• Bodie English

Apocolyptic Cosplay Goes Viral

As supermarket shelves become devoid of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, eggs, and Cheezits, the birth control aisle remains remarkably intact. A local community college professor was kind enough to break down the sociological apparatus for which we are now acutely observing on the condition of anonymity. It should be noted that he is actually a professor of Art History and not Sociology, however his soothing voice, square glasses, and 1990s era Allen Edmonds brown shoes presented a picture for which I did not immediately verify his academic authority on this piece until after it was written, and I’m not writing it again.

To continue, Mr. ……Brooks, was eager to share his take on the social phenomenon of hoarding and panic as he had recently began to notice something interesting among his students social media feeds (He is friends with his students on social media but insists that his institution’s policy on this is “ambiguous” and therefore he is “all good.”) He noticed that while young people were ranting about “stupid idiots” buying up toilet paper, etc. they were simultaneously posting alarming videos that created more panic. When he made a scientific head count of this trend, he also noted that there seemed to be an element of glee and exhilaration of the unfolding events. Taking his research further, he went back into some of the students' social media accounts to find posts indicating that some of these young people had participated in ZombieCon and other fan-based gatherings predicated on the mutual fascination with apocalyptic scenarios. After seeing this at least twice, he immediately began to form theories about the dual nature of outrage and satisfaction this new viral outbreak of Covid-19, having recently been described as a “Pandemic", was bringing to light.”

This undercurrent of morbid gratification, he suggests, capitalizes on a growing trend among young adults to act out fantasies long born of hyper realistic video games and movies wherein a person gets to have a satisfying journey of survival at the expense of dehumanizing social strangers. When asked what this all means, Mr. Brooks sat back with a pensive look on his face, with surety in his voice he confidently said, “We don’t really know.” When asked who “We” is, he replied, “well, me I guess.” This was all the time I was able to steal away from Mr. Brooks who let me know I had wasted his lunch break and had to get back to his stack of papers to grade over the Brutalist movement’s influence on the latest trend in SUV vehicle design.

Having not received all the answers to the questions I didn’t know I had, I set out to the grocery stores to see if I could find any element of glee among young people. Not wanting to look like a sucker or to be called a boomer despite only being 45, I put on my favorite World War Z t-shirt I won from waiting in line for 24hrs for the movie premiere and hit the streets. I found a young woman named X standing on the sidewalk outside of a local Kroger’s with her friends. They were smoking cigarettes and taking photos of the crowds of people waiting in line to be disappointed that fresh food and vegetables were all that was left.

When asked if they found this all exciting, X shrugged her shoulders and said, “Yeah, it’s like,….people are all dumb, you can get toilet paper from Starbucks.” When asked if she was ready for the apocalypse and when things got violent, she confidently said that she had a professor who had recently mapped out a plan for their apocalypse shelter.

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