Zombies getting bad rap?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I am not a fan of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

I don’t think it’s bad TV or anything.

First off, I think there’s one place dead people should be – and that’s in the ground – unless cremated and scattered to the four corners is your preferred method. I’m OK with that.

But more importantly, the concept of “zombies” as the result of some horrific viral disease on a global scope just plain freaks me out – as does the thought that someone, somewhere, might chew my face off, virus or not.

Since the incident in Miami where a man happens upon a homeless man on the sidewalk and chews off 75 percent of his face in an 18-minute attack, the term “zombie apocalypse” has been lighting up the Internet.

According to the Web’s Urban Dictionary, here’s definition No. 4 of zombie apocalypse: “The End of the World, when people who have died rise again in rotten corpses searching for blood and brains to strengthen them.”

While I’m pretty sure the dead aren’t rising, it’s been pointed out that we’ve seen some of the most disturbing instances of human behavior imaginable in the last couple of weeks, including:

• A Canadian man (and self-promoted gay porn star) dismembers a man and mails various body parts to national officials.

• A Maryland man admits to killing his housemate, cutting him up, then eating his heart and part of his brain; and,

• A New Jersey man rips his torso open and throws bits of his intestines at police, according to The Bergen Record.

There have been other equally grisly crimes, but there’s no need to dwell on them. In fact, horrible crimes happen all the time.

I read somewhere that when the unthinkable happens more than once, it is natural for us to want to rationalize why, even if the story we come up with does nothing more than put a theme to something as horrific as cannibalism – like a zombie apocalypse.

“The zombie apocalypse that is getting tossed around is a way to take what we believe is untrue – zombies – and link it to something that we know is true – cannibalistic acts,” said UAB psychologist Josh Klapow, Ph.D. “Humans are drawn to make sense of their world even when making sense means putting forth the possibility that something horrific is upon us, like the zombie apocalypse.

“We do not like random events and blaming the killings on zombies is a way at a social level to make sense of this,” he said. “We may not believe it intellectually, but our desire to create order can sometimes draw us to themes like this.”

I think, just maybe, zombies are getting a bad wrap. At least in theory, zombies have no conscious thought (or conscientious thought, for that matter) other than, “Brains. Brains. Braiiiiiinnnnnsss.” Unlike those other people who were just plain crazy. Or mean. Or both.