Thankfully, World War Z saved my Zombie week!
It took me a little bit of processing to really understand what it was about World War Z that resonated with me. You might thinking, serious? How in the world can a zombie novel resonate with anyone? Well, I’ll tell you because this is a conversation that I have been having for a very long time. We are teaching our young people (and not so very young people) to devalue vocations.
College is NOT for everyone—and tradesman and vocations are a needed commode in any society. No only needed, but valuable. However, as of late (and I mean the last 20 years or so) our children were pushed into universities. Over-educated to the point of looking down on those who make a different life choice than their own.
When I grew up you either went to college, or you became a tradesman or a civil servant (fire, police, EMS, etc). A lot of my friends either became House Locksmiths or learned a similar trade. Not everyone went to college, not everyone should, and not every can. But ya know what not everyone can do either? Fix a car. Wire a house. Install a HVAC unit. Fix a toilet.
My brother and I have talked about this many times, how the younger workforce (those who have been taught that college is everything and those who don’t go are less than) are also being taught even if unconsciously that those people who are called to….fix the car, wire the house, fix the AC unit, repair the broken pipes also have less value. As such, as a devalued commodity, they do not want to pay for those services—don’t want to pay those men and women what their specialities are worth.
For me, a mom of several boys on the spectrum, how may or may not attend college—but maybe be great in other areas—devalued areas this has been distressing for quite some time. I have a family full of plumbers, and tradesman.
If my grandfather was still alive, and you told him you were a plumber or an electrician, he would would have thought that was fantastic. An excellent job! Today, the response is more of a wrinkled nose, and “oh, you’re a plumber.”
So now that I’ve finished my background rant, what the hell does this have to do with World War Z?
Max Brooks touched upon these very same issues—and more.
But to stay focused: My very favorite portion to illustrate exactly what I think is a real world today problem is Part 5: Homefront U.S.A. – New Mexico.
Arthur Sinclair Jr. Director of the Department of Strategic Resources
This part of the book discusses what it was like rebuilding infrastructure after the zombie war and it has everything to do with lack of skilled vocational workers.
Tools & Talent
They needed to find and harvest the right tools and talent. Talent equaled the ability of the workforce. And they were critically low on talent.
This was a time when (in the fictional book) 65% of the workforce were highly specialized and they had not ability to work outside of the segregated workforce. American needed to get back on its feet. People needed to clothed, fed, housed, and put back to work.
White Collars need to get dirty. They needed carpenters, masons, machinists, gunsmiths—and there wasn’t enough. Suddenly, those devalued trades were in high-demand. But people were ready for the change in classes.
Sinclair pointed out that no one needed contracts reviewed, but they needed a toilet fixed. The challenge he stated was that he had whole neighborhoods of upper middle class workers who could not replace so much as a cracked window. There needed to be a mass re-education.
You can guess how well that went over. People had a difficult time being at the bottom of the totem pole (as they saw it) and learned from those “pee-on”s who they used to call to do these things for them. One of my favorite lines of the book. Behind the guy in Yonkers calling his commanders a “fold of fucktards” is Sinclair in this section referring to the workers with issue as “sedatary, desk-bound, over-educated, cubicle mice.”
Seriously. I nearly fell out of my chair.
Max Brooks managed a relevant and important social commentary within many portions of World War Z, but this one for me, really hit home. There is another section, that I won’t bother you all with now about the battle at Yonkers that I felt stronger about also. The military man talks about how the access to instant information on the battlefield against the zombies was a cause for defeat.
The idea in this section was that when the soldiers saw what was coming at them in real time, they could not fight the battle in front of them. They saw new feeds of tens of thousands approaching and became discouraged and distracted from the moment. The media was all over the place—and soldiers were even dressed up for show in unnecessary hazmat suits—while commanders and press people were not “protected”. It was because it was an unnecessary show.
At one point, someone yelled that headshot were not killing the zombies and it was “aired” instantly to all the men battling causing panic. It wasn’t true, but the misinformation, dispensed to everyone immediately had catastrophic consequences. Think about it. Can you see the relevancy to today? I can, and it is way more frightening than a Zombie Apocalypse.
Parting thoughts on World War Z: A Definite Thumbs Up—Worth Your Time.
This is not your classic zombie book, and it is NOTHING like the movie.
Ten years after the Zombie war, the narrator interviews people from around the word about their experiences during the war. Written in more twenty points of view, from characters that traversed the globe, the story keeps the actual zombies remained in the background and for me, that make them scarier. This was not a battle book, nor did it follow one main character through his experiences—it was different. This story is not about zombies. It is about people.
I would highly recommended that Audible version of the book. The different voice-actors did a fantastic job at bring the characters to life!
Best Lines: Yonkers: The Fold of Fucktards….
New Mexico: Sedentary, desk-bound, over-educated, cubicle mice…