Zombies and Vampires and Consumers— the state of the (American) world


Zombies and vampires—they just keep coming—in movies, books and on TV shows. Why?  I want to know why so many people want to watch shows or read stories about flesh-eating zombies and blood-sucking vampires.

“Flesh-eating” and “blood-sucking.” A clue. My most useful book of dream images, Understand Your Dreams,  says if you dream of vampires an  association is “energy-draining fear.” Associations for zombies are “living death” and “unsatisfied hunger.”

Picture of a vampire in  front of a mirror. Notice that you can't see the vampire. There will be no picture of a zombie in this blog. I have seen too many lately.

Picture of a vampire in front of a mirror. Notice that you can’t see the vampire. There will be no picture of a zombie in this blog.

“Unsatisfied hunger” leads me to another related term that troubles me. Consumers, who could also be called, “those-whose-hunger-will-never-be-satisfied-no-matter-how-many-hot cars/tools-good shoes-or-expensive-anythings-they-acquire.”

My aversion to being called a consumer is easy to track. To consume is to destroy.

When things are consumed they are no more. There’s more than a hint of addiction in consumption. Eating until all food is gone. Americans are stars at consuming. So many things passing away before the advancing hoard. We believe there is always more, so why not consume?

Shopping is not necessarily consuming. It’s a sport, even a treasure hunt, frequently satisfying even if nothing is acquired.  It may not appeal to some, but it doesn’t  necessarily involve consuming. . . even if you buy the same thing in several different colors. (Caveat: I suppose shopping could be seen as disciplined consuming, like someone who stays on a modest diet in the face of chocolate, or in my case, marzipan, craving. You love it and want it, but you don’t indulge in it too often.)

I diverge. Back to zombies. Zombies eat people. Consuming consumers. Buried here may be some deep chthonic fear. (Chthonic fear = a buried drive, from the Greek word meaning beneath the earth.) In our  hearts we know that consumption inevitably leads to self-destruction. If we consume we are like the un-dead. . . not completely dead for ever, but toward the dead, too busy consuming to be living.

Movies and television are our group dreams. We watch movies or TV like we dream, to review and safely experience the things that frighten us and sometimes the things that are too dangerous to experience in our waking lives. Of course both dreams and media represent many other things as well.

The Twilight series broke new ground when it divided the vampire world into the good and bad. Good vamps no longer sucked people dry, just animals. They, of course, were the enemies of the bad vamps who wouldn’t give up the good human juice. This may  be evidence of a subtle, gradual healing of group consciousness.

I have no conclusion. I remember in the 60’s buying only second-hand clothes, except for  underwear, no one really wants used underwear, and those fabulous studded shoes from J. Magnin with the stacked heels and I still have them and they still fit. I digress.

Worn and tired, but still beautiful.

Worn and tired, but still beautiful.

Side view, note stacked heel.

Side view, note stacked heel.






I optimistically believe there is a strange unconscious ground-swell going on with all this zombie-vampire thing. I suspect we are befriending our fears— perhaps the first step coming to terms with the loathsome self-destruct consumer identity.



I own a painting of Elsha’s titled, “How I Plan to Become a Saint,”— a saint of poetry, I think.  Elsha, master of the miraculous, writes of a life that would make most of us quiver with terror— of war, of rape, of abandonment, of pain and terrible dangers flying around her like black angels across the page. The result: a gentle peace of memorable images. Her poems always seem effortless, as if something inevitable had happened, words coming together to tell us it’s all really alright. Saints convert suffering into beauty.

Her plan is working.

Here’s one of my favorites. Actually, I don’t have a favorite I open the book at random and read. . .

Phil Bonhert, Elsha, and Kris Barry with prize-winning sculpture at Honolulu Pen Women Art Show. (photo courtesy of Hawkins Biggins)

Phil Bonhert, Elsha, and Kris Barry with prize-winning sculpture at Honolulu Pen Women Art Show. (photo courtesy of Hawkins Biggins)


One moment an earthquake the next a tsunami

your bunker of knowledge breaks apart

twisted rebar in chunks of concrete

sweep past you

taking along your baby photos



designer shoes

Throw your wallet after it

your brand new iPhone

hike up the mountain naked and young

someone asks for your arm?

give it

your leg? give it

you’re a rose dropping your petals

with no thought

BUY THIS BOOK! (my wordpress won’t let me add a link to amazon today, so you’ll have to go there on your own—sorry)



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3 Responses to Zombies and Vampires and Consumers— the state of the (American) world

  1. AliceAnne says:

    I’m at a loss, as some people who registered received notice, others didn’t. I will send out another group message, but many won’t receive it as there were dozens who registered who are not on my mailing list. Tant piss. This may reflect my uneasy relationship with WordPress. Maybe I will find a lovely intern to take over the dirty work for me. Any interested please reply here!

  2. Michael Gettman says:

    I had noticed the same vampire/zombie obsession, especially returning to the US after 18 years abroad. Always get enjoyment and insights out of your writing. And still have a copy of Understand Your Dreams purchased in Singapore nearly 10 years ago, which itself replaced the first edition which I got in the early 90’s after doing your seminar.

    By the way, I received your May 29 email asking people to register on the blog. Found out when I tried that I already had registered. I have not been getting the automatic notifications from the blog site by email. However did notice, at the bottom of the page as I am writing this comment, a checkbox labelled “Notify me of new posts by email”. I have now ticked this. Could this be what people need to be aware of in order to get the notifications? It only appears under the form for posting comments.

    • Patricia Dopson says:

      Hi Alice Ann, I bellieve that I registered at the time it was requested. I do not want to miss any. But I got a notice anyway, which asked people to register no box was provided. Hope you are free of vog sx….XO

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