Sunday, November 8, 2009

Zombies & Academics

I have the privilege of chairing the Mid Atlantic Region of the Society for Photographic Education.  I've held this esteemed unpaid position for the past eight years. My major responsibility is overseeing the planning and execution of a yearly conference. This year's theme was The Market. Folks from the reality TV show Art Star presented a dynamite keynote presentation. A 'come as you died' zombie party was scheduled at the Holiday Inn following the keynote address. Excerpts from my introductory remarks are below.

You may be wondering what zombies have to do with the theme of our conference? Or you might ask yourself what academics and zombies have in common?  

 Myth 1: One has to die to become a zombie

Truth:  One only has to work ceaselessly for a year planning a spe conference to achieve zombie status. (evidence A)

 Myth 2: Zombies do not share human traits.

Truth: David Chalmers defines a philosophical zombie as a zombie who lacks full consciousness, but has the biology and behavior of a normal human. By midterms, most academics roam classrooms and hallways, not only lacking full consciousness, but resembling characters from Night of the Living Dead.

 Myth 3: Zombies do not participate in social activism.

Truth: Zombie walks are staged in some countries and resemble a cross between a surrealist performance and a political protest. Hmmm--sounds suspiciously like a documentary photographer or activist performance artist.

 Myth 4: Zombies are contagious

Truth: This myth is true. The zombie virus spreads in the same manner as education. Once it infects the brain, nothing short of death will stop the pandemic.

(microscopic view of zombie virus)

 We hope to spread the pandemic of education this weekend. Enjoy and Engage in the dialogue. After the keynote, join us at the Holiday Inn Bar for the ‘come as you died’ zombie party and watch your favorite zombie movie clips.

A side note--Totowa Holiday Inn provided probably the worst service EVER. They wouldn't let us screen the video footage in the bar, despite the fact that we were their only customers. The bar was also under construction and had a big tarp along one side (perfect screen for zombie films). BAN THEM!