In Discourse V, Descartes came up with the idea of machines that looked and moved like human beings. He called them automata. They seemed human, but could only give ritual verbal responses to stimuli, and could not think creatively. Interesting, hey? Talented guy, Descartes. You probably thought he was only known for Cartesian dualism, but he turns out to be the father of the zombie as well. Yes, many of the classical philosophers seem to have dabbled in genre horror. You should read Liebniz on crypt keepers, and Kant on the Boogie Man. Powerful stuff.
I've been thinking about zombies for a few days now, and come across a bunch of real good ideas. I don't know what to do with them, how or if they will fit into my story, so I chuck them into the stewpot I keep simmering on the back burner of my brain. In a few weeks the flavours will all come together, and I will be able to start serving up. Ladle it onto a bed of rice or pasta, maybe add some garnish.
Speaking of bad guys, my son and I had an interesting discussion in the car the other night, distinguishing the different levels and types of loser. Bullies, nerds, and bad kids are terms I recognized from my own day (bad was my mom's term, and Ed uses it too. Mostly having to do with meanness or breaking the law), and the characters seem to be the same. We agreed that just about any kind of loser could be redeemed by a sense of humour. (One of my friends from grade school seemed headed for a career in petty crime or vice, but he could always make me laugh. I never brought him home, because I knew that Mom would not approve. I figure he's either in jail now, or Hollywood. When I told Ed about him, he laughed, and said he had a friend like that too.) We also agreed on the worst and lowest form of loser: the douche. I am using the term technically here, to indicate the untrustworthy, uncool, unintelligent, unamusing blowhard -- the sort of person who would have the tattoo I must apologize for including in this post (one of the most tasteless things I have ever seen, so I felt I should share it). Douches are unclean -- not necessarily in a physical hygiene kind of way, but there's something approaching moral unhealth in them. He mentioned a boy I knew very casually.
Really? I said. He's a douche, eh?
Ed nodded his head vigorously. Oh yeah. No one can stand him.
I had two thoughts here. First was, If everyone thinks you're a douche, you probably are one. The judgement of the village is almost always correct. My second thought was, of course, Poor little douche.
Ever thought of saying Hi to the guy? I asked Ed. He can't help being a douche. Almost certainly his parents are douches too. Think of him like a zombie -- it's not his fault he's like that.
Ed's eyes gleamed. I wish he was a zombie. Then it'd be all right to take him down.