When I took “The History of Western Civilizations” in college, the professor had a rather unique approach to the class. He never covered dates or dry historical facts. He left that to the history books. Every class was a discussion of the literature of the time period we were covering. We didn’t use up classroom time discussing important dates in Ancient Greece. Instead, we read their plays and poems. My professor believed that literature was where you really learned about a culture. Homer’s depiction of Zeus interacting with Hera told us much more about the Greek views of women than any history book. I think he was right.
And I think he’s still right. Our entertainment is almost always representative of where we stand culturally.
If that’s true, then, what does this “zombie apocalypse” trend say about our culture?
I think it says more than we realize. It’s important to point out that we aren’t obsessed with zombies. The “apocalypse” is just as important. Perhaps more important. I think it’s no coincidence that the Occupy Wall Street movement has cropped up in the same cultural era as the obsession with the zombie apocalypse.
Now, I’m not getting political here. I’m not talking about the merits of that movement. I’m simply saying that they both come from the same place, emotionally. When future generations look back at this time period, they’ll read about the thousands of people protesting the established societal structure. And it isn’t the same as the Vietnam protests. Those people – right or wrong – were protesting something specific. The Occupy Wall Street people aren’t. They’re catching a ton of criticism for that, but I think the fact that they aren’t specific – and yet are still protesting by the thousands – says something very powerful. It says that they aren’t standing against a single act, or even 10 acts. Or even a hundred. They want sweeping changes that can’t be clearly defined with a single catch phrase. They want change so fundamental that even some of them can’t define it.
I find it fascinating that one of the most popular genres in entertainment right now (the zombie apocalypse) has to do with the breakdown of society. And the heroes of these stories are often battling people they love. To me, the fact that this trend is so incredibly popular shows that many Americans at least find the concept of a complete breakdown of society not only terrifying, but fascinating and exciting.
Again, I’m not addressing the specifics of the Occupy Wall Street movement here. I’m not even talking about whether it’s right or wrong. That’s a debate for another site. I simply find it interesting that our entertainment trends still echo our societal trends. I haven’t spoken to him in years, but I find myself wondering if my old Western Civ Professor is thinking the same thing.
So what do you think? Am I just connecting two things that are actually unrelated (which is entirely possible)? Or do you see a connection as well?
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out the complete Day Soldiers Saga. It’s an apocalypse of a different kind.
Day Soldiers Book One
The Book that started it all…
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Day Soldiers Book Two
The exciting saga of the Day Soldiers continues…
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Day Soldiers Book Three
How does it all end? The thrilling conclusion to the Day Soldiers Trilogy.
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The Sneaker’s Handbook:
A Day Soldiers Guide to Killing Vampires and Werewolves
Your ignorance is the Legion’s most powerful weapon.
This companion piece is the manual that Lily Baxter was issued when she was assigned to the Sneakers.
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