by J J Cohen
[Thought you might enjoy this short paragraph from the talk I gave at ICFA. I'm reworking the piece into an essay to be published in the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.]
Zombies are proliferating at the same time as our reigning fad diet is the Paleolithic, extolling the consumption of raw foods. Meat loving and contemptuous of grains, the Paleo Diet renounces agricultural humanity for a fantasy of primal hunter-gatherers who devoured what they killed or snatched with their own hands. Everyone was supposedly healthier when they resembled Bear Grylls, despite the fact that most hunter-gatherers probably lived very short lives that terminated in the stomachs of predators. Like the “Born to Run” movement, this diet is propelled by a fantasy that the past was a better space, and that the current imperfections of our bodies were in the distant past its flawless adaptations. The Paleo Diet, like the Zombie Diet, imagines that it is best to consume without adding culture to your food (do not process what you devour), and that what we eat should arrive through no intermediary (nature offers bounty enough). We might even be tempted to label both the Paleo and Zombie diets green: what could be more natural, more eco-friendly, than a culinary regime that leaves so small an environmental footprint? In the end, however, zombie diets are actually the more sustainable, since humans are in fact the most neglected meat in a flesh-loving culture. Zombies know that deer, horses, and humans all make good eating, and they were early practitioners of snout to tail dining.