The conspiracy theorists have been right all along! The government is out to get us! No one is safe and there is nowhere to hide. This kind of thinking is one underlying premise of the social metaphor that is the zombification of Western popular culture. One common thread in zombie books and films such as I Am Legend, World War Z, and The Walking Dead, is that the zombie virus was developed by government scientists and then somehow unleashed on the unsuspecting public. Whether or not it began as a biological weapon, or as a poorly conceived experiment that went viciously awry, no one knows for certain. But, it is the utter ineptitude of a government—a type of grotesque recollection of The Three Stooges—that has brought the human race to the brink of extinction. In turn, this government incompetence, ignorance, and plain old-fashioned stupidity is part of what comprises the government-related thread of zombie culture—and the fact that the government seems to lie, cover-up the truth, and twist the facts.
In the 2013 film, World War Z, Brad Pitt’s character watches in silence as the horror of the zombie virus spreads at an exponential rate, laying waste to everything in its path. In the film, the virus escaped and spread so quickly, that there was no time to implement any of the usual fail safes. Containment was impossible, and all places to evacuate to were completely useless. Every strategy the government utilized failed instantly. The only answer to the zombie virus, is to NOT CREATE IT in the first place!! Then, there will be no need to engage in the futility of scrambling to find solutions after the clock has run out.
In The Walking Dead, having found the government science facility that knew anything about the zombie virus—a weaponized biological entity—and seemed to be the last place intact that could offer any answers or a cure if possible before it self-destructed and blew all the answers to smithereens, the rag-tag group of survivors moves on. Ironically, they find one of the most favorable places to be a maximum security state prison. Here, they wall themselves in, and for a while, they find a moment of peace. But, they know now that all social infrastructures have broken down. Ham-fisted or otherwise, there is simply no government in existence any longer. No functioning military. No emergency teams. And no police, hence, no law. Due to its extreme level of short-sightedness, the government has all but destroyed the human race.
The feeling that it could have all been prevented in the first place—except for the clumsy foolishness of a few working outside the public’s view and protected by a greedy government—gives an edge of frustration to the desolation and despair that permeates the zombie apocalypse. In today’s Western society, we see complaints about government ineptitude wherever we turn: the failing economy, environmental issues, war and aggression, rights violations, and the constant marginalization of the poor, the disabled, and the unemployed. In a strange way, there is indeed a sense of impending doom. People are digging shelters underground and stocking up on weapons. There is a feeling overall that it is just a matter of time before the government does the unspeakable, before the borders are invaded, before the Western way of life is destroyed, and before all that we love most is trampled mindlessly underfoot.
Foolish, out-of-control Government….this is the first warning message imbedded in the Zombie Apocalypse.