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Bill O’Reilly: Zombie Nation

October 17, 2013 “Bill looks at the country’s obsession with zombies“. Recall back in April, O’Reilly used “zombie” in his column and wrote:

I have no idea what this zombie phenomenon is all about

That seems to have changed. He now seems well versed on the subject.

His new column, published in Washington Times 2 days ago as “Zombie nation: ‘The Walking Dead’ rules the ratings for AMC“, is today posted on “Zombie Nation

He mentions Congress, Haiti, Bela Lugosi, George Romero, Pittsburgh (and Pirates/Baseball), slow-fast debate, CableTV, Brad Pitt, bad hair, assault weapons, vampires, werewolves, and Frankenstein!

and writes:

you don’t have to be a lawyer to be a zombie.

But O’Reilly does misunderstand a few key points. First he seems to think that youth flocked to see World War Z, whereas I might note that this overpriced movie only succeeded because of the foreign markets. Second, he ignores the “Warm Bodies” zomcom version of zombies when he argues that zombies can’t have a soft side. And then he really goes too far —

Somehow, we identify with humans like Brad Pitt slaying as many zombies as possible. By the way, that’s legal. Zombies have no protections under the law.

He seems to mean, if they are “actually rampaging through your house” but he doesn’t say that at first. Self-defense is different then it being legal to kill them. I’m sure O’Reilly didn’t mean to suggest that it’s legal before the zombie tries to hurt you. Recall also “Zombie Mock Trial”.

He concludes:

I am not on the zombie bandwagon. Too much angst. I believe when you die, you go either to heaven or hell. Not to cable TV. But that’s just me. Millions of my fellow citizens obviously see it differently. To them I say: Boo!

Well, boo to you Mr. O’Reilly. Because as student of cognitive science and French materialism, I believe that when you die you die. You don’t go anywhere next, you die. And what is left of you belongs to the living, to be consumed as legacy and history. Which means most people fade away but some like yourself may remain fodder for Cable TV indefinitely. The you that you present to your audience is an alienated product of yourself. With cable tv and internet archives, that version of you, Mr. O’Reilly, may live forever. But that’s not you. You are someone else. Someone I never met and have never had contact with except through your alienated productions, your Frankensteinian monsters.

There is no Heaven nor Hell except in the minds of the living. Mr. O’Reilly, these archaic false dichotomies are irrelevant to a Nietzchean surmounting of good vs. evil. We are beyond, post-modern, post-structural == zombies who live in Bruno Latour hybrid worlds, where God is not dead, He is crossed-out; an erasure that leaves a trace and where retracing creates competitions for authentic originals. The Bill O’Reilly that the world knows never existed at all. He is an author function embedded in the tangible world of symbol manipulation.

O’Reilly claims:

There is no reasoning with zombies. …They are what they are!

O’Reilly has not gone far enough. It’s not that there is “no reasoning with zombies”, rather there is no reasoning at all. Reasoning is a false understanding of how most human people make decisions. The human mind produces reasons after it has already made it’s decision. This is not the reasoning promised by Enlightenment arguments. Reasoning becomes ex post facto justification. Words are still persuasive but reasoning is not the most powerful predictor of decision making for most humans, individual biases overwhelm logical thinking.

Consider, as O’Reilly did, lawyers, we make tremendous efforts to pay lip service to Reason. The judge is supposed to use Reason to reason out an answer to controversies. And yet, legal reasoning is always within the confines of the world system. Reasoning is based on the physical world – the law is not detached from the material world no matter how much it may pretend. It’s based on power relations and systems of authority and hegemonic controls. Lawyers know that nearly everything can be argued as “reasonable” for the right price, and yet they also know that the Judge only listens to arguments of a certain form. Pretending that Reason can answer every question makes Judges their own special kind of zombie; unaware that they themselves are inventing Reason.

O’Reilly can sympathize with Lon Chaney’s wolfman before the moon comes out. But when the moon comes out, his sympathy is gone, it’s kill or be killed. The real world is not so simple. Nature’s cycles do control human behaviors but not as simply as on/off switches. We must find ways to comfortably contain the wolves, not shoot them in the head once a month. Everyone has a wolf moment. Being unreasonable should not mean you might be a terrorist. We are all unreasonable sometimes but we must hope for a society that handles the unreasonable as reasonable as possible, not kill them all.

Becoming more fully human is not only of Reason but also of Desire. We are all zombies to our desires, reasoning is an intellectual perk. We must create a nation that embrace the national monster mash, rather than castrating those who are different.

zombie bill o'reilly oreilly


From → Academics

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