The erudite have a new “favored monster”—the zombie, said Torie Bosch. The latest fad in kitschy entertainment is TV shows, movies, and novels about soulless ghouls who stalk the living, devouring their flesh, intestines, and brains. Zombies are the stars of the TV drama The Walking Dead, which draws 7 million viewers a week, and of a new “literary zombie novel,” Zone One. Even Brad Pitt is filming a zombie movie, titled World War Z.
Why zombies? They’re a perfect metaphor for the nation’s economic “horror show,” capturing white-collar workers’ worst fears. As zombies take control of the Earth, the social order and economy disintegrate; the people who are most likely to survive can handle weapons, hunt, grow food, or repair cars and generators. Urban and suburban sophisticates find that they no longer have any status or value, and are doomed to become prey for heartless, flesh-hungry monsters.
Sound familiar? The zombie scenario takes our deepest economic fears “and explodes them.” But don’t despair: The economy will eventually improve, and we’ll move on to some new way to terrify ourselves.