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Their Eyes Were Watching Zombies #cut4bieber

January 8, 2013

The first part of the title of this post is in reference to HuffPo: “Zora Neale Hurston Interview: Famous Author Discusses Zombies (VIDEO)“:

video of a clip from a 1943 interview on the Mary Margaret McBride show where Hurston discusses zombies.

and says:

“A zombie is supposed to be the living dead: people who die and are resurrected, but without their souls. They can take orders, and they’re supposed to never be tired, and to do what the master says.”

The second part of this post title, the hashtag, is in reference to Justin Bieber and an internet hoax about girls cutting themselves to convince Bieber to not smoke pot. According to AntiMusic.com Miley Cyrus spoke out against the self-cutting protest by retweeting “Cutting is NOT something to joke about.” But according to Katherine Bindley at HuffPo “‘Cutting For Bieber’ Twitter Hoax Allegedly Started By 4Chan“.

This crossover of #anonymous and bloody arm pictures seems related to zombies. Also, the psychological diagnosis of girls who might cut themselves is also likely related to psychological conditions connected to zombie (depression, bipolar, anxiety, PTSD, etc). And, as with zombies, sometimes sick jokes can hold a lot of truth – self-cutting is obviously not something to joke about but it is something the world needs more awareness of, so maybe a joke can start to do that …

Bieber’s pot-controversy seems contrived to remind us he is getting older, like when Miley had the same issue, and now Bieber also has a tattoo – a potentially controversial Native American head on his back (a reminder of America’s original sin?) – See USAToday: “Justin Bieber shows off his new back tattoo” – and also in USAToday: “That tattoo may look hot now — but in 10 years?” by Karen Weintraub -and similarly in NYTimes: “Why You Won’t Be the Person You Expect to Be” by John Tierney explains the science of why we fail to predict our future desires because we “underestimate how much [we] will change in the future.” – and also in NYTimes Fashion, Teddy Wayne asks “What Will Induce Nostalgia in 2033?

This concern about future perception is all related to zombies because it is about how the future will understand the past. Recall zombies may provide a sense of nostalgic comfort and represent an unwillingness to let go. Recall that #Anonymous does not forget.

So imagine you are a recording industry exec and your job is to make Bieber still popular in the year 2033 or even the year 3012 (note “Party like it’s 3012” is a lyric in Bieber’s song with Nicki Minaj) – what press releases can you suggest to make sure his songs are remembered with nostalgia?

Finally, let’s return to Zora Neale Hurston and Their Eyes. It’s worth mentioning the connection to Florida, to women’s rights and to outsider voices. According to Wikipedia, the “novel was initially poorly received for its rejection of racial uplift literary prescriptions. Today, it has come to be regarded as a seminal work in both African American literature and women’s literature.” So again, think as an industry exec and wonder how can we possibly predict what will be successful in the future?

[Full disclosure: I was assigned to read Their Eyes in High School but I don’t think I really did because I didn’t really read much of anything until law school – I feel kind of guilty about that.]

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