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some recent zombie lies

October 16, 2014

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?”

Last week Krugman rephrased his ideological definitions in Truth Out: “Conservatives Revive the Canadian Fantasy“:

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.

That doesn’t strike me as all that different but ok, it’s a shift in the timescale of the awareness of the ongoing problem. Recall the connection of zombies to insects, and particularly cockroaches.

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?


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