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ZombieLaw studies zombies in law, politics and current events.

Zombie Milhouse is not a meme?

On tonight’s new episode of “The Simpsons”, Season 25, Episode 18, episode title: “Days of Future Future“, set in the future, Lisa is doing volunteer work for the undead, dishing out vegan brains for vegan zombies (“zegans”). Milhouse gets bit and starts to become a zombie. A cyberpunk-style Dr. Hibbert has a series of treatments that will cure him, but Lisa likes Milhouse better as a zombie; he stands up to bullies and since he doesn’t breathe, doesn’t have an asthma attack.

zombie milhouse

So, the big question: is zombie Milhouse a meme? See KnowYourMeme: “Milhouse is Not a Meme“.

“Why does it feel so good, so good to be bad”

capitalfm: “David Guetta Unveils Zombie-Themed Song Lyric Video For New Single ‘Bad’“:

David Guetta … French DJ and producer has teamed up with both Showtek and Australian singer Vassy for the new single

David Guetta & Showtek – Bad ft. Vassy (Official Audio)

LAist: “Tilda Swinton And Tom Hiddleston Are Sexy Hipster Vampires In ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’“:

Adam hates leaving the house because he can’t stand to be in the presence of “zombies,” as he calls the rest of humanity. …

… Los Angeles (“Zombie central,” sneers Adam),

Writer-director-indie-god Jim Jarmusch is quoted in Sydney Morning Herald: “Only Lovers Left Alive: Of flesh and blood” by Stephanie Bunbury:

For Jarmusch, who is proud to call himself a dilettante, it was simply self-evident that anyone living for centuries must be thrilled by the world. ”It would be awfully boring if they just lived for hundreds of years and didn’t know shit about anything; then they would be zombies,” he says.

”The zombie way is not to see the beautiful, strange, odd things in the world. No matter how long you live as a human, you can never absorb all these amazing things – paintings, designs of bridges, things people think of, scientific inventions! I just wake up thinking: ‘Wow, the Higgs boson, they’re going to use the particle accelerator, what’s going on?’ So many things are exciting.”

[Did you hear they found a new particle composed of four quarks?]

Even if Shakespeare was really a zombie for Marlowe, we can still appreciate the culture, though LAist concludes:

They’re certainly the snobbiest hipsters you’ll ever meet, but they have the cred to back it up.

All this reminds me of immediately previous post about Zombie Brooklyn, which was about a land-use environmental issue, but because it’s northwest Brooklyn inherently implies hipster.

Meanwhile, ZombieLaw readers may be asking, “Wait, I thought this was a “zombie” law blog? Why the music and movies, where’s Oscar Pistorius?”

And as I tweeted yesterday, I don’t really care about the Oscar Pistorius trial. Yes, the word “zombie” is apparently relevant to his trial. It’s a gun or the feel of the force of the gun?? Zombie Stopper?

It’s questionable if he was thinking of killing a zombie or a watermelon, or who cares? I’ll leave that for the tabloids. There are trials every day in every jurisdiction, why does the media only cover a few crazy trials? What if we covered the mundane ones? That would be real news, instead as with CNN’s zombie plane, the media news is an alternate reality designed to distract the national attention.

This Pistorius trial as portrayed in the media, is entertainment not law. Maybe I’ll cover it more when the noise dies down or if someone can get me a complete and reliable transcript. For now, here’s Liberty Voice: “Oscar Pistorius Zombie Stopper – Watermelon Softer Than Brain” by Penny Swift – and also from, the video:

Also, it is kind of interesting that zombie found it’s way into this trial because it relates to violence against women, and also because he is an accomplished athlete with artificial legs. These issues of feminism and technology‘s role in embodied cognition, are both important for zombies (as are guns).

Also, incidentally, a Zombie Stopper is a expensive gun-sight made by EOTech, a Michigan based company that describes itself as

world leader of HOLOgraphic Weapons Sights for small arms and close quarters combat.

Sounds like the kind of thing mounted on a Star Trek Borg’s eye. And so again I note, that Pistorius has artificial legs and that these kind of technology-enhanced-human-cyborgs are becoming more and more real.

Looping back to the Guetta-SHOWTEK-Vassy music video at the start of this post, military technology is destroying the zombies; vampires and romantics beware, the food chain is in danger. The media economy is rotting everyone’s brains.

You see, why does it feel so good, so good to be bad

‘Zombiepocalypse’ in Brooklyn

VillageVoice: “The Zombie Apocalypse Is Located on a Terrifying Street Corner in Vinegar Hill, According to Google Maps” by Anna Merlan:

In these uncertain times, it’s natural for one’s thoughts to turn towards the inevitable nuclear war/pandemic/act of bioterrorism that will finally doom us as a species. Most of us will be wiped out, of course, and most of the ones who remain will be drooling, shuffling, hollow-eyed wraiths, subsisting only on the brains of the living. (No, not members of Congress. Although that’s also a good guess.)

Ha. Everyone loves a good zombie congress joke, but this article is actually about

when you search for “zombie apocalypse” in Google Maps … only one place has the all-caps, no-bullshit ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, and that place is Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn, on the corner of John and Hudson streets.

zombie apocalypse con ed brooklyn vinegar hill

Merlan continues:

“What the hell is that?” you ask, reaching for your sawed-off shotgun. It’s the Con Edison Hudson Avenue Generating Station…

A defunct old school power plant that according to Merlan was built in the 1930s and mostly shutdown in 2011.

In 2001 in the NYTimes, Richard Pérez-Peña wrote “Con Ed Is Planning To Fire Up a Plant Known as a Polluter“, and referred to it as:

the most polluting power plant in New York City … burns oil, a much dirtier fuel than the natural gas used by newer plants

Pérez-Peña wrote that it was built in 1951, so that makes it a little younger than Merlan said, but still before current emissions standards. Not sure if it ever reopened as per that 2001 article, and also unsure what kind of damage it might have sustained during Superstorm Sandy, and what if anything might have been left in there to wash into the flood waters and leech into the ground.

Here is a permit filing from the Department of Environmental Conservation, Effective Date: 01/07/2013:

Emissions of regulated pollutants from the facility are significantly reduced.

That’s good.

Merlan apologetically uses the term “zombiepocalypse” to describe this place and credits Stephen Benavides for the Google find.

More ZombieLaw tagged New York.

Mutatis mutandis

Last week, the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy Will Baude, professor at University of Chicago Law School wrote about “Zombie Federalism”. Today Prof. Baude follows up on his zombie lawyering in WaPo-Volokh: “Zombie federalism and moral disagreement

This new post is to comment on the “quasi-serious reply” of 3rd year law student Michael Smith at UCLA. Regular readers of this ZombieLaw blog (as if there are any) will remembercoverage of Smith’s article “Prosecuting the Undead: Federal Criminal Law in a World of Zombies”.

Michael Smith also has a Law Blog which includes reading list references for Intro to Philosophy of Mind (which is, of course, a very important subject for zombies; see Chalmers hard problem of consciousness and we are all Dennett-zombies and go batty with Tom Nagel and, nine levels with Güven Güzeldere; the issue of non-physical reality.)

zombie will baude zombie michael smith

Baude’s column today responding to Smith, is a wonderfully high-minded debate on the broad strokes of federalism and states’ rights using zombies as the literal monster but clearly tongue-in-cheek as generic for all forms of oppressed classes. Smith argues for a united human-zombie distinction at the federal level, whereas Baude enjoys flexibility in the state legislatures to decide which zombies are evil.

A few great comments from WaPo users about moral relativism, immigration, race, gender, and terrorist (body odor terrorists? see zombie smell). The most spot on comment is from David M. Nieporent, who posts:

Yup; in states run by Democrats, they’d be giving zombies voting rights and welfare. Republicans won’t even let them get married.

These federalism zombie cliches are older than the Constitution itself and so this debate is itself the zombie (which is also the entire purpose of most federalist society events). This debate will never die, it is the heart of our founding principles. It’s not about resolving the cotroversey, it’s about deploying it to amplify the variety of mutant-hybrids and new blends. As Bruno Latour says, “we’ve never been modern,” but the false dichotomies (like federalist/anti-federalist) helped proliferate the New World of ideas.

As Baude concludes:

The one serious point is that much of the above applies, mutatis mutandis, to other cases of disagreement over fundamental questions.

zombie as appropriated likeness #selfie

Two stories today of “zombie” appropriated likenesses.

First at NerdReactor: “EA confirms Bruce Lee as the UFC mystery fighter” by John ‘Spartan’ Nguyen:

zombie Bruce Lee

This is in reference to a new video game, in which

Bruce Lee Enterprises provided EA Sports with a lot of material to help them create a very authentic Bruce Lee.

The uncanny edges closer to a truly simulated real. But, with Bruce Lee, his simulation has carried his legacy longer than his living material body did; Lee died in 1973, not yet age 33. The manipulation of his dead symbol in film footage has been the only representation most gamers have ever known. He has become a symbol, and now we can manipulate him more interactively.

Bruce Lee was born in Hong Kong, so there should be no confusion with the other UFC fighter, The Korean Zombie, who has been part of his own symbol meaning controversy about historical meaning versus pop culture in regard to the Rising Sun historical flag for fighter costumes.

Meanwhile, UpRoxx: “The White House Is Banning Obama Selfies. Thanks, David Ortiz & Samsung!” by Dan Seitz calling it “Selfieghazi”:

the timeline of events was this:
Samsung hired David Ortiz to be their “MLB social media insider” and gave him a Samsung Note 3
Ortiz went to the White House the next day, and took a selfie with Obama.
Samsung retweeted it.
Things got stupid.

Seitz notes that this incident is all enhancing Samsung sales (it’s the economy, stupid!) and that this is a somewhat fake controversy over a picture that

was going to be retweeted by every Sawx zombie on the planet in the first place

That’s, not “Saw 10″, that’s “Sawx” as in zombie Boston Red Sox. Recall also other zombie Samsung commercials.

Also by the way, it’s national distracted driving awareness month: don’t be a zombie, put down that cell phone while driving and maybe put it down even when your not driving. Could we should ban phones in public the way we ban cigarettes. Is the general lack of human connectedness maybe even worse for public health than smoke? So ya know maybe, baseball players and presidents, models for youth, maybe they don’t need to take selfies when surrounded by photographers?

Selfies are of course very popular, but they maybe are also a bit of conspiracy, first to buy phones and cell plans, but then also to get pictures of your face. If they don’t have clear face pictures, how are they going to get a good facial recognition pattern ID? or appropriate your likeness? Recall “Act like Zombie to avoid camera facial recognition software” but not if acting like a zombie means taking lots of selfies.

Also, I’d imagine the Secret Service must really hate these already; ‘Yeah, Mr. President, let me just reach into my pocket, pull out this small black piece of advanced technology that was given to me by a foreign corporation, and excitedly hold it up to our heads and shoot your face, OK?, great, say cheese; zombie CHEESE!

Finally, “Selfieghazi”?! Really? So we’ve moved on from “-gate” suffix (from Watergate into every future political scandal – including GhaziGate) but now, new scandals can be “-ghazi” suffix? Is that because they want to minimize the terrorist attack scandal that could impact Hillary’s chances or because they don’t want us to forget that scandal? Or both? Or neither? Does the sound of “ghazi” imply Middle East and Al Qaeda? Is it Terrorist chic?

Also if there is to be a real Selfieghazi, that might have been last December when President Obama posed for a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s funeral with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt; wife, Michelle appeared ‘not impressed’. See Guardian: “Barack Obama and David Cameron pose for selfie with Danish PM”

In which Judith Soal wrote:

No matter how famous you are, it appears, few can resist the appeal of the selfie.

Which may also be related to an appeal in appropriating symbols;
Steal this zombie art

Eminent domain to seize zombie homes – Councilman’s joke could be real?

Richmond City Councilman Tom Butt posted a great press release on March 31st, regarding supposed mayoral action to occur on April 1: “Breaking News – Mayor Announces Eminent Domain Mortgage Seizures to Begin Tomorrow Morning in Richmond

The last sentence of the article wishes a happy April Fools but the rest of the article is dead serious. It refers to the zombie foreclosure problem and presents a wonderful idea that the mayor could use eminent domain powers to claim the mortgages of any bank that has refused to negotiate a principal reduction for homes that are financially underwater (where the debt exceeds the current value of the property).

On the one hand, eminent domain always sounds a bit like Castro Communism. But on the other hand, it makes perfect sense. These banks acted in bad faith and the world economy crashed, they got bailed out by tax dollars, and then they have the nerve to refuse to negotiate with the homeowners who might be able to pay if it were at current market rates. The banks seems to prefer that the home itself collapse rather than short-sell to the current owner.

My guess is that it’s because the mortgage notes are collateralized and the servicers contractually can’t make that kind of modification. So ok, if they can’t (or at least won’t), then let the mayors do it.

Zombie debts are a blight on the whole neighborhood. And I use that word “blight” knowing it is a term of art for eminent domain. These homes may not have all fallen into disrepair (yet), at least not in the physical sense, but in the meta-world of economics, there are disgusting and impossible debt obligations that blight these properties. Councilman Butt may have couched this as a joke but it’s a real possibility that real mayors should consider as a way to put real pressure on the banks to negotiate with the homeowners for fair terms at today’s value. Lots of people were hurt by the 2008 crisis, but there is no reason to let banks hold properties hostage when government has the power to clean the blight.

From the Councilman Butt satire:

The city didn’t want to have to use eminent domain, says [the Mayor], who last year marched with community organizations to the city’s head branch of Wells Fargo to ask if the bank would voluntarily renegotiate underwater loans at fair market value, known as principal reduction. But bank officials refused to meet with them; Wells Fargo and other financial institutions continue to play what [he] calls an obstructionist role, standing in the way of vital reforms. “We asked them, ‘What is your solution to fix the problem?’ and they had none,”

I learned about this article from Contra Costa Times: “East Bay pet businesses get waiver to ‘no washing’ rule“. And note here again we see zombies sharing story space with dogs, because of course even in a drought you have to wash the dog’s poop.

Meanwhile for more realistic information on Richmond’s mayor and eminent domain for zombie foreclosures, see NyTimes from January: “Eminent Domain: A Long Shot Against Blight” by Shaila Dewan:

Using eminent domain to heal the wounds of the mortgage crisis has been called crazy, unconstitutional and even “one of the worst ideas ever.” But it is not so far removed from mainstream thinking.

Spanish zombie companies

Nytimes: “Protecting Spain’s Small Victories” By Hugo Dixon of Reuters:

The government has also passed a reform that makes it easier to restructure corporate debts by, for example, converting them into equity. As a result, some of the zombie companies that are haunting the Spanish economy could be revived.

zombie hugo dixon reuters


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