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A [wandering into the aerye still half-asleep]: Media studies conversation: what is the original source of zombies as brain eaters?

K: Well, Hollywood-style zombies are not my forte, but I don't think the cannibalistic zombie showed up until "night of the Living Dead," so I expect brain eating zombies happened sometime after that....

[Conversation wanders around a bit until Alexx goes back to bed, and is later revived when LJ user tinybuffalo comes to visit and mentions "Return of the Living Dead," after which the conversation circumlocutes some more.]

According to TV Tropes, tinybuffalo got it right
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BrainFood

but I feel certain that someone out there must have written a thesis on the topic of the socio-political implications of the emergence of brain-eating in the modern Hollywood zombie. Does anyone out there know of any scholarly papers on the subject?
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