It was inevitable. The backlash had to happen. First, the dominant culture is afraid of the marginalized outsiders. Then, they embrace them, intellectuals praise them, Hollywood makes movies about them. Finally, the overexposure causes the outsiders to resent all of this, criticizing a culture that has appropriated its very soul.
So it is with Zombie-Americans. Tired of being mocked and caricatured, the zombies are rising up (this time metaphorically) against the living. At an event in Wausau, Wisconsin, over five thousand zombies attended a conference called “Things That Are Eating US.” The president of the Zombie-American Coalition Embracing Fundamental Responses to Overt Negativity (ZACEFRON) addressed the brain-eating throng:
“As a zombie, I have I have witnessed the revulsion from people as we have just tried to coexist. We never asked for a place at the table–only the freedom to stumble around your cities at night. We are not here to frighten your children–but we do want them to stop pretending to be us.
As with so many things, the media is to blame. Now that we’re trendy, you would think some filmmaker would paint a true picture of zombie culture. But “Zombieland”? Really? Woody Harrelson from ‘Cheers’ is after us now? There’s a band called ‘The Zombeatles’ and they do a song called “Hard Day’s Night of the Living Dead”? How clever. People meeting up for ‘zombie pub crawls’?
This has to stop, non-people. We deserve respect. At least vampires are occasionally given nuanced portrayals on film. And they’re shown living in Gothic mansions, while we are always seen living in some dingy graveyard.
We are not without a sense of humor. We tolerated your Halloween costumes and were even willing to laugh at the first couple of ‘Living Dead’ movies. But these portrayals of us are based on stereotypes, and they have led to fear and hatred.
The mainstream culture needs to realize that zombies are people, too—or, more accurately, were people. To trade in caricatures is unfair. Like most hatred, zombiphobia is rooted in ignorance. The living must realize, when they put on their blotchy makeup and tattered clothes, that somewhere there is a young zombie who’s afraid to come out of the grave because he doesn’t want to be ridiculed.
We can come together with our non-zombie friends. If only they knew how many of us live in their world, as accountants, telemarketers, Starbucks employees. Some of us have even chosen to hide our true selves to reach celebrity status in the land of the living. Kim Kardashian…Brad Garrett…Willem Dafoe…all undead Americans.
We, the zombies, are like the living in so many ways, and yet we are treated as second-class citizens. How many of us have tried to buy a nice townhouse, only to have the realtor run away screaming because we look different? How many of us have been prevented from exercising that most basic right, that of voting, simply because our limbs sometimes fall off? We still deserve a voice! Even now, In most states, a zombie is not even allowed to get a driver’s license!
It is true. We eat brains. But is that any stranger than eating liver? And while it’s true that we kill some of you, you end up rising from the dead and becoming…well, a zombie. And you have no memory that we killed you, so nobody’s the wiser.
Although we have come far as creatures, we have many slow, shuffling steps to go. Why are there no roles for zombies in any prime-time network shows? You’d think we’d be perfect for “Two and a Half Men,” but they went with a kid. Even reality TV—“Survivor”? I think a zombie could do very well on that show.
In closing, let me just say that we, the undead, will not stop with our brain-eating and what-not. But we demand more than brains. We demand equality. Where is our health-care plan? Why are they shooting us in the head, instead of trying to understand us? We are not so different from them. We WERE them, at least until they died and turned into us.”