NPR: Why The Zombie Craze Still Has Our Undying Affection

By Neda Ulaby
NPR

Zombie Theory (Sarah Juliet Lauro, editor)Here's a serious pop culture conundrum. Why are we still so obsessed with zombies?

I asked pre-eminent zombie scholar Sarah Juliet Lauro, a professor at the University of Tampa. She published her first academic paper on zombies a decade ago.

"I never, ever thought that 10 years later, that zombies would be going so strong," she says.

Back then, Lauro made sense of the zombie craze by thinking of it through the economic meltdown: how zombies reflected our insecurities, helplessness and fragile safety net. Then, when Barack Obama was elected president, she saw a kind of cultural backlash in the form of The Walking Dead's apocalyptic, end-of-government fantasy in which everyone is on their own.

"And it really makes sense to have a gun in the basement because you really need it," she says. "And you have redneck characters who are heroes."

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