Rina Risper will return in the next edition with “Excuse me are you listening?”. Her son, Gianni Risper has been writing for the paper for almost 5 years. He is a 21-year-old student at Lansing Community College.
By Gianni Risper
Mother Nature is capable of doing great and terrible things. The term natural disaster brings to mind images of catastrophes from the skies above. For all of time, we have been at the whim of events out of our control. Tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, wildfires and volcanoes all remind us of nature’s awesome ability to destroy. If we could safely watch any one of these forces rage, any one of these natural disasters could be described as beautiful. But Mother Nature has an even more dangerous aspect, one that we cannot watch with our own eyes. With the rise in our technology, we have been able to research more into biological and viral threats that the world has produced. Is the same raw beauty reflected in the contagions we strive to understand and contain? In recent years a new face has risen, the idea of a viral outbreak that could reanimate the undead. This idea has changed the face of apocalyptic scenarios for my generation and has done so through the media. The shift in focus on zombie culture has changed how we prepare for natural disaster and what it really means to us to survive.
The shift in focus on zombies for our culture has not been recent but interest has exponentially grown over the last decade. What once was known as the earthquake survival kit or a disaster first aid kit has moved on to become one in the same with a zombie survival kit, but will having these items alone will not be enough to survive? I have been conditioned to the possibility of an imminent threat upheaving the way of life I have come to know. Will I be ready at a moments notice to fight for my own life? Many say that this is a reminder that fear is real. I have just been reminded to be ready for anything to happen. The age we live in contains numerous threats to the human race, but could it be that the only way we can be made aware of these disasters is for them to be subliminally inserted into our daily media consumption? People are being made aware of apocalyptic prophecies, chemical warfare, nuclear weapons and conflict all over the world in the blink of an eye through the power of mass media. This connection between people is monumental in the way the scope of what is a disaster has changed.
We have always had zombies. Zombies are described as mindless shambling husks of human flesh, whether they be the undead clawing its way up through the ground out of its own grave or mindless predators which scour the earth looking for new victims to infect. We have invented an adversary that puts fear into our hearts in a way that no other has before. Humans have sat at the top of the food chain since we spread across the face the earth. It seems only right that a creature of our own invention would be the one to topple our species into extinction. This creature wears the face of your neighbor or your friend, with a look in their eye that is now hungry for your life. Those who you surrounded yourself in life now are those who you must escape from. These undead are our own apocalypse, one that fears no religion and will wipe those who are not strong from the earth.
Every culture has a story that spells out the end of days. From the Vikings and the tale of Ragnarok to the Mayans and the prophecy of December 21, 2012, mankind has been telling these tales since we first walked the earth. We have our own story about how our world will end this time. They are these tales of these zombies and we tell them through film. The true definition of a zombie is a reanimated corpse raised through magical mean, such as voodoo and witchcraft. But no longer in our world do we hold any importance on the mystical realm and must explain these creatures in a way which makes sense to us as a people. In this age of science, where a viral outbreak is all too real of a possibility, the very idea of a zombie plague outbreak steps out of fiction and could very well step into our own lives. The human race has mastered the ability to control viral contagion as a way to better understand it. Is there something out there destined to be too much for mortal men to handle? What would you do if you turned on the television to hear that those who were dead have risen to walk with the living? We have lived long in the face of fear about the world, which we inhabit and would protect with our very lives. The stories told by those who have passed all say that it will only be a matter of time before we will eventually engineer our own demise and the homes that we have strove to build we be torn away from us. In time the fear surrounding the world we live in eventually swallow us whole, and force us to change our ways to an “Apocalypse Lifestyle”.
This was printed in the September 22, 2013 - October 5, 2013 Edition