The Zombie Rights Campaign
Y Spy: Who are you and why are you here?
Zombie Rights Guy: We are the Zombie Rights Campaign. We are here to promote the cause of zombie rights and try to reduce the anti-zombie hostility in the horror community.
Y Spy: What is the history of zombie oppression?
Guy: Zombies were long used as manual labor by voodoo witch doctors, and then the U.S. government created a lot of them with secret programs and chemicals, usually for cannon fodder. Recently, they’re something you take out your aggression on. If there’s an apocalypse, you blame the zombies. You occupy a mall and start shooting everyone around who doesn’t have a heartbeat. It’s really unfair.
Zombie Rights Girl: You make a game out of discovering how many you can kill, in how many different ways. These are people. This is not how you treat people.
Y Spy: Will mankind always be looking for a scapegoat? Did the Civil Rights campaigns of the 60’s force our society to find another target?
Guy: Zombies are a convenient target. If you can’t oppress the living, people are generally willing to oppress the dead.
Y Spy: Like Jesus!
Guy: He did come back from the dead after three days. We would let him into the Zombie Rights Campaign!
Girl: That is an explanation, but it’s not an excuse. This is another stage in the process of trying to make it so that we give everyone an equal shake, an equal share of respect.
Y Spy: Are zombie rights similar to animal rights?
Girl: That is a harmful stereotype. We have this idea that’s perpetrated by the media, by movies, by George Romero especially, that zombies are mindless automatons; all they want is to eat our flesh. People don’t realize that zombies are more than the desire for brains. They have higher desires, like anyone. They enjoy art, they enjoy culture, they want to live, and they want to have families. They want to have all the things that we do, but they’re not allowed.
Y Spy: Is George Romero the Glenn Beck of zombies?
Girl: I think that’s giving Glenn Beck too much credit.
Guy: George Romero’s been around a lot longer, to be fair.
Y Spy: But in “Day of the Dead” he did make an intelligent zombie. He did seem to open himself up to the idea that they were more than just rabid animals.
Girl: It’s a step in the right direction, but we haven’t seen anything more, from him or media in general.
Guy: It’s a small step forward, to go from zombies that you just kill to zombies that you lock in a room and teach repetitive antics.
Y Spy: How did you feel about the ending to “Shaun of the Dead,” when zombies became megamart employees?
Girl: That’s sort of admitting the possibility that they can be useful, but they’re being used. They’re not being treated as people who went out and got a job. And there are the other depictions of them being used for reality shows. We wouldn’t do that to living people, but it’s alright to do it to the undead.
Guy: It’s clear that Shaun knows better, because he protects his zombie friend and they play games together. They share a living environment; they share video games and fun.
Girl: This is another bright spot, but those bright spots are few.
Y Spy: Why do zombies never eat dogs in movies?
Guy: Maybe dogs aren’t tasty. Some people eat dogs, so I don’t know why zombies would be averse to it.
Girl: Maybe there haven’t been movies with Korean zombies.
Y Spy: That brings up another idea: that zombies only eat humans because that’s all there is to eat in an urban setting. There aren’t any cows in the middle of a city street. You go for what’s available, like what people do when they go to McDonald’s.
Girl: But why can’t zombies just go to McDonald’s?
Guy: They wouldn’t be allowed in McDonald’s. It would be a violation of the health code.
Y Spy: But a smelly guy can go to McDonald’s. There are some pretty rotten people who can get in while still alive.
Guy: But then we’re getting into the issue of passing for a living person, and a zombie shouldn’t have to pass for a living person to order a Big Mac.
Y Spy: How can people help your campaign?
Girl: We’d just like to get the word out so people start thinking about how they feel about and act toward zombies, and whether those attitudes are at all justified.
Y Spy: Is there any danger that acceptance will turn into patronization? Will there be people who befriend zombies not because of who they are, but because they’re zombies?
Girl: That’s a possibility, and another thing we have to worry about. But we’re not even to that point yet, which is perhaps worse.
Guy: Maybe someday Stephen Colbert will have his one zombie friend along with his one black friend. Even that would be a step forward.
Y Spy: Would zombies have a place in a Gene Roddenberry Star Trek utopia?
Guy: Well, Spock came back from the dead!
The Zombie Rights Campaign can be found at www.zombierightscampaign.org.
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