Night of the Living Allegory

Cinema is littered with allegory, from movies as far back as Metropolis(1927) & its allegory of a fear of mob rule, fear of being overcome by technology  to current day, such as with The Chronicles of Narnia and their allegory of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the lion Aslan. Allegory is everywhere, whether it’s meant to be there or not. Ever since the first zombie dug its way from out of the earth, zombies have been a widely used and popular symbol of our science run amok. You can look at a zombie film and see it as an allegory/symbol for out of control technology, as they are often brought into being by a spill of some highly toxic experimental chemical, re-animated through the means of some bio-engineered/man-made bio-weapon, or even though less often than other cases they are brought into being due to mans meddling in forces far beyond their understanding.

With Night of the Living Dead you have the possibility of all of these allegories, yet one that stands above them all is that of racism. The role of the lead character of the film (Ben) is played by Duane Jones, a black male; though the role does not call for a black male specifically. Ben is noticeably the sole non-white character in the film. Some saw this casting as significant, but George A. Romero says “he simply gave the best audition.”

Looking at the film, you can see the interaction and the distinction between the black and the white characters in the film.  Racism is defined as “The belief or doctrine that all members of each race possess inherent differences or abilities specific to that race that determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race  is superior and has the right to rule others.”

As noted by one Steven Russell, within the film Night of the Living Dead “despite the fact that Ben is the only member of the house that survives the night and in spite of his success against white zombies, he is killed quickly and cleanly by the living white, the zombie lynch mob, as he emerges into daylight.

As I stated at the beginning of this blog, there are zombie films where the dead are often brought into being by a spill of some highly toxic experimental chemical, re-animated through the means of some bio-engineered/man-made bio-weapon, or even though less often than other cases they are brought into being due to mans meddling in forces far beyond their understanding. Most of these cases easily show in the titles 28 Days Later & 28 Weeks Later where you have a zombie outbreak unleashed by means of monkeys who’ve been tested on using a “rage virus” which infects unsuspecting and slightly militant “animal rights activists” early in the film. These two titles(28 Days Later & 28 Weeks Later) also highlight how quickly man can go from reasonable and rational to irrational and just plain immoral.

Though lacking subtlety, in Zombies of Mass Destruction we see less the folly of man in his becoming overwhelmed with aftermath of his own machinations and a more racist, sexist, homophobic underbelly not of the undead, but of the people in the town who are plagued by the undead. The virus in this movie is described as a “terrorist” virus and being in a small town, one of its inhabitants believe the sole Middle Eastern girl in town to have had a hand in the virus attack. Here you see the racism brought to light by the zombie outbreak. It is not that the outbreak caused the racism, but that because of the outbreak we are allowed to more clearly see racism’s presence. You have sexist mayor who flouts the campaign of his female opposition, but more-so you have homophobia brought to light by the homophobic yet quite closetly gay preacher. In the film, before the outbreak takes place you have a cute gay couple who are coming to visit with the mother of the not soo openly gay half of said couple. The mothers reaction shows a lesser degree of homophobia than the aforementioned preacher. Through “re-education” he believes he can change someone from gay to g-d fearing straight. The themes of racism and homophobia lay strewn about the story this movie tells.

Regardless of the film title or director; zombie films have come with some lesson or parable that we as human beings should probably take to heart. Till that happens, there will always be a zombie movie pointing out the bigotry, violence, hate, racism, and just plain worse that humanity has to offer…while occasionally…possibly offering us a laugh or scream or two to lighten the tone or not focus soo heavily on the meat of the films.

Disorderly Conduct

I tend to not think about my sexuality a lot as it is what it is and I am a gay male, but just a few minutes or so ago, I was given reason to pause and think about it. While on one of the many networking websites i tend to peruse, I came across a conversation started based on a post someone had put as their status. The status basically alluded to someone preferring a reasonable sized appendage when engaging in intercourse. Sure the wording was different then what I’m saying but that’s somewhat irrelevant. The post itself was fairly clean.

Now somewhere along the line of response comments, one person felt the need to…unleash his thoughts upon everyone else who had responded to the status post as well as those who would respond and or read the status post. “I guess you don’t care if people know about your homosexuality, huh?” and so began the downward spiral of the conversation to follow. Now that was not the most..disturbing thing this person said throughout his responses. That title would have to be given to the following quotes from two different responses typed by one individual: “And there’s nothing wrong with being gay. Except it’s a mental disorder. Just like Religion” ” To gain pleasure from homosexuality, would require that you have a mental disposition. Thus, homosexualism would simply be classified as a mental disorder.”

If anything, I’m of the mind that homosexuality stems from genetics. It’s brought about by something on a genetically cellular level. Which of course would make it as natural as the pure driven snow. I am the way G-d mad me.. for the good and bad of it. I wouldn’t have brought religion into this if not for homosexuality and religion both being targeted by this one person. As well as being a gay male, I am a pretty religious person. I believe in an all powerful G-d that I can’t see, can’t touch or any of those things. Does this mean that I suffer from a double disorder? No. It means that I accept who I am and I also choose to believe in a power greater than I myself. I say there’s nothing wrong with either of the two. Religion is not a disease. It is a lifestyle choice, and one I’m proud to have made.

People who can’t stomach religion lack the ability to think beyond themselves and those who choose to look upon homosexuality as nothing more than a disease requiring curing are simply small minded and full of hate. Regardless of whether they choose to knowledge this fact or not. I live by the principle of love who you love and that goes from loving the same sex or the opposite sex to loving G-d, Buddha, Allah, or whomever you pray to. There is nothing wrong with me and there is certainly nothing wrong with any of you.  Accept yourself for who you are and others will accept you for who you are. Or… Accept others as you accept yourself. It’s all about respect.

The War on Happy Holidays

It’s about that time of year where some members of the mass media would have you believe that there’s some sort of yearly and ongoing war on Christmas being waged. If you choose to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, you’ve declared war on Christmas. If you tell someone Seasons Greetings then you’re part of the Liberal Agenda and out to undermine all that this country stands for. Now of course that’s all a load of horse hockey.. at least from my point of view. And in case you’re wondering, I’m neither Democrat nor Republican.

As most.. or probably only some people know.. Christmas is far from the only holiday to occupy the month of December, but for some reason people act like it’s all that exists. If I have a friend who celebrates Kwanza then you know what I do?? I wish him a Happy Kwanza. If I run into a fellow celebrator of Hanukkah, then I wish him a Happy Hanukkah. If I have a friend who celebrates Yule and/or the Winter Solstice, I wish them a Happy Yule or a Happy Solstice and so on and so forth. You get the point. Of course if I don’t know a person or anything about a person, then I wish them Happy Holidays or something else less religious. Now is there something wrong with me wanting to be all inclusive during the holiday season and embrace the differences that make us who were are? I don’t think so, but apparently some people do.

Not to get too educational on you good folk out there and this may offend a reader or two, but know that I say what I say because it’s the truth. Christmas is not the birthday of Jesus Christ of Nazereth. In fact, I believe he was born during a warmer time of the year, which as you all know.. December is anything but. If anything, Christmas was the Roman Catholic Church’s way of making it easier to convert the Pagans of the time. Christmas is wrought with Pagan undertones. The mistletoe, the holly and so on and so forth. Christmas time was originally the Winter Solstice.

All that aside, my issue is not with the church or with religion for that matter, but with people like Mr. Bill O’Reilly and several other Fox affiliates. If there is a war that has been waged on Christmas, it was waged by them on the rest of America.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the thoughts of Mr. O’Reilly, here are some quotes from his show between him and one Gibson:

O’REILLY: “– OK, that they’re in waters they don’t want to be in. So surely, they understand the anger that’s going to be engendered by millions of Americans who believe that their cherished holiday is being denigrated, disrespected.”

GIBSON: “Yes, it indicates hostility and –”

O’REILLY: “By not using the word.”

GIBSON: “– by refusing to say the word “Christmas.” And what I’ve noticed is the way this appears in schools, for instance, is we now don’t call it the Christmas break. It’s the winter break, as if people worship winter. And there wouldn’t be a winter break if there wasn’t Christmas at that time of year. So once you call it — change the name. You won’t use the word “Christmas,” then you go to “winter,” you can sort of push the Christmas thing out of public view.”

O’REILLY: “See, I think it’s all part of the secular progressive agenda –“

GIBSON: “Absolutely.”

O’REILLY:” — to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square. Because if you look at what happened in Western Europe and Canada, if you can get religion out, then you can pass secular progressive programs like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage, because the objection to those things is religious- based, usually.”

All of that not withstanding, I wish everyone who reads this Happy Holidays and a Happy upcoming New Year.

And I felt that the cartoons posted below were appropriate considering this post.