Lindsay Hoffman asked Kevin Wade about his use of the phrase “zombie economy“, he affirmed his sentiments but did not repeat the phrase.
(Also the hashtag was #DEDebates - ded!)
Yesterday writing about the ideas of the Millenial Dead, mentioned issues of veracity and authenticity. In this post let’s revisit zombie lies. Recall Paul Krugman has been using it for years and Bill Maher recently made it a repeated sketch on his HBO show, that I mentioned in ZombieLaw’s 1000th post.
Maher used the term again on his show last week to refer to trickle down economics and global warming. See Daily Beast: “Bill Maher: Yes, I Can Generalize About Muslims” by Marlow Stern:
I was like, “Really? We’re going to trot out that old canard?” We did a bit on the show where we talked about Republican zombie-lies—that when Republicans tell lies, they just never die. Take “trickle-down economics.” Even after it’s been disproven, it just continues to live! And it’s like, “Really? You’re just going to give me the zombie-lie on global warming?”
Josh Barro tells us in a recent New York Times article that conservatives are once again touting Canada as a role model, in particular using the country’s experience in the 1990s to claim that austerity is expansionary after all.
I think this qualifies as a “cockroach” idea (“zombie” ideas just keep shambling along, whereas sometimes you think you’ve gotten rid of cockroaches, but they keep coming back). I thought we had disposed of all this four years ago. But nooooo.
Meanwhile in Media Matter: “Fox News Uses Abu Khattala Indictment To Resurrect Benghazi Video Zombie Lie” by Ellie Sandmeyer. The humor of this article is that it claims to call out Fox News but also has the Streisand effect by propagating the Benghazi zombie connection. What role will Benghazi have in 2018? When will Hillary announce she’s running?
In US News: “No Means No (Even in Politics)” by Susan Milligan about politicians who keep getting asked if they’re running and say ‘no’ but keep getting asked.
All of this recalls the old “Saturday Night Live” sketch where John McCain, playing himself, rejects every possible version of that “are you running?” question – including whether he would run in the future against a zombie Jimmy Carter:
If this were sexual politics it would be a scandal. Consent is a big topic for feminism and the modern idea that only ‘Yes means Yes’ is at odds with a political reality where ‘No’ doesn’t always mean ‘No’. Politics is itself a practice of negotiation and skilled negotiators simply will not take ‘no’ for an answer. Recall also the “Cosplay is Not Consent” sign from NYCC. And with ebola, a concern of experimental medications for indigenous Africans has been whether there is really an informed consent across the cultures.
How can there ever be informed consent when we are surrounded by zombie lies. We never really know what we are saying Yes to until after it happens. Sometimes there is a fine line between “Getting to Yes” (book by William Ury and Roger Fisher) and date rape, just as there is a fine line between cockroaches and zombies, comedy and news, or a riot about a movie and a terrorist attack on U.S. territory. Are they lies or just subtle differences of scale and awareness?
“Halloween spending expected to hit $7.4 billion” By Lauren Cappuccio:
According to the National Retail Foundation’s annual Halloween Consumer Spending Survey, which polled 6,322 consumers, more than $7.4 billion will be spent with more than two-thirds, or 67.4 percent, saying they will buy a Halloween costume this year. The average person is expected to spend $77.52 this year on the holiday, compared to $75.03 last year, according to the survey.
Aside from costumes, it’s also decorations and that can lead to some community land use and free speech issues, see MyFoxPhilly about a house in Minnesota: “Halloween Decorations Cause Controversy In Minneapolis Neighborhood“:
Neighbor Monica Paquette is worried about the children in the community.
With no city ordinances banning the frightening Halloween props, the owners can keep their bloody decorations on display.
Speaking of zombie houses… FORECLOSURES see this Reuters story at The Fiscal Times: “The Foreclosure Nightmare That Won’t Go Away“, and at CNBC: “Americans face post-foreclosure hell as wages garnished, assets seized“:
Using a legal tool known as a “deficiency judgment,” lenders can ensure that borrowers are haunted by these zombie-like debts for years, and sometimes decades, to come.
DSNews: “Zombie Foreclosures Result in Millions of Delinquent Tax Revenue Dollars” by Brian Honea:
zombie foreclosures, which are properties that have been deserted by their owners but are not yet owned by banks, so they sit in limbo.
Main Street: “Zombie Foreclosures Are Haunting Towns Across the United States” by Robert McGarvey:
Zombies suck the life out of nearby real estate.
Zombie foreclosures happen when a lender goes through all the steps of a foreclosure except for the last which is registering the deed that moves title from the borrower to the lender.
A zombie home is an eyesore, usually.
A zombie home is ugly, usually it’s a health hazard, and it may also be a fire trap.
the former owner long since fled the scene of a zombie home and even if he lives across town, typically he doesn’t have the money to repay the city.
So cash-strapped cities sit on their hands and watch zombie homes rot.
banks see no percentage in taking ownership of a home that needs repairs to be up to code and that will likely languish on the market for months, even years, meaning there will be thousands of dollars spent on upkeep. Even New York City has zombies. RealtyTrac numbers show 3,700 zombies in Queens and Long Island.
But we need to clarify this terminology. Zombie foreclosures are NOT always abandoned or blighted property. Abandoned homes are part of the problem for sure, and yes many homes were abandoned because the foreclosure crisis but some owners are still trying to negotiate with their bank. We have two separate (but related) problems, there are foreclosures and there are abandoned homes. And then a third issue we have blighted property but there are already ways for towns to seize or condemn blight using eminent domain. Abandoned homes present a set of problems that are not entirely the same as blight and could be prevented from going that far if steps could be taken earlier. But foreclosures is it’s own problem.
We need ways to force the banks to negotiate with the owners. Instead, the media’s zombie rhetoric is designed to make us think all these limbo foreclosures are blighted property and to blame the slow foreclosure process instead of the stubborn banks. The banks caused the crisis by using collateralized debt to fuel an illusory market. When their insurance-reinsurance schemes failed, we bailed them out with tax dollars. So why aren’t they passing that money to provide principle reductions on the non-performing loans? Reposition the owners so that they can afford to re-occupy and maintain their home or at least sell the home at a marketable price. The goal must be to put the assets back into the hands of the pre-crisis homeowners, not to help the banks foreclose faster.
It is tempting for struggling towns to want to help banks foreclose faster so that they can then charge the banks for the taxes and property maintenance. But this might have the possible effect of doubling down on the injustice against some of these homeowners. The banks were part of a conspiracy to defraud. There are people who want their homes back if the banks would negotiate. Unfortunately, the banks are not negotiating from the perspective of helping people who were hurt by the banks’ own actions, they are negotiating as if it’s just a regular refinance. That might be fair lending in ordinary circumstances but it’s unfair because it ignores the history. It ignores the banks own role in forcing these homeowners into default in the first place.
Let us never forget that economics is war. See in The Guardian: “What kind of ‘war games’ is George Osborne playing in Washington?“:
like a zombie survival thing? No, … It’s a multiplayer simulation of a transatlantic bank crisis.
Four days of Comic Con, it’s time to return to the real.
A zombie performer was accidentally killed when he was run over by the “Zombie Slayer Paintball Bus”, that real enough for you? See Daily News: “Washington man, 18, dressed as zombie, killed in Idaho corn maze attraction” by Joel Landau NBCnews: “Teen Role Player Killed by ‘Zombie Slayer Paintball Bus’ at Corn Maze“:
Jeremy T. McSpadden, 18, of Washington state, tripped and fell under the rear wheels of the “Zombie Slayer Paintball Bus” as it slowly rolled through the “Incredible Corn Maze” in Hauser, Idaho …
“Many of the patrons believed it was just part of the ride,”
Meanwhile, an article in the Inquisitr mention that death and an: “Ohio Fire-Breather Burned While Performing At Halloween-Themed Event” about performer Ashley Keach:
Her first post about the incident was, “Big woops tonight.”
And, in other real horror this past week, see Arkansas Business: “Damage to Cotton Crop Now Estimated at 24k Acres” by Associated Press:
an estimated 24,000 acres of cotton crops were damaged by a recent hail storm.
Mississippi County Extension Staff Chairman Ray Benson says some farmers are “walking around like a zombie,” not knowing what to do.
I have no idea how this will effect cotton prices, which have been low recently. Cotton futures have been on a wild ride this decade:
Today in NY Post, Andrea Peyser reminds us: “The Department of Defense is prepared for a zombie attack” with references from ConPlan 8888 and CDC survival preparation materials.
And Missouri is offering free prep classes, see LakeExpo: “ Zombies in the woods: Conservation department uses the undead to teach survival skills“:
what if a zombie apocalypse really did occur and the world was taken over by evil creatures bent on destruction? Would you be ready? Do you have the skills to survive?
the naturalist staff at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) can prepare you.
sign up for Survival Skills 101: Zombies!, being held at MDC’s August A. Memorial Busch Conservation Area in St. Charles on Friday, Oct. 24, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
But the 8888 plan may be too optimistic as regards zombie animals (particularly chicken zombies). See io9: “Even Animal Planet Is Making A Zombie TV Series Now” by Rob Bricken:
Animal Planet has announced that it’s optioned The Other Dead, the IDW comic book about a world where a zombie virus appears that only infects (non-human) animals.
It is an ongoing question of whether animals can be zombies because many people don’t believe animals have any kind of higher consciousness in the first place. However, in terms of a public health risk, a disease that could pass across multiple species would be very dangerous. And recall the plot of “Planet of the Apes” movies in which the apes are taken as pets after a plague wipes out the dogs and cats. But I also wonder what kind of corporate pressure Animal Planet must be facing, it’s a network of animal pictures in a world full of internet cat pictures. How well does Animal Planet stand to fair in the new TV business models? Would they survive if networks were unbundled so viewers didn’t have to buy a whole package? Is Animal Planet itself a zombie network?
Also, in legal news, see Inman: “Would you rather face RESPA-TILA disclosure rule, or zombie apocalypse?“:
The 1,888-page RESPA-TILA Integrated Mortgage Disclosures Rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and taking effect next year “isn’t a brain-eating zombie,” but “it certainly feels like a monster.”
it will integrate information currently provided to consumers in four separate documents to satisfy the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), boiling it down to two documents: a loan estimate and closing disclosure.
Sometimes simplification isn’t simple at all. And whether you are hunting zombies or fireblowing, we want people to be aware of risk with suitable disclosure. So, consider this fair warning that pets may be involved in the apocalypse, be prepared (stock up on extra pet food, which should help sell ads on Animal Planet).
Finally, it seems that the “Zombie Pub Crawl 2014 Sets World Record“:
According to Zombie Pub Crawl organizers, the event – which had an official number of 15,458 zombies walking through the Warehouse District – set a Guinness World Record for the “largest gathering of people dressed as zombies.”
Bravo to them. The zombie meme just keeps spreading and getting more real.
I only went up for a few hours at the end. Even then I couldn’t resist buying more stuff. It’s like the greatest mall ever. Just so many pitches for great creative products, one after another after another. I have been so overstimulated for four days.
Here’s a “Monster Haiku” by Jason Deeble he said I could steal for the blog:
Perhaps I should have bought one of those portable batteries they were selling. If only they had a device that could store up human sleep. But another novel piece of technology actually being sold was a device to turn any object into an audio speaker (just connect it to the surface and the vibrations make the object into a speaker). There is some irony in selling this device that “turns anything into a speaker” at a convention full of artists struggling to sell their voice to people dressed for display.
Also, though I don’t really understand anime pin-up digital art, there is something a little different, nontraditional and intriguing about Jazmin Ruotolo’s work in that genre. Now this is evidence that I have been walking around the Comic Con for too long when I can start to identify stylistic variations in this kind of art but there is something different about her ponies and pinups than the more more traditional, for example see the excellent work of Centimetre who had prints at the Con too (particularly this one and others like it). Centimetre’s prints are stunning modern updates on this genre but further emphasize the somewhat unusual nature of Ruotolo’s grittier work (grittier in a grit-glam sort of way).
Also there is some wonderful talent at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), their table gave a free portfolio book of amazing work from last year’s graduates and special shout-out to other prints from students: Gabrielle Gomez (particularly for the glowing longing of her characters’ eyes), Xvonge Wang (for her flower girl), and Kieran Judd (for colorful characters).
There are just so many ideas out there and even the most original stuff is subtle repeated variation of other stuff, and it’s all competing with each other but in a friendly way (recall Frombie, friendly zombies). There is an evolution of culture and the Convention is Petri dish.
Who will succeed who will fail? These questions that depend on much more than good writing, bold drawing or impressive colors. The booth location, the way you look, the way you pitch, sometimes the failures are legitimately better than the successes but that’s not just the luck of the dice roll, better luck next time. Sometimes the failures can become future gems.
At the close of the weekend the energy was rundown. The vendors were tired, the attendees were tired, the party was clearly over but no one really rushing to go home. Unlike the past three nights, it was still daylight out when we left Javits, a big difference on the vibe when the entire building is made of glass. It was like the lights were turned on bright for us to leave, but oh can’t we stay just a little longer in zombie consumerist fantasy land?
Got off to a slow start this morning, waited out the rain, but I did get back up to the Javits for a few more hours of New York Comic Con.
I went back to Eslinger Art and got two Wonderland prints (the rabbit and the march hare, no hatter because his third eye is scary), and that Green Lantern Rorshach! Yesterday I referred to the Rorshach concept of branding and today I read in the Leader Post a similar idea from yesterday’s: “Don’t dismiss it as a silly zombie show“, Alex Strachan of Postmedia News wrote:
The Walking Dead is many things to many people. To some, it’s a high octane adrenalin kick; to others, it’s an amorality play about our shared humanity. It’s a Rorschach test: We see what we want to see. It’s possible no two people will watch The Walking Dead the same way. One person will look and see Mad Max; another will look and see Canterbury Tales and Pilgrim’s Progress, set against the backdrop of a world gone mad, a dystopian future where technology has failed and nothing works. The Walking Dead asks the big questions. Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?
I still think Eslinger’s Rorshachs epitomize the Con and the times. Read it how you will. The floating zombie brandname signifiers are everywhere.
At NYCC, many hot people with cosplay and many with zombie sores on their faces. A sort of ‘yes, I’m hot and hideous look at me’.
In the Press Telegram: “A semi-expert analysis of adults in Halloween costumes” by Josh Dulaney of Long Beach Press Telegram:
according to the National Retail Federation… a record two-thirds of Americans will buy costumes, and adults have gone super-creative, with the Top 5 in order being: witch, animal, Batman character, pirate, zombie.
Yeah, that sounds about right but if it’s NYCC we should add Deadpool, lots of various incarnations of Deadpool, and Spiderman, and Frozen, and video game armor and Wonder Woman, oh wonder woman…
TheSpec: “What is left unsaid” by Alex Good:
Strong emotion, of any sort, can be one’s undoing. Better to keep up appearances, to live life at the conventional rhythm, a rhythm described by the visionary story “Terminus” as “a mystery indeed … an aid to dissimulation, a guide to those who otherwise would not know how to act.” Marching to that rhythm may make you a zombie, but you’ll rue the day you break with it.
Some books: “Oxymoron“, “Dragonstorm“, “Giant Robot Warrior Maintenance Crew“, “God the Dyslexic Dog“, Paint it Black Comics, “The Samurnauts“, “First Law of Mad Science” and drawn in to my new copy of “Dead Classic”:
See also the table for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund!
And I found dice! Three D20 acquired! Goal achieved.
One more day tomorrow. I really must try to spend no more money. But I sort of want the silver dice and maybe more issues of “High Fructose Zombies“.
Of course, the hungry homeless on the street would probably better benefit from my discarded dollars but these artists all seem so genuine. They are really noble in trying to create characters and build alternative worlds. It’s an amazing feat what these people do.