In case you blinked and missed this Halloween bombshell, let me bring you up to date.
Act One: The Mailing (2 AM, October 31st, 2011)
What is this, you ask? Is that really a picture of President Obama with a bullet hole in his head?
It turns out that this collage of images accompanied an email invitation to the Loudoun County GOP’s constituents in Northern Virginia early Halloween morning inviting them to a bash later that afternoon. The accompanying text read:
Republicans On The March
LCRC members and Republican candidates: We are going to vanquish the zombies with clear thinking conservative principles and a truckload of Republican candy. Join us at 5pm at Ida Lee Park to decorate our floats. Bring candidate/endorsee signs and help us show our colors and then pass out the candy to the 20,000 strong parade crowd. The parade starts @ 6pm. It’s fun and a great way to represent our candidates to a ton of voters (and their kids) just before the election.
Act Two: The First Public Condemnation (~1PM, October 31st, 2011)
“Loudoun Insider,” the nom de plume of a blogger who writes for “Too Conservative,” a news and events site whose banner proudly proclaims that the website has been providing “a Northern Virginia Republican viewpoint since 2005,” takes the image and his response to it public:
I am no fan of Barack Obama, but putting up a photo of him as a zombie with a bullet hole in his head???????????? Like him or not he is the legitimately elected the President of the United States and Commander in Chief of our armed services in a time of war. THIS IS DISGUSTING AND SHAMEFUL. Someone should send this to the US Secret Service.
A blogger at the Washington Post picked the story around 4pm and from there it picked up speed, peaking Halloween night. Two days later, the whole thing was off the radar.
Act Three: Condemnations Escalate (~7:30 pm, October 31st, 2011)
The Chairman of Virginia’s GOP: “The disgusting image used today on a mass e-mail has no place in our politics. Ever. The Republican Party of Virginia condemns the image and its use in the strongest possible terms.”
Virginia’s Governor called for “all of those involved to apologize for their actions and to immediately ensure that such imagery is never used again.”
The Chairman of Virginia’s Democratic Party: ”No matter what your political leanings may be, depicting the President of the United States in that manner violates any standard of decent conduct. That type of incendiary image should have no place in our politics.”
Democrats mostly left voicing outrage over the image to the Republicans. If the Republican governor is raking party operatives over the coals for gross insensitivity and knuckle-dragging stupidity, best to keep mum and enjoy the spectacle.
Act Four: The Apologies (Late evening, October 31st, 2011 and first thing November 1st, 2011)
Late Halloween night, doubtless after he returned from unloading that truckload of Republican candy, Mark Sell, President of the Loudoun County Republican Committee did as he was told, pounded out his version of an apology and sent it on:
The Loudoun County Republican Committee yesterday sent an email to its members that represented a light-hearted attempt to inject satire humor into the Halloween holiday. Apparently, some individuals have interpreted an image of Barack Obama that appeared within the email as intending to portray the President as a victim of a violent crime. Nothing could be further from the truth, and we deeply and sincerely apologize to the President and anyone who viewed the image if that was the impression that was left. The LCRC deplores any effort to display, suggest or promote violence against the President or any other political figure.
Um, satire humor?
This is a version of the classic non-apology apology sent on to all those who somehow drew the conclusion that this image portrayed “the President as a victim of violent crime.”
”A light-hearted attempt to inject satire humor into the Halloween holiday.”
The next morning, November 1st, Scott K. York, Chairman of the LCRC, did a better job of responding to the governor’s demand that party leaders repudiate the image:
I am appalled by and condemn the offensive image of President Obama that was used in a satirical piece of political campaign literature. This violates the boundaries of propriety and civility that thoughtful and respectful public and political discourse demand. All of us—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—must hold ourselves to the high standards of deportment and decency that our society expects.
Act Five: The Resignation (~noonish, November 2nd, 2011)
A day later, Robert Jesionowski, the LCRC’s Director of Communications, acknowledges that he was responsible for the email and sends a letter of resignation to Mark Sell, which is then passed on to the media:
I will not excuse my missing the connotation of the zombie pic of the president. (Found it online, very late, while I was hastily putting the Halloween email together.) This was in bad taste, does not reflect my own principles nor those of any political activist or candidate I know in either party, and if I had reflected a little longer I would have caught it. A different pic ought to have gone out.
Seems pretty straightforward, right?
Violent image appears in campaign literature. Its use is denounced. Lackey’s head rolls. End of story.
Well, not, actually.
The fringe responses to this outrage inadvertently reveal that the meaning of this image isn’t as obvious as it seems at first. Take this one, for example, which set outs to argue over the nature of the wound in the President’s head:
Mr. Not A. Coroner is actually declaring his lack of expertise in the wrong field. What’s called for here is not a forensic pathologist specializing in exit wounds. That might be relevant if this were the image of a human cadaver, but it’s not. Rather, to understand the significance of the hole in the President’s head we need an expert in the pseudo-science of zombie-ology (zombology?). For those familiar with the ways of zombies, it’s obvious that they don’t suck out each other’s brains. (If they did, they’d eliminate their own threat, you see.) No, zombies eat the flesh and the brains of the living. That’s just what they do.
I wish there were more to zombies (and the realm of zombology), but sadly there isn’t. Why sadly?
Because they embody the collective fear of our time, where the gravest threat to the future is figured in the mass proliferation of the undead, who are driven on by a mindless, rapacious, insatiable, contaminating desire to consume the brains of the living. As such, they can represent ungoverned consumption (they never have enough); they can represent mindless conformity (once infected, the human host dies and then reanimates as a member of the brain dead masses); they can represent the threat of global terrorism (leaderless, goalless, battling on until one side or the other is annihilated). Which representation applies depends on the context.
Take these zombies, for example. As pictured, they seem pretty scary. They are starving for brains!
But if we put this image back in its original context, though, what they signify changes. This still comes from the 2004 zombie spoof film, Shaun of the Dead, where zombies aren’t actually scary at all; rather, they are a rich opportunity for a jilted young twenty-something (Shaun) to win back his gal by saving London, which has been overrun by the undead while he was goofing around. So recontextualized, the image’s low bud origins are easier to see. This scene is clearly shot on an empty public parking lot. Note the undamaged cars in the background, the tidy fence. This isn’t an accident: cheesiness is part of the aesthetic.
But no matter what zombies are made to represent, there’s only one way to end the threat they pose to the living. They can’t be rehabilitated or negotiated with or sanctioned into submission because, well, they’re dead. The only way to stop a zombie is to destroy its brain. (This is, in the vernacular of those who enjoy the idea of battling zombies, “canon.”)
For obvious reasons, a bullet to the head is the mode preferred by many. This allows for spectacular brain splattering displays. It can be done at a distance or up close, with all manner of armaments.
The only way to give variety or texture to the zombie narrative, though, is to detail the many different ways the living can find, in a pinch, to penetrate the skulls of the undead and get the brain matter to produce that spectacular spray pattern Mr. Not A. Coroner was expecting. Take for example the final section of World War Z, the 2006 best-selling oral history of the global war between humans and zombies (now being made into a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt). In a battle that changes the tide of the war against the zombies, the author Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks and Anne Brancroft) brings to the front lines a nun renowned for having protected the children in her charge for nine days armed with only a candlestick.
(Note to self: Zombie Clue! It was the nun in the day care center with the candlestick!)
So, given the rules governing the fictional world of the undead, I don’t think there’s really much debating whether or not the image at the center of this scandal represents the Zombie President after some attempt has been made to kill him.
Why do I say this?
Because,that’s what you do with zombies. You kill them . Commonly with a shot to the head.
End of story.
Or is it?
There’s no question that Robert Jesionowski, the now former Director of Communications for the Loudoun County Republican Committee, erred in creating and then sharing this collage of images for an invitation to a party-affiliated function. Indeed, in his refreshingly frank letter of resignation, Jesionowski refuses to justify missing “the connotation” of the Obama zombie picture or to pretend that seeing what’s wrong about putting a bullet hole in the forehead of the President of the United States is a matter for elitist eggheads in the Ivory Tower to quibble over.
But, Jesionowski didn’t create the original image, so he resignation distracts from more important questions. Where did the image come from? Who created it? What was its original context? The messenger has been fired, but what, exactly, was the message he unwittingly delivered? And who sent it?
Both parties have a clear investment in keeping this story simple and straightforward. Firing the rogue/inattentive/incompetent director of communications/volunteer helps the GOP get the story off the front page; keeping the story in the headlines helps the democrats with fence-sitting voters heading into the final days before the November mid-term elections in Virginia.
But the circulation of images is never simple and straightforward. Images have lives of their own. And the life of this particular image has a lot to tell us about what it means to live in post 9/11 America.
Let’s start with that zombie-crowd image from Shaun of the Dead. As early as October 28th, 2008, a week before election day, someone photoshopped Obama into the original image.
2004 movie still (left) and a photoshopped version from 2008 (right).
About a year later, on September 25th, 2009, “Snickering Hound” sent “Redcitizen” the following image on the discussion board of Free Republic, “America’s exclusive site for God, Family, Country, Life & Liberty conservatives!”
The discussion thread where this image was posted?
“Zombie Survival Quiz.”
If you’re trying to figure out how such a quiz squares with “God, Family, Country, Life & Liberty,” don’t bother; it doesn’t. Readers interested in this subject were invited by the original poster to click on the link, which would take them to the quiz at nerdtests.com, so they could find out just how they would respond in a zombie apocalypse. The subsequent discussion list banter about whether one ranks as a “zombie killa” or “lone survivor” or “ultra zombie slayer” would doubtless find a receptive audience during recess at elementary schools around the country: “As long as the gas holds out, a chainsaw is way cool. You might want to wear a hockey mask just to complete the look.”
By August 23rd, 2010, the Shaun image was remixed:
In this version, the photoshoppers populate the original with a raft of Obama campaign posters; they grant the zombies the power of speech (a non-canonical move); and they plant the election logo on the yellow capped zombie’s forehead. In the instance on the left, which Kingkey posted to politifakes.org on August 23rd, 2010, the zombies are identified with the mainstream media; in the instance on the right, which appeared in 22moon.com’s blog just a month later, the image is dropped into a repurposed comic book, under an entry entitled: “Some Obama Zombies breaking spell as Prez polls plummit.”
And fourteen months later, when Mr. Jasionowski punches “Obama” and “zombies” into google images, there was image of “Obama’s Zombies,” just waiting to be added to his Halloween invite to an event where some of the young Republicans would be dressed as extras in Michael Jackson’s 1982 blockbuster music video hit, Thriller:
Night creatures calling, the dead start to walk in their masquerade
There’s no escaping the jaws of the alien this time . . . .
So far, seems just a hair juvenile, no?
Well, what about Nancy Pelosi’s bad eye day? What’s the prehistory of that image?
Mr. Jesionowski presumably got to this by searching for . . . .I’m taking a wild stab in the dark here . . . . “Pelosi zombie”?
The fourth image to show up in this search comes from the blog, “Scooter’s Report. More News. Less Facts,” and appears in the July 19th, 2010 post, “SHOCKING! Pelosi Actually a Zombie!”
And on November 3, 2012, just days after all the official party handwringing and head shaking events over the LCRC Halloween invite, the parent site for Scooter’s Report, “Big Hairy News,” which has the banner tag “only slightly retarded,” continues the work of disfiguring Pelosi. Under the heading, “Plastic Surgery for Pelosi?” the boys at Big Hairy offer this clever bit:
Big Hairy’s caption? Did she or didn’t she? Pelosi last year and last week.
All right, all right. Enough diddling around. What about the money shot? What’s its provenance?
It turns out that Shepard Fairey’s Obama/Hope poster, which began to circulate widely in March, 2008, has been remixed numerous times in the years since the election–most frequently in ways that are not particularly flattering to the President:
With a little help from TinEye reverse image search, it’s possible to discover the answer to this question.
The first hit on a “best match” image search on TinEye takes you to BuyZombie.com, which advertised a shirt with Zombie Obama above the word “Brains,” posted December 3, 2010.
The ad copy for the “Zombama” t-shirt on the page includes a link to an earlier version of the Zombama t-shirt, this one from March 30th, 2009.
There are some subtle design differences between the two.
In the 3/30/09 version, there are fewer flies; the lapel logo has fewer stripes; the left eye is compromised; the flesh has eaten through on the right side. Oh, and there’s no bullet hole in the President’s head in the earlier version.
The 3/30/09 version also comes with an explanation of what motivated what appears to be the original creation of “Zombama”:
“There are many possible meanings and interpretations of this design, but if you’re assigning some sort of racist, hate-filled vibe to it, then I suggest you take a long walk off a short pier. This is a commentary about rabid Obama fan-mania coupled with his missteps as a new leader, as well as a commentary about appropriation art. I’ll leave the details up to your imagination. This is not a photo-manipulation of that other Obama piece, though it’s obviously based on it — it’s completely hand-drawn from scratch, then rendered in Illustrator”
The unidentified author of this copy is seeking to protect the t-shirt design from two different charges: 1.) that the image is racist and 2.) that image is the byproduct of copyright infringement. The copywriter refutes these charges differently: if you object to the image, you should go drown yourself; if you think the designer has used the Fairey Obama Hope image–”that other Obama piece”–you are mistaken.
The copywriter seems more worried about the second charge than the first, probably because, a month earlier, in February 2009, the news broke that the Associated Press was in discussions with Shepard Fairey’s lawyers about Fairey’s unacknowledged use of one of their copyrighted photographs as the basis for his Obama Hope poster. If the AP was coming after Fairey, BuyZombie.com could well be next!
The AP image of Obama from 2006 (left) and Fairey’s poster from 2008 (right).
Who wrote this copy? Originally, I thought it was Stuart Conover, editor of BuyZombie.com, self-described “blogger, published author, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and gamer. Resident slayer of the undead and all around zombie fanatic.” Lives in Chicago. Works in tech support. Is married. (His wife made him a groom cake on their wedding that was decorated to show their mutual love for rubber ducks and zombies. It’s a kind of blood and duck affair. Adorable in its own way.)
But, now that the actual author of the copy has contacted me (more on this below), I can see that I read past the significance of the fact that the copy directing readers at BuyZombie.com to the 12/03/10 bullet hole Zombie Obama shifts from a focus on copyright to joking about the similarity the bullet hole version has to the earlier version. You might think they’re the same but, BuyZombie.com insists:
On a closer look though it’s quickly clear that though similar it’s not the same design. Not exactly. It is suspiciously close though!
Conover’s current project? Marketing t-shirts with this design:
Well, not quite. BuyZombie.com is just a retailer: Conover just refers his site visitors to other sites; he doesn’t actually design the t-shirts he advertises. Further research with TinEye reveals that the honor of designing “Zombama” (the Zombie president without the bullet hole in his forehead) goes to Pop-Monkey, aka Jared Moraitis,who self describes as “artist, madman, pop/pulp disciple.”
Improbably enough, dig down far enough, and you can find a photograph on Pop-Monkey’s website of a framed version of Moraitis’ original drawing, dated March 16, 2009:
Pop-Monkey put a silk screened version of this image up for sale on Tee Fury; Conover at BuyZombie.com found it there and directed his readers to the t-shirt retail site. According to Pop-Monkey, the shirt is a big hit, outselling the previous Tee Fury bestseller three to one. (Ole PM doesn’t provide any actual sales numbers, so it’s hard to know whether he sold a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand.) Pop-Monkey doesn’t explain what motivated the original design, but he does say that he is inspired by the success of the Zombama venture to imagine a whole line of Zombie President shirts:
As far as further Presidential-themed projects, I’ve got potentially sweet TAFT and LINCOLN designs in the works. Of course, I could try to build on the success of this by doing more zombie Presidents. Who’s up for a Zombie-Polk design?
Hard to know how Pop-Monkey came up with this improbable list of probable bestsellers. In any event, it doesn’t appear that he went forward with this idea. He did, however, have three more print runs of his version of the Zombama tee-shirt: one in May 2009, one in July 2009, and then, prompted by the folks over at Tee Fury, a special revised version released on September 11th, 2010:
Note: No Bullet Hole.
Who is Pop-Monkey? He’s a freelance illustrator. Lives in Hickory, NC. Was he motivated to create this design by an identifiable politics?
Based on his discussion of the t-shirts on Pop-Monkey, it’s hard to say.
But, now that Jared’s written to tell me *he* is the unidentified author of the copy that appeared with the original design on BuyZombie.com, we have his own words about his dual motivation: the image is designed to be a critique of “rabid obama fan-mania” and a “commentary on appropriation art.” A survey of his work off of the Pop Monkey site gives the impression that the design represents a rare voyage into contemporary politics; the bulk of his work is in “pop/pulp design.”
Can we figure out when the bullet hole was added?
As it turns out, that’s the wrong question to ask, because the version included in the LCRC Halloween invitation isn’t an altered version of the one Pop-Monkey designed, but rather an independently produced image that was commissioned by a short-lived hardcore punk band from St. Louis, “Head for the Mountains.” HFTM’s lead singer, Matt Monroe, saw the article on the Loundon County firing, recognized the image, and then apparently contacted The Riverfront Times, St. Louis’ alternative newsweekly, with the story.
HFTM: Head for the Mountains t-shirt
Following the election in 2008, the band wanted an image that would reflect its avowed “right-wing conservative leanings” so they could to sell t-shirts at their gigs. In light of the publicity the bullet hole image gained in the national press, following its appearance in the LCRC Halloween invitation, Monroe wanted to set the record straight about the source of the image and its intent. Since he learned about the invite from the “Too Conversative” blog post, he may well have been motivated to speak out because of “Too Conservative”‘s call to have the Secret Service notified:
We only made 25 of those shirts. . . . The design was made strictly for shock value. Obviously the bullet hole is in reference to what you do with zombies, NOT with presidents. (Emphasis in original.)
Matt Monroe of HFTM: tattoos, beer, American flag, and automatic rifle (“Come and Get It”) on display
The handful of songs recorded by HFTM tend to celebrate guys drinking beer together (“head for the mountains” of Busch is treated with reverence; the overt sexual innuendo in the original ad campaign is abandoned for the pleasures of the manly bonding of mountain men) and/or (it depends on the song) lament what’s happened to the country because of the new president. For example, “The Cost of Freedom,” which, in its entirety, is performed in under 90 seconds.
you want peace through charity?
oh please fucking spare me
only way to earn sovereignty
is by destroying the enemy
you’d rather watch us fail
and see our soldiers die
then salute our flag
and have american pride
freedom isn’t earned by sitting on the sideline
it’s paid for with bloodshed, tears, and our forefathers lives
usa all the way
As of this writing, the artist who created the shirt for Head for the Mountains has declined to be identified.
So, we know this much. The original Zombama image, based on the Shepard Fairey Hope poster, was generated by Pop-Monkey sometime before 3/16/2009. Pop-Monkey’s intentions, to the extent they can be divined, seem relatively benign: he was looking to make some money and the success of the design led him to imagine turning other Presidents into the “Zombie in Chief.” HFTM’s image came into being sometime after 10/19/2009:
Announcement about the Zombama t-shirts from the Head for the Mountains Facebook fan page.
Given the remarkable similarities between the two images, it seems more than likely that HFTM’s graphic designer found Pop-Monkey’s image on the web and used it as the foundation for his version. In the context of HFTM’s music and their audience, creating an image unlike any of the others we’ve discussed so far became permissible: the President as zombie with bullet hole in his forehead. And Monroe openly acknowledges the obvious: the image was designed to shock. (Sorry, Mr. Not A Coroner: that is a bullet hole. We have it direct from rock star’s mouth.)
But in this search for the origins of the image that showed up in the LCRC’s Halloween invitation, something much more important has come to light: remixing and repurposing the Obama Hope image began almost as soon as Shepard Fairey created it. And, indeed, Fairey’s design was itself created by manipulating a photograph (a fact that Fairey initially lied about in an effort to bolster his case that he substantially altered the image and so could not be charged with a copyright violation). So, the Zombama images are feeding off the Fairey Hope image, which fed off the AP’s copyrighted photographic image, with actual zombie images of the President circulating openly months before the 2008 election.
The bullet hole in the forehead version of Zombie Obama came into being around two years ago. And, when it arrived, it was met by a context already well populated by all manner of zombies, including a citizenry, protected for decades from real war images, inured to violent imagery of all kinds.
What happens if the photoshoppers jump over Fairey’s graphic design and go straight to photographs as the basis for zombifying the president? When the goal is simply to disfigure a lifelike image of the president, is the result more or less disturbing than bullet hole in the forehead Obama?
The image on the left was posted on FreakingNews.com as an entry in its weekly “Freak Show” photoshopping contest, in mid-November 2010.
The image on the right was posted on August 5th, 2010 to a discussion board on Fairfax Underground, “a project site designed to improve communication between residents of Fairfax County, VA. Feel free to post anything Northern Virginia residents would find interesting.” The topic?
What would you do in case of a zombie invasion?
Because the moral outrage that such images evoke has such an intoxicating power, it is easy to miss the fact that this zombifying activity is not limited to disaffected members of the right. Exercising no more research energy than Jesionowski put into finding Obama zombies, one can find Bush zombies:
These two images of Bush appeared in pulpfactor.com’s “Zombie Politicians” spread in November 2009.
McCain and Palin zombies:
The Zombie McCain image was published in September 2008;
the Palin zombie image was published to Facebook on Oct, 20, 2010.
Cheney and Boehner zombies:
The Cheney image comes from a July 15th, 2010 mock article on The ExileD website, under the title, “Cheney Joins the Ranks of the Living Dead–Only A Headshot Will Stop Him Now.”
The Boehner image comes from the Bay Ridge Talks discussion board and was posted on July 17, 2011 in response to the posting of Obama as a zombie.
What I’ve been concerned to establish here is that the Obama zombie image is the byproduct of the 2.0 world, where anyone with image altering software and access to the Internet can create and distribute gruesome images of those in power. In this context, the Head for the Mountains image is notable not for turning the president into a zombie, but for putting a bullet through his forehead; my preliminary research hasn’t turned up another example of this with any of the other political figures I’ve covered here–or, indeed, with any of the other political figures I’ve come across. So, while the very act of zombifying any figure implies that the zombified figure is irredeemable and must be eliminated by means of a massive head injury, however delivered, it would seem, at this point, that only the midwestern hardcore punk band and its unnamed graphic designer took the final step of making the implicit explicit.
I doubt that these young men pose a real threat to the President. Rather, the members of Head for the Mountains, screaming “USA! ALL THE WAY!” at the end of their complaint about the state of the nation, are a part of the broader political contemporary political context and, as such, simply contribute to the dissemination of a political discourse that is as shallow and empty as the zombified world it celebrates. HFTM printed the t-shirts “strictly for shock value.” To what end? BuyZombie.com hawked Pop-Monkey’s image on t-shirts. Why? To make “a commentary about rabid Obama fan-mania coupled with his missteps as a new leader, as well as a commentary about appropriation art.” Well, that’s not really why: BuyZombie is trying to make a buck; if you’re offended, all the better–that’s good for business. Pop-Monkey is also just trying to find his niche: maybe it’s the zombie presidents series?
What’s the big deal?
If you’re of a certain age and have a certain sensibility, it’s hard to shake the sense that this really is horrifying: these thoughtless young men, generating and disseminating these violent images, creating an environment where circulating the image of the sitting president with a bullet hole in his forehead becomes publicly permissible. The response of some of the Republican officials to the use of this image is evidence that there is a generational vector to this horror. Martin Luther King assassinated. JFK shot in the head. These don’t seem like events to be mindlessly fooled with, but if the goal is just to shock, it’s seems like a surefire formula. But, if you’re beyond being shocked? If you’ve been shocked and awed into a state of brain dead passivity?
My shock at Zombie Obama image hasn’t been reduced by traveling into the network where such depictions are common. Zombify a political poster. Zombify a photograph. Next stop? Zombification as participatory activity in “meat space.”
A quick example. On October 30th, 2010, the New Jersey Zombie Walk, held at Asbury Park, made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for the “World’s Largest Gathering of Zombies.” (It’s possible this record has already fallen, due to intense competition for the honor from organizers in Pittsburgh and Minneapolis.) 4,000 strong.
Fun for the Whole Family:
From Scottnj’s amazing flickr collection of images from the 2011 Asbury Park Zombie Walk
Somehow it escaped my attention that on May 16th, 2011, the Center for Disease Control released guidelines for “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.” The entry, which first appeared on Dr. Ali S. Khan’s Public Health Matters blog, provides a brief history of the zombie in film and fiction, and then provides recommendations for how to respond in the event of a zombie invasion:
The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen. In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder “How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?”
Well, we’re here to answer that question for you, and hopefully share a few tips about preparing for real emergencies too!
And to further help the young ones understand the importance of planning for such real emergencies, the CDC’s also created a manual in the form of a graphic comic about a “zombie pandemic.”
Image from the CDC’s “Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic.”
As the monster of this generation, the zombie both embodies the fears of the post 9/11 world and a fantasy about the solution to that world’s problems. The conflict: us versus them. The solution: kill or be killed. It’s a flattened world of binary threats and binary choices that relieves the participants of all the complexities and challenges of global interconnectedness: global warming, global financial meltdown, the global failure of government. These problems are the saturating context of our time; they are overwhelming, vast, amorphous, multi-varient, chaotic; not one of them can be put down by a bullet to the head.
Addressing these problems will require a kind of thinking that is not readily available to those who dream of waging war in the zombie world (against the “evil doers,” for example) or those who cling to the two party system of rule. If we are to create an alternative future, we will only get there by cultivating forms of thought that are open-ended, collaborative, compassionate. This kind of thinking doesn’t come naturally–it’s the job of education to bring this kind of thinking into the world. A tolerance for ambiguity. The ability to persevere in the face of the unknown. The willingness to follow an idea wherever it may lead. If we fail to provide education of this kind, the zombies, however defined, win.
Quotes from GOP chair and governor from here.
Quote from Democratic Party chair may be found here.
Sell’s apology may be found here.
York’s press release has now been scrubbed from his website and is no longer available, as on 09/28/2012.
The Jesionowski resignation quote may be found here.
The first photoshopped image from Shaun of the Dead may be found here in Sancte Pater’s blog.
The image on the Free Republic discussion thread may be found here.
Kingkey’s post of the zombie crowd image may be found here.
moon22.com’s use of the image may be found here.
The Pelosi zombie image may be found here.
The Pelosi plastic surgery image may be found here.
Stuart Conovin’s blog may be found here.
“We want hugs” may be found here.
The revised Zombama tshirt image may be found here.
The original Zombama tshirt image may be found here.
Pop-monkey’s photo of his print may be found here.
The information about Pop-Monkey’s Zombama prints was drawn from here.
The Riverfront Times story on Head to the Mountains has been delinked due to malware.
The images of HFTM in action may be found here.
The lyrics for HFTM’s recordings may be found here.
The Freak Show zombie image may be found here.
The Fairfax Underground image may be found here.
The Bush Zombie images may be found here.
The McCain zombie image may be found here.
The Palin zombie image comes from here.
The Cheney image may be found here.
The Boehner image may be found
Scottnj’s flickr portraits are astounding. They may be found here.
The CDC instructions may be found here.
The downloadable CDC graphic story may be found here.