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May 10, 2016


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I dunno--but then that's because it's been a few years since Walking Dead lost me. There are only so many iterations of Man is the Real Monster I can take before it gets a bit tiresome. You know what would have been interesting? A Walking Dead where folks create a community that does not mask a core of evil but which has actually managed to function in the context of a post-zombie world.

They're a very particular bougie American fantasy about being "hard" or "hard choices." In my head, it correlates to horrible aspect of American politics that is sometimes referred to as "the pain caucus" who believes in tough choices like cutting social security, an inverse or corollary of Weber's Protestant work ethic.

Your reaction mirrors Dan Drezner's, I should note.

The killer for me was a scene in FTWD where one of the kids is wandering around a subdivision covered in blood, and none of the zombies attack him. OK, fine ... but you're telling me that nobody in any organized government around the planet could also figure that out?

My red flag was when the government showed up in season one ... and started to pretend that people weren't coming back to life. It was the kind of thing that I could accept, but it was unbelievable. Who in the government would make such a dumb decision? There's no reason for it ... and many reasons against it.

I'm with you, Andrew. There are great zombie movies with the trope and even better ones without it; but it gets old after a few episodes. Right, everyone's evil, nobody holds it together, and when they're not evil they're stupid. Okay.

McDevite, that's an interesting take! Hmmm. Where's Drezner's review?

Drezner's review is on his blog at the Washington Post:

1) https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/04/11/why-im-quitting-the-walking-dead-franchise/

2) https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/10/16/why-its-so-good-that-fear-the-walking-dead-was-so-bad/

Since you're both social scientists, he hits on similar irritations with the breakdown of government and military order.

One of the points of annoyance that dovetails with Andrew is that for myself and friends who've lived and worked in failed states and war zones, the Hobbesian anarchy as depicted on the show comes across as false and sort of hedonism of evil as imaged from the comfort of an exurb--cannibals, murdering pirates, blah blah--and makes me mourn for the multi-season HBO adaptation of "World War Z."

In some ways, it's like Neal Stephenson's SEVENEVES in its inability to understand human political organization. The murdering bands are apolitical--not that they have ideology--but from Somali pirates to Lebanese militias to the state of Somaliland, when the state fails, political organizations grow back, and even the most ruthless organizations on the planet don't look as tediously feckless as Negan or the pirates that FTWD has recently encountered, and why I quit the show--though I would have been down with "Route 66 on a Boat through the Zombie Apocalypse."

Overall, it's unfortunate because "The Walking Dead" comic series-not without its own flaws--has moved onto stories that are much more familiar to the Western: building civilization, law and order, cooperation versus competition, etc. When the TV has tried that, none of its characters have been consistent enough or rich enough to drive a narrative like that. It may be the show's longstanding organizational problems, but it's irritating.

I have a longtime online acquaintance who proposed a couple of years ago that the reason zombie apocalypses are so popular is that "we all know our society is dying", though we don't know why, and everyone blames somebody else.

He's a libertarian and Rothbard fan. He thinks it's the inexorable Kyklos of democrats voting themselves the treasury and embracing the destruction-lust of Keynesianism, blah blah blah.

...Carlos would probably say that we all know we are personally dying, and some of us project...

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