Thanks to The Walking Dead we now know what the zombie apocalypse looks like. Or, at least we know how the US version of the zombie apocalypse will play out.
For those unfamiliar with the show, The Walking Dead follows Rick Grimes, a Sheriff Deputy who awakes from a coma to discover he’s slept through the zombie apocalypse. Grimes manages to outrun zombies and connect to a group of survivors, including his wife Lori and son Carl.
Over its six seasons, the show has explored domestic violence and how gender roles get skewered or reinforced within extreme conditions, explored the sanctity of life – is an undead human still a human and therefore to be treated with moral consideration? – and what happens to your humanity when the only choices are kill or be killed.
But despite facing the end of the world, Rick and his band of survivors are constitutionally incapable of uniting with their fellow human beings for the common good.
They’re extreme individualists: paranoid, obsessed with self-sufficiency and seemingly incapable of organising collective action that might extend beyond their own little “family” of fellow survivors.
In this, they’re the ideal of the contemporary era of dog-eat-dog global capitalism.
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