question of the day: Why are undead corpses dominating at the box office?

Today’s QOTD comes via David Sirota at AlterNet, who poses the idea not as a question — because he believes the knows the answer — but as a declarative: he knows why undead corpses dominating at the box office. Not surprisingly — since politics is Sirota’s purview — he thinks it has to do with the dread and hopelessness the current political climate inspires in us regular powerless folk:

On Wall Street, we have zombie executives — those who destroyed the economy but nonetheless kept their same jobs and now continue paying themselves huge bonuses. At the White House, President Obama hired zombie advisers whose zombie economic ideologies and records manufacturing recession conditions should have killed their careers, but who now sit in high government office letting out moans in support of the zombie banks.

If zombies specifically represent the apocalyptic downsides of immortalized mindlessness, then today’s zombie zeitgeist is not merely a result of scary quandaries created by stupidity. It is a reaction to both those problems and the sense that they can never be thwarted.

Here we are, a year after a financial implosion that should have driven a stake in the heart of free market fundamentalism. Here we are, a year after an election that was supposed to pour holy water on Wall Street vampires, exorcise the economy’s demons and challenge the ancient mummies of neoconservative foreign policy. Yet here we are, with virtually nothing changed, watching the same zombie crises indomitably stumble forward.

And so what do we do? We flee to entertainment venues that let us enjoy the campy thrill of confronting the undead — even though we’ve lost the ability to do that in real life.

Hmm… maybe. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence that estimates of this weekend’s box office takings suggest that Zombieland dropped less than 40 percent in its second weekend. That less than two years ago, I Am Legend — which isn’t included, for some reason, on Box Office Mojo’s genre chart for zombie movies — grossed more than a quarter of a billion in North America. That the books Pride and Prejudice and Zombies [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.] and World War Z [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.] (from Max Brooks, who also wrote The Zombie Survival Guide [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.]) are huge bestsellers.

Seriously: maybe it is a coincidence.

What do you think? Why are undead corpses dominating at the box office?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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