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  • Writer's pictureDana Webster

Zombie Apocalypse

I'm wading into fraught and dangerous waters with this post. I am not a shit-disturber by nature and I generally like to take a backseat to OPINIONS. However, in order to make my point, I have to open a door. So, here goes.

Apparently, there's a culture war raging between feminists and transgender rights activists. This is news to me as I am blissfully ignorant of so much that is de riguer (not because I don't care but because I do), so excuse me for my look of confusion. In what tangled universe could feminists and (trans) women be at odds? All the feminists I know are pro-women regardless of how they got there. And I am in complete agreement. Welcome to the sisterhood, I say! Strength in numbers and all that.

I've gone down an unfortunate rabbit hole on this issue and others like it that seems to follow the same pattern. It goes like this: you believe that A is true and you say so. I believe that B is true and I say so. Apparently, I have just declared war on you and proven myself to be the most intolerant of bigots. Because for some reason we cannot hold space for two differing opinions at the same time in this vast, complex, world of 8 billion people. God love us if anyone tries to throw into the ring a third, fourth or hundredth take on the same issue.

Nuance, people. It's a thing. But group think doesn't allow for it. It's all or nothing, black or white, with me or against me. The gargantuan level of silencing dissenting voices is deafening. I think of social media (because, yes, it is the gateway drug to bad behaviour) as the Great Corralling of the populace.

This, only not as cute.

To hear the internet tell it, you'd think that every issue is a hill worth dying on. We are so siloed off with only our precious viewpoints to keep us company that we can't see a disagreement is not the end of the world. Our opinions are our blanky, the one we rub whilst simultaneously sucking our thumb and sulking.

Yeah, I'm a little cranky about this. Discourse is the cornerstone of a civil society and there are bad actors everywhere tearing it down bit by bit. Just for the fun of it? Maybe. But there's something bigger going on here. Our so-called lizard brain has been activated and appears to be in full control. Fear, lack of safety, brute aggression and defensiveness have been unleashed on the world and, because as a species we are all connected to one another, it is running through us like last night's refried beans.

Zombie stories are a metaphor for what is happening which is likely why I am so enthralled by them these days (see below for great examples). We are the walking dead, our brains hollowed out of thought, wandering through the days and nights purely on killer instinct, sniffing out dissenting opinions, sucking them into oblivion, and leaving the victim to our same fate. Mere shells of our former thoughtful, nuanced selves.

What's the antidote? I don't really know. If you watch Warm Bodies (highly recommend), the answer is love, acceptance and human connection. That might sound hokey and pat but, honestly, what else have we got at this point? It will take a concerted effort to wean ourselves off the highly addictive vitriol which feeds the lizard brain. What if we were to starve it of sustenance? Put it on a diet? What if we offered the thinking parts of our brain more nutritionally dense nourishment? Meaningful conversations. Shared experiences. Creativity. Honest feelings. Pressing Delete on social media, Fox News, the Alt-right, and the religious right. What if we just said No to the zombies?

Zombie stories I have enjoyed:

The Last Of Us

28 Days Later - in which the Rage virus is unleashed. Oh my god, art imitating life.

28 Weeks Later

Warm Bodies - unique take on the RomCom


Let's Get Messy is expanding! If you are interested in exploring the craft of writing in a stress-free, non-insistent and fun space, check out my upcoming workshops. Dates TBD.


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