The CDC + a zombie apocalypse + a grande latte = critical thinking

This morning I was shopping for giftcards at my local coffee place.  Because it’s the holidays, and it was 8:00 am, the line was long and the place was packed.  I was playing Plants vs. Zombies on my phone while I waited on line, and so the mention of zombies from a nearby table piqued my interest.  (Plus I am an eavesdropper, obviously.)

At the table were two college-aged women I’ll call Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, hanging out. With UCSD right down the street, this is not surprising.  A summary of their kinda surprising discussion follows the jump:

Electra Woman: I just think it’s so irresponsible for the actual government agency to create a zombie preparedness guide.

Dyna Girl: It’s not actually a guide-guide. It’s a blog post talking about zombies in pop culture and how one would prepare for them.

Electra: No one needs that.  And you know there are people out there dumb enough to think 28 Years Later was a documentary. [A’s note: 28 DAYS Later, she means.  I think we’d have been more well prepared for a rage virus if we’d had 28 years.]

Are you going to eat that coffee cake?

Dyna: Maybe.  But remember the black out last month?  I had water and flashlights and a radio in the house, but only because I read that blog back in Spring semester. Zombie preparedness is just like emergency preparedness.

Electra: No one ever expects the zombie apocalypse!  [A’s note: she really said that! <3!]  But I still don’t think it’s smart for the FDA to mix jokes with real information.

Dyna: It’s the Centers for Disease Control, not the FDA.  And it’s clear it’s tongue in cheek.  I’ll show you.  [A’s note: Dyna pulls up on iPad as I let the customers behind me jump the line so I can see how this ends.  The things I do for you people.]

Dyna: See, it’s on their blog, not an actual PDF or anything.  And it’s all real info.

Electra: Ooooh, there are tee-shirts!  This is pretty awesome.

So, while it’s entirely possible that Electra Woman was only swayed by the swag,  I was completely charmed by the rational sharing of information, the strategic use of the webernets and the fact that zombies helped Dyna Girl prepare for a real emergency situation.

Remember folks:  It can’t happen to you, but that’s no reason to be unprepared.



A B Kovacs is the Director of Døøm at Empty Set Entertainment, a publishing company she co-founded with critical thinker and fiction author Scott Sigler. She considers herself a “Creative Adjacent” — helping creative people be more productive and prolific by managing the logistics of Making for the masses. She's a science nerd, a rabid movie geek, and an unrepentantly voracious reader. She doesn't like chocolate all that much.

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  1. The whole ‘oh noes, the CDC is talking about zombies, this means they are fundamentally incapable of doing their job’ thing really annoyed me. Especially as they specifically said that if they can get people to have emergency packages ready for a funny reason, it means they’ll have them when a real emergency hits. Sigh.

    1. Exactly why I loved seeing this bit of real-life reality check. When you actually parse that dramatic response out, it kind of *has* to come down to “well, did you read the thing?”

      And in my own experience, in most cases of this hysteria, the answer is always “no, I didn’t read it.”

  2. This reminds me of all the cable specials that were on before Halloween about how to survive a zombie apocalypse. I know the producers weren’t serious (at least, I hope they weren’t), but it seemed that too many of the people on the shows were. There were so many of these shows that I had to wonder…

    And doesn’t this whole apocalyptic flesh-eating zombie horde meme all go back to Romero’s original 1968 movie? I know there were zombie legends long before that, but the entranced living or walking dead didn’t roam in packs eating people all over the world until George came in. Man, if only he could have trademarked it, he’d be the richest man alive now. ;)

  3. “Electra: No one ever expects the zombie apocalypse!”

    You totally should have jumped over the nearest piece of furniture, landing right next to them, and said …

    “NOOOBody expects the Zombie Apocalypse!!!! ….” etc. etc.

  4. I was just watching the walking dead with the whole CDC event. Apparently if the zombie apocalypse does go down most of the CDC scientists will leave to be with their families or commit suicide rather than working on the cure. Not sure how close to the truth that is though.

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