It’s undeniable, zombies are everywhere. Well, luckily they’re not really, but zombies have certainly taken over all media; video games, movies, comic books, TV shows, etc.
Why are we suddenly so obsessed with zombies?
The best monsters are reflections of repressed themes in society. For instance, the werewolf represents losing control to your animal instincts. As for zombies, there are many meanings that have been drawn by fans of the genre.
Some people think zombies reflect the lack of humanity in office environments. Others look at zombies through the lens of technology, and how people will just hobble around plugged into their devices, devoid of emotion or thought.
To me zombies are the manifestation of consumerism.
Have you ever seen a zombie that was too full to eat flesh? I bet not. Every human they see, they must devour. In the same way, consumers eat up every new product. Ever wonder why some of the best zombie stories take place in malls?
Think about the last new product you bought, ideally one you were really excited about. I bet it didn’t take long before you were researching the next product you were going to buy. We hunger for these things like wild beasts, and once we have them, we’re just hungry again. I’m equally guilty of this when it comes to video games.
Have you ever seen the lines outside Apple stores when a new iPhone is released? How about the stories of life or death bouts over Black Friday deals? This disregard for the health and safety of others for the sake of consumerism is exactly how a zombie would think.
What makes zombies so especially terrifying is that anyone can become one. Minutes after your best friend dies, he can be up and moving. He’s not the same person anymore, in fact he has no individuality, only hunger. Get too close, and the virus will spread to you too.
Even the most frugal of us, and the most dedicated savers, can lose all of that progress and become a consumer zombie at any moment. It can take a lifetime to build up wealth, and only minutes to waste it. To become a zombie, is to lose that control.
The desire to waste money on new products can spread just as easily too. When your friend gets a 50 inch flat screen, suddenly the 46 inch TV you got earlier this year doesn’t look as sharp. Then you start looking at the prices of 52 inch TVs.
However, every good zombie story has a human resistance. These folks have been around the block, and they get by on the bare minimum. They don’t care what kind of car they drive, or what brand of clothes they wear. This is where I see the analogy the strongest.
Frugal savers are the resistance to consumerism. The media tells us we need a new watch, a new iPhone, and a new car. The resistance ignores all of this and focuses on what they need to survive: food and shelter.
The unfortunate truth of the zombie apocalypse is that there is no winning, only surviving. In the same way, consumers are always going to be here trying to spread their virus to us, and all we can do is keep on living and saving.
You don’t need to be extreme to be part of the resistance. Just ask yourself, what do you need to survive? What do you need to be happy? What can you cut out of your budget?