Pronouncing The Walking Dead Dead

The Walking Dead.

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I stopped watching after this season’s second episode. I haven’t seen it since. The narrative tone, the authorial position, have all changed drastically. These story lines weren’t allegories masquerading as horror, with ultimate sympathies for the human race. Instead, the viewer became subjugated to a taunting, teasing author whose narrative, like Lucille, became a weapon. Shooting Negan’s violence with the camera standing in for the viewer spoke volumes.

It seems that characters like Rick, and Glenn, or Carol and Maggie, no longer carry the voice of a struggling humanity, but that they are now the devices upon which the new authorial voice, Negan, speaks and acts against the audience. Sure, art and fiction are supposed to be catharsis, but for us.

maxresdefaultIn season six we were teased about Glenn’s fate, to many critics’ and viewer’s chagrin, only to have him survive, almost inexplicably. Glenn was almost transformed into a Mary Sue. Then, of course, only to have him brutally murdered in the next season’s premiere exactly how he dies in the book.

Such plotting didn’t serve the story, it didn’t fit any thematic purpose. In fact, there was none. Of course, senseless randomness and tragic chaos occurs in everyday life. However, TWD set itself apart by using tragedy and violence to make sense of the chaos thematically. Meaningless death had meaning for the viewer: bravery, humility, tragedy, honor, justice. This season’s premiere of TWD, however, had degenerated into the sadistic slasher genre, more closely resembling Friday the 13th sequels and B-films like The Tourist Trap: inexplicable violence committed by an uncomplicated villain against characters who were merely stand-ins for the viewer, quite literally in some takes.

The Governor was complicated; Garth was complicated. They were horrendous villains, but villains with story and theme. The first was the tragedy of one man’s struggle to maintain an illusion of a civilized life whose time had come to an end, and the sacrifices he was willing to extract from others to keep that illusion alive. Garth, the second, was the cautionary tale of what can happen to the human soul when it has been so brutalized that all humanity is destroyed.

Negan of the season premiere is simply sadism and greed. There are people like that, and no doubt our increasingly contentious and greedy culture gives rise to more of them than in better times. TWD,  however, didn’t explore this. The writers and producers leveraged Negan’s villainy at its most superficial level for the sake of violence, gore and the cheap facsimile of suspense that wasn’t too suspenseful, once we knew who’d been killed.

But hey, Fear the Walking Dead may have just become a real story.

New TWD Review: I got questions.

The main theme of which is:

What have they done with Carol & how do we get her back?

Please see my new review of last week’s TWD episode at my sister site:
http://twd-i-got-questions-lots-of-questions

Mid-season finale –

I love Vox.com. If I planned on growing up one day, I’d want to write for them.

Below is a link to a review of last night’s episode.

To be honest, I’ve always been one to draw the wool over my own eyes – so in love I am with TWD that I’ve only explored looking at the themes. I come up short when it gets down to taking on a critique of the story-telling.

I need to work on that.

The author below has some problems with the story-telling in Season Six. My only disagreement is that a critic watches the show on an entirely different level: he/she is engaging in his/her profession, and brings his (the author is Todd VanDerWerff, so from here on out, it’s a “he”) A-game intellectually.

The rest of us are watching the show to “check out.” We’re looking for a “Calgon moment,” to take us away. As long as we don’t quite know what’s going to happen, and jump out of our seats a few times, hey, we’re happy.

Much as I’d love some of the great insights into story-telling structure I’ve read about – life has been a bit stressful lately. If something can get my mind off that for a while, then, hey, the story is doing the job I “paid” for it to do – whether buying a book or paying streaming/cable fees and tolerating advertising.

My whole exegesis, which I admit takes the whole TWD a bit too seriously at times, is part of my catharsis. The issues I discuss I think are important, but they are important social issues that I see around me, and have impacted my world. Freud would have much more to say on the subject, but he’s not here.

On another level, TWD is a means to an end to raise my voice o the matter. I’d be saying it anyway, but I have the show to hold up and say “Here! See? TWD says so, too!”

TWD also enjoys a good bit of relative elevation. Sci-fi and horror fans don’t get much in the way of original TV viewing, and so much of general TV is bad, so the mere gap between the average quality and TWD allows many of its shortcomings to go unnoticed.

That, and no story is perfect. Well, people say there was that whole Citizen Kane thing. But that’s not sci-fi horror, so …

One last comment on why the average viewer’s take might be more forgiving than a critic: sometimes the suspense isn’t on what happens, but the thrill ride in getting there. VanDerWerff mentions that no one was really worried about Maggie’s safety. Okay, fine. Maybe not. But it was still fun to watch her be worried about her safety.

Even if we know a character is going to be fine, we know they don’t. Their horror and doubt is worth it sometimes.

That said, even I had to notice some shortcomings last night. That says alot.

http://www.vox.com/culture/2015/11/30/9817762/the-walking-dead-episode-8-recap-finale

If Deanna was on death’s door and couldn’t move, how did she manage that final shoot-out? There is the trope of gathering one’s last bit of strength in a rally of defense, but this seemed — like Glenn’s survival — a bit implausible.

They waited too long to bring in any strategy for survival for the group walking through the zombies.

There have been some comments (as in the link) about the Zombie disguise: why don’t they do it all the time? The same we don’t abstain from bathing, the same reason we don’t just omit a few steps and pull up our pants right after doing our business in the woods: it makes for a disgusting, possibly puke-inducting day, for us and the people who share space with us.

Modern man just does not take on that drastic a change in hygiene if it doesn’t have to.

Kirkman had to answer that question on TTD last night. Well, think about it people.

Even if the Kirkman and Gimple took that tact, it would be seen and criticized as gratuitous gore, with critics saying “Oh, that’s not realistic, people wouldn’t do that if they didn’t have to.”

Still, I found parts dissatisfying: there were several clear moments of advantage when the Wolf was threatening to leave with Denise. The suspense and threat there seemed weak. Bank-robber and kidnapping scenarios abandoned that flimsy “helplessness” plot device years ago.

The conflict between Carol and Morgan seemed like simple device, too – a means to the Take-Denise-Hostage end. Philosophically it had been brewing, but there hadn’t been a history of animosity – only difference of opinion. Now they’re going at each other? In such a volatile situation? Really?

I live for those boring, expositional moments of dialogue when characters discuss – when the story goes to tell not show. A little goes a long way, I assure you, but it’s nice. That was the place for that. It didn’t happen. Moreover, the show didn’t take the position that we know the writers clearly have; it ducked committing to its own theme for lack of a way to illustrate it in plot. It sacrificed commitment to the thematic arc for a moment of cheap suspense.

C’mon Scott. I know you know better. Don’t make me take down my Gimple shrine in the basement.

When Carol said “I have to stop it,” I did feel a nice allusion back to the prison where she burned the virus carriers. It established this as her perspective on the world. Still, the fight seemed out of character even for her.

I can see where the invasion of the zombies seems like “same song, different verse.” In the forum, there was one question as to why no one noticed the steeple cracking. Well, people are just that stupid, I’m afraid. For one, I get suspicious when a storyline attributes more sense to humanity than it really possesses. I can fill this blog with tragic tales of disaster and loss of life because of a chain of events that simply adds up to a few stupid people in a row.

Rick and our gang are supposed to be better than that, and such an oversight flies in the face of the “we know more because we were out there” business.

 

 

Deanna, TWD and the Social Order

Update: Post-11.22.15 Episode:
Deanna may have a screw loose. It’s one thing if those plans are for survival within reinforced walls and protection. But she wants to expand? Optimistic, yes. Prudent? Not exactly at this juncture. Other things may need to be prioritized first.


 

The other day I was thinking and I had an insight. Now that I’ve recovered from that harrowing experience, I will share that insight with the rest of you.

Was into the simple solution for mankind’s many existential woes?

No.

It was about The Walking Dead.

What else did you think I would have an insight about? How long have you been reading this blog?

So, I’ve written elsewhere (or so I recall) that historically, characters representing social institutions really don’t end up being very … reliable. Or likable, or dependable, or moral.

In fact, they end up being pretty skanky, at best.

Let’s review:
Religion:
Father Gabriel  – holed himself up in the church while he let his congregation die gruesome deaths, only for them to un-die again.

Law & Order:
Lt. Dawn Lerner – Holds Beth captive, pimps her (and another patient) out. While her motivations are somewhat pitiable, she’s still not anyone that will inspire you to look on the law enforcement institution with confidence.

Medicine:
Dr. Steven Edwards – ensures job security through murder.

Science:
Dr. Edwin Jenner, CDC – became very nihilistic and blew himself up, happy to oblige anyone who wanted to ride the incineration express on his coattails.

Why have I not brought up The Governor yet? You may ask.
Well, gimme a minute.

I thought about Deanna. Deanna may not live up to my hopes and dreams, but there’s some promise here. She is the first character to represent any formal social order – she presides as the political head of her community – that seems trustworthy.

Some may argue she has committed a grievous error in underestimating the truth and reality of Rick & Co’s experiences initially. My recent premise has been that that narrative is one of morals of Season 6: listen to the people who have lived outside your walls if you want to build a stronger society. They (we) know what monsters lurk out there and we know how to fight them.

Where I find promise in Deanna is that she does just that. She listens, she heeds. She has her moment of shock and awe, and then she gets over it.  In terms of being a community administrator, I’m hoping she turns out to be every much the badass Carol is in terms of military covert ops (disguising herself as a Wolverine).

In one of the last scenes of one episode, Deanna is seen marking up crop placements on the map. Maybe I’m being naive to think she’ll actually get to execute her plan, maybe she is too. The point is, though, that she’s reacting to the reality around her, and she always has. She steps away where she recognizes that Maggie and her group are, at that point, the more able fighters during the Wolverine crisis. It’s unfortunate, and she’s weak for being that way, but she recognizes that reality. She recognizes the true nature of her son, Spencer and his faux leadership pose.

Deanna does what we all should do when working to build our society: listen to the people who’ve survived the dangers from which we need to protect ourselves. Listen to the outsiders. Respond, don’t just react.

So, I have hope, probably misguided, for our little Alexandria.


As an aside, this is where I want to stick my little head into the moral debate on Morgan’s responsibility for letting the Wolverines live, and did that lead to the attack. Well, hindsight is twenty-twenty. In that moment, Morgan was contemplating killing that seemed unnecessary in that context. He didn’t know about Alexandria, he didn’t know they were outlaws. His context told him they were dumb, mean kids and he’d given them their whuppin’ and let them go, hopefully wiser men.

And yes, we do say “whuppin'” down there.

 

The Walking Dead: The Disciples Convene

So, of course “Strangers” was about religion. Given the trailers features a preacher and a church, I could hardly run for psychic of the year.

But.

Where “No Sanctuary” demonstrated the power of one group’s faith in comparison with another group’s absolute lack of any grace, forgiveness or decency, this week we see the uselessness of an empty religion: a religion that values only the words but not the humanity. It is a religion as empty as Father Gabriel’s church.

When thinking about what I was going to write, I was reminded of something I read several years ago in John Donne’s sermons. I paraphrase loosely.

“Belief that cannot withstand the light of reason is not faith, but mere superstition.”

Father Gabriel is so terrified by the world that Rick has to order him to accompany his group on the supply run, from which Gabriel will benefit.

Gabriel’s spiritual journey begins, as he must confront the “turned” woman we later learn he knew quite well. As one of The Talking Dead panelists noted, Gabriel prepares himself in a crucifixion pose, ready to be taken by the walker woman. However, this isn’t Christ-like, and if my reading of the New Testament is remotely accurate, a few of the disciples — if not the Holy J.C. Himself — might draw some distinctions between Father Gabriel and the Son of Man.

The distinction being a presence among the troubled, the afflicted, the at-risk – that might be the first objection.  As Carl finds out, Gabriel closed up shop and left his congregation to a gruesome fate when the fit hit the shan.  I will now out myself theologically to say this: we’re not supposed to do that. Really. There’s whole parts of the N.T. telling us that ignoring suffering and pain is the path not to take. So, Father Gabriel can transcribe the Good Book all he wants, but it’s beside the point.

One sad part to watch is how Gabriel’s faux sanctity reverberates onto Carol’s state of mind. He proclaims himself non-violent as a position of conviction, but as far as we can see, she never learns it’s a position of cowardice. At the “feast,” she’s alienated, estranged and troubled. Earlier she’s been in Gabriel’s study viewing the world “Thou Shalt Not Kill” in his transcription of the Bible. I wondered how much screaming, terror and death he listened to while jotting that down. Passivity kills, too. But Carol doesn’t know the full truth of Gabriel and his church, so all she can see in herself is guilt for the lives she’s taken, not grace for the lives she’s saved.

There’s no place for her in that church, if she’s to believe Father Gabriel. The irony is, she is the Great Protector. Last week I wrote that I saw Carol as an Old Testament figure.  I think “Strangers” highlights that point. Gabriel has forgotten the Old Testament theological heritage of protecting and defending the innocent, the helpless and even civilized decency in a brutal world. After all, when Christ taught, he taught as a spiritual heir to that religious history. Carol’s bravery that needs to be celebrated, and the brokenness that needs to healed is sent adrift because there is no place for it in Gabriel’s church.

What Carol misses is that apparently, though there was no room for killing in Gabriel’s world, there was no place for anyone else to live, either.

Carol’s so demoralized she runs. In a great deus ex machina moment, Daryl finds Carol, and they both see the car that took Beth. Off they go. As if in being lost, they were given a mission. There’s a lot of Zen in that, a lot of mysticism.

There is one odd thing that I noticed last week, but the biblical symbolism didn’t strike me at the time: leaving Terminus, there were twelve. As in disciples.  (Yes, I’m not counting Judith). In tonight’s episode, as they all follow Rick into the church, they tell Abraham that they will follow Rick, they will do as he says.

I don’t want to write about Bob. I’m deeply disturbed by Bob. I’m troubled by the storytelling itself, as well as the theme. It would be an easy reach for me to say that in leaving the church, he lost his faith and that precipitated his downfall, but I just have too many questions. Why so many throw-away lines during the episode? They only served to give the character attention, but didn’t serve the story. Why did he suddenly get upset? Why did he leave? Why didn’t he take a weapon and keep a good watch? Really, Bob, how long have you been hanging with the badass crowd now? Why wouldn’t he wake up if someone was sawing his leg off? I don’t think Gareth takes an anesthesiologist with him. I mean, it seemed he was happy with the Baseball Bat approach.

Myself, I thought Bob was hiding a bite. He’d been acting strangely after the basement scene, so I was all ready to have Bob look Gareth in the eye after that speech and go “really? Well, gotcha!” Then open his jacket to reveal an ever so lovely, crimson-soaked, crescent-shaped bite. In Season One, Jim pulled that off after the attack on the camp.

Or, while passed out, die quietly unbeknownst to the Terminus survivors, then awaken to have a few servings of Gareth sashimi himself. That would have been nice.

I mean let’s face it, Gareth has no arc. The Governor had an arc – he fell off of it, but he had an arc.

Next prediction (and this is long-term): Eugene is full of poop. I just don’t buy it. I’ve lost all respect for Abraham for buying it. I’ve known scientists, I’ve gone drinking with them.  And anyway, if the answer is in DC, don’t they have a bunker or something where someone would already be putting it into motion?

 

The Walking Dead: “No Sanctuary” – Religion at its Gorey Best

So, here’s my prediction: this season will be all about Religion in all its forms: faith, superstition, institutionalization, belief, protest, survival.

Trailers and teasers for the next episode already reveal several religious trappings: a church, a pastor (or priest). That, however, is just the tip of the ideological iceberg my friends. Even without those sure-fire religious images strewn across the screen, episode 1 – “No Sanctuary” – laid the groundwork for the exploration of religion, spirituality and its opposite (whatever that is) in a desolate, brutal world.

The episode opens in dark cattle car, almost devoid of any light. The camera pans across the black darkness before anyone can realize there are the faint grey outlines of a man’s shirt. Then the outline-like figures appear, almost silhouettes save the faint light on their arms, their cheeks, their feet.  The first sounds are screams. Each figure, sits, barely moving, waiting … just waiting. One man finally chokes out the words “we never should have put up the signs.”

Then, from a scene of total blackness, Gareth’s face emerges, unapologetic for the act that brought evil into their midst. “We were trying to do something good. We were being human beings.”  We find out that referring to that group as human beings, even if by its leader, in the past tense, is entirely accurate.[i]

As the scene ends, Gareth’s face is half-enclosed in darkness, half-revealed in light. He is, as we know, a man whose soul has been split. It’s not an ambiguity, or a conflict, it’s a rupture that turns him into something worse that the villains he faces in that moment. We learn later he’s not crazed and he’s worse than enraged. He’s just split apart.

The next scene takes us to our group’s cattle car and the stark difference between the groups. We see a hand grinding something against the floor of the car, snippets of conversations as the group communicates, shares information. Then, Daryl and Maggie discuss Beth’s situation. “A black car with a white cross” is what took her.[ii]  This is not a group of victims waiting. Even later, Eugene, in his pessimism, makes the choice of action and resistance over passive victimization: he believes he can “compromise this door” should Rick fail to return.

The group, however, showing remarkable faith and belief, quash his pessimism before it can be contagious. Carl and Maggie come forward in their belief and urge preparation for Rick’s Coming. It is almost biblical when Maggie echoes Carl’s assurances that everyone will return:

“They are. And we need to get ready to fight our way out with them when they do.”

They last saw Rick basically hog-tied and prone on the ground guarded by bad people with guns. Her faith is biblical. And, as it turns out, very accurate.

The scene at the trough echoes back to previous episodes. In “The Talking Dead,” Chris Hardwick noted that the blond kid on the end was “Hippie Sam,” from the episode where Rick banished Carol. Rick and the young man exchange looks of recognition. There’s a message here about the interconnectedness of us all, how the world is always smaller than you believe. I think there is.

What struck me however, was the echo to the season four’s Governor. Bob pleads for his life saying they can return the world to some prior state. Sorry Bob, but I don’t believe it either, much as I hate to agree with Gareth. When Gareth almost glibly replies that “We can’t go back, Bob,” I immediately remembered the scene on the trailer, where the Governor clubs his former chief minion with a golf club. While I might not believe you can recapture Eden, I’m not in for Gareth’s and the Governor’s psychopathic response at that realization either.

Sometimes, no matter how bad it is, and it can get bad, the only way forward is through. I hate it too, folks, but there it is.

{About the killers}

And then, just as a baseball bat is about to hit Glenn’s head … gunshots, a rocking explosion.

What the?

It’s what we folks from creative writing classes know as deus ex machina. (Gosh-darn-it that’s hard to work into conversations at holidays, so I gotta use it when I can.) But remember that, because when I say “God out of the machine,” I’m not exactly being a glib show-off here. I actually want to tell you something.

We don’t have to wait long to know the What or Who … our next scene (act really) reveals Tyrese and Carol with little baby Judith trekking along the train tracks, Carol notably skeptical.[iii]   She’s going to make sure they’re safe, then go. Yeah. Okay.

I’m going to skip the part with Martin and Tyrese right now and save it for my book I hope to sell you all later to finance my failed education and my love of kitchen appliances.

I love Carol. There is the whole issue about a depiction of a woman in my age group who is actually living a life and a protagonist, not a foil figure as a mother or mother-in-law or aunt. Yes, you can be middle aged and a badass, thank you very much.

Carol’s core ethic is simple but elegant: first: survive, second: protect your loved ones and community, third: do whatever’s required to serve the first two. In keeping with my thesis here, though, Carol reminds me of Old Testament heroines such as Deborah and my personal favorite Judith. Her story, for me anyway, resonates with the story of Judith: a widow, dismissed by the passive male leader of her besieged community who takes matters into her own hands to protect her community. She acts dispassionately, deceptively and brutally. So, when she emerges from the wilderness to approach Terminus, for me she is a blood-drenched angel ready to act.

There’s a lot of emerging in this episode: Gareth’s face emerging from the blackness in “Then,” Carol emerging from the wilderness several times. Toward the end of the episode, at the reunion, Tyrese emerges from the hut a changed man, almost a disciple of Carol’s saying: “I had to. So I did. I could.” This is his response to her urging to kill at the beginning of the episode: “You’re gonna have to be able to.”

Once Carol’s explosion breaches the fences, she camouflages herself among the walkers. In a separate shot, we see the walkers emerge from the flames, like demons of retribution from the fires of hell to feast on the very people who feasted on others. She seems to move effortlessly as she progresses through the compound until she comes upon Mary.

The room is part sanctuary, part memorial. Painted in huge letters across the walls are the group’s new ideaology, formed as they emerged from their own suffering:

“Never Again” –that’s a fairly legitimate idea for someone terrorized, victimized and otherwise exploited.

However, it’s the foundations they build on that notion, their own personal ethic that is a bit troublesome. Hint: it’s not “Love Thy Neighbor.”

“We First Always”
“Never Trust”

And then there’s the one tenant of the Terminus belief system that Mary explains, the one that must have been too long to write on the wall: “You’re the butcher, or you’re the cattle.”

Throughout her time with Carol, Mary uses religious, metaphysical language to describe her group:
“The signs were real …”
“This place was a sanctuary …”
“We heard the message …”

But it’s not a message of faith, not a message from any source more profound that the brutal existence everyone finds themselves fighting. It is “what the world is telling you.” That same world with the zombie virus that’s infected all of humanity and toppled modern global civilization. I don’t think I want to be taking that world’s advice. As Mary finds out, it wasn’t a very helpful message.

In the end, in Terminus, Mary finds herself the victim of her own fallacies: being the butcher causes her to be the cattle.

Throughout the rest of the episode, we see the outcomes of the differences between the two groups: one, an autonomic, institutionalized group that Martin describes as “a bunch of assholes I stay alive with,” versus a community of “friends,” as Carol and Tyrese try to convey to the very nihilistic Martin.

As The Talking Dead post-show panel noted, Gareth’s community is very soulless and regimented, which we see when Gareth comes in for “shot counts.” Rick’s community acts out of the soul. Glenn urges Rick to release people held in a cattle car “We gotta let those people out. …. That’s still who we are. It’s gotta be.” And Rick listens – this is the evolution from the Ricktatorship of seasons past.

As they make their way across the compound, we see the “turned” butcher from the slaugher room, the same guy who didn’t heed the gunshots or the bomb blast because “it’s not our job.” He’s now a walker. It wasn’t much of a career change.

As Rick unearths[iv] the hidden guns in the woods, Maggie and others urge Rick to consider a form of forgiveness – just letting it go and moving on. No retribution, no violent recrimination. Just move on. Again, Rick listens. This is a core difference between the soul of our group versus Gareth’s.

Moments later, Carol once again emerges from the wilderness. This begins the series of rewards for the group. Carol and Daryl are reunited (that scene took my breath away); Sasha and Tyrese are later reunited as are Carl and Rick with Judith.

That Carol is the means by which families are reunited reinforces her role in this episode as a rescuer, a means of salvation. After all, we’re saved by our relationship with others, by the relationship we choose to have with the rest of humanity and the world.

Throughout “No Sanctuary,” we see the Termites’ brutal, nihilistic, relationship with the world born out of their own passivity and sense of helplessness, and our group chooses and forms its relationship of belief, hope, humanity, action and resistance.  For that, they are rewarded.

And with Morgan hot on their heels, I can’t wait!!


 

[i] I’m as gullible and innocent as they come, and I have to admit that putting up a bunch of idealistic signs saying “come on in” is inviting trouble. What was their security? How did they screen? What culpability did Gareth share?

[ii] Okay guys, here comes the religious foreshadowing. Normally, I’m about as astute with foreshadowing as I am with lunar module landings, but this one I got.

[iii] I can’t take credit for this observation. It came out in The Talking Dead. Doggone that Chris Hardwick. Of course, he gets preview episodes I bet.

[iv] I really want this to be a hint of a foreshadowing about a theme of resurrection, or birth of good things. I do.

Beeker the Zombie Killer

Okay, so I pride myself on original content, blah, blah, blah.

But this just made my freakin’, flippin’ day, especially since I’ve been holding back on posting another annual Zombie Bait list.

I tweeted this, now I’m posting this. If I could print it on a post-it and wear it as a sticker all day tomorrow I would. This simply made my whole day.

Meet … Beeker the Zombie Killer, courtesy of CNN. Photo credited to David Walter Banks. The cosplayer is Russell Blalock of August, GA. This may be a distant relative. If so, that explains … oh, so very much.

Laugh with me. The seriousness will resume when I finish researching my next post. And the laundry. And housework. And food prep. And a nap. …

Beeker Zombie Killerhttp://www.cnn.com/2014/05/16/politics/pentagon-zombie-apocalypse/index.html

A Zombie Holiday Season

It’s the Holiday Season, and over Thanksgiving (I was away with mysteriously elusive Wi-Fi; it was the night before we left that we caught it), and I began to ponder – partly in response to my last cynical post – reasons to be grateful during these Holidays. And, being obsessed with the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead as I am, I began to ponder the following:

The Holiday Thanksgiving Gratitude List for Zombies:

  1. Chet’s nuts roasting over an open fire.[1]
  2. The midnight Black Friday sales All You Can Eat Buffet at the L.A. Walmart. (Pepper Spray assault over an X-Box, really? Ladies and Gentlemen, our first Zombie Bait Hall of Famer.)
  3. Sneaking into Santa’s bag for a midnight snack at the Goldman Sachs Investment manager residence of your choice. (Santa knows Zombies serve a purpose too; for details see the 2011 Zombie Bait list).
  4. For neophyte Zombies, realizing frostbite is just no longer an issue.
  5. Saving all that money on unneeded SPF.

Really folks, that’s all I’ve gotten so far. I’m still working on it.
Comments and suggestions are indeed welcome.

Speaking of Zombie and The Walking Dead, one comment I have. I haven’t been reading the discussion boards, so I don’t know if anyone else has brought this up. If someone has seen it and would please post a link, I’d appreciate it.  Also, as a warning, I didn’t have access to AMC for the original airing of the mid-season finale, so if this did come up, I’ll know at 10 pm tonight when I believe it will be re-aired.

In the episodes following the discovery of the Zombie Barn, a moral argument arose between Herschel[2] and Dale about keeping the Zombies. I believe Hershel and Rick have a similar conversation. The argument is whether or not the Zombies are sick humans, and it’s more humane to keep them alive while waiting for a treatment, or are they lethal monsters who need to be destroyed to protect survivors.

What I haven’t seen in the argument is the question of if it’s humane to keep them alive even if you do see them as sick humans. Going by the first few episodes of the first season, I think we can say that Rick sees the moral complexity in this, when he shoots the half-woman in the park. She’s not a threat at all, so when he apologizes, saying “I’m sorry this had to happen to you,” then shoots her, it’s an act of compassion. So, then are Hershel and his step-daughter keeping the Zombies “alive” for a selfish and even cruel reason: because they can’t bear to let their loved ones go? After all, who would want to be kept a live like that? Who would want to be that kind of risk to their loved ones, or even strangers?

Daryl has turned out to be a remarkable character, and the kind of person I think of when I think of the good kind of rednecks, and the kind I hope my father was when he was young.  He may have a potty mouth, and he may even have a confederate flag plate on the front of his pick-up, but he’s heart always points in the direction of compassion and forgiveness, he always knows the right thing, he’s loyal to the end, reliable. He also has stainless steel you-know-what. I like that in a man. As Dale pointed out, before jumping to conclusions about Rick’s feelings on race, one needs to remember how many times he’s bailed T-dog out. Don’t tell my husband, but I think I have a crush on a fictional character. I really need to do something about that kind of thing; some people think it may not be too healthy. I can’t imagine why.


[1] Thank hubby for that one. Now you all know why I married him.

[2] I’ve been to the AMC cast site twice to get the correct spelling of this character’s name and the step-daughter’s. I can’t get it. I’m a little puzzled that the character of Morgan is still up there after disappearing so early in Season One. He was great in Jericho, although the second-season writers really cheated his character of some great development.

2011 Zombie Bait List

This Sunday will find me – after my due time spent in the spiritual reflection which I am sure to share on Monday …. Where was I? Oh yes, when all that is said and done, you can bet dollars to doughnuts (and may they be Krispy Kremes) that I can be found this Sunday night, popcorn in hand, husband at the ready with his “don’t look … look now” gestures as I sit positively glued to the opening season of The Walking Dead.

Yes, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, and everyone else, the Zombies are back! It is a glorious thing. I am agog with anticipation and giddy beyond words. The most authentic Southern accent in television or movies done by a non-southerner (a Brit, no less)[1], the most respectful depiction of Southerners since Walton’s Mountain, and positively some of the best social commentary all wrapped up in a shiny post-Apocalyptic bow will find its way to my TV screen this weekend. And no, AMC doesn’t pay me.[2]  I’m just this must of a geek for post-Apocalyptic fiction.  Hey, I’m at the age when I think my hormones are signs of the Apocalypse.

So, in honor of this momentous occasion, and Halloween, I decided to collaborate with the hubs and come up with another list (no this is not going to be permanent). Our top ten Zombie Bait list for 2011.

Now, there are two principles to Zombie bait. First, all living creatures serve some purpose in this complex world of ours. I realize that in the case of Zombies the “living” part is up to scientific debate, but really, in the greater scheme of things, surely don’t Zombies serve some purpose? I say yes, yes they do.  The way I see it, that purpose for Zombies is good, old fashioned social clean-up. In the natural world, scavenger animals clean up the debris left by predators and waste left by natural processes, so one can reasonably conclude that the Zombie’s share a similar social purpose. Secondly, if in the course of that social clean-up the Zombies get too distracted or just plain full to eat us good folk, well then, two social goods have been met at once. Zombies are fed and happy, and we’re safe from the Zombies and the people we fed to them. Win-win. (Yes, I’ve thought about this entirely too much. Remember, I’m unemployed so I have a good bit of free time.)

So, here is my and my husband’s list of Zombie Bait for 2011.

  1. Bernie Madoff.
    Oh, c’mon. The minute I mentioned the list he had to be the first name to cross your mind.     
  2. All investment leadership at Goldman Sachs.
    Let’s face it, when investment bankers what to tar and feather you before running you out of town, you’re pretty much the spawn of evil, and werbe, Zombie bait.        
  3. (Per the hubs). Boston Red Sox players who partied and drank beer during the game when they should have been in the dugout, leading to what ESPN calls the “Boston Red Sox collapse.” Some Bostonians would specify John Lackey and Terry Francona and co-chief Zombie Baits.
  4. The idiot who decided that anything written by Snookie should see the light of day.
  5. OJ Simpson. That may be a bit passé, but really, he needs to be on the list every year.
  6. My former boss, who I swear is the secret love child of Bernie Madoff and Leona Helmsley. You have to admit, you’ve probably had a boss you’d put on the list too.  Put yours here.
  7. Charlie Sheen? We weren’t sure, because we thought maybe he’d already turned zombie and that seemed to explain everything.
  8. Amy Winehouse’s drug dealer. However messed up she may have been, her music kicked butt and anyone who helped that talent go to rest too early can only help the world by being Zombie Bait. Oh heck, let’s just put the whole group of people who enable self-destruction for profit here. What the hay, right?
  9. People who use wheelchair accessible only spaces (especially the ones with the room on the side for wheelchairs) when they don’t really need them. This includes people who get the handicapped space placard from their doctors when they don’t really need it, and then use the spaces designed for wheelchairs. Yes, I’ve seen you, I know who you are. I’m the one pushing 150 pounds of wheelchair and little old lady on an upgrade in the rain from 100 feet down the lot. On behalf of all of us: zombie bait you deserve to be and zombie bait you shall be.
  10. The old man (aka “hubs”) wanted to put people who text and/or talk on the phone while in the passing lane. Like it’s so much better to do all that in the driving lane?? I got desperate, and he’s an okay guy, so I’m putting them here for him. By the way, for those who do this, and you know who you are, you know when that cop pulls you over because someone three miles back called the highway patrol on you? Yeah, that was me; I have Bluetooth.

Does anyone out there have any nominees for the Zombie Bait list of 2011? There are some rules: no naming of private figures (don’t give out the name of your ex-girlfriend or ex-husband, however horrible they may have been), and this is all in fun – so no obscenity. Mainly, these are people whose finest and perhaps only contribution to society will be making sure the Zombies don’t eat the rest of us, and the Zombies will, in turn, make sure these yo-yo’s don’t bother us anymore either.


[1] Andrew Lincoln

[2] Although I’ll let them if they want. Truly. I got student loans and a nasty knitting habit, people. I’m not proud.