The screenwriter who penned the 2007 zombie movie I Am Legend starring Will Smith has been forced to clarify something on Twitter that’s sure to make us all depressed today. The writer, Akiva Goldsman, had to explain that I Am Legend is, in fact, fiction. It’s not a documentary about zombies or something like that.
“Oh. My. God. It’s a movie. I made that up. It’s. Not. Real,” Goldsman tweeted Monday night.
Why on Earth would Goldsman feel the need to clarify something so obvious? It would appear that anti-vaccination advocates who are campaigning against covid-19 vaccines have turned I Am Legend into a meme.
The meme incorrectly asserts that zombies were created in the movie from a vaccination program gone awry, as though that would have some relevance to the real-world covid-19 pandemic which has sickened at least 203 million people globally and killed 4.3 million.
A report from the New York Times about one person who believed the meme might be real went viral, and included arguably one of the weirdest explanations in the paper’s history:
One employee said she was concerned because she thought a vaccine had caused the characters in the film I Am Legend to turn into zombies. But the plague that turned people into zombies in the movie was caused by a genetically reprogrammed virus, not by a vaccine.
But this is far from the first time that the movie has come up in mainstream news reporting about resistance to the covid-19 vaccine. The Washington Post included a similar anecdote from an anti-vaxxer back in May.
Simmons, a Democrat, told The Post that she had been haunted by a 2007 horror movie, “I Am Legend,” which starred actor Will Smith. That film depicts a botched cancer cure that kills most people and transforms the survivors into monsters — and Simmons said the image ran through her head last year as she heard about the rapid development of the coronavirus vaccines.
“I love that movie, for all kinds of reasons. But that was kind of scary. Don’t want to be a zombie,” Simmons said.
If this is all too depressing to think about, just remember that the number of people who think I Am Legend is real is probably small. But not small enough for it to resonate in the broader anti-vaccine community.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is experiencing a troubling surge in covid-19 cases as the highly infectious delta variant of the virus makes its way through the unvaccinated population. The seven-day average of new cases in the U.S. is currently more than 124,000 cases each day, the highest since early February.
Hospitals in Mississippi and Texas are running out of ICU beds and the Governor of Texas has even asked hospitals on Monday to voluntarily delay non-emergency surgeries to make room for covid-19 patients. That governor, Greg Abbott, has been actively hostile to any measures to mitigate spread of the virus.
Many anti-vaccine idiots insist that taking the covid-19 vaccine is all about personal choices. But as plenty of people have pointed out, those personal choices ripple through society. If you live in places like Austin, Texas or Jackson, Mississippi, here’s hoping you don’t need medical care this month. All those “personal choices” by the unvaccinated are currently taking up life-saving beds.