(cross-posted from Kosher Eucharist)
Being something of a writerly-minded person, I suffer from a tendency to view everything in terms of comparison – my mind rarely bothers to process what something is, settling instead for what it’s like. Additionally burdened as I am with an overactive imagination and a library of slightly askew cultural references, my mental process often bears an uncanny resemblance to the state of my room – a haphazard clutter done up in a garish color that I’m afraid to show people in fear that they’ll realize that my beefcake poster of D’Angelo is indicative of something fundamentally off about me.
See, I’m doing it again.
I’m also something of a geek. Not the bad kind – I mean, I can hold my liquor and I’ve never touched a game that requires a die with more than six sides – but a geek nonetheless. Usually this manifests itself in my ability to hum certain Charlie Parker solos from memory or in my tendency to spend three hours reading about the morphology of extinct Melanesian languages on Wikipedia, but sometimes it’s considerably more mundane. To wit: I love zombie movies, a barely socially acceptable affection passed on to me, like the very insatiable desire for human flesh itself, by Harry. I could attempt to justify this, like so many others before me, by embarking on a long and windy soliloquy about how zombie movies invariably contain a pronounced element of trenchant social commentary, and how zombies, unstoppable, feelingless killers whose only drive is to overrun the planet, are the perfect bogeyman for our turbulent times – but I’ll spare you.
I promise, I’m going somewhere with this.
You see, I was having a conversation recently with a friend about life in Israel. Although I fervently believe that politics should not ever be discussed with people of whom you are fond, because this is the conversational equivalent of spitting into their mouths, a frank discussion of recent events in our wacky little sandbox can hardly avoid the current wholesale disintegration of our horrifying, shande fur die goyim excuse for a government. The endless litany of our elected officials being indicted for everything from fraud to rape to gross incompetence would be almost amusing if we didn’t have to show up the next day in the UN General Assembly, hanging our head like the kid in homeroom who everybody knows has parents whose nightly recreation sees a bottle of Jack Daniels go from “full” to “melee weapon,” loud enough for everyone in the neighborhood to hear.
It was then, during that discussion, that my ability to draw similes, and my geekiness, kicked in. I realized that living in Israel, under the auspices of MKs worried more about covering their embezzling, swindling, downright thieving tracks than issues like our flagging educational system, forced into the booth with voters who are apparently seriously considering giving Bibi another crack at it, is exactly like being in a zombie movie. I’m thinking specifically of Romero’s Day of the Dead – you know, the one where they’re in an underground military base in a world overrun by the living dead – but really, most of them provide an apt enough comparison. Here we are in Israel, tearing ourselves apart because of greed and pride and fear and a host of other none-too-lovely character flaws, while the flesh-eating menace pounds at our doors and howls for our blood.
You know, zombie movies never end well for the protagonists.
Oh, sure, it’s not a perfect analogy. I mean, obviously we have our zombies too – y’know, “Gimel” voters and Sheinkeniks – and it’s not fair to tar the entire Palestinian nation with the “flesh-eating” brush (and even if it is, it was doubtless Zionist Oppression that drove them to it in the first place), but I’ve got to say, all I hear when Haniyeh talks is the chilling moan of the ghoul who has scented his living prey.
So keep a few things in mind. Next time you’re forced to sit through another divisive speech from Olmert, or Peres, or Peretz, or Lieberman, or whatever goon-of-the-week from Labor/Likud/Shas/UTJ/Ichud Leumi/the Arab parties, try to see them for what they really are: that asshole army commander in Day of the Dead who only cares about his own people. If you’ll recall, zombies eventually go at his intestines like the Italian restaurant scene from Lady and the Tramp, and it’s inordinately satisfying. And the next time you see one of those St.-Patrick’s-Day-in-Hell-green Hamas rallies, remember, there’s only one way to get rid of a zombie: aim for the head.