About Silver Lisa and Her Love of Zombies

mmmarrrrrgg! 

(That’s Zombie for “Hi!”)

I am currently enrolled as a distance student in IUPUI’s School of Library and Information Science graduate program. This fall, I am taking a course online called “High Tech Learning,” which is taught by Dr. Annette Lamb.

My name is Lisa.  In lieu of using my last name, I have taken to using the name “Silver Lisa”.   Silver has been my favorite crayon ever since my undergrad days (yes, there are stories!), and I started using “Silver Lisa” with my first library science-related blog, Patch of Silver.   I really had a hard time deciding on what to name my first academic blog since I planned to keep it alive for a while and wanted to pick a good name.  I sort of had the Grateful Dead song “Touch of Grey” in my head, and I’ve alway liked the line, “Every silver lining’s got a touch of grey.”  Inspired by the title, “Touch of Grey,” I substituted the color silver, and since a garden patch is an organic living thing just like a blog should be, I came up with Patch of Silver.  It was then that Silver Lisa fully emerged.

I have created the When Zombies Attack blog for an assignment that explores the use of blogs, podcasts, and videocasts. My mission is to act as a facilitator for a particular learning situation, geared toward a specific audience, and design an accompanying blog.

Dr. Lamb has further instructed the class as follows:

Add at least 5 entries. Add at least 2 visuals (illustrations, photos, clipart). Add at least two media clips (audio, video, animation). You must create at least 1 of the 2 media clips yourself. These video and media elements should contribute in a specific way to the project. For example, a photo might be used as a student story starter. Or, you might record a 30 second video booktalk describing the three options for the next book and ask people to vote on their choice.

* * *

Be sure that at least three of the postings actively engage learners in your blog through activities or questions.

When I first learned of Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide, I was immediately excited to have the chance to read it. I LOVE zombie movies. In fact, I practically grew up with George Romero’s 1968 black and white zombie flick, Night of the Living Dead, having watched for the first time when I was probably 7 or 8. The brother-sister duo of Johnny and Barbra visiting the cemetery when the first ghoul approaches them is such a classic scene, with Johnny teasing his sister, “They’re coming to get you, Barbra!” only moments before he presumably becomes zombie food.

Night of the Living Dead has been credited as being the first ever subversive horror film, in that it “critiques 1960s American society, international Cold War politics, and domestic racism,” (Wikipedia: Night of the Living Dead). As a young girl, I immediately recognized the death of the hero, Ben, as a statement against racism. Ben, played by black actor, Duane Jones, is the movie’s hero as well as the only person of color in the entire film. He ends up as the lone survivor near the end of the movie, awakening to a new day where hope rings in the distance in the form of shooting guns killing the slow moving zombies. Wanting to see where the noise is coming from, Ben arises from his slumber to look out the window. Just as he does this, one of the shooters sees movement from within the house where Ben has spent a horrifying evening. The shooter then kills Ben, assuming he is one of the living dead, and the movie concludes with scenes of bodies being thrown on a fire, including the body of the fallen hero, Ben.

In the article, The Development of Racism Within Night of the Living Dead and Jackie Brown, written by Steven Russell, the author observes that:

Despite Ben being brave and intelligent, he is ultimately subdued and killed by the living white that we see ‘represents not only rigidity but death’ …and against whom Ben stands no chance of survival.

While as a child I did not realize that Night of the Living Dead was even more notable “for the reason that is was the first made to feature a black actor in the leading role regardless of the fact that he was black,” (Russell), I was struck by the statement that Ben’s tragic and needless death made.

Night of the Living Dead made a huge influence on me for this reason, and gave me an appreciation for the genre of horror films in general and zombie films in particular.

In exploring the internet for zombie-related resources I have discovered that I am not alone. There is such a wealth of information on this often-subversive topic. The appeal of zombies is something that I think could be used in a teaching/learning setting in so many ways.

Horror author, Darren Shan, in his article entitled, Giving Rein to Horror, describes himself as a young boy who loved to write gory stories and once decided to show his story to a teacher who he trusted. This brave move resulted in Shan being expelled from school and scarred for a very long time. Shan was able to eventually overcome his distrust of sharing his stories with others, and has become a very successful author.

In Giving Rein to Horror, Shan provides his observations on the value of the horror genre when it comes to encouraging young adults to learn:

We don’t live in an ideal world. I know teaching’s a hard job, that it’s easier to mark essays on conventional subjects than give a free rein to surly teenagers who want to write about zombies chowing down on fresh brains. But creativity isn’t a smooth ride. Sometimes it demands detours down grimy alleys of the mind, places no adult might want to visit, but which developing teens feel drawn to. As a teacher, you can choose to block such trends in your classroom and demand your students tread the straight and narrow line, forcing them to give up on writing or labour on by themselves, alone in the dark.

 

Or you can encourage imagination wherever you find it, explore the quirkier corners of writing with those who truly do ‘think outside the box’, and try to help even the most creatively wayward students find their true direction. If you do, you might help the next Poe, Mary Shelley or Stephen King to blossom.

 

Of course, you might inadvertently create the next Charles Manson too — but, hey, them’s the breaks!

It is in the spirit of this vision that I present to you, dear reader, When Zombies Attack.

 

 

–Silver Lisa

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1 Comment

  1. dashofpanache said,

    oh man, I HEART zombies! If I could, I would totally minor in Zombology. Like my entire Netflix queue is b-movie zombie flicks. So yeah, awesomeness. But yeah, if you haven’t checked out the book “Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero’s Vision of Hell on Earth” by Kim Paffenroth, you should. I’m in the middle of it right now and it’s good. It’s basically a lit-crit book on the Romero mythology: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead and the Dawn of the Dead remake. I’m also planning on being a teacher, so yeah, sweet.

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