Periscope Depth

american zombies: the walking dead and urban flight

New post on Overthinking It that looks at zombie movies in light of America’s mid-century flight to the suburbs.

Cities, as the centers of densest population, are likely to be the greatest concentration of zombies. They’ll clog the streets with their numbers. Every person they kill will only swell their ranks. In every good zombie movie of the modern era, the refrain is the same: get out of the city. Get to the countryside. That’s where you’ll be safe.

If you consider this for a few moments, though, it doesn’t make any more sense than our earlier theories on zombie transmission. Sure, cities will be full of zombies. They’ll be packed to the fences. What happens in any hunting ground that’s overpopulated with predators? The predators inevitably die off or move on. You can wait up in your concrete fortress for the hordes to dwindle to nothing, then take to the streets.

“But what about food? You can’t grow food in a city.” Maybe not, but this is true of any place in America. Unless you live on one of the country’s remarkably few family farms, you do not have the capability to grow a sustaining diet. You need to get your food the same place everyone else does – the store. And no one imports more food than cities. Your odds of successful scavenging are much higher in an urban center than in the sparse surroundings.

Also: I’ll have more to say on The Walking Dead once the current season comes to an end. But remember when I said I wanted shows to start being good from the pilot episode onward? The Walking Dead is what I meant, only I didn’t know I meant it yet. I had a future vision of post-apocalyptic awesomeness.