Science fiction tells us more about ourselves than we would like.
For example, in the 1950s, science fiction was all about aliens invading America from the sky. They used death rays, destroyed entire cities and engaged in "body snatching" and brain-washing to conquer America.
Sociologists say that America's obsession with UFO science fiction in the 1950s reflected our anxiety and apprehension regarding the Cold War, the Soviet Union and our fears of nuclear war.
Today, there is a new science fiction craze, namely, zombies.
What does this craze say about American society?
A few things.
First, it says we are terrified about things falling apart, about the collapse of order, civilization, community and the like. We are apprehensive about the collapse of fire departments, police departments, governments, garbage collection, the rise of anarchy and the like, things brought on by numerous years of GOP/corporate benign neglegt. Its beginning to impact our collective unconscious. We fear for the collapse of our society.
Second, perhaps the rise of apocolyptic literature, of which zombie movies and comics are but a part, is indicative of America's declining role in the world and the coming anarchy and destabilization that our Power Elite claims will come in the wake of our eclipse. Sort of like the Dark Ages that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire? Perhaps the Apocolyptic Literature and Zombie craze speaks to these underlying concerns?
Third, perhaps the Zombie craze represents an underlying racial concern. As America and Europe experience increasing numbers of third world immigration, perhaps the zombie craze speaks to the underlying fears of white westerners who irrationally feel overwhelmed and outnumbered by "hordes of savages" who seek to consume and kill all in their path, unrestrained by traditional notions of civility or morality? In this sense, the zombie movie and comic phenomenon could be perpetuated by an underlying racial angst, despite the multicultural cast that comprises such films.
Fourth, perhaps the zombie craze represents an overwhelming popular fear of capitalism and consumer culture, and the attendent behaviors of consumerism and objectification? Perhaps Zombies represent our fear of masses of people only concerned with mass, ravenous consumption? Of using us as a means to an end, rather than an end in of itself? Perhaps zombies represent shopping mall consumerism, as Romero so aptly argued in his movie, "Day of the Dead?" That zombies are mindless, drone-like consumers, wishing for nothing more than the satiation of their immediate instinctual impulses, deprived of their higher, civilizing impulses?
Fifth, perhaps the zombie craze is a covert way of furthering the survivalist movement? I hear people all the time talk about how they are preparing for the zombie apocolypse and how they are buying guns, knives, armor, provisions and the like. Perhaps this is a code for preparing for a race riot or the like? I don't know. Perhaps its all of the above and then some.
What I can say is that I absolutely love this series on AMC. I read the comics religiously and follow the show religiously.
I think Rick was totally justified in killing Shane.
I think Dale was the most awesome guy in the group. He is the one who kept them human. Without Dale, they would become indistinguishable from the zombies, who are all about killing and eating, survival and consumption. Humanity must mean more than this. Dale shows us this. I am glad Rick realizes this.
The battle between Rick and Dale ended through both of their deaths. Dale made the more lasting impact.
As Season 3 comes around and we meet the Governor, we will see where Shane's style of leadership will get people, in terms of losing their humanity.