Zombies And Disasters

photo of the floor is lava game pictures
I think that it is fair to say that most children play the “don’t touch the floor; it’s lava” game as children. I know that I did. No one taught me this game. I had never heard of a friend playing this game. I had no older siblings who played this game. It was a fun exercise and, in its own small way, helps to build survival skills. While the “lava” part is due to the expanse of human knowledge and scenarios seen on television, that kind of game is almost instinctual.

One of the purposes of play, particularly as children, is to build survival skills (and to practice social interaction, of course).

There is a lot of speculation about why people find zombie apocalypse stories so fascinating and appealing. Some say that it is because, symbolically, it has to do with anything from 9/11 to living in a world that has nuclear and biological weapons. Some say that it’s a secular way of telling a Rapture story, while others say that it is because we all have the potential to become the enemies of our neighbors and family members.

I am sure that bits and pieces of those are factors in a lot of zombie apocalypse stories. In some cases they might influence writers. In other cases, they might subconsciously influence readers and viewers and gamers to enjoy the subject matter.

Personally? I think that it partially goes back to the basics: practicing survival skills through learning and play. Most of the people who enjoy zombie apocalypse fiction make plans for what they would do in such a situation. Would they fortify their homes or a friend’s home? Whom would they bring? What would they bring? How would they protect themselves along the way?

These questions are applicable in a lot of situations that are, while unlikely, more probable than hordes of slow-moving undead that are ..

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Many Twilight-Bashers Miss The Point

photo of twilight pictures
Look, I hate Twilight as much as the next person. Actually, I probably hate it more than most. Twilight does not do any favors for women—and it also does not do any favors in terms of its portrayal of vampires. And I like women. And I like vampires. Love them, even. Since I was in second or third grade. Vampires, I mean.

I hate self-hating vampire guys who fall in love with local girls who are human but somehow special (Angel, Mick St. John, Stefan Salvatore, Bill Compton), but I can still enjoy the stories in which they are central characters. And I am not a fan of supernatural worlds in which “vampires” are so different from what I imagine that they hardly qualify for the name (Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse vampires and the vampires of Supernatural). And yet these stories can still be incredibly enjoyable.

Twilight takes both of these common flaws in vampire stories to new, upsetting extremes.

Twilight features the Cullen family of “vampires,” who are a small clan of self-hating vampires who live in secret but try to have a semblance of human lives. Not every vampire in the Twilight universe fits this description, but the “good guy” vampires do.

The “vampires” in Twilight better resemble human-shaped, venomous (for some reason) golems made out of sparkly caesarstone than vampires. I mean, really.

Twilight-bashing should never translate to vampire-bashing. Aside from the readers, vampires are the real victims, here. Vampires, from the older stories of magical beings or ravenous dead that feed upon the flesh or blood of the …

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Feminine Power: The Evolving Roles Of Superwomen

photo of superwoman pictures
Remember in my “Meet The New Intern” post when I mentioned that a lot of my interests are pretty nerdy? Allow me to demonstrate:

In the minds of many, graphic novels (comic books) are not exactly the most respectful and pro-women form of literature. To many, the (often ridiculous) attire and improbable physiques of women are not encouraging. Groups of superheroes (and supervillains) in which there are one or two “token” female characters in a sea of men seem artificial and extremely male-centered. I understand that people would have a problem with fictional universes in which the heroic women are “objects” of contention between male protagonists, and villainous women are either femme fatales to tempt male heroes or only supervillains because they are getting back at a man who wronged them,* or not-genuinely-villainous antagonists whom men can seduce away from the “real” villains—who are male.

The most important thing to remember about this is that a lot of these graphic novels are outdated. Some of them were created when there were still restaurants in the United States that wouldn’t serve to women during certain times of the day. This does not make them okay—I do not buy the “it was a different time” argument.

But graphic novels are different, now. Not all of them—some writers are misogynists. Others are not. I think that it’s fair …

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‘True Blood’: Let’s Talk Pam and Eric for a Second, OK?

photo of pam and eric pictures I’m not going to recap an entire episode of ‘True Blood’, but I am going to discuss one specific part of it. In order to do that I need to give you a quick crash course in the characters so you can follow along. Okay, Sookie is a waitress/mind reader/fairy that lives in the town of Bon Temps, LA. Vampires exist and have “come out of the coffin” and are mainstream with humans. In this town there are also shifters, werewolves, werepanthers, magic, and a bunch of other nonsense.

I’m going to focus on the vampire part of this show. See, according to ‘True Blood’ vampires can be “makers” – which means they drain you, give you their blood, go to ground with you (get buried), and then they teach you how to be a vampire. Apparently, it’s a very intense bond.

One of the main “maker” “progeny” relationships on the show would be Eric (maker) and Pam (progeny). They run a business together and have a very father/daughter/best friend relationship. Well, in 5 Episode 51 ‘Whatever I Am, You Made Me’, we see their origin. Pam was a hooker and madam and Eric was a customer. Eric is drawn to Pam because she really has no fear, she’s attacked (Eric saves her) and she doesn’t care that he just killed someone in front of her. He takes her in a room where two vampires are feeding on one of her girls an again, “NBD” for Pam, and naturally they hookup.

During some routine pillow talk, Pam asks Eric to make her a vampire. She doesn’t want to grow old because of “the life that awaits women like” herself. He declines stating he doesn’t want the responsibility of being a vampire parent. This is the scene I want to discuss.

Pam is not a spring chicken. She’s beautiful, but older, and she seems to have a good thing going in her century. She’s got money and killer clothes and a business. But she’s doing that thing that all women do where she’s looking in the future and predicting it. In her mind she ends up with TB or syphilis, alone, and exiled because no one wants an old whore. This is Pam’s fear and she …

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