June 29, 2009
Thus it is right and fitting that we have become transfixed by reflections upon the life of one Michael Jackson with a focus befitting the death of Ronald Reagan and Princess Diana at the hands of OJ Simpson. Such an event is so rare, and so important, that I think we have dealt with it too penuriously due to our fleeting cultural attention span and not placed this genius at the true level of the pantheon which he deserves, beside such worthies as Thomas Jefferson and Ron Popeil.
For largely unspoken in this celebration is the greatest gift that Mr. Jackson gave to the world, far more long-lasting than his vicissitudes in fashion or the all-too-quickly anachronistic music for which he is better known.
I speak, of course, of his singular vision of dancing zombies.
We have oft discussed in our electronic agora the eternal philosophical question regarding fast and slow zombies. But too many among us have gazed upon the shambling forms of the undead and forgotten that, for a brief time, thanks to this visionary they neither ambled nor sprinted, but rather floated as if Fred Astaire himself had risen from the tomb to feast upon the brain of Ginger Allen.
This, dear friends, was the true gift to us from Michael Jackson.
Thriller did not only mark the beginning of Mr. Jackson's otherworldly career, strange gyrations in skin pigment, and the unfortunate foistation of his wretched sister LaToya upon the public eye (lamentably underdressed, no less).
Rather it also marked the moment when zombies, freed from the cultural bias instilled upon them since the dawn of time, suddenly became unmoored from being shambling cannon fodder in the ranks of the undead and catapulted them to a super-stardom that sexy werewolves and homoerotic vampires can only dream of.
We will never know if the zombie-only dancing studios he so strenuously advocated would have made a difference in the coming zombie uprising, nor will we know if his plans for a chain of zombie night clubs would have helped foster peace between the brain-possessing and the brain-obsessing.
But we do know that a champion of zombie rights, who saw them not as something simply to be shot in the head but rather creatures with charm and grace, has passed from this mortal coil to the next.
And that he will be sorely missed.
June 19, 2009
June 17, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 11, 2009
Absent a properly functioning frontal lobe, a zombie is driven entirely by base emotions - such as rage - that are housed in the primitive parts of our brain, notably the amygdala. There's precedence for this in nature. A crocodile brain, for instance, is mostly driven by the amygdala. Researchers have confirmed this by introducing lesions into the amygdala of animal specimens: the result is a drop in the attack and retreat response that correlates significantly with the amount of damage that's done to that region of the brain. A crocodile without an amygdala isn't really a crocodile. As such, Schlozman argues, "you can't really be mad at zombies, because that's like being mad at a crocodile," adding that it's the delicate balance between frontal lobe and amygdala "that makes us human."
That balance is maintained by the anterior cingulate cortex, which modulates and dampens the excitability of the amygdala as it talks to the frontal lobe. So, when the amygdala gets all stirred up by fear, anger or lust, the anterior cingulate cortex steps on it a little bit, giving the frontal lobe time to think everything through before it sends signals toward the motor cortex and we act upon those impulses.
A zombie would have a dysfunctional anterior cingulate cortex, rendering it unable to modulate feelings of anger. The result? Hyper-aggression.
Well, considering most zombies just lurch, could you really call that "hyper-aggression"?
June 01, 2009
A detailed hands-on review is available at RockPaperShotgun.
Oh, in case you missed it from a month ago, here's some more chainsaws.
Yeah, I'm trying to make our page slow as hell to load today.
60 queries taking 0.2657 seconds, 140 records returned.
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