Also, I was just starting to think I had come to a decent guess about the mysterious hog farm explosions.
But then I got blindsided by another threat. A threat so heinous it made me watch CNN and a few other TV "news" stations. They were waist (or is it "waste"?) deep in this - these - stories: the Zombie Apocalypse was upon us!
Full disclosure: the recent 28 Days (or whatever it was called) and others in the zombie genre/franchise are not exactly my top priorities. Not in my Top 5000, as a matter of fact. Not that I'm immune to the zombie film allure. One of my favorite films of all time is Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur's 1943 film for RKO, I Walked With A Zombie. (It's really Jane Eyre with voodoo.) George Romero's 1968 Night of the Living Dead has reached deserved "classic" status , and probably ought to be seen in some allegorical way as reflecting the war-without-end the US was in in Vietnam. But then I've already digressed...But not before I foist a one-minute-long trailer for this wonderful film on y'all:
This blog's all downhill after that!
But sometimes, you just can't ignore it when a man is seen eating the face off another - living! - man, on a pathway in that gawdforsaken place called Florida. Florid indeed were the reports. This report from CBS Miami starts off, "Police are still tight-lipped..." I would be too, if I knew there was a guy out there who ate the eyeball and nose of another guy. Hell, I'd be tight-lipped, tight-eyeballed, tight-eared, tight-cheeked, and tight-nosed. Slate seeks to tell us why, when people do psycho things, they often strip naked first. Before reading it, I figured, "Hey, why not? If there's anything worth doing, it's worth doing well...aaaaaaand...naked!"
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. You'd think, even though you were eating another living person's nose, you'd have the decency go dress casual...
But nudity can be so freeing! (I do not condone eating most of the face of a transient, though. Even I have standards.)
I think there are certain crimes that demand proper attire. You're hired Mafia muscle, making a hit on a rival eating a plate of spaghetti? We all know you wear a suit, fer cryin' out loud. Knocking off a bank requires very careful planning, not only of gun, what to say to the teller, and escape route, but how to make your face look...not like you for the cameras. Buys you some time. Other than that, it's permitted to go anywhere from formal to Bermuda Shorts with a cummerbund and hi-tops. Maybe a beret, little nod to Patty Hearst. I don't have the time, and this is not the place, to go over what attire is appropriate to what crimes, but it's my understanding that argyle socks are perfect for mail fraud. Anyway...
Just as I was trying to exorcise from my consciousness the image of what happened on that causeway near Miami, another story broke that fed the zombie apocalypse frenzy: a 21 year old college student in Maryland admitted to eating the heart and part of the brain (the tasty part?) of a roommate, after said roommate had died. Ladies and gentlemen, let's keep our cools here. What do we really know so far? We know They are not vegetarians. We know They must have been hungry. And possibly mad, in at least two senses of the word. We all know how stress can get to us; it makes us "not ourselves." Perhaps we end up "chewing out" a co-worker? Get my drift? They are not so different from us. A little understanding is all I ask!
At any rate, I was probably a tad hasty when I rushed out and bought 14 pounds of garlic cloves and a hefty stainless steel cross with Jesus on it. My wife reminded me: garlic and the cross ward off vampires, not zombies!
Boy, did I feel like an idiot!
I was just about ready to pass off this silly zombie apocalypse meme flare-up when I read about one Luka Rocco Magnotta. This guy made the dudes in Florida and Maryland look like Girl Scouts. Say what you will about stabbing your lover with an icepick, slitting his throat, cutting the body to pieces, decapitating it, feeding pieces to your dog while you masturbate with other body parts...but anally penetrating the headless corpse? That's some sick jit there, man. That, my friends, is my idea of "going too far." And wouldn't you know it? This Magnotta is Canadian. What is with those sick bastards?
Magnotta was arrested in Berlin. Now, I don't know about you, Dear Reader, but I think this is a serious crime, and I think we need to get tough with Magnotta here. I'd say to him, "Luka? That was some crazy-assed crap you pulled over there in Canada. Sending a severed foot in the mail? That's not the kind of society we approve of, no sir! (I'm sorry to be yelling at you, but this kind of thing gets me upset.) That dismemberment of your pal? No good! I'll say it again: NO GOOD! If you do it ONE MORE TIME, it's gonna mean a heavy fine, fellah! Now, get outta here, before we take you in for acting like a d-bag!" (Except it would be in German, of course.)
[R.I.P. George Carlin, whose bit about Dahmer I just stole.]
I was beginning to think the Kidz were right this time, and the Zombie Apocalypse now deserved to be in capitals, and maybe I was doomed to have my own brains fricasseed by the Undead. I wondered what I could do. The most powerful weapon in the house was an Air Horn. I tried to humor myself. Hey, at least the zombies are intellectuals, as Stephen Colbert said: all they care about is BRAINS! But then I quit sniffing glue, put down the PCP, and came to my senses: these were isolated incidents, it's just after Memorial Day, the kids are getting out of school and a news frenzy about shark attacks just wouldn't cut it this year. Not with World of Warcraft so popular.
Speaking of sniffing glue, I was horrified to learn that police and the media were tarring LSD's good name by linking it with the Miami zombie. His poor victim could've only wished the guy had taken LSD instead. He/the Miami zombie was, in fact, on a designer drug called "bath salts," which...represents an ominous turn in the naming of designer drugs. First of all, the term "designer drug" seems misleading to me. What? Did Ralph Lauren and Coco Chanel get together and design something especially for me? Just 'cuz I wanna get high? Nooooo...When I first read the term "bath salts" in conjunction with face-eating, I thought, "How could something so soothing-sounding have caused....?" Bath salts - epsom salts - conjures images - for me at least - of relaxing after a vigorous day, with Bach cello suites playing while I soak my feet in "bath salts," a glass of zinfandel by my side. Naming some new concoction of bathtub-meth "bath salts" just seems criminal to me. What's next? A new nasty chemistry experiment that makes you claw all the skin off your own face, then drive backwards on the freeway at 100 mph and it's called "Autumn"? Someone PLEASE stop this nomenclatural madness!
And then I realized this was yet another designer drug, and they're coming fast and furious now. At first - ten years ago or so, these were an "Ain't It Odd?" news item in the local newspaper. Now, they're coming at us like the flow from a finally unclogged spigot, and I expect a weekly Hot 100 Designer Drugs list to appear in Rolling Stone any day now. And the irony: a friend of mine had some wonderful cannabis we smoked and then listened to Bartok and talked about the unemployment problem and then how language in novels puts us in different worlds of imagination. We talked of James Joyce and Philip K. Dick, Thomas Pynchon, and Vladimir Nabokov. It was all very fulfilling, an uplifting, even spiritual evening. The name of the strain of cannabis? "Lamb's Blood." Anyway...
I wrote about Krokodil about six months ago. It appears this stuff keeps rolling out of C-minus desperate-for-employment chemistry students' labs all over the place, but Europe, especially. And again, I find I'm forced to plaintively ask my fellow psychonauts: Would it kill you to just smoke a fat joint?
It would be tempting to try to tar Obama's crackdown on medical pot with this influx of chemical drug-agents, but at this point it would be a stretch. Although I am pissed at him for going back on his word, and can't imagine a stupider thing to do, or a better way to alienate his base...RANT OVER
To what extent this bathtub chemical meth-like crap is driving this particular Apocalypse, I don't know. And I hadn't known about the guy in New Jersey who recently stabbed himself in the gut 50 times, then threw parts of his own entrails at police...but this stuff is spreading. It's a meme. With legs. Legs severed from a roommate who appeared to be projecting voices into the now-zombie's head. It was at this point the CDC stepped in - I'm still not sure to what extent this was a joke - and assured the Populace they know of no virus or anything else that can reanimate the dead.
The Internet is like anabolic steroids for memes. I'm tempted to say this meme-reality-meme-reality works like a "feedback loop," but you all know I wouldn't stoop to cheap punning. One example of many, illustrating how this meme is taking off, is found HERE..
When did the Zombie Apocalypse start? Experts disagree. Some go Old Skool and trace it back to that whackiest of Biblical books, Revelation of St. John the Divine. For which I give intellectual style points. I will at this point go Day of the Triffids (1962) for now, but certainly, Cracked had a hard line on this back in 2007. That article claims over 16 million views, which is slightly higher than the traffic for the run-of-the-mill Overweening Generalist post. But hey, tap that meme, fellow bloggers!
The Christian anarchist Jacques Ellul, hero of the French Resistance and intellectual influence on both Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski and Marshall McLuhan, identified the "Beast" in Revelation with the State, but when I read South Florida University anthropologist Elizabeth Bird's analysis of zombies, that they have "no emotional core, no consciousness, no limits...," I couldn't help but think of Dick Cheney, and most of the NeoCons and Business Criminals on Wall Street that presided over the wreckage of Unistat. And I'm now just as confused as ever about what this Zombie Apocalypse means, so any help will be appreciated. I'm guessing this Zombie Apocalypse is some sort of Jungian repression of what the 1% have done to our hopes and dreams...not to mention how dumbed-down so many of us feel that Others have become. But I'm not sure. Please, I need your help figuring this one out. Like a zombie, I need your brains (HA!) to sate my knowledge and help me prepare for the...next Damned Thing that comes along.
The only thing I'll have to say about "cultural neurosemantics" vis a vis this Zombie Apocalypse will be found in the above paragraph. Please consider it before consigning my bullshit to the "typical OG nonsense" bin.
Not that you'd asked, but I'd previously written on other Apocalyptic imaginings HERE.
My Undead Zombie Apocalypse All-Star Dream Team:
If I've forgotten anyone, I apologize. I hate to make anyone feel "left out." I now notice I got six guys, so it's a hockey team, no cleanup hitter needed. Let's call Fish the "goalie"? - OG