My brother’s graduation speaker was Max Brooks, author of World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide (also, he is the son of Mel Brooks, notable only because I sometimes like to imagine that Mel Brooks is my grandfather, making Max Brooks my imaginary uncle).
Max Brooks gave a speech about, among other things, zombies (also, abject failure, which was a refreshing change and something I wish more people had talked about as I was about to graduate college and embark on the next phase of my life, now affectionately termed “Amanda’s Epic Failure At Assistanting World Tour”).
As Max Brooks (I have to use his full name; saying “Max” is too casual and “Mr. Brooks” just feels a little formal for a guy explaining the game “Humans vs. Zombies” to a bunch of Baby Boomers.* Also, why am I using so many parentheticals today?) … I’m starting that sentence again.
As Max Brooks used a zombie analogy to inspire the graduates to aim for greatness, I couldn’t help but think that maybe – just maybe – zombies were a little overplayed. I don’t mean to step on any toes or cast aspersions about Max Brooks’ bread-and-undead-butter. I’m just saying that you know a meme is overplayed when the CDC picks up on it.
So what’s next? We’ve covered zombies, werewolves, witches, and vampires. What can we expect from the mythical creature meme pipeline?
It makes perfect sense: Unicorns are utterly wholesome and due for a makeover. In classical mythology, they were symbolic of purity and could only be touched by virgins. In modern times, they are emblazoned on Trapper Keepers and beloved by tweenaged girls and my friend Christine. Isn’t it time they became more?
Maybe they’re shadowy figures, fighting to protect the innocent, but some of them are still mad about being left behind by Noah during the flood. Or there could be were-nicorns who are human by day, but on crescent moons are transformed into unicorns. The options are endless.
*How Max Brooks explained it: “There are humans. And there are zombies. And they versus each other.”