RETRO: Boston Zombie Lurch

13 May, 2007 at 6:07 pm (dear diary)

What do we want? BRAINNNS! When do we want them? RRAAAHHRRN!Found an article in the A&E insert in the Boston Globe about the second annual Boston Zombie March. As part of the coordinated efforts of the fine folks at Halfway to Human, a few hundred people dressed up in rags and tags and white makeup and wandered the streets of Cambridge last year. Warren Ellis might call this a “flashmob”, as it was an internet cooridnated event with no human interaction between the participants until they actuallly arrive at the agreed-upon location. I think he tends to think of flashmobs as more sudden, more spontaneous, originated and enacted on the go with full-on mobile technology. However, these were zombies, and they required a little bit more time to shuffle into position.

The march — and I must protest against the term. Wouldn’t a “lurch” be more a propos? More thematic? — was intended to be a massive bleary shuffle from Davis Square to Harvard Square, but as our blood was up, we ended up tramping at least another mile towards Central Square in order to find a zombie-friendly drinking establishment. Slightly less than three miles is a long ways to maintain an awkward, jerking lumber in one’s gait, and by the last stretch, most people were cheerfully out of character. Still not marching, per se, but not lurching anymore, either. More like ambling along with blood spattered across their painted mouths. The organizers guessed that we had something close to a thousand people shuffling along the three-mile stretch, so — as you can no doubt imagine — we caused quite a few traffic snarls. It’s difficult to get across an intersection in the requisite twenty-eight seconds when one is moving only with the soulless animus of a bleating hunger for human flesh. Not to mention where there are hundreds of us in a row. So we caused the occasional human blockade for Saturday afternoon Boston traffic, which is not overly forgiving to begin with.

But we were also simply a rubbernecking spectacle of considerable proportion. And even when we weren’t obstructing intersections, the mass of us on the sidewalk caused cars to slow and swerve, and generally take a good long gander at the clotted corridor of inhumanity. And people wanted to know… what were we protesting? And while we were being protested by anti-zombie groups decrying our presence and demanding that life remain the purview of the living, in addition to some robots unhappy that zombies were stealing their jobs, we didn’t have an agenda. While zombie movies traditionally have a wider social or political message, we were not marching to highlight man’s inhumanity to man, the inevitability of pandemics, the sleepwalking participation of America’s political process, etc. But those people passing us by called out to us, needing to know what we were doing this for, because if it only had a purpose or a message, then they could drive on by, content in context. They needed it to be a “march”, essentially.

As it was, we gave them no cogent answer, content in our randomness. We merely shuffled over to their SUVs, gurgled and growled, smeared crimson corn syrup on their windows, and headed back to the parade.

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1 Comment

  1. Ben said,

    Ego Comment! Evidence of my participation can be found in the cloud.
    + YouTube video by user Pensquid (from 2m44s til the end):

    + Flickr photo by VickieVictoria (underneath the Do Not Enter sign):
    Zombie

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