Monday, October 15, 2012

Zombie Season Begins!

Walking Dead (AMC, 2010) started up tonight, signaling the start of Zombie season. I don't mean the time that the television show airs- I mean the time of year that consumerism takes over the minds and motivations of Americans.

PBS video to celebrate the Season 

Like pre-industrial cultures, autumn is a time for celebration, preparation, and consumption. Traditionally, the event is to prepare for the hard-long winter and/or to harvest the crops. Luckily,  the majority of Americans American's do not have to worry so much about food security and instead just get to celebrate abundance. That's not to say that other times of year are void of conspicuous consumption or unnecessary excess. After all, do you really need 2 packs of hotdogs, a pound of burgers, and ribs at the family Fourth of July barbecue?  Zombie season is just where it's a little more obvious and often and without the connotations of rebirth (Easter/Spring, Forth of July/Summer). And it comes with the premiere with Walking Dead.

Autumn settles in during October; the cold weather sets in and the leaves begin to fall. Associations with death are well known.  However, American's don't worship Osiris or Persephone. They worship the Zombie archetype (God of Consumerism). During Halloween, the Zombie manifests itself by encouraging people to dress up as their favorite characters and buy copious amounts of overpriced candy. Unlike Dia de los Muertos, Halloween does not hold any sort of religious connotations nor gathering of family (unless you want to count children going to trick or treating as gathering as family. I don't.) The holiday celebrates popular culture; all ages can become Astronauts, Cowboys, Zombies, Blacks, Browns, and Girls without looking like a total nerd (unless that's what you're going for).

Found on the internet

That's just the beginning however. Thanksgiving comes up about four weeks later. Again, the holiday does not have religious connotations, but it does focus on family, patriotism, and tradition. The literal consumption of food and gathering of family hearkens to the Harvest Festivals of old. Even though Thanksgiving retains the integrity of such festivals and isn't as Zombie-ridden as Halloween (or the next holiday), it still contains giant floating pop culture icons and football, which I've already described as Zombie driven.

Then, the big one. Christmas begins before Thanksgiving. We've all heard the complaints/celebrations on the advanced arrival of the 'holidays'- and that's just the decorations and  music. On Black Friday (an event that has it's own name) people bull rush stores to collect bits and bobs to give to children, adults, dogs, cats, and everything in between. All sorts of confectioneries and limited edition drinks pop into existence as temptations. Christmas morning (for most people) creates a mess of wrapping paper and boxes. Food usually makes an appearance in amounts comparable to Thanksgiving, but with more sweets. Christmas does have religious aspects connected to it, but these are overshadowed by the Zombie celebrations.

Still not as scary as Krampus

It doesn't end there however, New Years brings similar Zombie consumption, except with friends rather than family. When else do over 3.5 million viewers tune in late at night to watch a bunch of commercials  listen to mediocre music, and watch a ball drop? Answer: The Superbowl.

Finally the last Zombie holiday, Valentine's Day. It straddles Winter and Spring- both pressuring people to, again, eat more candy, and force themselves into uncomfortable situations for the sake of  social pressures. Again, the holiday has no religious connotations.

The most ironic holiday

That's five months and six holidays, only one that still follows the religious practices that initiated it, (you could, arguably, call the Superbowl a religious holiday) while Thanksgiving remains closest to its original intent (to give thanks to being a United America). The Zombie season is a celebration of America to it's maximum. Individuals may not think about the holidays, but they do find the time to honor their culture. That's why they are the most celebrated holidays. 

I must mention that BEARBULL is so thoroughly ingrained in all these holidays, it's all about consumption and getting the money flowing. The irony of The Walking Dead is that while a group of individuals struggling to survive the zombiepocalypse with next to nothing, Americans eat up all the drama and violence.

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