There have been many recent articles posted about holiday gifting for zombies. Zombies are the ultimate consumers.
One recent article from Alabama: “9 holiday gift ideas for zombie apocalypse fanatics” by Cassie Fambro includes blades, shovels, seeds, first aid, water filtration and other survival gear.
Other articles focus on zombie-themed items (particularly “Walking Dead” merch), see for example MTV: “‘The Walking Dead’ Gift Guide: For The Undead Lover In Your Life” by Alex Zalben includes the Monopoly game (see zombie real estate) and also a t-shirt that says “kill them all”.
However, Zalben will presumably not be buying that t-shirt for children. Zalben, a dad, has recently been writing about the movie “Man of Steel” and about heroes killing villains. His piece “Why ‘Man of Steel’ Could Learn A Lesson From ‘Day of the Doctor’“:
when I think of kids, particularly my kid growing up in a world with superheroes who see no other option but to murder, I start to think that maybe I’m missing something. Maybe society has moved on from superheroes saving people, and I haven’t. The old chestnut is, “Why doesn’t Batman kill The Joker?” But if Batman was invented today, would he have murdered The Joker after his first appearance? Almost assuredly.
Recall other ZombieLaw references to Batman and Superman and clowns (like the Joker). These characters serve spiritual functions and like zombies, they tend to defy normative categories. Batman defies the law to preserve it, the Joker is insane because he can’t accept that Batman isn’t. But somehow Superman is a different story…
Is there no choice but to kill the evil zombies of the world? Can’t we instead find some way to give them a new life? Isn’t there something we could give them that would make them want to be good?
The real Superman wouldn’t kill Zod, he would transport him back to some inter cosmic prison void, “The Phantom Zone“. That might only delay the problem for another day and create all sort of factual inconsistencies. But the killing joke is a dangerous slippery slope … when is it ok to kill zombies? This is a question upon which Superman and Batman (and Green Lantern and Arrow) might disagree. These characters, though fictional, all have their own perspective and personal limits…
And speaking of different characters, here are a few books (straight outta the phantom zone) that you might want to stuff in some lawyers’ stockings:
“Dachshund” is coming very soon! And many more in the works…
But wait, what happened to “zombie”?? And “ninja”?
Well, ok, “ninja” is still mostly available free at ninjalaw.wordpress.com – a publication of that is forthcoming but the ninja has disappeared for a while. That’s what ninja do, surely to return.
And “zombie”? Well, zombies zombie. There is no shortage of other zombie books published this year already – See SlashDot: “Self-Published Zombie Titles Have Doubled Since 2012” reporting on data about twice-doubling of zombie book titles in “Zombies on your Kindle!“:
On Halloween night in 2011, there were 2,269 different Kindle ebooks with their word “zombie” in their title. But by 2012, that number had more than doubled, with 4,874 zombie ebooks there were now available on the Kindle. And this year? OMG! Amazon’s Kindle store now has 8,052 zombie ebooks!
Many of those are personal finance books; Bloomberg: “Zombie Personal Finance Books of 2014” by Suzanne Woolley.
Kickstarter was definitely not a good personal finance strategy. I did not properly budget a lot of the costs and severely underestimated the time it would take to complete this project. But the book is coming. I am in contact with the printer and binder and the hardcover version will probably not be ready for this year but very soon thereafter. December 21st (a year after the Mayan long calendar 2012 phenomenon), and that’s still a real possibility. If anyone who contributed to the Kickstarter wants a soft-cover copy instead, that can be arranged but I’m sure the hardcover will be worth the slightly longer wait.
All these books are part of a series of collections that use real case law to demonstrate the perspective of objects as characters. This is sort of similar to how Batman and Superman and Green Lantern and Arrow each have their own character traits, these character-creature-words in the real case law also develop a sort of character-perspective. The Justice League is a sort of monster mash.
Eventually, I hope to continue to make more of these books, maybe edit them shorter and add some illustrations? But I am over-ambitious and already woefully behind schedule on the book people actually wanted. It was never supposed to be about the zombies, but the zombies took off and the ideas expanded around it. Zalben was much more successful in delivering on his Kickstarter. His comic book about a teddy bear detective is such fun (and I love the T-shirt).
Speaking of T-shirts, the original ZombieLaw logo available on Cafepress merchandise – This is no longer the current logo but some people still like it. The new book title is just “Zombie in the Federal Courts” because I decided the first word should not be plural in this series – but these products are still available:
And don’t miss your chance, there are still some limited edition (only 250 were made) Zombie USB available -Buy a Zombie Brain USB on Amazon
Coming soon, the book… thanks for your patience, nom nom…
While you await my zombie book, may I suggest also “Thor and the Warriors Four (Power Pack) Paperback” by Alex Zalben or more of his Detective Honeybear. Zalben’s work is quality. I would love to have his work ethic, but my work is different. What is similar is that both his Thor comic and his Honeybear character are ways of taking very old character tropes (greek mythology and noir detective cliches) and making them feel fresh with childish ploys (the four young characters in the Thor book and Honeybear is literal a teddy bear).
Law is of the oldest of tropes, who reads case opinions? Maybe with a character theme…? Childish, but at least it’s a good gift…
CityTimes: “Rest in Peace: A Tribute and Retrospective on the (Dying) Zombie Trend by Jennifer Manalili claims:
Similar to their sibling, the vampire (trend), zombies re-emerged to convey societal feelings … Zombies re-emerge at times when society questions itself. This recent re-incarnation has come at a time when the country is turning in on itself: fighting seemingly endless wars, an uncertain economy, constant debates over healthcare, political untrustworthiness … the list is long. … But like the monster it embodies, zombies can’t live forever (a good bullet to the head stops ‘em, but good) and neither will this trend. In fact, it’s on the way out…. May they rest in peace until they are re-imagined again and here’s to whatever represents what society is scared of next.
Part of the zombie theme is to keep saying it’s over and then it comes back again. But the entertainment industry goes through fads and zombies have had a lot of play, vampires and witches and gosh won’t they think of something new… Manalili suggests technology but ignores that part of the zombie-fear is a mirror of the technological changes.
Recall Zombie is a popular word in computer hacking culture – see recently: “Flying hacker contraption hunts other drones, turns them into zombies” by Dan Goodin which sounds like technology straight out of “The Terminator”, which is after all, a monster movie, in which the Terminator is remarkably similar to a zombie because of single-minded unreasonable behavior. A cyborg is a very complicated zombie, but it’s still a zombie – an automaton.
Time-travel is a messy business (See Heinlein’s Zombies). It is the work of every real scholar. We are doomed to repeat the past, first as horror then as comedy then as horrific comedy then as comedic horrors and so on ad infinitum. The economics are simple; “Better economy brings ‘zombie’ subdivision back” by Melissa St. Aude:
An improving economy could mean new life for what’s been dubbed one of Casa Grande’s “zombie” subdivisions. Thursday, the Casa Grande Planning and Zoning Commission approved preliminary plat plans for Arroyo Grande, a subdivision that was approved in 2006 but has sat idle and undeveloped for seven-plus years. “This is an effort to breathe new life into a zombie subdivision,” Keith Newman, city planner, told the commission.
The article describes hundreds of homes built before 2006 but construction on the remainder of the community stalled by the economic conditions. Seven year cycles of bust and boom seem like something to consider but we must have a stronger safety net to prevent these crises?
Forbes: “Is the American Merchant Marine a Zombie?” by Robert Bowman:
the fleet is effectively dead already, according to one industry expert. … The budget sequester is threatening what’s left of the fleet.
Bowman’s article explains some complicated costs of U.S.-made ships, quotes a report by Drewry Maritime Research about expenses:
“underlines the possibility that U.S.-flag protectionism is an increasingly expensive luxury,”
What is the value of a flag? A symbol – but what does it signify? This is an important question for zombies, for whom signifiers are empty chains of irony and the signified merely entertainment. “Terminator 2″ is in many ways the more interesting movie because the Arnold-Terminator appears to become more human when it acts as a savior and ultimately kills himself. The absurdity of this situation is that suicide becomes the most human of all behaviors. The Arnold-Terminator is still just following it’s programming. If it doesn’t kill itself, SkyNet will eventually become powerful enough to take control of his systems (by use of a “flying hacker contraption”?). The Arnold-Terminator becomes most human in the symbolic gesture of critical approval on his own chosen death scene- the thumbs up as he melts into oblivion (as if to say to Roger Ebert, how could you not love this!). And there is nothing stopping another sequel or pre-quel with Arnold, because he is a mass production zombie machine. As Ebert wrote in his 1991 review:
It’s fun for a kid, having his own pet Terminator … intriguing screenplay idea is to develop the Terminator’s lack of emotions; like Mr. Spock in “Star Trek,” he does not understand why humans cry. Schwarzenegger’s genius as a movie star is to find roles that build on, rather than undermine, his physical and vocal characteristics. Here he becomes the straight man in a human drama – and in a human comedy, too, as the kid tells him to lighten up and stop talking like a computer.
But, it can’t go on forever. Future sequels in the Terminator series have been banal at best. Compare, Panels on Pages: “The Problem with “The Walking Dead”” by Lee Rodriguez, about:
An excellent blog post written by the lovely and talented Jamilla Rowser recently made the rounds wherein she wrote about her experience “breaking up” with The Walking Dead comic book. It struck a chord with me because I’m in something of a loveless relationship with the TV show myself. The comic and I have occasional flings via trade, but I’ve committed myself to the show. Relationship metaphors aside, her blog echoed conversations I’ve been having lately about the longevity of The Walking Dead.
Thanks to Rodriguez, I too recommend reading Jamilla Rowser’s “Breaking Up With “The Walking Dead”“:
I feel like I’m breaking up with a longtime boyfriend. I’ve been dating “The Walking Dead” for a few years now. …I adored his grayscale gore and the excitement I felt whenever we were together. But then, things started to change… The dates became repetitive and predictable. His friends weren’t interesting anymore or they were dead.
Consider this commentary in relation to “Zombie Boyfriends” (hipsters or slackers or “Warm Bodies” /”Boyfriend’s Back”?):
It’s hard to break up with “The Walking Dead” because I’ve invested to many years into this relationship. But I think it’s time to let go. … Maybe we’ll grab coffee every few months and I’ll see how he’s doing. I don’t know.
See also Rowser’s stunning artwork of comic, sci-fi and video game images juxtaposed with corresponding quotes from rap songs: “Straight Outta Gotham“
I first encountered the term “zombie banks” during the financial crisis. It refers to banks whose conditions are so poor that they need government support to survive.
Banking is one of the most heavily regulated businesses in America. The government will do whatever it takes to stop bank runs, to preserve confidence in lending and lenders. Joseph Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” is unwelcome. That’s why Syringa and Idaho Banking Co. are still in business. That’s why they’re zombies.
And “Zombie Government Armed with Accounting Tricks Bailed out Zombie Banking Industry” by Doug French claims:
Zombies make negligent landlords and dangerous neighbors.
The American Thinker: “Why Zombies” by Sally Zelikovsky:
Zombies act in concert. If one smells human flesh and starts moaning and dragging his mangled, decrepit body toward the source, they all do, sometimes in herds thousands strong. They simply respond. The ultimate “groupthink.” While fantasy’s zombies lack cognitive function, today’s real-world humans do not. Yet how often do members in our society behave in a “groupthink” mode — responding viscerally, neglecting to exercise independent thought, failing to question their behavior, yearnings, and motives?
We have the advantage over our zombie-like opponents of reason and the ability to analyze and think clearly about our predicament. If we target those lifeless menaces to our prosperity, civility, and liberty, we should be able to politically obliterate the walking dead among us and restore the shining city on the hill.
And she seems to mean this literally as conservatives versus progressives but acknowledging internal dissenters in the conservative crowd:
Conservatives correctly conclude that today’s progressive zombie army is destroying morality, responsibility, civility, and liberty. We are struggling to survive in a morally bankrupt, fiscally apocalyptic world where instinct reigns over reason. Not only must we battle the progressive zombies who threaten our humanity, civility, and society, but because of them, we are often compelled to fight amongst ourselves. We see this currently playing out within the GOP as moderates, establishment types, social conservatives, and Tea Partiers clash over the direction the party should take.
But who are the zombies? We all are? Anyone who disagrees because of course only we have the power to “analyze and think clearly” – not them? If the machine will not willfully kill itself, then he is not human?
And to conclude this post, TruthOut: “Henry A. Giroux | Hope in the Age of Looming Authoritarianism“. [Recall Giroux recently appeared on Moyer & Co.] In this article on TruthOut, Giroux writes:
In the current historical moment, the line between fate and destiny is difficult to draw. Dominant power works relentlessly through its major cultural apparatuses to hide, mischaracterize or lampoon resistance, dissent and critically engaged social movements. … Civic engagement appears increasingly weakened, if not impotent, as a malignant form of casino capitalism exercises ruthless power over the commanding institutions of society and everyday existence, breathing new life into old clichés. … The language of stupidity replaces reason as scientific evidence is disparaged or suppressed, thoughtful exchange gives way to emotional tirades, violence becomes the primary means for solving problems, and anger is substituted for informed arguments. … This mad violence creates an intensifying cycle rendering citizens’ political activism dangerous, if not criminal. … Authoritarianism has a long shadow and refuses simply to disappear into the pages of a fixed and often forgotten history. …
Historical consciousness matters because it illuminates, if not holds up to critical scrutiny, those forms of tyranny and modes of authoritarianism that now parade as common sense, popular wisdom or just plain certainty. In this case, the American public will not repeat history as farce (as Marx once suggested) but as a momentous act of systemic violence, suffering and domestic warfare. If the act of critical translation is crucial to a democratic politics, it faces a crisis of untold proportions in the United States. In part, this is because we are witnessing the deadening reduction of the citizen to a consumer of services and goods that empties politics of substance by stripping citizens of their political skills, offering up only individual solutions to social problems and dissolving all obligations and sense of responsibility for the other in an ethos of unchecked individualism and a narrowly privatized linguistic universe. The logic of the commodity penetrates all aspects of life while the most important questions driving society no longer seem concerned about matters of equity, social justice and the fate of the common good.
Political exhaustion and impoverished intellectual visions are fed by the widely popular assumption that there are no alternatives to the present state of affairs. Within the increasing corporatization of everyday life, market values trump ethical considerations enabling the economically privileged and financial elite to retreat into the safe, privatized enclaves of family, religion and consumption. … Moreover, in the face of the 2008 economic crisis caused by gangster financial service institutions such as J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Barclay and Merrill Lynch, among others, the middle class is dissolving into the jaws of a death-machine that has robbed them of their homes, health care, jobs and dignity. The ruling elites have taken flight from any sense of social and ethical responsibility and their willing and active repression of conscience has opened the door to new forms of authoritarianism in which the arrogance of corporate power finds its underside in a hatred of all others that threaten its power.
But hope –
Hope says “no” to the totalizing and common-sense discourse of the neoliberal present; it contains an activating presence that opens current political structures to critical scrutiny, affirms dissent and pluralizes the possibilities of different futures. In this sense, hope is a subversive force. … hope is more than a politics – it is also a practice that provides the foundation for enabling human beings to learn about their potential as moral and civic agents. … Judith Butler is right in insisting that “For me there is more hope in the world when we can question what is taken for granted, especially about what it is to be human.”
Quoting Adorno, and concluding with Derrida, isn’t enough:
In addition, young and older people need jobs
What the American public needs to address is that the United States is no longer on the brink of authoritarianism – rather, it has moved; it is at the stage where every effort is made on the side of corporate, political imagination and financial elites to make sure that the current reign of tyranny is neither challenged nor held accountable.
The zombie trend will not end, until we are all become zombie and there is no longer any point in considering the difference. The zombie trend is the human trend. But humanity is dying… which is primary feature by which we recognize it, and so all is not lost, humanity will be back….
The American Prospect: “Will Zombie Marco Rubio Win in 2016?” by Jonathan Bernstein is an article about Senator Marco Rubio that does not use the word zombie. But it does use the word “dead”, “burial”, “write off”, “bumps in the road”, concluding with allusion “horse races”:
premature burial of John McCain… Bill Clinton was given up for dead … last rites performed for George H.W. Bush … it’s easy to overinterpret setbacks and bumps in the road…
The American Prospect refers to itself on twitter as “A respectable liberal twitter account.” And when they tweeted this story they didn’t tweet this zombie headline but instead tweeted the link with: they tweeted: “Stop declaring candidacies dead before the primary even starts!”
So perhaps “zombie” wasn’t “respectable” to be tweeted. Or perhaps an editor changed the title afterwards. But if “zombie” isn’t a respectable political term than calling it “dead” probably isn’t much better. Or is it? The “zombie” is potentially more offensive than the “dead” because it insults the basic structural assumptions. It may also be a compliment about the survival quality and ability to not die. But still also a further slur, like ‘why won’t you die!’.
Notably, Senator Rubio is from Florida – Zombies love Florida.
The Telegraph: “Zombies? They are a myth” Max Firth, managing director of Experian Business Information Services:
In our view, not only is the zombie argument plain wrong, it is also extremely damaging to the UK economy. The current scaremongering risks frightening lenders and stalling the supply of trade credit…
…to properly deconstruct zombie theory, it is first necessary to ask why people think zombies exist at all.
Zombie theorists suggest the 2008 financial crisis didn’t “clear out” enough non-viable businesses
But if we “dig deeper” and account for “micro-businesses” and “hidden insolvencies”, Firth argues:
…contrary to the opinion of some commentators, there really was a massive clear-out of failing companies during the financial crisis with far fewer “hangers on” than some data suggest.
[Experian's] data shows that survivors of the recession are now more robust than ever and we are witnessing more businesses being formed at the moment than are closing.
As the recovery continues, an important part of oiling the wheels of the UK economy will be freeing up this resource. Inaccurate rhetoric about zombie companies risks scaring off suppliers of trade credit because, with one in 10 supposedly in dire straits and with no long-term future, it makes little sense to offer commercial terms at all. The longer the zombie myth continues, the greater the risk that the supply of trade credit to the very businesses that will help drive the recovery is restricted. That to me is the real horror show.
This article is a direct response to research recently published by The Adam Smith Institute: “The Trading Dead” by Tom Papworth [55 page pdf] which provides the following definition for what is a “zombie business”:
a. The company is heavily indebted
b. The company is able to generate enough revenue to pay the interest on
its loan but is not able to pay down the principle
c. The ability to meet loan interest payments is dependent upon continuing
low interest payments
d. The above prevents the company from restructuring and so becoming
e. The above vitiates the need for the company to go into receivership, thus
preventing the redeployment of capital and labour to more productive sectors.
The Atlantic: “Good News: After a Zombie Attack, We’ll Have Enough Frozen Turkey for Thanksgiving” by Alexis C. Madrigal examines the industry stockpiles of frozen turkey meat:
Let’s just say that zombies attacked America on October 31, 2014. And this particular brand of zombies began their marauding with the nation’s turkeys. And they ate all of the live turkeys … luckily, the nation’s food cold storage professionals would hold a press conference and announce to the nation, “Don’t worry, everyone. Like every year around this time, we have more than 400 million pounds of frozen turkey in our warehouses.”
But it’s mostly in parts, so
don’t expect a whole bird … after the short-lived, turkey-focused zombie apocalypse, few people would get actual birds they could roast.
Alexis Madrigal is one of my favorite journalists. This is not the first mention of Madrigal on ZombieLaw (see “Automatic Tweet about Hazardous Material scares The Atlantic” and “Zombie for Awareness“) but in those he was reporting on a “zombie” from someone else. This time it appears the zombie-eating-turkey meme is his, so, here’s a zombie version of Mr. Madrigal – Happy Thanksgiving to you, I am thankful for your journalism.
And while I’m being thankful for good journalists let me also mention Nate Anderson who is still awesome.
Finally, consider that eating animal meat and tweeting about it, sort of makes us all versions of undead cannibalistic parrots.
Meanwhile in other zombie-thanksgiving news:
“FMC announces Zombie Weed Warrior winners” from Golfcourseindustry
“Hold the Phone: Walgreens Is Selling a ZOMBIE DILDO” from Jezebel
“Thanksgiving 2013: ObamaCare-Zombie Survival Guide… OY” from CanadaFreePress
“Zombie apps, car door handles, and… what CNET’s crew is thankful for” from CNET
“There is just no escape from Mario Draghi’s monetary zombie nightmare” from FXstreet
New comic from The Oatmeal: “I have firsthand experience with an undead parrot” is a two part comic about a grumpy cannibalistic undead bird. In part one he is just a crazy pet, and in part two becomes undead during burial.
Grump Bartholomew Inman, the parrot, the pet, the monster and misanthrope, curmudgeon and cannibal … beautiful, perfect horror.
The bird’s refusal to participate is strikingly similar to Melville’s Bartleby. Also note that the bird is portrayed as exceedingly smart “one of the smartest breeds of birds on the planet” could “mimic just about anything he heard” but an attitude that :
Life [and death] is a farcical pile of bullshit. I refuse to participate.
Consider the similarity to Griffin Wilson, the character in Chuck Palahniuk’s new zombie story in Playboy. And consider the overlap of evil genius and zombie metaphors. Dr. Frankenstein’s monster is a classic early example of that crossover and the Haitian zombie always implied some shaman-like witch-doctor wizardry (see Bela Lugosi‘s character in “White Zombie”)
My book collection of “Mad Scientist in the Federal Courts” is available. Included in that book is a case about Superman copyrights which explains an early prototype version of the Superman character. See Siegel v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
542 F. Supp. 2d 1098 (Dist. Court, CD California, 2008), explaining the original Superman was created by a mad scientist:
In 1932, Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster were teenagers at Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Siegel was an aspiring writer and Shuster an aspiring artist; what Siegel later did with his typewriter and Shuster with his pen would transform the comic book industry. The two met while working on their high school’s newspaper where they discovered their shared passion for science fiction and comics, the beginning of a remarkable and fruitful relationship.
One of their first collaborations was publishing a mail-order fanzine titled “Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization.” In the January, 1933, issue, Siegel and Shuster’s first superman character appeared in the short story “The Reign of the Superman,” but in the form of a villain not a hero. The story told of a “mad scientist’s experiment with a deprived man from the breadlines” that transformed “the man into a mental giant who then uses his new powers — the ability to read and control minds — to steal a fortune and attempt to dominate the world.” This initial superman character in villain trappings was drawn by Shuster as a bald-headed mad man.
A couple of months later it occurred to Siegel that re-writing the character as a hero, bearing little resemblance to his villainous namesake, “might make a great comic strip character.” Much of Siegel’s desire to shift the role of his protagonist from villain to hero arose from Siegel’s exposure to despair and hope: Despair created by the dark days of the Depression and hope through exposure to the “gallant, crusading heros” in popular literature and the movies. The theme of hope amidst despair struck the young Siegel as an apt subject for his comic strip: “Superman was the answer — Superman aiding the downtrodden and oppressed.”
Thereafter, Siegel sat down to create a comic book version of his new character. While he labored over the script, Shuster began the task of drawing the panels visualizing that script. Titling it “The Superman,” “[t]heir first rendition of the man of steel was a hulking strongman who wore a T-shirt and pants rather than a cape and tights.” And he was not yet able to hurdle skyscrapers, nor was he from a far away planet; instead, he was simply a strong (but not extraordinarily so) human, in the mold of Flash Gordon or Tarzan, who combated crime. Siegel and Shuster sent their material to a publisher of comic books — Detective Dan — and were informed that it had been accepted for publication. Their success, however, was short-lived; the publisher later rescinded its offer to publish their submission. Crestfallen, Shuster threw into the fireplace all the art for the story except the cover, which Siegel rescued from the flames.
Undaunted, Siegel continued to tinker with his character, but decided to try a different publication format, a newspaper comic strip.
See also, ZombieLaw posts on other angry birds.
And recall: “Undead in the Federal Courts”