Historic Zombies: G.O.P. Zombies in year 1937
Found on the google today: “G.O.P. Members Are Zombies Now” from the Rochester Journal, published February 24, 1937. Yes 1937!
The article by “Bugs” Baer reporting from Atlantic City, is about political campaign debts
Democrats will square their campaign debts by giving victory dinners. But what can the Republican give?
THE members of the Grand Old Party are zombies.
The article goes on to explain:
A zombie is the living dead.
Then uses a metaphor I don’t quite understand to connect the phrase “living dead” to:
a politician who sends his laundry out in Maine and eats his victory dinner out of a crack barrel in Vermont.
The article concludes:
the Democratic campaign debt is close to a half a million dollars. [But] The Republicans cannot owe much because they have not been close to any money for five years
This old 1937 article is particularly interesting because “zombie” was a relatively new word in America around 1937. Though the word predates Bela Lugosi’s 1932 movie, “White Zombie”, that movie popularized the word and blended it into Lugosi’s other (mostly European mythology: Vampires, Werewolves, Frankenstein) monster characters. This 1937 Rochester Journal article is significant in showing the early adoption of “zombies” in political rhetoric. Note also it is reference to Republicans (the party of Lincoln, wars for liberty?) and a reference to unpaid debts (something past returning to haunt).
Finally, let’s note the other articles in the same paper to get a sense of the times in which this zombie emerged -Rochester Journal Feb 24, 1937 -
Lindbergh’s appearance in Bombay after two days off media radar takes the top headline – this was at a time when wikipedia says Lindbergh was in seclusion in Europe following the kidnapping and death of his son. The paper says:
Little concern had been felt for the Flying Colonel and his wife, whose insistence on absolute privacy has previously caused them to be reported lost…”
“Little concern” but still top headline – Even in 1937, Cult of Personality is well under way, a loss of privacy for celebrities. Also in the same paper: worker strikes, delay of child labor laws, and Nazi’s in Austria.