Art is a brutal business. Every artist knows that they will get more attention and their work will increase in value after they die. It is the ultimate sacrifice for the pursuit of pure art. Famously, one of the most celebrated artist of all time died a porper with selling very little for very little. Some years later only organisations can pay the inflated price for a painting that are treated as treasure by the state.
George Ramero has recently died and such I am now on a zombie movie binge. Alongside this I have listened to Penn Jillette talking about George on this podcast. I thought I was watching zombie movies however it turns out that I was absorbing high concept and commentary on what makes us human in a daily existence within the lowest form of art; movies. Penn explained the sub-context of the movies which past me by. Georges work of art now, for me, has increased in value – after his death. His movies have taken on a new identity and received a new breath of life. George Romero and his movies have come back from death and thus are now zombified in my mind. I would struggle to read a heavy text about the nature of humans however sitting and watching Dawn of the Dead is manageable.
So what is it about a hoard of zombies that explains human existence and the way we live? Well the simplest way to answer this comes from George himself. When asked what he thought about 28 Days later he replied ‘Zombies don’t run’. Imagine each zombie is a problem, process or activity of your day. They rarely come at you at a rapid speed with full force but stand there ideally. Driving to work for example is easy to complete (1 zombie). Turn on the computer at work, get a cuppa, answer an email, have a meeting, get your coat on and leave the building (six zombies – one each hour maybe). This survival thing is simple.
Drive to work, Traffic, Car stalls at the lights, computer wont tun on – need to contact IT, thirty emails waiting to be answered, two meetings today, leaving late, car is blocking in the car park, traffic on the way home (40 zombies – more than 5 at once) – bit more stressful harder to manage.
Add to that family, exercise, preparing food, paying bills (+300 zombies – more than 25 coming at you all at once) and you start to have a problem on your hands, how do you cope?
This trend continues to spiral up until you cannot manage. You become swallowed up by the simplest unintimidating things you once laughed off. None are an immediate threat but collectively can be monstrous. When watching ‘Dawn of the Dead’ you start to notice that the Zombies are ever present but rarely an immediate threat. Always on the mind, always around the next corner, always there weighing on each character. The rhythmic hammer of life keeps hitting aiding to the slow weathering process on the soul.
The more I think about this the more I agree with it. I now see minor problems in my day as literal zombies. In the morning I notice dead weak husks that have little influence on me that I can simply overpower. However by 22:00 those husks have en massed and beaten me down. I am weaker and less able to fight.
Those who take time off of work due to stress, cant sleep at night, or experience debilitating mental health are demonstrating the part of the movie, we all love to see, when someone succumbs to the hoard and send out a death rattle screams as they are torn limb from limb. Those once insignificant minor issues have taken over.
- Thanks to G. Ramero and P. Jillette unintentional and in no way endorsed influence for this thought process.