Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Zombie Myths

MYTH: People infected with the zombie virus return to life within a few moments of dying, unless dispatched promptly with a bullet to the head.
REALITY: Nothing could be further from the truth. Studies show that zombies can re-animate up to six months after death, that the so-called zombie virus is but one of many causes of reanimation (most of which are unknown), and that a bullet to the head will do absolutely nothing to slow or halt the process. No one really knows what causes the dead to rise again, but the important thing is that we are working hard to find out.

MYTH: Zombies attack in order to consume the flesh of the living.
REALITY: Many do, but this is no reason to make unfounded and hysterical assertions about all zombies. We have every reason to believe that zombies vary according to background, culture, psychosocial variables such as class and education, and societal expectations. Many zombie attacks result in no cannibalism whatsoever, and are merely intended to kill, maim, terrify, or express rage -- just like many attacks by humans. Further, because of the very nature of "news," which by definition focuses on the unusual, we just do not know how many zombies never attack at all; it is entirely possibly that most of them are quite passive.

MYTH: A person bitten by a zombie will die horribly within 24 hours, and will then become a zombie himself.
REALITY: Totally untrue. If the infected part is excised or amputated within five to ten minutes, there is every chance that the person bitten will make a full or partial recovery, with minimal brain damage and few lasting homicidal symptoms. The key is prompt treatment. If bitten, you should remain calm, drive to your nearest ZER, and have your insurance card handy. Support groups for many recovering victims have had great success with social resentment therapy and rights-demanding role-playing.

MYTH: If a zombie attacks, you should shoot it in the head.
REALITY: Recent higher court decisions suggest that impulsive judgments about the supposed motives of a zombie are often unfounded, or are moot, and that the person "attacked" can be subject to severe civil and criminal penalties if he is found to have been in the wrong. Self-defense is of course a reasonable response, but only after ascending levels of minimal effective force have been utilized. First, you should try to communicate with the zombie and establish his intentions. If these remain unclear, you should contact an officer of the law or certified professional mediator to intervene. If these methods prove futile, you should apply for a formal restraining order; due to recent legal changes, these can now be filed against the living dead in as little as 24 hours, and can be quite effective in establishing your rights in any dispute.

MYTH: Zombies are the result of weird experiments by industry, the military, and unhinged medical researchers.
REALITY: Far-reaching international treaties created by august bodies of multinational highbrows in such places as Zurich, Stockholm, Paris, and Beverly Hills, will assure the international banning of weird experiments. You should become active in your community to support such accords -- and give generously to the United Nations Zombie Fund, which has established bank accounts throughout the world. Meanwhile, many creditable class action lawsuits have been filed in this country on behalf of those who believe themselves to be aware of the negative effects of zombieism and know damn well who is to blame.

MYTH: Zombies may be crazy, but they're stupid.
REALITY: Such negative stereotypes do little to advance understanding and communication, and can even hinder sincere efforts to solve our problems through negotiation, compromise, and research on volunteers. Most studies indicate that zombies are at least as adept at pattern recognition, shape manipulation, geographical orientation, and physical engagement as many so-called "higher" species of the non-dead. While they may not read literary anthologies or contribute to PBS or obtain advanced degrees in theoretical subjects (so far as we know), these are not the sole measures of intelligence; zombies certainly exceed human capacities in such vital areas as instinctive behavior and group dynamics, so facile value judgments should be suspended until we know more.

MYTH: Zombies are destroying our Social Security system.
REALITY: Nothing could be further from the truth. As of this writing, zombies are eligible for only a very few, highly limited Federal benefits, and these are closely monitored.

MYTH: Zombies attack our women, and tear their clothes off.
REALITY: The term "our women" is condescending. Whether zombies annoy women in undue proportion to their numbers in our society is a subject that is being addressed by several specially-appointed university grievance committees at this time.