Episode 397: Suddenly, Zombies

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Focus

One of the many things I love about the classic, slow zombie is that they pose a much more sinister threat. Because people tend to downplay them and even forget about them when there are more pressing issues, the slow zombies have a tendency to surprise groups out of nowhere. I’ve always loved it when characters are lulled into a false sense of security, only to have their world shatter when the zombies show up.

That false sense of security can manifest in a number of different ways. Classically, it shows up when characters assume that they are safe. A lot of times, this is when they find a location that appears to be impregnable, but actually has a fatal flaw. However, that false sense of security can also appear when characters are so distracted in other things that they completely lose sight of the constant zombie threat. Examples of this include fighting and sex, two activities that tend to cause lots of tunnel vision.

About this Episode:

In the second panel, the shotgun that’s propped up against the shelves in the background accidentally fell to the floor. Unfortunately I didn’t notice this until it was time to edit everything together. To downplay this, I used the shot with the most severe angle, which makes the shelf harder to see. Yeah, I’m a dirty, dirty cheater.

Discussion Question: Off Guard Moments

Murphy and Inez put themselves at a severe disadvantage by fighting in the middle of a probably zombie-occupied area. This tunnel vision puts them at risk of being surprised by a zombie attack. Luckily, Brent is actually paying attention.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. What situations can you see putting yourself off guard? Where do you need to be extra careful to avoid tunnel vision?

17 thoughts on “Episode 397: Suddenly, Zombies”

  1. Typo alerts: Focus: First paragraph, first sentence, after the comma, should be “is that they”. 😀

    Second sentence, same paragraph, “tenancy” should be “tendency”. 😀

    Second paragraph, fourth sentence: “site” should be “sight”. 😀

    About this Episode: third sentence: “I used to the” – I’d suggest removing the “to”. 😉

    Dasve’s not only a dirty, dirty cheater, he’s getting rushed for the proofs for the text, and it’s showing me there are still a few things that need to be reread occasionally! 😉 I’m happy to help,though! 😀

    • Holy crap; I need to get more sleep.

      Thank you, sir.

      • I was going to flag the use of “probably” in the discussion question, as it’s clear to the viewers of this webcomic at least, that they are in a zombie attack zone, however, I figured that four corrections for one day were enough! 😉

  2. I think Inez might also be correcting herself a bit later, because Lou currently isn’t a psychopath, he’s Grade A canned zombie chow! 😀 All that zombie outside needs is a can opener! 😉

    • Aka teeth.

      • Hah

        • You know, that brings me to another question, sort of: Why is it that some people that get eaten in this webcomic become zombies but others simply die outright? Is it as I suspect, because they get head trauma from multiple zombies feeding on them at once which stops them turning, or is it something a lot more subtle? 😀

    • Won’t she be embarrassed!

  3. Sleeping, eating, relieving myself, finding a laptop that was turned off with power and discovering it has a) no password protection and b) Minecraft, killing zombies in front of me, arguing with other survivors, playing hide and seek, etc.

    • Minecraft is definitely dangerous.

  4. I was going to type yesterday, “Unless Lou has a backroom full of skeletons, Inez is way off base here…”

    I stand by that argument.

    As for tunnel vision, many stressful situations can cause fixation. In the shooting arts we teach folks to turn their heads left and right to break it up. That is, after one engages a threat, look left, right, and behind to see threats sneaking up from the flanks or rear.

    • That sounds like a good bit of advice, Bo.

      • You know, I’m still betting he’s got at least some skeletal remains of former victims who didn’t come nicely back there somewhere! 😀

        Being that this zombie apocalypse is still relatively young, some of them might not have decayed enough, I wonder what the chances are they’d get turned into zombies too? 😀

  5. I wonder if Lou was a young attractive man with muscle abound, if she would feel the same way?

    As for tunnel vision? ‘Emm…Attacked by zombies? Whenever I’m day dreaming or reading a book. Whenever I’m in a stressful situation I actually go into sensory overload where I take in everything as fast as I can so I’d probably stay on the top. Which this small fact doesn’t really help in the modern world.

    • Possibly more so. I don’t think I’d trust someone who was trying to get along on just their looks.

  6. I’ll mention one that I haven’t seen here before – being sick. When I’m sick, I tune out everything else I possibly can. It’s my ultimate tunnel vision.

  7. People are inherently binocular. They can focus on both foreground and background at any given moment. It’s what allows us to drive in rush hour traffic.

    This capacity of going back and forth also applies to the other senses.

    Your average “preventable” fender-bender during rush-hour traffic is because we stopped “bilateral multi-tasking,” that is, we stopped going back and forth between background and fore grown.

    Tunnel Vision in this context can happen in one (though, not limited to) of 3 ways:

    1. Sole focus on background stimulus at the expense of any other available information.
    2. Sole focus on foreground, at the expense of any other available information.

    3. Sole focus on internal information(fear, out of control thoughts, irrational thoughts, imagination, etc.)

    Now, speaking of Fear and Tunnel Vision . . .

    4 major causes of Tunnel Vision Re:

    1. Extreme pleasure

    2. Threat

    3. Personal interest

    4. Good old fashion distraction.

    When threatened, we respond in the well known responses: Fight, Flight, Freeze, Faint. Threat or Danger demand tunnel vision. It’s how we’re wired, especially as mammals. Our Limbic system, especially our amygdala, are designed, when we’re threatened, to force us to focus on only 2 things: Imminent Danger, and, how to Survive said Imminent danger.

    The reason we do “irrational” or “stupid”things during a threat or perceived danger is because our Limbic system hijacks our cerebral cortex (the area of higher functioning and conscious decision making.)