Margaret Atwood came to UBC last month to give a talk titled Writing the Future. I don’t have too much I want to say about the talk right now, though I think it opens several interesting discussions. On a side note, I’ve yet to be much of a fan of Atwood’s writing style (as I recall, I didn’t much enjoy reading Alias Grace), but after hearing/watching several interviews with her, I discovered I very much like hearing her ideas. It’s amazing how she talks so monotone-esque, yet still manages to incorporate so much humour into her speech.
During part of her talk, at least as I recall it, Atwood went through many prevalent monsters in human history and tried to tie them to patterns society was seeing. For instance, werewolves were tied to the disease rabies which may have been rampant at some point during the werewolf fad. Both werewolves and rabies are tied to dogs, and both conditions lead the affected to want to bite other people. Also, vampires were tied to the aristocracy. (Perhaps) Both vampires and aristocrats lived in massive castles, and were prone to seduce common villagers. Perhaps, like vampires, the aristocrats also didn’t like sunlight due to the effects it had on the skin.
In any case, Atwood ended her talk by looking at the recent zombie craze. She suggested that the zombie apocalypse was a foreboding doom that society felt may be approaching, where zombies are people with no hope for the future. I think this is an interesting idea, and I see how the connections can be made.
Similarly, I can see the connection of zombies with apathy. I think it may also be possible to say that zombies represent people disconnected with reality. For instance, if you kick a zombie in the balls, it isn’t going to react–much like an apathetic society. Zombies don’t do much that is constructive, as they are usually concerned only with finding food (Hmmm…). Perhaps we should take warning of the direction society may be taking. It may turn out we’re heading towards a global population of people who are neither living nor dead, in heart, soul, body, and mind.