Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Warning: zombie apocalypse ahead

I'd like to wish you all a happy Zombie Awareness Month.  Yes, I know its already the 14th, and therefore it's already almost half over, but my rather pathetic excuse is that I was myself unaware until yesterday.

Zombie Awareness Month is the brainchild of Matt Mogk, who founded the Zombie Research Society in 2007.  (See his website, if you're curious or especially if you think I'm making any of this up, here.)  Their motto is "What You Don't Know Can Eat You."  At first, I thought that the Zombie Research Society and the rest of it was a spoof site, but I have this grim suspicion that Mogk is serious.  Even his photograph on the website seems to say, "I am one serious badass, and if you even try to insinuate that zombies aren't real, I might just get my undead minions to eat your brains."

Actually, Mogk claims that zombies don't eat brains, that that was an invention of Hollywood.  I'm a little disappointed about this, because one of my favorite songs is Jonathan Coulton's "Your Brains."  If you've never heard this song, you absolutely must watch this link, but I would advise not trying to drink anything while listening, because you are likely to laugh so hard you'll choke and could end up being really dead instead of undead.

Even though Mogk doesn't think zombies eat brains, as is commonly claimed, he does believe that there will be a zombie pandemic, and looks upon Zombie Awareness Month as a way to spread information about how to avoid being zombified yourself.  Zombie outbreaks have happened before, Mogk claims; and as evidence he has on his site a world map labeled with numbers to indicate historical zombie outbreaks.  Curious, I took a close look at the map, and it turns out that his historical zombie outbreaks refer to events like the Mary Celeste incident, the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony, the collapse of the Roman Empire and the Mayan civilization, and an outbreak in the Amazon lowlands of Ecuador "of unknown date" which explains why there are tribes there that practice headhunting.  (As everyone knows,  you can kill a zombie by decapitation.  The fact that you can kill a regular human that way, too, apparently never occurs to Mogk; and he's evidently also never heard of the concept of a "hunting trophy.")

Mogk, for his part, claims he's really trying to help people.  He's particularly concerned about places like New Jersey, which in a zombie apocalypse would face traffic jams even worse than usual, and this would result in a lot of people being caught while trapped in their cars.  He recommends that if you're trying to avoid getting zombified, you should move to a place with low population density, like Wyoming.  In order to spread the word at all levels, Mogk has also written a children's book, called That's Not Your Mommy Any More, which features verses like:
When she's clawing at the kitchen door,
That's not your mommy any more.
When her face looks like an apple core,
That's not your mommy any more.
So, as you can see, he's quite serious about the whole thing, as, he states, we should be.  Mogk claims to have spent time training with the French Foreign Legion, so that explains his focus on survival, as well as possibly suggesting that he spent way too much time cooking his own brains in the desert sun.  But far be it from me to advise a lack of caution, a breezy insouciance, a happy-go-lucky Pollyanna-ish outlook.  Remember, in the movies it's always the people who have those kind of attitudes who are the first to get eaten.  So wear your twist of gray ribbon on your lapel for the rest of May, and spread the word.  The brains you save may be your own.

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