Maybe it’s our culture that’s undead

The zombie phenomenon must be at the saturation point. Sprint now has a spokezombie.

I hope that this signals the near end of the zombie fad, because I’ve had just about all I can stand of the undead. The fascination with zombies and vampires has eluded me. I mean, I really don’t get the celebration of undeadness. From my view, the only place in storytelling for creatures that are undead would be to use them as a foil to point the way toward life.

But that’s not how the secular culture handles zombies and vampires. Creatures that used to symbolize evil and destruction have been rehabilitated into misunderstood heroes. And it troubles me.

Only a culture in which evil and destruction are considered normal could embrace such creatures as if they were good. Only a culture that has lost sight of what true life entails could celebrate the undead.

The people themselves are spiritually undead, cultural zombies shuffling mindlessly through a dismal landscape, devouring minds and souls and leaving destruction in their wake.

There’s no point prepping for the zombie apocalypse. It’s already here.

About Kristen Stieffel

Kristen Stieffel is a writer and freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction. She's a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Christian Editor Connection, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

5 comments on “Maybe it’s our culture that’s undead

  1. I sure hope you are right about the zombie craze being over. I never “got it” either. But then again, I never understood the big attraction with vampires, Amish, angels, pirates, or dragons either. I don’t deny these can all have a part in stories. I just don’t get why they become a fad or a craze, such that if one (for example) writes a fantasy that happens NOT to have dragons, you’ve done something wrong and you best forget making any sales. Usually one or maybe two writers do a particular fad justice and then everyone else hops on the bandwagon, offering cheap knockoffs and trying to ride coattails. Ugh. Just ugh.

  2. I think that about sums up our culture.
    Dracula, the “original” vampire story that spawned a craze, was truly evil. Reading Dracula gives one goosebumps at the pure horror. I like stories like that where evil is really evil and must be countered with true good, so vampires and zombies in such a context are fine by me. The “vampires” with no flaws who set about trying to make the world a better place with their immortal lives are, to me, quite silly. It defeats the entire purpose of monster lore, which, as you put it, points the way to REAL life.

  3. “The people themselves are spiritually undead, cultural zombies shuffling mindlessly through a dismal landscape, devouring minds and souls and leaving destruction in their wake.”

    That’s exactly it. And I think people sense it, deep down. “I’m a monster. I’m a twisted, messed-up version of who I’m supposed to be.”

    When you sense that inside yourself, how will you react? Denial. Acceptance. Celebration of the very brokenness you wish wasn’t true because you don’t think you’ll ever be free of it.

    And if you’re stuck with it, how would you rather live? Believing that you’re a monster, worthy only of death or punishment? Or believing that you’re a hero, however broken?

  4. It really does depend on how the zombie story or film was written!
    I for one found a really cool zombie story! And unlike the usual “Brainsss…. urrrrghh” there are stages of infection, and more twists in the tale!!!!

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