12/11/2010

The logic of zombie apocalypse

In times of great stress, when the world is on edge, reporters often revisit the more unlikely myths. That is the time to interview the man who spotted Nessie, the little girl whose dog was abducted by aliens.

This is a good thing - as otherwise we would never get to find out anything about the lochness monster or alien abductions then where would we be when faced with actual danger? I refer you to the endless horror movie scenes in which the irritating skeptic is eaten by the monster from space. 

So I want to do my bit towards helping you be better informed. Here goes.

Why you shouldn't despair if a zombie apocalypse happens. 

We've all heard it. If - when - the zombie apocalypse begins, we're all gone.

There are two main reasons for this. First, we are bound, by the laws of horror, to do the wrong thing every time, just like we are bound to go and look in the attic if we hear strange noises caused by a demonic entity, or to open the front door and step outside to look when a murderer is lurking in our garden. Nothing can be done about that. If you would like to know before hand which stupid things you will find yourself doing in the event of a zombie apocalypse, then head over to the Oatmeal who offers a fairly comprehensive guide.

The second reason we are led to believe by the literature on the topic that zombies will eventually exterminate us is more dubious. Zombies, it is said, will reproduce faster than us. There will be millions of zombies for every pocket of surviving, shivering, arm-missing humans.

But what exactly are our grounds for thinking that this is the case?
It's not entirely clear how, precisely, zombies are created and how they reproduce. The consensus seems to be that zombification is the result of an infection, of sorts, kind of mixed up with voodoo magic, and maybe extra-terrestrial influence. Any way. 

The point is, how exactly does the infection spread? Does it spread only to corpses? Corpses that have been exposed to zombie saliva? This makes sense. So: if you are bitten by a zombie and then die, you will in turns become a zombie. But that requires contact and chance. The zombie must catch you. It must bite you. It must kill you. A zombie may well be lacking mobility or speed. A zombie is traditionally a rather clumsy heap of rotting flesh. Not as fast as your average unfit, overweight, stroller pushing, shopping carrying forty year old. So, unless you're actually stuck in an elevator with a couple of zombies and no blaster (not sure whether these are actual weapons or just things they have on Buffy, but they seem like they would be kinda effective on zombies - messy, mind you) - you'll be fine.

The part of the story that usually scares people is the thought that all the buried dead will come back as zombies. This is no where more obvious than in Halloween parties where people see fit to dress up as Victorian zombies. I mean, come on, people, use your common sense. Why do you think zombies are all torn off limbs, leaky eye ball, and exposed bone? Because they are rotten corpses. And how long do you think it takes for a buried corpse to fully decompose? (I can't believe I googled this). The flesh is gone within a year and in fifty years, so are the bones. So Victorian zombies? I don't think so. All you'll get out of a graveyard is the recent dead.Only those corpses that are sufficiently complete will become zombies. The rest may want to get out and eat our brains, but they won't have the means to claw their ways out, or if they do, to bite us.

I'm sorry to be blunt here, but, as a philosopher and a blogger, it befalls me, in these troubled times, to set the record straight. To believe that we would be suddenly invaded by armies of zombies is the result of a simple error of reasoning.

Of course, there are still ways in which a zombie epidemic could go bad. Zombies could attack a hospital, finding thousands of potential victims tied to their beds, and, let's face it, probably glad of the opportunity to become brain eaters so they don't have to swallow any more hospital food.

Another bad stroke of luck would be to have an epidemic in Egypt, where corpses tend to keep longer. But then it's not clear whether that would count as a zombie apocalypse rather than a mommie apocalypse, and if the latter, it's outside of the topic of this post.


So I will conclude by advising my readers not to be overly worried in the event of a zombie apocalypse, but to get a blaster, or, if you can't get hold of one, avoid getting into lifts with people who are obviously rotting corpses.

3 comments:

Zombie Survival said...

Well one could easily survive by just taking a few steps. A stilted home (like the ones in most beach areas) are ideal for zombie survival. But anywhere that you can either demolish or pull stairs up will be a forever safe haven against a zombie apocalypse. As zombies do not have the ability to jump you will be perfectly safe.

I suggest somewhere above the snowline as once it snows the zombies will freeze and you will be able to forage for materials and maybe even find a new safe house for the next year.

One could out live the entire apocalypse and die a normal death only due to getting old as long as they took the time to prepare. I suggest you do a bit of research on zombie survival as most people have the ability, but not the brains to actually survive.

And the zombies would only last so long before rotting so chances are they are all gone long before you die of old age.

Sandrine said...

This is the best argument for living by the sea side I have heard in a long time. Except of course that then you wouldn't be above the snow line. Maybe if you lived close enough to the sea so can just throw a line in the water and fish. Then you could have your house on stilts built underneath fruit trees... Zombie apocalypse doesn't sound so bad, does it?

sister3 said...

Okay....
I hate lifts anyway
And I have nothing against leaving in front of the sea under a fruit tree, and with one or two chicks in a little garden...
But most important of all :
OMG my sister is definitely crazy !!!!
wich is good, because I am still thinking of solutions to no war and its implications due to her last post on remebering day, and thinking she's crazy is much less tiring !

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