First some interesting psychology of why the Zombie genre is so popular, especially recently:
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, when zombie movies first made their grisly presence felt on the screen in large numbers, it was felt that zombies were an allegory for Communism - a creeping, insidious infection that could take over your mind if you weren't careful. However, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, communism is all but dead. So why the recent resurgence?
I would suggest two possible reasons. First, zombies are an allegory for man's own folly - we're all so worried about things like poisoning the environment, nuclear reactor meltdowns, and such, that the zombie has come to represent ourselves (and, by extension, our own creations) run amok. Second, in the event of a zombie uprising, the remaining survivors would pretty much have to do "whatever it takes" to survive. As such, the prospect of a zombie apocalypse actually represents a chance to throw off the constrictive fetters of society, shoot your neighbours in the face, steal some guns and a car, and drive off into the sunrise, taking along only those friends and family you trust and care about the most. As such, it represents a simplifying of life.
Next a political discussion of how differing strains of the polity would react to Z-Day:
To try to make Massie feel better let's have some fun with this and ask a different question -- what would different systemic international relations theories* predict regarding the effects of a zombie outbreak? Would the result be inconsequential -- or World War Z?
A structural realist would argue that, because of the uneven distribution of capabilities, some governments will be better placed to repulse the zombies than others. Furthermore, anyone who has seen Land of the Dead knows that zombies are not deterred by the stopping power of water. So that's the bad news.
A liberal institutionalist would argue that zombies represent a classic externality problem of... dying and then existing in an undead state and trying to cause others to do the same. Clearly, the zombie issue would cross borders and affect all states -- so the benefits from policy coordination would be pretty massive.
Now, avid followers of social constructivism might think that Wendt and Duvall (2008) have developed a model that would be useful for this kind of event... but you would be wrong. Back when this paper was in draft stage, I specifically queried them about wther their argument about UFOs could be generalized to zombies, vampires, ghosts, the Loch Ness monster, Elvis, etc. Their answer was an emphatic "no": aliens would be possessors of superior technology, while our classic sci-fi canon tells us that the zombies, while resistant to dying, are not technologically superior to humans. So that's a dead end.
Now, some would dispute whether neoconservatism is a systemic argument, but let's posit that it's a coherent IR theory. To its credit, the neoconservatives would recognize the zombie threat as an existential threat to the human way of life. Humans are from Earth, whereas zombies are from Hades -- clearly, neoconservatives would argue, zombies hate us for our freedom not to eat other humans' brains.
Foreign Policy Blog
A must add for your post apocalyptic book collection is the Zombie Identification Field Manual
And finally, an observation of who might be the first to go.....giving you valuable time retreat to your well stocked impenetrable fortress of the living:
As I was walking down rue Sainte-Catherine the other night a young man walking in front of me had his pants pulled down below his cheeks, with his tightie whities showing. (This is even worse, I think, than when there are boxers to shield the view. Tightie whities kind of ... cling. *shudders*) This event reminded me of a theory I've developed since the whole, you-wanna-see-my-underpants? trend began.Tera Lynn Childs
When the zombie apocalypse comes, boys with their pants below their butts will be eaten first.
Here is my reasoning: If the zombie horde is charging behind you, you're gonna need to run full out. Which means you can't hold onto your pants because you'll need full arm range of motion to get up to top speed. Which means your unsupported pants are going to fall to your ankles. Which means you will trip and fall to the ground and the zombie horde will be on you like last week's brains.
While I used to look at these boys with disgust (seriously guys, we really don't want to see that) now I'm kind of appreciative. It's like they're sacrificing themselves so the rest of us may live. Next time you see a pair of tightie whities mooning the world, thank the wearer. His butt just might save yours one day.
Maybe Z-Day is already here......walking through a mall last weekend with my wife [malls being a haven for vacant-eyed, slack-jawed oxygen bandits], I commented that I often felt like we were one of the few living, thinking people in a sea of Zombies. A sea infested with skin sacks who can quote to you the contestants on this season [and every other] of American Idol, but can't name their Senators. Shambling hordes who are attracted to pretty, shiny things but couldn't light a fire with matches and gasoline. People who exist as living clothes hangers for fashion wear, and share the same IQ.
Fear not...if you're reading this blog, you don't fall into the above categories, and take heart, those people will be the first to go when the Zombies appear. I'm tempted to day good riddance if it didn't also mean the end of Harley-Davidson parts, Starbucks and the political circus that keeps me so entertained.
Now get back to canning and re-loading!