early western definition of the zombie drone: The zombie . . . is a soulless human corpse, still dead, but taken from the grave and endowed by sorcery with a mechanical semblance of life - it is a dead body which is made to walk and act and move as if it were alive. People who have the power to do this go to a fresh grave, dig up the body before it has had time to rot, galvanize it into movement and then make it a servant or slave, occasionally for the commission of some crime, more often simply as a drudge around the habitation or the farm, setting it dull heavy tasks, and beating it like a dumb beast if it slackens.8 (Dead Men 22) The earliest zombies of zombie literature and those in stories and films directly inspired by Haitian mythology are primarily zombie drones. The earliest film zombies, in films such as the 1932 White Zombie, the 1936 Revolt of the Zombies, the 1941 King of the Zombies, the 1943 Revenge of the Zombies, and the same year’s release I Walked with a Zombie, and others, are also drones who have been reanimated by voodoo to serve the will of their masters. However, if we remove the necessity to refer to the zombie as a “zombie,” and include films that have creatures that qualify as zombies in character, though not in name, we can date the start of zombie film back to 1919 in the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,9 in which Cesare has been emptied of self and subjugated to the will of Caligari. The film zombie irrevocably changed with the 1968 release of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, in which Romero fuses the mythology of the zombie and the ghoul into the “zombie ghoul.” Romero’s Night gave zombies agency, a hunger for human flesh. The significance of Romero’s Night on all the zombie films that follow cannot be overestimated. Pre-Romero, you cannot find the zombie ghoul in film; post-Romero, you find very few zombie films that do not contain zombie ghouls. Like film, the earliest zombie fiction also deals with zombie drones, in works such as the 1936 book The Whistling Ancestors. Unlike film, zombie drones are frequent in literary works into the 1980s, with works such as Curt Selby’s 1982 I, Zombie and Peter Tremayne’s 1981 Zombie!. But under the influence of George Romero’s 1978 Dawn of the Dead and the third film of the Romero quartet, Day of the Dead in 1985, the popularity of the zombie ghoul took centre stage in literary works, and zombie novels and stories written in the past fifteen years are primarily about zombie ghouls. Many of these works take the form of self-published fan fiction, works such as Vince Churchill’s The Dead Shall Inherit the Earth, Mark E. Rogers The Dead, Len Barnhart’s Reign of the Dead and Apocalypse End, and Gary Wedlund’s Zombies in my Hometown are a few of the more popular selfpublished novels. All of these are reflections of Romero’s vision.10 Zombie novels by mainstream presses are less prevalent. Most are published by obscure or mass-market imprints, works such as Walter Greatshell’s Zombies, Briane Keene’s The Rising, Philip Nutman’s Wet Work, and Carlton Mellick III’s edgy The Baby Jesus Butt Plug. Anthologies of zombie-themed stories began appearing in the second half of the 1980s, beginning with Zombie! in 1985 (edited by Peter Haining), which was followed by Book of the Dead in 1989 (edited by John Skipp and Craig Spector, who published a sequel collection in 1992 under the title Still Dead), The Mammoth Book of Zombies (edited by Stephen Jones) and The Ultimate Zombie (edited by Byron Preiss and John Betancourt) both published in 1993, and James Lowder’s edited trilogy of zombie stories, The Book of All Flesh, The Book of More Flesh, and The Book of Final Flesh, which were published one per year from 2001-2003. The zombie ghoul in literature predates the zombie ghoul in film, its first appearance occurring as early as H.P. Lovecraft’s 1922 tale “Herbert West – Reanimator.” Though the ghoulish tendencies of the reanimated dead are subtle, they are unquestionably present, as the following excerpt shows. There was also that Arkham professor’s body which had done cannibal things before it had been captured and thrust unidentified into a madhouse cell at Sefton, where it beat the walls for sixteen years.11 (231) Lovecraft’s zombie ghoul appears forty-six years before Night of the Living Dead. But this early fusion of flesh-eating with the zombie is less global that the type we find in Romero’s films. Romero’s tales imply a danger to civilization. His protagonists struggle against zombie infestation in what has come to be known as “survival horror.” Emerging out of the zombie ghoul stories written since 1985 is a new type of zombie—the “zombie channel.” The zombie channel is a result of the need to breathe new life into what fast became mere rehash of Romero. Writers, who were unable to leave the survival horror genre without alienating zombie literature’s primary fan base, began to explore the point of view of the zombie. One of the best of these stories is “The Other Side of Theory” by Daniel Ksenych , in which zombies eat the flesh of others in order to “download”12 wisdom, to help them metamorphose into enlightened beings. In Brian Keene’s The Rising, the flesh-eating zombies are infested with a foreign consciousness to replace the self that has been lost to death. The dead are possessed by entities that have been “waiting eons”13 (30) for the opportunity to live through the dead flesh of others. Keene’s zombies are intelligent, coordinated, and purpose driven, but they are not zombie ghosts, as the entity that infests the dead bodies is not the self original inhabiting those bodies. A foreign consciousness channels through the corpse. Thus, Keene’s zombies represent the same loss of self as a zombie ghoul. Lucius Shepard’s 1984 work Green Eyes is particularly unique in that the spirits occupying the reanimated dead are other identities shaped by Jungian archetypes. The sixth type of zombie is the “tech zombie,” a zombie under the control of others, like the zombie drone, only controlled by means of some technological device or advancement. This category includes the wives in Ira Levin’s 1972 Stepford Wives, the Martian army in Kurt Vonnegut’s Sirens of Titan. Vonnegut describes the process: Their memories were cleaned out by mentalhealth experts, and Martian surgeons installed radio antennas in their skulls in order that the recruits might be radio-controlled. And then the recruits were given new names in the most haphazard fashion, and were assigned to the factories, the construction gangs, the administrative staff, or to the Army of Mars.14 (53) The final category of zombies is “cultural zombies.” Cultural zombies are characters that embody the definition of a zombie, characters who have lost self-identity or the capacity for volition, yet they are not literally the resurrected dead or the technologically-altered living. They are characters such as the zombie that Quentin P. in Joyce Carol Oates’s 1995 Zombie tries to manufacture - zombies manufactured by culture. Oates’s novel draws from mainstream American culture rather than the Haitian mysticism or Romero’s ghoulish vision. Her cultural inspiration is people such as Jeffrey Dahmer, who poured acid into holes he drilled in his victims’ heads in an attempt to create a zombie he could command as a sex slave. One of the most literate works dealing with cultural zombies is Brad Gooch’s 2000 novel Zombie00, narrated by a gay man who considers himself a zombie, and defines for readers the qualities of submission and selfless obedience that zombies possess. The human [sic] is a drone, subjugated to the will of others, a product of cultural voodoo. The zombie drone, zombie channel, tech zombie, zombie ghoul, and the cultural zombie are all antithetical to human identity, therefore monstrous. They challenge our most sacrosanct ideas of the self by transgressing the boundary between self and other. This journey, no matter how it is framed - in literature, film, or cultural folklore - reminds us of our ephemeral mortality and throws our cherished notions of human privilege into question.
The State hell-bent on survival controls the power over the zombification process as lives become permeated by death – law becomes murderous when we cheer on the slaughtering of zombified bodies.
Sutherland, ‘7 [Meghan Sutherland, Associate Professor of Visual Culture and Cinema Studies at University of Toronto, Mississauga, PhD Northwestern University in Media, Technology, and Society; “Rigor/Mortis: The Industrial Life of Style in American Zombie Cinema”; Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, Vol. 48, No. 1 (SPRING 2007), published by Wayne State University Press]
In this respect, the political landscape at stake in zombie cinema has more in common with the permanent "state of exception" that Giorgio Agamben attributes to sovereign power as such.12 For Agamben, as the coherent force of state structures begins to dissolve-a fate currently manifest in global or postmodern industrialization-the emergency becomes the rule, and sovereign power appears as "the point of indistinction between violence and law, the threshold on which violence passes over into law and law passes over into violence."13 Reconceptualizing the notion of the biopolitical-where state power intervenes in the body at the most viscous level-Agamben describes the subject of such an invasive power as "bare life" itself, so that sovereign power institutes not a way of life in a given place, but the permanent invocation of its own power to determine the very boundary between life and death, or flesh and structure. "Not simple natural life," he writes, "but life exposed to death (bare life or sacred life) is the originary political ele- ment."14 Or as Joan Copjec puts it, "To the exact extent that life becomes defined by death, is permeated by death, it becomes permeated by power."15 In this scenario, which is so familiar to us in the time of the Patriot Act, it is precisely the bleed or collapse of structural boundaries-between murder and law, power and the body, life and death-that constitutes the survival of sovereign power on the unpredictable terrain of modern politics.Few figures embody this state of affairs as well as the zombie film. In these films, death asserts its immanence in the living and life asserts its immanence in the dead; power defines the nature of this immanence; and the permanent state of exception, which subsequently levels all distinctions between murder and law, persists indefinitely past the title sequence. Indeed, we could almost generalize this set of factors as the basic political conceit of zombie cinema across the many different specificities it contains. Whether we flinch or cheer at sharpshooters [sic] halting the rote itinerary of one zombie after another with bullets and hammers, it is the immanence of political power in raw flesh that we understand as [sic] revealed, precisely on the set of its own structural crisis. Zombies do not pay for merchandise and neither do those escaping them; they do not vote and no executive or military apparatus remains to punish or rescue them. But these apparati and their politics survive nevertheless in every living and dead body. With this understanding of the political figure at stake in zom- bie cinema in hand, then, the expressive potential of the zombie remake becomes much clearer. Inasmuch as the remake invokes a textual form of the zombie itself-the immanence of dead stories in new ones, if you will-it con- stitutes a strikingly appropriate vehicle for the kind of political critique the zombie film enacts.16 For what it reanimates as a text is the very endurance of this political scenario over and against the specific political moments that mark each film; or rather, the ongoing reproduction, over the most varied historical terrain, of the permanent state of exception. It presents the viewer with a broadly political spectacle of power that гатш/w-remaking itself in body after body-indefinitely. And in the process, it likewise presents us with a sensuous emblem of our own enduring attraction to spectacles critiquing such power. In other words, if the uncanniness of the zombie expresses a cer- tain political phenomenon, then the uncanniness of the remake carries that expression to the level of form. And as a recurrent syntactic element of the zombie genre, it constitutes a part of that expression in its own right; we might even call it part of a zombie aesthetic.