Saturday, November 3, 2007

Zombies in Mao Suits

(although today's more fashionable young Chinese zombies are actually wearing 'A Bathing Ape' t-shirts or Abbercrombie).

I often do try to imagine what a zombie apocalypse would be like in such a crowded country as China. And then I realize... the zombie apocalypse has already arrived and gone in the Middle Kingdom: the era of Mao contained hordes of shambling undead (or not-quite-living). They wore the same bland clothes; they ate undifferentiated food from the same commune caffeterias; they moaned the same brain-dead propaganda; they had no special goal, except to multiply and engulf the world. True, they didn't hunger for brains, but what is tofu if not a lower cholesterol, vegetarian substitute for that cranial nectar that zombies so dearly love to munch upon?

Today, although freer, China still sometimes seems beholden to the zombie gods of conformity. If one ever boards a train in the greater train stations of Beijing or Zhengzhou, you can see for yourself the masses shamble (there really is no better word for that slow, steadily rocking march forward) through the ticket gate. Opinions held (particularly of the political variety) have all the intellectual weight of "brains! brains! we need more brains... to eat." Clothing worn, although far more colorful and strange than the more conservative zombies would care to imagine, is still fairly conformist within its new boundaries.

So here I am, without a chainsaw, a shotgun, or even a trusty axe. I'll just have to hope that I can verbally reason with these plaintive cries for neurological sustenance.

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