A scholarly take on our horde mentality

Zombies marched in Washington, D.C., earlier this month to protest DISH Network dropping AMC, which airs “The Walking Dead.”

”The Walking Dead” is one of the most popular shows on TV. Its season premiere last week saw 10.1 million viewers — 15.2 million if you include the two encores that ran the same evening. What makes this show about zombies so popular?

“It really puts viewers into a moral dilemma,” says Murali Balaji, assistant professor of media studies and production at Temple University in Philadelphia. “People wonder what would they do if they were in such an extreme situation.”

Balaji, who teaches courses in both media theory and popular culture, points out that it’s not actually the zombies who are the most dangerous enemies. “What’s interesting is that the survivors view fellow survivors as suspiciously, or even more suspiciously, as the zombies themselves,” he says. “There’s a line from the graphic novel that the show is based on: ‘It’s not the dead I fear, it’s the living.’ That resonates with us — we all struggle with dilemmas of trust.” 

Zombie stories have been increasingly popular during the past 10 years, which may reflect our end-of-the-world fears. “Whether it’s bioterrorism, a disease outbreak or a nuclear accident, this is something that people could see happening,” Balaji says.

A seasonal affliction

Our attraction to zombies may be heightened during the election season — seriously. 

“We’re increasingly isolated from one another,” says Balaji. “People become consumed in their own tribes, and more and more disconnected.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.