Princess costumes, and pumpkin spice. Happy Halloween.
Or happy last day of Halloween if you have been celebrating the whole month. And don’t worry zombies, there’s still plenty more zombie holidays to celebrate your zombie-selfie. This weekend is a lot though, Halloween then fall back the night into daylight savings, extra hour of zombie sleep or partying depending on your politics, then the NYC marathon on Sunday, because runners like zombies as a motivational tool to run away from. And then zombie election day, zombie veterans, zombie Thanksgiving and it’s like as soon as the costumes hit the floor, it’ll be time for retailers to begin the zombie Christmas.
Imgur front page: “I got yelled at for ruining someone’s childhood this year”
In trademark news, JDSupra: “Dawn of the Dead Trademarks” by Stephanie Buntin from Lewis Roca Rothgerber:
registration for an application for the mark ZOMBIE CINDERELLA for dolls. The applicant, United Trademark Holdings, Inc. (“UTH”) of Beverly Hills, California, is releasing Once Upon a Zombie™, “an enchanting and thrilling new children’s book, toy doll line and digital game app” that features “undead” versions of several beloved fairy tale characters, including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and many others.
That’s F’ing brilliant. I wish I had thought to Kickstarter that. Obviously, Disney is perturbed about the possible consumer confusion with their own Disney princesses, and the initial Trademark Examiner agreed, but on appeal:
TTAB, however, took a different view of the macabre mark. In its reversal of the Examiner’s decision, the Board found that “[t]he evidence shows that the fairytale character Cinderella is an established part of our cultural fabric and enjoys extremely widespread public recognition” and that “many dolls that depict the character Cinderella have been offered in the market by unrelated businesses.” Accordingly, the term “CINDERELLA” is not a strong indicator of source. Moreover, the Board found that the two marks conveyed substantially different impressions in the mind of consumers. The mark ZOMBIE CINDERELLA, on one hand, “creates a ‘cognitive dissonance,’ involving an uneasy mixture of innocence and horror.”
That’s a really amazing decision and I need to follow this case more closely. Trademark is confusing because it’s much about consumer confusion and the consumers are so easily confused. Historic literature created these princesses and is now public domain, and the zombie trope is also public, so the idea of Zombie Cinderella alone is perhaps merely descriptive. I myself am not even sure if I feel any dissonance at all in evaluating that description.
Still, stacking zombie Cindy with that particular set of other public domain sister-princesses does create a sort of perception of Disney because that’s what they’ve done too. I don’t think we want a big corporation to be able to claim ownership of a whole cultural character set just because they collected it first and made the public think they were their characters? Disney versions are distorted versions of the original stories so surely we must allow other storytellers to continue to retell the original princess stories and other new variants too. Then again it seems like a clever store owner could easily position these toys in a way that would confuse customers.
Meanwhile, in Miami, at the Miami Herald Blog, Naked Politics: “Scary thought for candidates: Fundraising gates shut at midnight. Here’s what we know“:
the poor accountants at the Republican Party of Florida and Florida Democratic Party have until midnight tonight, yes Halloween, to compile their reports detailing how much they raised and spent in the last three months. Talk about turning into a zombie.
So at midnight, the political princess at the media ball turn into zombies, their chariots into pumpkins, running from the palace leaving behind a hanging chad. And on Wednesday morning, the voters find her, or will it be her evil-step sister? To the victor goes the story books, but one candidate becomes royalty and the others revealed as the mooching hobos they’ve been all along. Remember children in hobo costumes? That’s not politically correct anymore, right? What if the hobo-cosplayer were to also have a sign saying they were a veteran and would work for candy? What if Veteran’s day was before election day? What if we thought about soldiers this weekend instead of distracting ourselves with zombie cosplay, candy consumerism, and a bank sponsored run through all the kingdoms of Disney-NYC?
The French Revolution was about killing royalty like these Disney princesses and their bankster-princes. Recall Rob Zombie’s French Revolution cartoon. That they’re heads would roll in the streets. But that’s the French Revolution, Frenchies do their wars like they do sex, they are fast and furious but ultimately submissive. Whereas the Americans fuck all night like cowboys: our Revolution started with a Brahmin Tea Party and it still isn’t over. All American wars the past 200 years have been battle skirmishes in the ongoing and incredibly bloody American revolution. Remember 1812? or the Alamo? The Civil War? WW1 and WW2? WWZ? Characters within the Disneyfied box-set of The American Revolution. Vietnam was a set-back but the Gulf is ours now, and the only endgame is Manifest destiny. It was the originalist dream, the goal of some Founding Fathers, and of Lewis and Clark while they double-teamed Sacajawea’s doll-hairs all the way to the West bank.
Zombies. All of us. Cognitively confused consumers. Happy Halloween. Distract your kids with sugar and princess and scary monster fictions, don’t dare tell them the bloody truth, that it isn’t candy bars that keep the community safe for them to walk around at night, that it’s guns and bombs and drones and the hard won sweat of Veterans, over the burdened backs of losers and un-elected officials. So when the kids asleep, hit up imgur and fap to some sexy zombie princesses, imagine making sweet-sweet-GamerGate, until you both turn into pumpkins, and jump around in a pile of Frozen zombie poop… merry zombie Christmas.
The sweetest thing you could do right now is buy something, one person has bought an “Undead” book this week and I don’t know who you are, but I am thankful. Other ZombieLaw merchandise is available at CafePress. And many books in the “Law of the Horse” series are discounted by Amazon.
And the now substantially discounted Zombie-Brain USB:
Stock your stockings early,
Samuel Merritt University: “SMU Hosts Zombie Health Symposium” and “Zombie Health Symposium 2014 – Thursday, October 30“,
There is a lot we can learn, medically speaking, from the undead.
University of Southern Mississippi’s Anthropology and Sociology Colloquium: “How Hollywood Got the Dead to Lay Golden Eggs: The Rise of the Zombie Blockbuster” with Dr. Todd Platts, Thursday, Oct. 30 at 12:15 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Building, see USM: “Colloquium Lecture to Focus on Popularity of Zombie Films”
Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, you should read this NYTimes opinion column at The Stone: “Dreamboat Vampires and Zombie Capitalists” by David Castillo and William Egginton. It is spot on to many important zombie themes, notice particularly: Shakespeare, Sophocles, Occupy, Marx, Lacan, and Zizek:
Perhaps our fixation with images of the zombie apocalypse is ultimately tied to the conviction that there is no possible alternative to capitalism as a worldwide economic system, paired with the realization that the logical evolution of global capitalism leads to nothing but destruction.
as the vampires and zombies creep out of our screens and up to our doorsteps on Halloween night, we should recall what one survivor says to the others in Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead,” as they stare out in terror at the advancing zombie hordes approaching the shopping mall where they have taken refuge:
“They are us!”
This book is a collection of 11 opinions from the U.S. Federal Courts that include the word “undead”. Cases relate to Dungeons & Dragons, DC Comics’ “Dhampire”, free speech right to “House of the Dead” (with Judge Posner‘s opinion referencing “Dracula” and “Mortal Kombat”), and The Misfits trademark image. Plus racial themes: the execution of Troy Davis and the hiring of a high school football coach in Tangipahoa. Habeas for ineffective counsel, an interstate transport of digital child pornography using peer-to-peer, and also, insurance liquidation in Puerto Rico. This set of opinions is too few to be confident in any pattern, but they do present a character for the “undead” in federal courts. For advanced English readers with an interest in American law and/or the undead.
The issue of the ‘not’, the negation, is of fascination for phenomenology. George Lakoff has infamously taught us that the imperative “Don’t think of an elephant” is a cognitive impossibility, the elephant is unavoidable. To think of not-something is first to think of that thing. The act of negation is an erasure that leaves a trace.
The American Ebola panic is a putatively nonfiction apocalyptic-contagion story, heavily indebted in both its form and its popularity to the zombie plague narratives that proliferate in our fiction.
That doesn’t mean that the end of the world isn’t coming, because of course it is, for each of us. But when fate comes for you, the end won’t have the satisfying drama of zombie plagues or CGI fireballs. The end will come, instead, in the form of a nagging ache or cough… Normal life is the grim reaper who’s almost certainly going to get you sooner or later.
We are all going to die. Sorry if you find that shocking or think it needed a spoiler warning. You will die. Everyone you know will die. As sure as Winter is coming, we will die one day. Will it be this winter? Maybe if we buy more stuff and give the neighbors candy.
Is it safe to let the kids walk around the neighborhood collecting treats? Is it even safe to talk to neighbors? Who do we trust, the local community or the internet? “What was fake on the Internet this week: Banksy’s arrest, Red Velvet Oreos and exploding bongs” By Caitlin Dewey:
An exploding bong did not take off half a woman’s face. A Facebook PSA about the dangers of marijuana — captioned, scarily, “THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU” — claims that a young woman was gruesomely disfigured when her bong exploded. In fact, the woman pictured is an Internet-famous makeup artist dressed up for a zombie bar crawl
I mean, duh, unless the bong was filled with butane trying to make homemade dabs. Be careful kids, the food they sell today is NOT organic. Don’t accept unwrapped candy. And check for razor blades. But what about the stuff you can’t see. Maybe there’s ebola in that candy?!
In the market yesterday I had to ponder the choice of United Egg Provider certified eggs or USDA organic, certified humane, cage free, eggs from Amish country. The latter were about double the price per egg. Was I supposed to google it there is the store, maybe call the egg suppliers and ask questions? Why can’t I get a video of the actual egg from the actual chicken and every day of that chicken’s life (the car maker BMW does it for their car production when you buy a new car).
People don’t want to see the chicken, don’t want to consider where the meat comes from. We buy expensive eggs for the same reason we buy expensive colleges, it seems like it must be better if it’s more expensive and has more labels. But labels do not insure essence. It is impossible to tell which eggs is which, I have to trust the supply chain. And that kind of trust leads to terrible abuses.
UndeadWalking: “The Walking Dead Toys Remain on Toys R Us Shelves” by Josh Hill quotes NJ.com “‘Breaking Bad’ gets booted from Toys ‘R’ Us but ‘Walking Dead’ didn’t?“:
As NJ.com points out, The Walking Dead toys remain on store shelves while Breaking Bad toys have been removed.
But one has to pose the question: How soon before a Change.org petition is started for their questionable “The Walking Dead” toys, namely the collectable item, The Governor and The Fish Tank Room. It features The Governor with several fishtanks behind him with decapitated zombie heads and his little girl (also a zombie) with a bag over her head.
What about “Mad Men” toys? Mattel made a set in 2010. But there is no alcohol props so maybe this is appropriate. Speaking of AMC, The Street: “AMC Networks is no Zombie Amid Cross-border Content Deals” by Chris Nolter. Yes, obviously AMC is currently winning the Cable wars, they have emerged the new model that everyone is hoping to duplicate. “Breaking Bad” continues to change television long after it ended. And zombies are AMC metaphor for the whole business they are transforming.
Ultimately, all shows end. “Breaking Bad” insisted on it’s ending. It was a five-act dramatic opera and it could not just run forever. “Walking Dead” is a different kind of opera. Like a daytime soap, it is structured so that it could conceptually run on forever. But all things end. That is the truth of things. Things must continue to change in order to survive, only in becoming what they are not can they survive. When things become unable to change, their thing-ness is complete, they are no longer alive, dead symbols frozen in time.
Robert Kirkman chimed in on rumors that “Walking Dead” would end with it all a coma-induced dream (like the “who shot JR” season of “Dallas”, a scandal which was a turning point in soap opera history). We could no longer trust the show’s authors to be telling us important stories if they might erase it. This changed after “Lost” and people started letting the authors be lost and go with them a bit. When “Lost” ended they gave audiences a pay-off, so it starts to seem like maybe they knew what they were writing all along. This gives more authors license to drag the audience around, hoping for continual peaks of structured meaning, assuming a delayed but eventual denouement. But with comic story telling, it’s never coming.
Going on record to answer this: http://uproxx.com/tv/2014/10/robert-kirkman-needs-to-go-on-the-record-promising-the-walking-dead-wont-end-as-rick-grimes-coma-dream/ … Rick is NOT still in a coma. The events of TWD are definitely happening.
But Kirkland’s irony plays through in the next tweet:
But Carl and everyone else are all imagined. He actually NEVER found his family. He’s been crazy since he killed his first zombie. #joking?
Because, hello everyone, it’s fiction. Now, it’s cognitively impossible to not incorporate fictional stories into our unconscious reasoning schema. It’s not our fault that we can’t not think of an elephant.
Television shows unavoidably frame our perspectives on characters. Is “Breaking Bad” safe for children? Isn’t it a pretty good story of why not to get involved in the drug business? And zombies? Are they safe for children toys this season. If so, maybe because they are fiction, whereas the characters on Bad a real villains. Zombie figure are standard monster toys. We don’t protect kids from violence in their toys, they love military toys. The kids need not watch the shows to play with the toys and the monster toy is of itself not evocative the depressing philosophy of the show. By contrast, hero worship of Walter White in his lab gear or wearing Heisenberg-hat/glasses, with money and drugs as props, might of itself evoke an idolization of a drug dealer?
I don’t know. This post is too long. Don’t go buying action figures. Financial Post: “Attack of the spending zombies” by Melissa Leong :
Are you at risk of becoming a spending zombie? Watch this FP Video by Melissa Leong for tips on how to avoid our modern tendency toward blind spending.
That video is cute and I could have used some of the tips at NY Comic Con last week – it’s funny, for every book I bought that I like I bought like one or two that I am regretting. So I have to rationalize that the ones I like were worth double.
Similarly, I have to rationalize that the expensive eggs are worth double. I tried going vegan. Like Norman Reedus it was largely a response to all this zombie exposure and some other farm snuff films I kind of wish I hadn’t seen. It’s horrific. See DailyMail: “Cast and crew on zombie show The Walking Dead are ‘turning vegetarian after grisly scenes put them off eating meat’” by Rebecca Davison:
Norman Reedus, 45, who plays Daryl Dixon told the paper that he is one of the stars to change their diet, saying: ‘I’ve become a vegetarian and I’m kind of bummed about it.’
And Hollywood.com: “Norman Reedus goes vegetarian after working on The Walking Dead“:
the special effects team has made scenes involving the consumption of human flesh in the current fifth season a little too realistic for comfort, so he has decided to adopt a meat-free diet.
I tried vegan but it was very hard to be a party of society that way and after about six months I have slowly resumed fowl and fish and cheese and even allow some exposure to pork in chinese food and have had some celebratory beef. Ugh, ‘celebratory’, so gross to celebrate by killing an animal but I am still part of this community and mean is everywhere. Even if I want to prepare a vegan dinner, I must first go to the market filled with meat smells.
I used to eat soooooo much meat. My meatballs were famous amongst my friends and family. I haven’t made them in a long while now. But again, as I said, I have already started readjusting back to their normal society and willing to eat some again. How is it that I rationalize that, I don’t know. I would like to think that if I was starving I would let myself starve rather than kill an animal but that’s probably not true, probably if I was actually starving, I might be willing to kill you, and if my family was starving. I don’t want to think about that.
We don’t want to think that anyone could die, death is so unpleasant, so let’s just not even think about it. Let’s go back to Comic Con and spend with blind consumer abandon. Let’s kill and eat and gorge on the addictive flesh, and do it again tomorrow. It’s what everyone else is doing. It’s too hard to fight the system.
Yesterday I ordered an eggplant parm sandwich. They told me they were out of eggplant. I could have cancelled the order and started again from a new restaurant but I was hungry. I ate chicken parm instead. I felt guilty about it. I’m too old for this shit. I miss enjoying my food. After months without steak, I had a bite around a campfire with friends. The surge of chemicals was intoxicating. But I knew what I was eating and the enjoyment was poisoned a little by the knowledge, but it was easy to forget when the meat was in my mouth.
It’s sad growing up. It’s sad when the toys we want are no longer available from a toy store. They told us we would always be Toys*R*us kids but they lied, they didn’t grow up with us. We are left on the curb, calling Archie McPhee for a hit of that stuff that feels like old times, a little taste of nostalgia for the old days when TV characters can come to life in our hands. Idol worship is what children’s toys is all about. We are compelled to horde for winter. Buy more stuff, eat more stuff, survive by becoming what you are not, it’s all that we are.
In conclusion, recall also: “History of Zombies “Is This A Zombie?” Not. Feminism” and This is NOT Katy Perry: “Zombie Art World: surrealism, realism, formalism, conceptualism, ART!“
This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, not ebola, but with a whisper, fading into an alienation of its former voice, disappearing into the global consumer morass, a zombie echo.