This post probably belongs on the Zombie Zone, but I thought a Zombie story on CNN was more than worth a passing mention.
The story (here) is actually about the spread of viruses and how zombie movies, stories and novels use the model of a spreading zombie virus in a way that mimics the spread of actual known viruses. It also talks about the morphology of the human brain and how such a virus might quite effectively overtake our lower 'lizard' brains to most effectively sustain its hosts, as well as mentioning prions (essentially mutated proteins) such as the one which causes so-called 'Mad Cow Disease.'
We all know that the modern version of the flesh-eating zombie, seen in films like Zombieland and AMC's smash hit series "The Walking Dead" was created by writer/director George A. Romero in his groundbreaking 1968 low-budget thriller Night of the Living Dead. However, the specific consumption of brains didn't come about until Romero's former partner John Russo teamed with the late writer/director Dan O'Bannon (Alien; Dead and Buried) for 1985's comedic take on the genre, The Return of the Living Dead. Of course, now that the Horror sub-genre has achieved a massive pop-culture following, it may well be on the verge of losing its counter-culture status. And while a legitimate article on CNN.com may well prove to be the demise of the zombie as a sub-culture icon, I can't help but hope that Uncle P stood on the precipice with Romero and embraced a phenomena that was well ahead of its time.
Perhaps the horrors of modern living (unrest in the Middle East; disease and famine in Africa; homophobia, xenophobia and germophobia in the U.S.) have contributed to our collective fear of a blind, genocidal disease waiting to take over and destroy life as we know it. Perhaps the inter-connectivity of the World Wide Web has left us numb to our own individuality. Or maybe we've finally come to realize what Romero said in one of his own films in his 'Living Dead' series: "They're us, that's all." Empty; hungry; mindless beings intent on self-fulfillment regardless of the cost to our own humanity. Honestly, if the cast of MTV's "The Jersey Shore" aren't inhuman self-involved zombies, then who is (or isn't)?
Or maybe I'm just full of crap. I leave it to you to decide.