Angry Robot

Toronto, Capital City of Facebook (and Zombies)

Reading the Globe last week, I discovered that Toronto is the largest network on Facebook. Which is crazy since the cities of London and New York are obviously much larger in meatspace, but TO’s Facebook population dwarfs theirs. It’s crazy but it’s entirely believable to a Toronto resident: over the past couple months, Facebook has come up in conversation more often than even the weather. It’s spread quicker than a zombie plague. And in fact, to those who refuse to sign up (I’m on Facebook myself, but I know a few holdouts), it’s like your friends are one by one succumbing to the virus. Instead of asking for your brains, they ask if you’re on Facebook, and if not, why not?

That Torontonians would get all wrapped up in relentless, privacy-invading bulletins of friend-related minutiae flies in the face of our reputation as a quiet, withdrawn people. I suppose you could explain it by saying we are indeed withdrawn, and that Facebook appeals because it is the form of socializing that involves the least amount of actual socializing. Or, you could just call bullshit on the “quiet Toronto” myth. Either one works for me.

But then I remembered a past realization, that Toronto, city of SARS, filmic home of Resident Evil, Land of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead remake, is of course the capital of the zombie world. Which explains how infectious networking would especially catch hold here, but which also goes a little towards supporting another half-baked theory: that zombies in fiction symbolize P2P networked communications, and the fear of zombies reflects the fear that old, hierarchical, gatekeeper media have of a society that has no place for them.

That’s probably too cultural studies for a nice saturday afternoon, so let me clunkily segway into a mention of zombie-demon musical sensation Evil Dead: The Musical, which is back in Toronto. I saw it a couple of days ago for the first time, and it’s worth attending. It’s one of the only entertainment events that you can walk out of soaked in blood, and it contains some great writing such as one character’s dying words, “Death’s a bitch… a stupid bitch.”