© un-copyright 2010 D.M. Schwartz
I’ve noticed that a lot of people are obsessed with aborted fetuses and walking corpses. It’s difficult to make sense of these phenomena, but I think they’re related. My teenage sons like to shoot zombies with shotguns. The digital gore disturbs me. I wonder, do those shuffling creatures represent the anxieties and frustrations my boys encounter in their lives? Do they wish they could vanquish their fears as easily as they blow away the undead on their video screens? “What the hell are you talking about?” is as much of a response as I can get from either of them when I speculate on their motivations. “It’s just for fun, dad.”
Zombies and vampires seem to be a permanent part of our cultural milieu these days. The zombie dead aren’t quite ready to decompose. They lurch around with no social utility whatsoever. I suppose their only redeeming feature is their propensity to explode chromatically when hit with various weapons. And once blown to bits, are their souls freed to rejoin some cosmic cloud or God? The vampires aren’t so much dead as eternal, enlivened by the fresh, warm blood of the living, who conveniently transform into vampires themselves once drained.
I get the feeling that teen fascination with these creatures has something to do with their own unvoiced concerns about the meanings of life and death. At some level, these kids are asking themselves what happens after death and what is in store for them during that eternity we all face. The concept of a zombie state of being, neither entirely alive nor entirely dead offers a fascinating glimpse of immortality, or purgatory.
The concept of vampires as immortal beings dependant on sucking the energy out of mortals depicts a death defying option based on symbiosis. It suggests that humans could devolve into super and sub species; an idea with some economic analogies in the world today. Vampires also represent the idea that souls can be trapped in flesh, forever.
So, if zombies and vampires maintain a state of existence unlike the rest of us, neither dead nor alive in a conventional sense, what about the unborn; fetuses? They aren’t alive the way those who have already been born are alive, and they certainly aren’t dead, though they would be if separated from their mothers.
Those obsessed with the unborn, like the Right to Life folks are certain that fetuses are people and aborting them is equivalent to murder. Do they imagine that the soul of a fetus is extinguished when the fetus is killed? Probably not; these are the same people who are concerned with the destination of our eternal souls, right? I guess that leaves the option of the fetus’s soul finding another new being to inhabit. (Of course, if you don’t believe in some kind of afterlife you won’t care one way or the other.) Or, are the anti-abortionists concerned that the unborn’s soul hasn’t been saved and is doomed to Hell. I presume that’s the same Hell inhabited by zombie souls and those unlucky vampires who’ve met with a silver bullet, wooden stake, sunlight, or whatever it takes these days to put them down.
My suggestion for the zombie, vampire and fetus obsessed: put down your videogame controllers and/or your picket signs. There are plenty of real, live humans who could benefit from your time and attention.