Our paranormal epics, action flicks, and monster movies are stuffed with metaphor. The billion-dollar success of Christopher Nolan’s bleak Dark Knight alerted studio executives back in 2008: metaphorical thinking was in. Summer blockbusters could grapple with bigger themes and darker allegories without turning off their sebum-soaked ticketholders. This gimmick has seeped across all the blockbuster industries: graphic novels, television, young adult books. You’re surely familiar with the biggies by now: The mutant struggle for assimilation is about gay civil rights. Vampires represent our anxiety about dying alone or, worse, never dying alone. Zombies, their uprising, and our anticipated armed struggle against the undead horde is metaphor for plague—specifically, AIDS.
"The researchers were looking for quintessential envy, which is distinct from jealousy. Envy involves a longing for what you don’t have, while jealousy is provoked by losing something to someone else. If you crave a wife like Angelina Jolie, you’re envious of Brad Pitt; if you’re upset about losing your wife to him, you’re jealous." —Huh. So Iago and Rick Springfield: envious. Herzog and Ric Ocasek, jealous. And, as John Tierney reports, envy improves our focus and memory, but it makes our brains tired. Also, Brad Pitt was so good in Moneyball!