I’m reading a book called The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook: Slaying the Living Dead Within. Don’t worry; it’s not as weird as it seems. Actually, maybe it is as weird as it seems. You’ll know when I post a review for it. Anyway, you can check the cover out here , but let me describe it. It’s black with white lettering, except for the word ‘zombie’ which is very green and very large. In case the largeness and greenness of it left you confused, inside the ‘o’ is the silhouette of a zombie. I mean, it clearly either a zombie or Imhotep with half his wrappings flying in the wind (I just realized that Imhotep is a zombie). Now here’s the cover blurb, and I quote (and yes, there is a point to this): “Ben Forman was just an ordinary guy, a young professional starting his first job and falling in love with his girlfriend. Living on the outskirts of a southern city, he didn’t think the zombie activity so common in metropolitan areas would hit so close to home. But it was becoming clear that the mysterious infection reanimating the dead would soon be a worldwide epidemic.” (emphasis added). Yet the publishers added a little information box at the bottom of the book saying, “Warning: Some scenes and descriptions in this book are not suitable for younger audiences.” I thought it was a joke at first, but no. They’re for real. Because who in their right mind would pick this book up and say, “Oh yeah, this is gonna be perfect for my six-year-old”?? It’s kind of like those coffee cups that say, “Caution the contents of this cup are extremely hot” or packages of batteries that say “Do not swallow.”
Just in case putting the word ‘zombie’ in huge letters on the front (and then decorating the cover with a picture of a zombie) wasn’t clear enough. In a way, it’s kind of sweet that the publishers are so concerned about little kids getting traumatized by zombies. On the other hand, it’s kind of sad that publishers feel the need to parent because they don’t think the parents are parenting.
Then again, how often do parents actually pay attention to warning labels? I was at Universal Studios this past summer and went into the haunted house (because I am an adult) and saw a sign that said “This attraction is not suitable for children under the age of thirteen.” It then goes on to list all the different elements that might freak out a child (I’m not going to list them all, but if you’ve seen Child’s Play, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, or Wolfman, you kind of get the picture). But directly in front of me was a guy holding a preschooler who spent the entire attraction screaming her head off. Well, I would be screaming too if I was four years old and saw someone waving an axe at me. But then, I’d hope my parents wouldn’t take me someplace where they knew someone would be waving an axe at me. Or what about people who take their six-year-olds to PG-13 (or worse, R-rated) movies, and then everyone else has the gratifying experience of every other scene being accompanied by screams, whimpers, and “Mommy, I want to go home.” Which is why the movie was rated PG-13. Because kids under thirteen maybe probably kinda possibly sorta shouldn’t see it. Especially in theatres.
But hey, we live in a society in which a housebreaker broke his leg entering his victim’s home and sued for damages. And won. It’s just possible that common sense is being replaced by warning labels–Warning: this house may be unsafe to those who try to entering through windows. So I guess the warning labels have to be there so that when people sue over spilled coffee that’s actually hot or haunted houses that are actually frightening, the corporations have their backs covered.
Just a thought.