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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Are Zombies Good for Your Brain?

Todd Jepperson

Would anyone take zombies seriously enough to try and convince honors college students they should pay attention? According to at least one professor at Texas Tech, the answer is a groaning, "yes."

"There are a lot of classes on the zombie apocalypse and what you should do in an invasion. I’m not interested in that,” says Professor Rob Weiner. “I’m into talking about zombies in history, pop-culture, what constitutes a zombie, why we even talk about zombies and why they are popular. I’m actually puzzled by it because zombies are gross. To me, zombies are the most terrifying monster. No matter how many you kill, they just keep coming. Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s the attraction.”

For twenty students, the ride through zombie Hollywood will begin in the 1930's, in the Haitian Voodoo style, then proceed through Romero's 1960's and straight into today's pop-culture phenomenon. “I think zombies represent the chaotic world we live in,” Weiner says. “Zombies represent the fact that no matter how you try to escape the chaos, they just keep coming. In some way the zombies are a reflection of humanity that is not pretty. They’re ugly and disgusting, and we are fascinated with ugly and disgusting. Zombies want to make you one of them. Zombies can teach us to be individuals and think for ourselves. Think critically. Develop critical thinking skills. The zombie can be used as a metaphor that says maybe we shouldn't always follow the crowd. The zombie is a warning that we should remain unique."

If you're interested in the course, or how it came to be, dig your way over to Texas Tech Today and pick professor Weiner's brain.  

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