Acting Attorney General's Bigfoot and Time Travel Claims; Plus: Kentucky's Governor Blames Zombie TV for Mass Shootings
Despite the fact that the History Channel and I don’t have the best of relationships, it seems that their publishing partners at the Atlantic Monthly Press didn’t get the message. The publisher just sent me an advance copy of the History-branded The Curse of Oak Island tie-in book by journalist Randall Sullivan, due out just in time for Christmas. I only received the book Tuesday night, so I haven’t had time to read much, but I have to say that the introduction and opening chapter left me baffled. I suppose this must be a book for super-fans of Curse, since my general but not particularly deep knowledge of the “mystery” of Oak Island was not enough to make sense of the barrage of names and dates, or the convoluted history thrust upon me with little authorial guidance.
The book is also 400 pages long, so it’s going to take me a bit to get through, but let me say this: It makes me angry when a lazy author or publisher chooses to include a photograph of an article instead of retyping and printing the article in a way that can be read. Put it in an appendix. What am I supposed to do with 6-point photo-reduced type?
For your edification, I have added the article to my Library. If I can get the text put together in half an hour, surely a publisher with months or a year to work on this could have typed it out, too.
Remember how funny it was when the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, claimed that the Giza pyramids were storehouses for Joseph’s grain, following a 1500-year-old medieval myth? Another member of Pres. Trump’s cabinet has been revealed as a crackpot straight from cable TV central casting. acting Attorney General Mark Whittaker is a believer in both Bigfoot and time travel, according to a Washington Post report, and attempted as a member of the board of a company later shut down over claims of fraud to sell products and services to fellow crackpots who are steeped in cable’s brand of lunacy. As the Post reported, Whittaker:
He also promoted a patent application for an extra-large toilet for men with large penises.
Meanwhile, Kentucky’s Republican governor, Matt Bevin, claimed in a radio interview that zombies have played at least as important a role in the current wave of mass shootings as guns. Speaking with radio host Leland Conway, Bevin claimed that zombie television programs were ubiquitous and representative of a culture of death: “It starts with everything from the type of entertainment that we focus on,” Bevin said, according to USA Today. “What’s the most popular topic that seems to be in every cable television network. Television shows are all about, what? Zombies! I don’t get it ... that’s what we are.”
By my count, there are actually only three cable shows about zombies, airing on two channels: The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and Z-Nation. Broadcast TV also has iZombie, a dramedy, and streaming has The Santa Clarita Diet, also a comedy. Ash vs. Evil Dead might have counted, but it was canceled. I guess you could extend the list to any show where an undead creature appears, such as Game of Thrones, but it starts to stretch the definition a bit.
Contrast that with the nearly 100 series about law enforcement and emergency services, many of which, particularly on CBS, fetishize the authority of the state. I’ve written in the past about the disturbing authoritarian tendencies of shows like the revived Hawaii Five-0, which celebrates police brutality and law enforcement operating without oversight under unilateral, unchecked executive authority. I’m not sure it’s an even balance with three zombie shows in terms of influencing public opinion.
Bevin went on to compare zombie television shows to abortion, claiming that both celebrate death and lead to a devaluation of human life. “When a culture is surrounded by, inundated by, rewards things that celebrate death, whether it is zombies in television shows, the number of abortions ... there’s a thousand justifications for why we do this," Bevin said, referring to mass shootings.
There is some irony there considering the most popular zombie show, The Walking Dead, was seen by the 2016 Trump campaign as a conservative program and one specifically targeted for campaign ads, according to no less an authority than Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who explained the approach to Forbes last year. But he has one point: Zombie shows are certainly big on shooting, hacking, and otherwise mutilating human bodies for entertainment. He should know all about that, of course. It was popular entertainment in the South long before The Walking Dead. Indeed, George Romero folded it in to the ending of the very first modern zombie movie, The Night of the Living Dead.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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