Do Not Open til...
I think the reason why zombie apocalypse movies and literature are so damn popular right now, and why apocalypse fiction in general is so damn popular, is because deep down we're all secretly hoping for this to happen. The apocalypse is essentially a giant 'reset' button on the current pattern society, and perhaps the whole 'civilized' world is currently in. We're always being told on how much more stressed we as a people are these day. The fall of civilization would be one giant steam-valve releasing all that pressure we're supposedly facing. We'd throw up out hands and say, 'fuck it' and let the chips fall where they may, accept the hand we're dealt, let the house of cards fall, or whatever Playing Card/Gambling metaphor that comes to mind. I think we're attracted to this idea because it means we no longer have to deal with the bullshit of our jobs, the current state of the economy, the lies every politician, liberal or conservative tell us, and the meaningless drivel that oozes out of our televisions should it happen to be on Bravo. It's our way out. It's our return to the state of nature. It breaks the mold society tries to force us into. It's Flight Club, hopefully without the man-boobs.
Crisis precipitate Change. Not Obama change, but real change. I'm not advocating anarchy or civil unrest. I'm sure the next Ice Age, madmen with access to nukes in North Korea, the Middle East, or Washington DC, or the return of a once extinct disease like smallpox will kick things off without morons occupying major city intersections for their chance to appear on TV and Twitter before the blueshirts come by with batons and mace.
An assassination triggered World War I. World War II pulled the US out of their isolationist shell and created a military focused state. 9/11 invaded our privacy. Perhaps the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan spawned the Arab Spring. Or perhaps the culture of a region built on civil unrest just felt it was time to start up some shit. They were getting bored. One can never know for sure, but I'm sure if you look hard enough, the blowhards on cable news, Reddit, and other 'wretched hive[s] of scum and villainy' known as website comment sections, will be shouting louder and louder any number of differing opinions, until they die alone of a major coronary in their parents basement, or when the government finally hits the kill-switch on the Internet.
As the rumor goes, Nero played his lute during the Great Fire of Rome in 64AD. This probably did not happen. I suspect how it really went involved Nero putting on his toga, going to the window and looking out into the capital city of the once-great empire engulfed in flame. He probably threw up his arms and said, 'fuck it!' Fingering out a tune was simply the sugar-coated way historians would describe the complete disregard to the end of the world.