Monday, June 11, 2007

Horror Shows, Real and Imagined

Believe it or not, there are intellectuals out there who claim zombie movies are perfect parables for what happens in market economies. Think Consumer-Without-a-Soul + Profit-Seeking-Business = Flesh Eating Zombie and you've got the basic argument.

If you doubt me -- and I didn't believe it myself until I checked the facts -- check out Reason magazine's piece on the politics of zombie flicks. Tim Cavanaugh writes:

"In his 1979 study The American Nightmare: Essays on the Horror Film, the esteemed cineaste Robin Wood declared that the zombie’s cannibalism “represents the ultimate in possessiveness, hence the logical end of human relations under capitalism.” "

Just goes to show you that there is nothing so ridiculous that it cannot be found in movie reviews.

While Robin Wood et. al. were sitting in dark theaters, munching on buttered popcorn and looking for capitalist bogeymen, there was a real world horror show playing in places like Albania. For nearly fifty years, Albania was a Stalinist worker's paradise, where murder, cruelty and paranoia were the only things ever produced. Robin Wood imagined horror. Albania lived it.

Albania has emerged from its real-live horror show and is trying to build a new social order. It may be the only country where they don't just like Americans, they're crazy about them. After nearly half a century of lies and secret police in leather coats, the Albanians aren't too worried about "the logical end of human relations under capitalism."

They've seen another ending. They don't want it anymore.

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