Death-Dealing: Giroux's Zombie Politics

by Lana Lynne on 11.19.09

In seeking to understand the contradictory, regressive, oftentimes nonsensical, sometimes outright false, skewed perception of the impact of big corporations and their non-values on people -- both those who are "othered" and those who traditionally are not -- Henry Giroux offers the popularity of zombies as a way to talk about the confounding politics of the U.S.

In his article Zombie Politics and Other Late Modern Monstrosities in the Age of Disposibility, Giroux sees the popular infatuation with zombies as speaking to the "shameless lust" of corporate titans. If these captains of industry are the life-feeding monsters, in his analogy, then the minions seduced by them are vamping up for a senseless, violent, baseless revolution.

In this excerpt, he discusses how the Age of Disposibility molds people into death-obsessed commodities:

Not only do zombies portend a new aesthetic in which hyper-violence is embodied in the form of a carnival of snarling creatures engorging elements of human anatomy, but they also portend the arrival of a revolting politics that has a ravenous appetite for spreading destruction and promoting human suffering and hardship. This is a politics in which cadres of the unthinking and living dead promote civic catastrophes and harbor apocalyptic visions, focusing more on death than life. Death-dealing zombie politicians and their acolytes support modes of corporate and militarized governance through which entire populations now become either redundant, disposable or criminalized. This is especially true for poor minority youth who, as flawed consumers and unwanted workers, are offered the narrow choice of joining the military, going to prison or being exiled into various dead zones in which they become socially embedded and invisible.
While Giroux's argument does well to describe the current state of affairs, it would be interesting to extend his line of reasoning even further (in a direction admittedly off of his topic). But, why have zombies, vampires, and ghosts risen in popularity over the past decade? After all, it is not just zombies who are invading media screens, it is seemingly an all-around fascination with death. Some might argue it is less an obsession with death than it is with our own mortality -- with life -- a permutation of certain religious ideologies emphasizing the afterlife. Whatever the origins, it would be interesting to explore the relationship between the dead/undead of pop culture and political issues as a real connection rather than as an analogy -- as perhaps a recognition of problems, rather than a blind submission.

In any case, read Giroux's excellent article over at Truthout.
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  1. Just when I think the zombie lust has reached its high point, things continue to progress further and further. Now they are appearing in articles (not that I don't agree with the author's analogy).

  2. Anonymous8:56 AM

    The article is great and I do not want to further talk about zombies, but it is possible that Giroux is a zombie and this is all a rue?


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