Archive - May 12, 2009

Stupidity is now Zombidity

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I knew there was a reason I was still following Big Hollywood. Sure, it meant that all day yesterday, my RSS feed was clogged like a backed-up sewage treatment plant with piles of the usual excrement about Wanda Sykes at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. And by the way, while it's in the air there, are we really gonna do this? Are we really going to work up fake outrage over this event? The event where Dubya's people made sure they didn't get embarrassed by a Colbert again by having Rich Motherfucking Little speak?

Rush Limbaugh's a big boy. Literally. He is clearly able to handle being mocked for his addictions and potential medical ailments, because that fat-ass, Viagra-popping, Oxycontin-ridden sex tourist makes his living doing the exact same thing, only less funny. So unless you all want to grant Wanda Sykes the same power to set public policies and political agendas that your Douchebag-In-Chief has, you may want to just drop this now. Also, funny coincidence - both a Big Hollywood commenter and Christopher Hitchens called her a black dyke today.

But that's beside the point. The point is that every once in a while, Big Hollywood still provides the quality crazy. And so it is with S.T. Karnick and his article, "Zombie Culture and the March of Socialism".

You can almost extrapolate the entire article from the title. People like zombies. Obama is bringing socialism. People fear zombies. People fear socialism. Therefore, it's all connected, and the zombies are the socialist hordes who are trying to redistribute your brains to poor, lazy zombies. He does make a few specific ludicrous points that can be addressed in detail, though. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Yes, vampires are still a hot media commodity, but zombies are vying to knock them off the cultural pedestal, with the rise of zombie movies as a cultural force and numerous books about zombies hitting the stores, capped by the spoof novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies having recently reached the top of the bestseller list."

Um, what the fuck? First of all, vampires aren't a hot media commodity, unless you're a fourteen-year-old girl, and you think a "vampire" is one of those... whatever the fuck they are from Twilight with the fangs and the emotions and the bad hair. Second, again, apart from Twilight, all the zombie and vampire movies for the better part of the last decade have been low- to medium-budget movies like 28 Days Later or 30 Days of Night or some other calendar-based deal. And I don't know what bestseller list he's talking about, but the only one anyone else cares about, the New York Times list? PPZ peaked at #3, which is not, by any stretch of the imagination, "topping".

So in the very first paragraph, we've established an alternate universe even more far-fetched than the manky dreadfuls plaguing Austen-era England. Karnick then spends the next twelve paragraphs describing someone else's story about the deeper cultural meaning of zombie popularity, which is a nifty effort-saving device on Karnick's part, but is of little use to us here. No, what we want is the rotting, rancid meat of Karnick's shambling, brainless argument, so that we can put it out of its misery with a well-placed headshot.

"I think the causality is the other way around. Both the zombie appeal and the swine flu fears are caused by two things: the news media’s increasing use of scare tactics in trying to lure audiences, and the socialists’ continuous use of fearmongering to press for political power. In their neverending quest to wrest more power by creating what H. L. Mencken correctly characterized as an endless series of hobgoblins requiring a socialist elite’s powers to destroy, the socialists and their media satraps continually raise fears of everything conceivable."

So, we like zombies because the socialists have been spreading fear to gain power, and the news media have been spreading fear to gain ratings. Like all hypotheses, Karnick's should be subjected to scientific analysis, especially if he wants to throw around words like "causality" like he understands them. The right-wing noise machine and the media first started braying about socialism in earnest after a Barack Obama campaign appearance in which he talked about "spreading the wealth" to the man who will ultimately destroy us all, Joe the Plumber. That was October 14, 2008.

So I went to Amazon, and searched all books for the word "zombie". And I looked at the publication dates of every book on the first three pages of results. One of those books came out before the start of the Bush administration. Four of those books came out after October 14, 2008. The number of zombie books with publication dates between the start of the Bush administration and the start of the Socialism Scare? 28.

Still, for all his blind fumbling and bullshit hypothesizing, Karnick may have stumbled across a kernel of truth. Rising socialism in America and zombies do have two things in common. Neither of them exist, and S.T. Karnick is pissing his pants in fear of both of them.