Hard News Cafe: Author offers advice to avoid the undead

Story by Cathy Morgan for Hard News Cafe at Utah State University, October 24th, 2011

  • Zombie awareness becomes mainstream
  • Hollywood drives increased interest in zombie interest
  • Tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse

Psychiatrist and author of The Zombie Autopsies Steven C. Schlozman offered USU students a crash course in Zombie 101 recently, including essential zombie knowledge and survival techniques. It’s National Zombie Day this week, and Halloween is right around the corner, so interest in the undead, ghouls and goblins is high, and zombies are one of the favorite choices.

ASUSU Arts and Lectures invited Schlozman, a Harvard psychiatry professor and zombie film fan, to address the question, “If there ever was a zombie outbreak, how do you think you would survive?” Schlozman’s new novel, The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse, documents for the first time how the unique biology of a zombie may actually work and how doctors could go about curing it.

See Schlozman on YouTube.

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The idea of a virus that can cause humans to turn into zombies has been an interest not just for the average Joe, but also for doctors. Rumors or misinterpretations tend to cause people to panic when they don’t understand what is going on. For example, when the Orson Welles radio play of The War of the Worlds aired on Halloween 1938, a wave of mass panic struck the public, even though every half-hour an announcement was played telling everyone it was of course not real.

“This type of thing is the risk I take when giving this lecture,” Schlozman commented. “People tend to overreact and get excited.”

Even though the topic of a brain-hungry lumbering monster is scary, it still attracts people. Part of that could be in the mystery of why zombies don’t exist, or if they did, what would we do about it.

“The idea of zombies has caught on, it’s fun, and it seems to help people who are trying to understand the purpose of life,” Schlozman said.

In fact, Schlozman’s version of zombies has caught the attention of premier zombiac George Romero, director of the original Night of the Living Dead, who plans a film version of Schlozman’s book.

When asked why he thinks people love zombies so much, Tony Dickey, a computer science major, remarked, “I think the whole fascination with zombies stems from a desire to escape from reality, the desire to have adventure in your life. It’s something that seems like it could happen, even if there’s only a miniscule chance. People like to imagine they’d be able to survive an apocalypse like that.”

With all this in mind, People are always asking, how could we survive if there ever was a zombie apocalypse? Schlozman uses the example of slow-moving zombies like the kind that shamble in George A. Romero’s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead to help us understand how in eight easy steps what we should do.

  1. Those people that walk and text on campus that somehow always get in your way will be the first to go. Not just because they’re annoying but because they’re always distracted. This time instead of getting run over by your bike, they’re going to get mauled by a zombie!
  2. Make sure that guy staring at you at the bus stop making weird faces as if he’s somehow flirting with you doesn’t just appear to be a zombie. You need allies, and cutting down those people that give you a creepy vibe won’t help you in your need to survive.
  3. You need to make sure you understand how a zombie acts and thinks. Go home and watch Michael Jacksons’ Thriller a few times and you’ll understand what I mean.
  4. Now remember! When you can’t always get what you want, stomping and crying never got you anywhere with your parents now did it? Well for a zombie it’s the same way. You need to put on your big boy pants and not act like an adolescent if you want to survive.
  5. If you’ve been living in Logan for awhile, the cold winters have trained you to learn how to walk quickly from one destination to another. This will come in handy when you encounter those slow stumbling zombies.
  6. Just like anyone else, a zombie could appreciate a good hearty snack. Make sure you keep some chicken on yourself, just throw it at them and run. I promise, they won’t care about you anymore if there’s KFC on the ground.
  7. Now this would be the perfect time to wear that camouflage everyone used to call unfashionable. If you know how to blend in and hide, you’ll be just fine.
  8. The last rule is to simply become one with yourself. Learn some yoga and deep breathing exercises if you don’t know how to control your anger or patience. You need to be able to handle any stressful situation.

As a zombie fanatic myself I’ve found a few things to keep you zombie fanatics interested for the next little while. The second season of The Walking Dead premiered on AMC last week. The TV series follows a group of people looking for a new way of life after a zombie apocalypse occurs.

This week, the History Channel starts a series called The History of the Dead, starting Wednesday. If you’re more of a reader, pick up World War Z, the top-selling zombie novel.

J.P.R.O.F.

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This article was edited and re-packaged by Margaret Grigsby, a member of the ICONN News Stream at the University of Tennessee. Please direct any comments or questions to mgrigsby@utk.edu.

 

About mgrigsby

Margaret is a graduate teaching associate in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media and the School of Communication Studies. She received her undergraduate degree in JEM in 2005. Her current research focus is in mobile technology and digital communication. Margaret also teaches public speaking.

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