In response to "Identity of a Decade" from The Escapist Forum: I'm sorry, but I'm forced to disagree with this. Obviously we aren't really looking at the 00's retrospectively, because we're living in them. But there will be plenty of opportunities for the children of people who are teenagers now to look back and facepalm at us. You could point to the Travolta collars, afros and tight pants of the 70s and 80s, but you could just as well point to the upturned polo shirt collars, emo fringes and... erm, tight pants of today as objects of deserving ridicule. Our 40-year old selves will look back and shake their heads at the age of Big Brother and American Idol, at the everyone-has-one-then-it's-dead-in-two-years fads of MySpace and Facebook, and at the way we thought a War on Terrorism could possibly be a winnable thing without changing the definition of 'terrorism'.
Trust me. We will have plenty of things from this decade to wonder why anyone thought it was a good idea in 2030.
I think a major defining characteristic of the decade, ignored by the article, is the emergence of the niche. Information is so readily available and in such abundance that people can be highly specialized in their leisure interests and find communities to support their interests. The emergence of all these niche interests has increased the breadth of pop culture exponentially. In doing so it has also served to create a culture where it's possible to relate to one another through the referencing of pop culture artifacts alone.
In response to "You Are What Eats You" from The Escapist Forum: No no no no no!
Zombies are *not* "just sick people after all". Falling into this way of thinking ruins most zombie films for you (although Dawn of the Dead could be used as a counterargument).
The point of zombies is that they are irredeemably no longer human. Their humanity and consciousness has gone, and it can't be cured. "Shoot it! That's not your husband any more". That makes zombies the ultimate excuse for morally acceptable indiscriminate slaughter of humanoids.
In the cheap Irish Samantha Mumba vehicle 'Boy Eats Girl' (spoilers ahoy!), they discover a cure towards the end of the film. Oh. That means the zombie hordes you tore to pieces with a hedge trimmer were your friends after all. Why are you smiling like it's a happy ending.
For zombies to work as entertainment, they have to be considered incurable.
It's interesting to try and understand the set of circumstances that have brought zombie lore to the peak of social consciousness. I think it's some combination of factors: the continued fascination with the supernatural, but simultaneously the idea that scienfitic hubris may have contributed to an epidemic that strips us of our very humanity. Survival of the zombie apocalypse is both a physical and mental exercise, and the fight against them is really a fight against an enemy that is relentless, untiring, and devoid of personality. In some ways, it's the individual struggle against the masses.
Plus, when it comes to using zombies as enemies in games, the AI is pretty simple, and the undead don't sue for defamation.
- Alan Au