My son plays iPad games, and occasionally I play with him.  One of the games is Plants vs Zombies 2 (PvZ2).  In this game, the player beats back a horde of zombies with plant-shooting peas, exploding potato mines, and other plant-based weaponry.  It's a strategy game mixed with a reflex game.  I find it highly addictive, so much so that through the Winter, I would play for an hour or two in the late evening to decompress from the day, sitting on the couch, legs propped up on the coffee table.

It's just a game, but within every game is an analogue.  Zombies appear to be the monster of our cultural moment, perhaps because in post-modernity we can relate to them.  We are disconnected from reality, driving like automatons, zombies in governance, in capitalist business, looking at our cell phones incessantly and to distraction, without intuition, lacking humanity, and our only goal is consumption (brains, anyone?), without a sense of stewardship, history, culture, or taste.

I think the lesson in this is that post-modernity is not for everyone.  Identities are fractured, morals are relative, and we are distracted by so many stimuli, electronic or otherwise, that it is becoming impossible to retain coherency, or be active rather than reactive, and to beat back the stress of multi-tasking.  At a certain point, we can no longer process all the input in an organized way and instead become like a zombified Auntie Mame as a phone operator.

This post is dedicated to Delores O'Riordian (d. 2018), who wrote the song "Zombie", one of the most annoying songs of the 90's.  Perhaps she died because no one heeded her call that was impossible to wring from your head, or perhaps because we internalized it and became what she feared most.

No comments: