Another great column from Milton Teen Bo Quintana!
Milton, we need to talk about zombies. Well, not only zombies, we need to talk about the apocalypse in general.
Before that though, we should discuss the various forms of apocalypses. Some apocalypses include:
· Zombies, which can be the result of many tragic events, including plague, experimentation on unfortunate primates, and a sort of placebo effect experienced by mentally insane people (demonstrated in Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel “I Am Legend,” which is soooo much better than the movie).
· Some sort of natural disaster, like a tidal wave or tragic and unexpected disappearance of gravity.
· War, particular nuclear war.
· An asteroid that Bruce Willis couldn’t blow up. (It’s a reference. Sorry about the obscurity.)
· The apes get angry.
· Aliens decide that moderately sized blue and green planets are fun to explode.
· Aliens plan an interstellar bypass that happens to go straight through the earth (Wow! Another reference, I must be on a roll).
· The economy implodes.
And many, many more.
So why am I talking about these various possibilities of our demise? Glad you asked.
It’s because I’m obsessed. Which is less shocking than most of my obsessions, due to the fact that I enrolled in a class called “Apocalypse Soon: The End of the World in Myth, Literature, and Film” and also because I know various fun facts about the British zombie cult classic Shaun of the Dead (starring the brilliant Simon Pegg).
But here’s something that’s a bit more shocking: You are obsessed too.
Think about it. Starting a couple thousand years ago we became fascinated with the end of the world. And more recently, countless movies -- good and bad -- have been made about this topic, not to mention an entire genre of literature, film, video games, and general way of life. This genre is called science fiction.
Science fiction is considered by many to be the most complex form of art and entertainment that exists, due to the subtle little themes that consciously and subconsciously question life and existence as we know it. It’s a great topic for writers, whether penning a book, blog or screenplay.
Speaking personally, I love envisioning the future. There’s something awesome and eerie and all-around bone-chilling about the fact that we are going to die. It makes for great fiction and something cool to talk about.
But there’s something even cooler with envisioning a doomed future, one that we create and ultimately destroy. And that’s where apocalypses come in. We take this already complex topic – death -- and multiply it by millions. That’s awesome.
But why are people who aren’t writers so fascinated by it?
It’s not an easy question. You would think that most people would keep a safe distance, but we seem to like being up close and personal with our impending doom.
While you may avoid the topic (and many people do), others take it head-on like instinctive maniacs.
Take the show “Doomsday Preppers” on National Geographic. These people spend countless hours working on bunkers, buying precautionary barriers and foods and other general needs for a hypothetical end of the world. While the apocalypse probably won’t happen any time soon, these people act like and truly believe it will. They’re excited for it. And that is a very strange emotion to have about the end of everything, don’t you think?
You would think that these people would wish for the apocalypse to happen on someone else’s watch, some generation in the future that is more prepared for such a thing. Some generation that we are barely, if at all, connected to.
But maybe we would have to go through an apocalypse to allow these people to have a future greater than ours.
The word “apocalypse” has a very loose and misunderstood definition. There are subcategories of apocalypses, varying from personal apocalypses (“OMG, Joanie didn’t call back. My life is over!!”) to strange little apocalypses that require people to interpret the word apocalypse as a new beginning (the word apocalypse does technically mean “lifting the veil”). These types of apocalypses are very flexible, and can both range from 9/11/2001 to The Book of Revelation in the sense that 9/11 brought a sense of patriotism and a shock of realism to the United States and The Book of Revelation like, rebirthed the Earth and stuff.
But every apocalypse seems to have some little eerily happy ending. In The Book of Revelation, the Good are rewarded for being all cool and stuff and there’s no more bad people.
In Matheson’s “I Am Legend,” Robert Neville feels content with his life and his fate, then kills himself obediently on good terms with the vampire-human hybrids, wishing them good luck on their building of a new race.
In “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” there happened to be a whole other Earth, filled with perfectly functioning humans and dolphins and stuff.
Everything is cool. But then you remember that this coolness is simply acceptance, that the people had suffered such incredible amounts of pain.
So why are we so excited for an apocalypse?
Would we rather feel excitement with pain so long as there’s a sliver of acceptance at the end of it? Or are we so confident and ignorant that we just assume that we’ll be fine?
Probably the later. But then there’s the more positive thought. Maybe, possibly, we just really care about the people that will call us their ancestors. We’ll be the ones that sacrificed our lives and our comfort for the goodness of them.
We lifted the veil for them. We may help them acquire dinosaurs, egg lamps, alarm clocks that read books … THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS. THIS IS EXCITING!
Sure, most of us will probably die. It’s okay though. That was a given anyway.
The key to not facing an apocalypse is not caring.
The key to not caring is to be happy.
In the end, to avoid being swept up by the giant cloud that is death and sorrow, you just need to be happy. Get married. Have some kids. Read a book every now and again. Just be happy and don’t make other people not happy. In other words, don’t fear death.
With love and really long tangents and stuff,