Zombies and Our Thirst For Gore
Zombies have shuffled their way into a resurgence in pop culture over the last decade, but nothing has come close to the fever pitch produced in the news over recent weeks.
First, there was the frightening yet strange ’zombie’ case in Miami, Florida, where Rudy Eugene was shot and killed by police when they found him gnawing the face off another man. The particulars of the case are still somewhat unclear, although that hasn’t stopped mainstream news from being ’apocalyptic’ in their reporting.
Eugene was reportedly acting as if he was on drugs prior to the horrific attack, although the exact drug has not been verified (so the press has been cycling through them all). His girlfriend and mother claim he would never have voluntarily done such a thing, and thus he must have been drugged by persons unknown, or was a victim of a voodoo curse.
"Everybody says that he was a zombie, but I know he’s not a zombie; he’s my son," she said.
She said the man who ate another human being’s face was just not the son she knew.
"I don’t know what they injected in him to turn him into the person who did what he did," she said, making the motion of someone putting a syringe into the crook of her arm.
A grieving mother’s denial? Probably. But it’s not outside the realm of possibility, as it’s well documented that government agencies publicly, and secretly, test biological agents against unsuspecting civilians, without public consent or knowledge. The US military has engaged in dark medical experiments as well:
Experiments included administering LSD to CIA employees, military personnel, doctors, other government agents, prostitutes, mentally ill patients, and members of the general public in order to study their reactions. LSD and other drugs were usually administered without the subject’s knowledge and informed consent, a violation of the Nuremberg Code that the U.S. agreed to follow after WWII.Source
Next came a story from Maryland, where a college student was arrested for killing a man, dismembering him, and eating his heart and part of his brain. More cannibalism.
Then an incident in New Jersey, where a man stabbed himself 50 times and threw bits of his own intestines at police. Police tasered him, but he was allegedly not subdued easily. ’Zombie-like’ strength and disassociation.
All on the back of this, was an international incident that seemed to heighten the ’zombie/cannibal’ phenomenon.
A man hunt just ended last week after authorities in Germany arrested a young Canadian man, Luka Rocco Magnotta, who is accused of killing and dismembering Jun Lin, a 33-year-old undergraduate student at Montreal’s Concordia University. Magnotta was dubbed the "Canadian Psycho" by international press.
Not only was much of the horror of the killing and dismemberment filmed and uploaded to the internet, but Magnotta then allegedly, after eating parts of his victim, packaged up the various body parts and sent them through the post to conservative and liberal Canadian political party offices, as well as two elementary schools.
Jun Lin’s head and several limbs are still unaccounted for.
These cases, which would have traditionally been attributed to severe mental illness, are now being completely sensationalized, and described as zombie killings. The public has become very used to violence. We’re almost completely desensitized to violence. But cannibalism seems to strike at something different within us. For some, it’s compelling - for others, it’s a sign of end-times.
For all that they bemoan the tragedy, the media also embraces this sort of story to fuel their sales and ratings, and the public tunes in.
And why wouldn’t they? The very authority figures that the public look to for guidance and a voice of reason, like the Center for Disease Control (CDC), ran a campaign in 2011 to heighten awareness of the inevitable zombie apocalypse!
In a May 16th blog entry on the CDC.gov website called: Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse, author Ali S. Khan asks the question, "Where do zombies come from and why do they love eating brains so much?" The article then goes on to suppose that "zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder - How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?"Source
CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine).
But now the CDC is reversing its stance on an undead holocaust, and has denied the existence of zombies.
With the media hyping zombies, government agencies considering zombies, and corporations pushing any products they can associate with zombies, it should come as no surprise that scammers now are getting in on the action.
Whatever the cause of the macabre and grisly cannibalism of these recent reports, there was no doubt that although viewers were sickened, they were also intrigued. To many, it felt like the unfolding plot of a horror movie, and the media seemed all too willing to provide all the gory details.
...there is surveillance footage of Eugene’s May 26 attack, but the 18-minute video, embedded in articles from local Miami news sources including the Miami Herald, is partially obscured by a bridge. There is no other video, no "exclusive" footage or "never-before-seen" angle. This is important to remember, as online scammers, in a plea to get you to click on possibly harmful links, often promise to show you the "real" videos or photos you haven’t seen.
The audience’s "thirst for gore" is what makes the scammers successful. It’s what drives the press to publish continuous updates (even the irrelevant minutiae) on these horrific, real life tragedies. The gruesome ’infotainment’ stretches the boundaries of credulity and traps the viewer in a dissonance, a mental conflict where it’s necessary to sort out what is real and what is unreal from a source that is supposed to tell the truth but seldom does.
Zombies and ghoulish creatures might be mainstream fare right now, but like many myths they have a history that stretches back through the ages. Before you become convinced that the ’zombie apocalypse’ is upon us because the reporting is reaching saturation, keep in mind:
Though many people treat the current “zombie apocalypse” as a fun pop culture meme, it’s important to realize that some people believe zombies are very real. Haitian culture -- like many African cultures -- is heavily steeped in belief in magic and witchcraft. Belief in zombies is related to the Voodoo religion, and has been widespread throughout Haiti for decades. The existence of zombies is not questioned, though believers would not recognize the sensational, Hollywood brain-eating version that most Americans are familiar with.For a ’History of Zombies’, visit Discovery.com
Unlike today’s malevolent movie zombies, the original Haitian zombies were not villains but victims. They are corpses who have been re-animated and controlled by magical means for some specific purpose (usually labor). Historically, fear of zombies was used as a method of political and social control in Haiti. Those people believed to have the magical power to zombify a person -- mainly witch doctors called bokors -- were widely feared and respected.
By Elizabeth Leafloor, RedIceCreations.com
Image: Source: Getty