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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Liberal economics, wanton consumerism, or an overregulated and brain-dead citizenry — zombies can epitomize whatever alleged mindlessness the critic most strongly objects to

B.K. Marcus

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16 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • roystgnr

    You’ve got to be careful with your political zombie movies. Zombies might be a fun way for liberals to laugh at the mindless mass of conformist consumer conservatives, but zombie movies themselves might be inherently conservative.

  • AndrewZ

    I’m bored with the zombie apocalypse thing. It’s been done to death.

  • Nicholas (Andy.royd) Gray

    I think you mean, it’s been done to undeath.

  • John Galt III

    Zombies:

    Watch the movie “Ghostbreakers” (1940) with Bob Hope and especially these lines:

    knock on the cabin door as the ship approaches Cuba

    Paulette Goddard: “Yes, oh come in Larry. This is Mr. Montgomery. I met him a few weeks ago in New York”.

    Richard Carlson (Montgomery): How are you?”

    Bob Hope: “You live here?”

    Richard Carlson : “Yes”

    Bob Hope: “Well, maybe you know what a zombie is?”

    Paulette Goddard: “What?”

    Bob Hope: “Prada told me about a caretaker on Black Island…a negro woman lives in a little shack with a zombie son”.

    Richard Carlson: “Yes, that’s more voodooism….and not every pleasant. When a person dies and is buried….seems they’re certain voodoo priests who have the power to bring him back to life”

    Paulette Goddard: “How horrible”

    Richard Carlson: “It’s worse than horrible because a zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes, walking around blindly with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring.”

    Bob Hope: “You mean like Democrats?”

  • Veryretired

    Two points—

    As someone pointed out a few weeks ago in an article critiquing the “new” version of the zombie business that just started, centered in Los Angeles, the people that survive are, indeed, the very conservative types who do not fear weapons, have no inner conflicts about their right to defend themselves and their families, and make common sense decisions based on a realization that death is a moment away, and no unicorns are going to arrive and save the day.

    Or, more simply, marines live, metrosexuals get eaten.

    Secondly, I am also thoroughly tired of the whole zombie/vampire/werewolf/mysterious virus plots, not only because they have rarely had anything but cliche’ ridden slasher crap to present, but also for a very specific objection to their portrayal of the deadly threat to humanity as always consisting of some supernatural, extraterrestrial, or other non-human agent.

    But we know what the true threats to humanity, to civilization, actually are, and even what they look like.

    True evil looks like anybody we might see or meet at the store, or at work, or anywhere—except for that fanatical light in their eyes that gives some clue as to just how dangerous they might be, if we are stupid enough to cede to them the power to inflict their bizarre visions on the rest of us.

    In the last century, we saw the funny mustache, the withered arm, the comical showmanship, the little clerk-looking men who planned and carried out mass murder on a scale that would have turned Attila the Hun green with envy.

    And we know what deadly evil danger sounds like. The frenzied ranting, the endless calls for death to this group, or the destruction of that bunch over there, because they don’t believe correctly, are the wrong race or religion, or simply refuse to do as they’re told.

    We know who the maniacs are right now, today, this very minute. They chant to their deity, who they claim has authorized them to kill everyone they can find who doesn’t share their fanatical devotions, while they behead, hang, burn, whip, rape, and commit acts of such grotesque evil that much of the rest of the world tries to pretend it isn’t really happening, and that it doesn’t mean exactly what it means.

    The day will come when the pretense will end, and it won’t be zombies getting one right between the eyes.

  • Paul Marks

    The quote in the post is true – the “zombie” thing can be used by any political point of view.

    However, both John Galt (I miss Bob Hope) and Veryretired make very good points.

    Oddly what I send to this group never appears – it has not appeared for years.

    I had not actually noticed that what I send does not appear – till recent events shocked me into noticing.

    Perhaps the problem is one of style – I despise style.

    For me only content matters. But most people are interested in presentation – even at the expense of content.

    Please do not hit me, but I suspect that even the Constitution of the United States suffers from this obsession with “style” with “does it read well”.

  • Russ in TX

    Veryretired:

    I think it’s important not to become one of those joyless scolds who cannot enjoy silly fiction because of the existence of actual problems and actual evils. As minarchists of any stripe, we are a small minority, and if we are best to express our views, it is far more likely that we’re taken seriously if we’re visibly happy and socially successful (no matter what economic rung we inhabit).

  • Laird

    People here seem to be mostly focusing on the malleability of the zombie metaphor, applicable to almost any setting. I agree with that point, but I don’t think it’s the main thrust of the linked article, which I found to be quite interesting. The author quotes Prof. Paul Cantor to support the assertion that the fascination with zombies is evidence of an inherent libertarian streak among the populace:

    “The thrust of these end-of-the-world scenarios is precisely for government to grow smaller or to disappear entirely.… One might even describe these shows as “federalist” in spirit. The aim seems to be to reduce the size of government radically and thereby to bring it closer to the people. Cut back to regional or local units, government becomes manageable again and ordinary people get to participate in it actively, recovering a say in the decisions that affect their lives.”

    That seems plausible, and it gives one hope.

    Roystgnr, that’s an interesting article, and seems to have merit. Thanks for the link.

  • Runcie Balspune

    The US already has a plan for a zombie outbreak, but it is obvious this is just a pseudonym for some other “invasion” of a group that you don’t mention as it might upset them. As most libertarians aren’t so enamoured of such groups and fully understand their motives, perhaps it is no wonder the zombie metaphor runs deep.

  • veryretired

    I’m afraid you have misread me.I love movies that are well made, with challenging stories, funny or sad, happy or tragic.

    What I don’t care for is mindless tripe, into which category about 90% of today’s movies and TV fall into, along with books, magazines, and stuff on the web.

    I am the happiest man you would ever meet, if we happened to get together. I enjoy life, and my family, immensely.

    And, btw, I am not a minarchist, or a libertarian. Or so I’ve been told by those self-appointed monitors who determine that sort of thing.

    And now I have to psych up for game 2. So long for now…

  • Paul Marks

    A lot of “zombie” stuff is indeed garbage.

    However, the LA version of the latest series sounds (from the above) to be interesting.

  • Thailover

    Roystgnr said,
    “but zombie movies themselves might be inherently conservative.”

    “extreme black and white thinking….shoot people who don’t look like you.”

    Written by a stuid, fucktarded leftist, no doubt. (And I’m not a conservative).

  • Thailover

    Russ in Texas said,

    “I think it’s important not to become one of those joyless scolds who cannot enjoy silly fiction because of the existence of actual problems and actual evils.”

    Actually, I enjoy silly fiction, even silly zombies like in Evil Dead II. And I’m looking forward to the premiere of of the TV series Ash vs Evil Dead (premieres on Halloween). It doesn’t get sillier than that. However, to veryretired’s point. Most “horror” movies are not only lacking horror, they lack the ability to draw general interest.

    Some start out interesting and then it becomes obvious that the writer never had a clue how to end this thing, (At the devil’s door. John dies in the end.), which ends up ruining the thing.

    Some are remotely interesting, with a single twist that when figured out, the rest is trite. (The Others, with Nichole Kidman. The Woman in Black).

    Some are actually complicated enough to be good movies, (Rigor Mortis. The House at the End of Time).

    And the ones that go back to the bare-bones basics of what makes a spooky story and are intelligently written are the best. (23:59. The Babadook).

    I thought Interview with a Vampire, with it’s foppish metrosexually ambiguous vampires would kill the vampire genre. I was wrong. Twilight did what Van Helsing failed to do, murder Dracula once and for all.

    Except for the zombies that scream “I’ll swallow your soul, I’ll swallow your soul” to a chainsaw-handed S’mart clerk with a bitchin boomstick, I’m also done with the zombie genre.

  • Thailover

    Broken link, sorry. That’s what I get for using a spell check without paying attention.
    Try again.

  • James Hargrave

    ‘It’s worse than horrible because a zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes, walking around blindly with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring.’

    Yes, more of the ‘Human Resources’ mob – or perhaps the ground down employees of some bureaucratic midden (say academics in a modern university?)