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ARE ZOMBIES SIMPLY A FEAR OF TECHNOLOGY?

ARE ZOMBIES SIMPLY A FEAR OF TECHNOLOGY?

Is the recent resurgence of zombies driven by a fear of new technology? An online series produced by PBS, known as the Idea Channel, recently proposed that very concept in a new video called Why Do We Love Zombies? The weekly web series, hosted by Mike Rugnetta, examines the evolving relationship between modern technology and art.

This particular video examines the idea that technophobia could help explain the popularity of the undead in our culture and delves into concerns over biotechnology, the loss of privacy and the relentless march of technological progress:

Zombies are EVERYWHERE!! Wait, don’t panic- we mean in pop culture, not outside your window. But why is that? Bad guys and monsters seem to go through phases: one decade there’s a dozen movies about aliens, ten years later it’s vampires. And right now, it’s zombies. And monsters don’t pop up for no reason at all. There must be something that makes us fixate on one antagonist trope; some qualities they hold that echo a deeper cultural fear… So what are we afraid of now? It might just be technology. Watch the episode and find out!

Besides rehashing the idea that an unfounded fear of Communism inspired the science fiction of the 1950s, or that serial killers were the impetus for the slasher crash of the 1970s, it’s certainly an interesting idea! Is the absence of technology actually a reflection of our modern technophobia or simply an inherent part of zombie lore?

The best part of the Idea Channel is their willingness to discuss the subject! So what do you think? Please watch the video embedded below, and visit the official website or YouTube channel to leave your own comments and ideas on zombies and technology!

3 comments

  1. I agree with the talking beard. Zombies are a great metaphor for technology ruling our lives, instead of us controlling technology.

  2. I think it has less to do with technophobia and more the subconscious fear of world collapse and social disconnection after the GFC when zombies started to come back. Zombies symbolize a disconnected society and a slow, impending doom and the apocalypse symbolizes social collapse and mistrust (in this case in financial institutions and to a degree governments). Articles a couple of years after the GFC that look at this question are right on the money.

    • I have to agree. I think that technological collapse is simply inherent in zombie lore… especially modern fiction. The inability to use cell phones and the internet seems to be a result of societal breakdown, which is the inevitable result of any worldwide catastrophe.

      Attributing technophobia to the rise in zombie popularity is like putting the cart before the horse. After all, zombies were popular in our culture before the internet, etc. (the horror comics of the 50s and 60s for example.) But it is still an interesting concept!

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