[First Published in The Portland Mercury, July 10, 2013]
THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: The bloodiest, slowest, and most terrifying signal of the End of Days that’s been thrown around in the last 50 years—excepting Sarah Palin’s potential presidency, of course. Films spring up every year in a fittingly contagious manner, portraying man’s mutation and eventual demise, warning us to fear our neighbors, and to barricade ourselves inside our pitifully unprotected homes. Governments will topple; your friends will be your enemies. If you’re lucky, you’ll be the last person standing, holed up in a bunker, wringing every calorie from that last tin of Spam to gain energy for the next wave of gruesome and depressingly inevitable insurgencies.
I have friends who can’t walk into a room without questioning its merits as a hideout in case of an undead uprising. Heavyweight academics have responded to our fear by publishing papers on the matter, considering the strengths and weaknesses of different sub-species of zombies, our chances of overcoming them, and the state of the world post Z-Day. A professor at Arizona State University even published an article considering the impact of a zombie apocalypse on income tax and estate tax in the USA.
This, though, is merely a distraction; a harmful and misleading sideshow to a far more pressing, far more dangerous threat to global security. That threat is mummies.
Think back, if you will, to those zombie films. Think about the thousands upon thousands of unwashed, dead-eyed men and women moving slowly toward you. Seem familiar? Maybe you’ve walked through downtown Portland on a Saturday night. Maybe you attended Reed College. Maybe your friends smoke the devil’s lettuce. Either way, the zombie apocalypse is not only something that should be familiar to us in Portland, it should be embraced and celebrated as a pseudo-anarchist collective that puts no stock in the shallow social construct of superficial aesthetics. Our main obstacle in overcoming a zombie apocalypse in the Northwest would be our failure to notice it happening at all, bar the flesh-eating.
A mummy apocalypse, on the other hand, is significantly more problematic. Historically, those with the resources to be mummified were the social and political elite: rich men who ruled with an iron fist, embalmed and entombed among their riches. With no threat of mutation, mummies are an exclusive group who exclude good folks like us because we didn’t rule Egypt thousands of years ago, which hardly seems fair. The whole thing is eerily reminiscent of the Republican Party with over-privileged males seeking to rule earth with little more justification than wealth and mean-spirited greed. A solidly blue state should fear this fate far more than its undead alternative.
To add another whiff of danger to the situation, mummies have even followed the GOP’s attempts to package their evil intentions in a more compassionate way. A band of hyper-masculine megalomaniacs calling themselves mummies is clearly a ploy to fool us into submission—mommy is looking after you, mommy will take care of you. It doesn’t even have the letter ‘Z’ in it, which skater-punks and Japanese animation studios have known for years makes everything sound edgy and dangerous.
Is the hype around the zombie apocalypse a mummy conspiracy carefully constructed by the bandaged autocratic leaders of tomorrow to distract us from their imminent power-grab? With absolutely no evidence to support such a claim, it would be irresponsible to say that it is.
But, yes. It is.