Tuesday, January 8, 2008
The Great Zombie Debate

About a decade ago, I started writing a humor column for the local paper. It started as a fake advice column, and over the years it became.... I don't know what. Somewhere for me to make crude jokes about monkeys and pontificate on whatever subject was currently holding my attention.

I can't say why I started doing it. Boredom and ego, I guess. Plus I liked writing and making people laugh. What makes even less sense to me is that after almost a decade, I'm still writing it. I don't get paid for it, and over the years the column has landed me in more trouble than anything else I've ever done. That's the problem with satire, if it's done properly, it pisses people off.

Here's how it works. I make fun of clowns, and you laugh. I make fun of frat boys, and you laugh. Then I make fun of Buddhists. But you're a Buddhist. Suddenly you're not laughing.

Have I suddenly become unfunny? No. It's just that now I'm poking fun at your personal sacred cow. But that's my job as a satirist, I expose that which is ridiculous in the world. I'm a sacred cow tipper.

Anyway, I when I was out at the Fantasy Matters conference a couple months ago, I had do do a reading directly following Neil Gaimain. I knew that I couldn't hope to match him in sheer mythic storytelling awesomeness, so I decided to go for some cheap laughs instead. To this end, I read a column I wrote a couple years ago called The Great Zombie Debate.

Surprisingly, people liked it. So I thought I'd post it up here for those of you looking for a cheap laugh or two.

Dear Pat,

My social group is fiercely locked in the fast zombie vs. slow zombie debate. While I'll admit that 28 Days rocked, I still think slow zombies are much scarier than their faster counterparts. Can you shower us with your wisdom? I fear this debate will cause a schism in our group that may never mend.

John S.


Thanks for the letter, John. It's always nice to hear from a guy who's not afraid to use the word "schism."

Though not many folk know it, the fast vs. slow zombie debate goes all the way back to the early days of the church. It was part of a disagreement between James the greater, and Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus. You see, James believed in salvation according to works, slow zombies, and that watching two women kiss was, in his words, "wicked cool."

On the other hand, Paul believed in salvation according to faith, fast zombies, and the fact that women were "kinda icky" therefore two kissing would be, "double icky."

Now normally when there was a disagreement, they turned to Thomas. But Thomas thought it should be faith AND works. And he'd never actually seen two women kiss and didn't believe that sort of thing really happened. As for zombies, well... the thought of people getting up and moving around after they were dead was just too much for him, and he told the other disciples that he had better things to do than sit around and listen to them tell silly stories.

And so the issue remains unresolved to this day, stirred up by recent fast zombie movies like Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days.

So let's lay this to rest once and for all, shall we?

Now to a certain extent whether you like fast or slow zombies is simply a matter of personal taste.

It's like sex. Fast sex is different from slow sex. But they both have their good points. A quickie is fun. It's a romp. It's exciting. Slow sex is different. It's an experience. It's an adventure. It's an African safari which necessitates the use of a special type of hat.

But while they both have their selling points, the fact remains that slow sex has a lot more style. More room for finesse. More opportunities to wear exciting hats.

The same thing is true with zombie movies. Everybody who isn't all a total tightass enjoys a good zombie movie now and then, fast or slow. But ultimately, a slow zombie movie has a lot more style. More finesse. The purpose of a zombie movie is to scare you, and ultimately, slow zombies are more frightening.

Now before all you fast zombie advocates get your knickers in a twist, listen to me. Slow zombies are frightening. Fast zombies are startling. There's a huge difference, let me explain.

You know the part in the horror movie when the young co-ed is looking through the attic with a flashlight? It's dark, the music gets real dramatic, then BAM! A cat jumps out from behind a stack of boxes.

Pretty scary, huh?

No. No, that was not scary. It was just startling. It's cheap. If you don't believe me, just think of a whole movie full of nothing but cats jumping out at people. Would that be a scary move? No. It would just suck. The same goes for a movie full of nothing but fast zombies jumping out at people, or, come to think of it, relationships full of nothing but fast sex.

That is, unless you're having a relationship with a slow zombie that wore an exciting hat when you had sex with it. That might work, I think.

And with that bit of wisdom I will leave you for now. I'll be back soon, and posting more consistently now that the holidays are past. I'll tell y'all how the Boston Signing went, and I'll be making those announcements I promised you a couple weeks ago.

Plus, I have some delicious fanart that I've been dying to show you....

Later all,

pat

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