USA Today notes that after a spike in the Season 7 opener of “The Walking Dead”, thanks to the cliffhanger of who Negan kills and who he leaves alive, the ratings for the series about the zombie apocalypse have taken a nose dive. From a peak of 21.5 million viewers, the series has shed 5 million audience members in the weeks since. As “The Walking Dead” heads for its holiday hiatus, the loss is a matter of some concern.

The suspicion is setting in that the zombie apocalypse as depicting in “The Walking Dead” is starting to get a little too bleak for many people to watch. The scenario in which most of the world’s population has turned into mindless, growling, shuffling flesh-eating monsters is certainly bad enough. Given some smarts and organization, the living can deal with this and even live out a modicum of a normal life behind fortified walls, just as people did during the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire.

But some of the living has made the zombie apocalypse an absolute misery to live in. Too many people, who lived lives of quiet desperation when civilization kept their darker impulses in check, have become monsters worse than the zombies after its fall. We saw a hint of what can happen first with the Governor. Then followed the community of consumers of “long pig” at Terminus. Now the viewer has to deal with Negan, the swaggering, tough-talking alpha male who enjoys dominance just a little too well.

He is like an angry god, one moment accommodating and even kind, the next moment vicious and cruel.

Even some of our intrepid heroes have become hard to take. Rick Grimes has been at the edge of insanity more than once. Carol, once a battered wife, is now a beast who can put a bullet in the back of a little girl’s head without a second thought.

Plus, the beautiful and the good have a tendency to shuffle off this mortal coil with mind-numbing regularity.

Glenn and Abraham were the latest, their heads bashed in by Negan’s bat, named Lucille. Those they leave behind are sad and angry. But being unhappy is a survival mechanism. If one gets too happy in the zombie apocalypse, one loses one’s edge and will not see the latest threat coming.

Who wants to live like that? Who wants to see other people live like that? More and more people are saying, “Not me.”

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