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17 year zombie shutdown

October 4, 2013

Felix Salmon at Reuters: “The zombie apocalypse has arrived“:

Have you been involuntarily furloughed today? Are you looking for a good way to spend some of your newly freed-up time? And do you want to understand what’s really going on in Washington? In that case, I can highly recommend that you read John Powers’s brilliant article, The Political Economy of Zombies, over at The Airship

It’s true – Powers’s article is brilliant and Salmon’s summary ain’t half bad either. Occupy, 99%, Tea Party, Ted Cruz, Žižek! Salmon writes:

the Tea Party is proving that it, truly, is the party of the 99% — of the masses who thrill to zombie movies, who fantasize about living in a post-zombie utopia, who understand that you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. We live in a country where the best way to ensure blockbuster status for your summer movie is to blow up as much stuff as possible — a building, a city, the entire world.

zombie felix salmon

John Powers is also author of the blog Star Wars Modern. When his article posted in The Airship he blogged to explain his interest in zombies. And he also recently blogged about the connection of automation to feminism (recall “zombie” as synonym of “automaton” and robots taking our jobs).

The point is, the zombie apocalypse metaphor is slowly joining the government shut down rhetoric. Recall “zombie” was prevalent in last fiscal cliff, sequester debates with the “zombie congress” and taxmageddon – but this time it’s about taking “hostages” (a willful behavior not mindless).

So who are the zombies in this situation? See MantecaBulletin: “What shutdown? We have zombie government” by Dennis Wyatt:

We do not have a federal government shutdown. It isn’t even a partial shutdown. What we have is a zombie government.

Wyatt argues that Uncle Sam is “catatonic”:

…like a zombie he’s still alive and he’s quite capable of consuming every last penny you will make over the next 100-plus years, thank you very much.

Just like zombies the bureaucrats keep on marching as government’s insatiable appetite for more rules, regulations, and red tape keeps growing.

The last zombie apocalypse along the banks of the Potomac River lasted 21 days, from Dec. 16, 1995 to Jan. 6, 1996. Children didn’t starve to death. Wall Street didn’t crash. Raw sewage wasn’t dumped into rivers on a wholesale basis. The “shutdown” didn’t cause our country irrevocable damage…

So the other point is that right now, everyone loves the 90’s. Consider the 17-year Cicada cycle. These zombie insects are maybe on to something. If Wyatt is right that this is just normal politics, then maybe we might call this a 17-year bug in the system.

Also back in the 90s Joss Whedon was redefining television and feminism with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Now with Agents of SHIELD, he has again cast strong women. The actress Ming-Na Wen Trudy from “Single Guy” (a less memorable part of Must See TV with Seinfeld). And around the same time, she was on “ER” as Dr. Jing-Mei ‘Deb’ Chen.

zombie newt gingrich

Welcome back to the 90’s. With zombie Newt Gingrich now on CNN. Recall yesterday’s mention of “ghola”: the clone of a dead person in “Dune” – a psychic trauma is needed to recall hidden genetic memories. Is that what happens in Congress? Every so often we need these same old tired battles to shake it up and reify old ideological trends. In this way the Ghola Congress rediscovers its democratic humanity?

Wyatt says this is just ordinary Washington “marble shooting”:

The virus that caused the latest outbreak of zombie government wasn’t politics, contrary to popular misconception. It’s plain old marble shooting…political zombies are no different than their flesh-eating cousins. When you have no heart or soul regardless if your lapel pin is a donkey or an elephant, you don’t compromise. That’s because you see the world only from the eyes of a zealot in semi-human form.

…our zombie government proves there’s still a lot of life among the living dead.

And as Powers writes regarding automation and feminism:

Trends that started very gradually in the later Middle Ages and in the past fifty years have flowered into the promise of Artificial Intelligence and Feminism.
… we both, have AI and Women’s Liberation, and that both remain a promise yet to be fulfilled.

The cycles continue, the struggles for liberty are Hegelian circles (see also Ethan Hawke’s Heinlein Ouroburos).


(note to self, reconsider Hawke’s 1990′s oeuvre: “Reality Bites”, “Before Sunrise”, “Search and Destroy” and “Gattaca”)


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