Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Zombies & the Turner Thesis

Hello all,


This post is going to divert from the usual ATZ game…though it’s been on hiatus while my Victorious Kickstarter was plugging along. This is more about the idea of zombie apocalypses (ZA) and their fascination to Americans.


What first got me interested in this idea was a comment made on the “Watching Dead” Podcast (baldmove.com) where the hosts compared the shooting and camerawork of the series The Walking Dead (TWD) to a western cowboy-style show. This connected with me, and I wondered why that was. After all, other than gunplay it didn’t seem to have much similarity on the surface.


Then (as I’m a historian) I thought of the 1893 Turner Thesis. In essence this lamented the fact that by 1893 the “Frontier” of the United States no longer existed. Turner was concerned at this because he believed that American culture was shaped by the idea of a frontier. A place where people who failed or had trouble in one place could simply go to the frontier and ‘remake’ themselves and their lives. This created the American ideal of self-made (wo)men and hard work leads to success. In short, overcoming obstacles was a character building exercise.


Then it occurred to me, isn’t that exactly what a post-ZA world is? A frontier of danger and opportunities all around you? Civilization is limited to small communities constantly under threat by outlaw humans and ‘natives’ (ie zombies)? A place where people can remake themselves for good or ill? Thinking about each of the main characters in TWD (TV)…each one of them has changed and grown as people. A few went bad to be sure, but they either died because of their bad choices (Shane) or recovered a sense of humanity to become overall better people (Rick, Daryl,…arguably Carol).


Anyway, it seems fascinating to consider. Please feel free to post opinions!


Zombie Chow


Monday, February 23, 2015

At the Clinic


The spattered man in the coat blinks at Connor, then sighs and comes over to the driver’s side of the cruiser. “Damn…” the medical staffer says. “I was hoping you were police reinforcements. Do you guys have any idea of the night we’ve been having?”


Matt slides across the seat and opens the rear doors. The man leans in and helps the officer out of the back. The officer seems disoriented, but then fixes his gaze on Connor. With a weak flip of his cuffed hands, he mumbles “My….daughter. At home…address on keychain….check on her.”


With that he falls unconscious again and it takes both Connor and the medic to carry him into the clinic.


Inside the stark lighting reveals chaos in motion. Moaning patients on gurneys, sitting in a waiting area with bandages, and several clinic staff rushing around trying to see to as many patients as possible. The medic gestures Connor to a curtained off side room and they set the officer onto the rumpled and bloody gurney set up within. The whole place is a cacophony of moans and shouts….then there is a piercing scream!





Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Highway to Hell!


“Damn, I feel like I’m in a buddy cop movie.”


Matt wasn’t thrilled with having to sit in the front seat of the police car, sandwiched between the brothers Connor and Chance, but from what that list from the CDC said it beat getting infected. The cop in the back seat was still unconscious and despite CJ’s best attempts couldn’t be roused. His bitten arm had been bandaged but that was all they could do.


Matt glanced down at the policeman’s belt in his lap. He’d holstered the cop’s pistol he’d grabbed off the street back near the hotel, but he still felt awkward in putting the belt on. It felt to him that if he did that, he’d take an irreversible step in this crisis. Almost as if by that act it would make the night’s horrors a grim reality.


“Hey!” Connor’d been flipping through the police radio and caught what sounded like an announcement. All three listened as a mechanical voice stated:


“…The Tyson City airport has been closed. All first responders are encouraged to maintain distance from infected individuals. Do not bring any injured to the East Texas Central Medical Center, as the riots there are still ongoing. Contact TCCM for additional advisories.”


The message continued on a loop, with uncertainty growing among the trio. Chance had found a brief hotspot and used his smart phone to find GPS directions to a nearby clinic just two blocks down, one block over. Unfortunately the signal had been lost immediately afterwards.

Curiously there are only a few cars on the road, though there seems to be more pedestrian traffic than expected this late at night.


Your moves, gents!


Zombie Chow