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1. ISIS and the Zombie Apocalypse

In the opening of George Romero’s cult classic Night of the Living Dead (1968), a young man and woman are driving through a desolate countryside to a visit a cemetery.  As Barbara and her brother Johnny are laying a cross wreath on their father’s grave, they are stalked by an old man who lurches awkwardly toward them, a twisted look on his face.  After the man attacks Barbara, Johnny tries to defend her and is killed.  Then the maniac chases Barbara to an old farm house, where she finds refuge with another man, Ben, who kills several zombies before boarding up the house and trying to save them from a growing horde of the undead that is surrounding the house and trying to break in.  Later, when a mass of zombies attack the house, Barbara is killed by her dead brother. 

Night of the Living Dead embodies one of the darkest themes in human pop culture—the living pursued by the dead, isolated and nearly defenseless against an unreasoning enemy we don’t understand whose sole aim is to kill us or devour our flesh.  Ghouls, vampires, werewolves, demons, zombies, and the gigantic nuclear creatures of the 1950’s—in our collective nightmares, they are the instruments of our destruction, monsters who attack without provocation, as powerful and soulless as they are uncompromising and devoid of humanity.  Among our fears, we fear the unfamiliar and the irrational.  We fear losing our freedom and our sense of well-being.  We fear being pursued by forces stronger than ourselves.  We fear not knowing where safety lies.  In short, we fear threats we do not understand and cannot control.

Tags: ISIS, Islamic State, vampires, zombies, monsters, Frankenstein, werewolves, mummies, nightmares

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Comments

RJ429

I don't agree with everything you said, but you were right about Santorum not becoming the candidate. So when you compare Romney with Obama who do you think has the best shot in November?

May 24, 2012, 1:16 PM
Terry R. Bacon

I think it's too early to tell at this point. Among a candidate's greatest sources of power is reputation, and reputation is a complex stew in a national election like ours. Among the factors that affect it are the electorate's views of the candidates' stance on important issues, their public service record, their voting record, and many personal characteristics. But one of the most important factors is how voters feel about their own lives--their financial situation, their sense of well being, their prospects for the future, and so on. If the economy turns sharply upward before November, Obama's chances of winning will be strong; conversely, if the economy slumps, if unemployment remains high, if people lose confidence in the future, then Romney is virtually a shoo-in. Romney is gaining power, but Obama is more formidable at this point than many people realize. He has a large base of supporters and a vast war chest. Romney will need to make few mistakes and continue to build people's confidence in his ability to solve the nation's debt woes and stimulate the economy enough to bring back something close to full employment.

May 30, 2012, 9:44 PM
Mert

john f.:If I was still an active mebmer of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I would indeed be averse to him becoming the most recognized public face of the faith. First, he would further reinforce the stereotype that LDS are, as Seth so well put it, narrow-minded conservative throwbacks. Given that I did not fit that stereotype while I was an active mebmer of the LDS church, I hate to see that stereotype reinforced on a rather grand scale. Second, he has repeatedly changed his publicly-stated views on a variety of issues, each time conveniently to fit the demographic wherein he is running for office. He has done this so often, that I am unable to conclude that he is an honest man. I would be concerned that he might commit an unethical act, which would, due to his position, reflect badly upon the LDS church.Third, he has made more than one public statement which I would frankly expect faithful LDS to find offensive. Take, for example, his public joke that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, and another woman, etc. Take, for another example, his recent comment that he couldn't imagine anything more awful than polygamy. I don't care that the majority of modern LDS would probably leave the church if plural marriage came back. Romney has shown, by his words, that he is completely willing to mock and/or repudiate principles which have been sacred to mebmers of the LDS church, not to mention his own ancestors. This one makes me angry even as a FORMER mebmer of the LDS church.Fourth, Romney represents the so-called gospel of prosperity, which is already far too rampant in LDS culture. Seeing an extremely wealthy mebmer of the church elevated to such a position would only exacerbate that problem, I believe.Fifth, Romney's political views are, in my opinion, incongruent with those of a person who allegedly believes the U.S. Constitution was divinely inspired.I could go on, but this should be enough to make it clear that I'm not making a mere knee-jerk reaction here.

July 30, 2012, 9:52 PM
Kina

I think the problem with Palin was not that she was Palin, but she beacme too much like McCain. She was also an easy target for dim witted female front runners who love to criticize others until they think their thighs are thinner. I cringed every time I had to listen to her take up for one of McCain's big government ideas. I wonder if she would say she would have voted for McCain or against Obama prior to her nomination.

July 31, 2012, 1:01 AM
Walid

I doubt any Republican will seek McCain's endorsement in the 2012 cycle for President exepct maybe a RINO. I am not saying McCain is a bad guy however he did not represent the heart and soul of Republicans. I am certain the push for a McCain nomination got traction in 2008 because many believed Hillary would win the Dem nomination. I suspect McCain would have beaten Hillary.McCain's campaign was over when Obama won the Dem nomination and Palin merely gave hope to make the race closer.

July 31, 2012, 1:48 AM
Kimberley

Romney is savvy and scripted. Sometimes that's a plus and sotiemmes it's a minus. I like to see evidence of spontaneity, self-confidence, sincerity, personal values these days campaigns are so highly-funded and carefully plotted out that it's hard to tell what we are actually seeing. I think in some ways that is very detrimental. But it may be unavoidable, to a great extent. I've brought this up before, but I'll never forget attending a George Bush (the first one) event at Brigham Young University (during his campaign) and being hugely disappointed. Here was a man who had been a pilot in WWII, a diplomat to China, the head of the CIA, etc. and etc., and instead of teaching us anything or sharing any personal wisdom he had gained over time, he served us up political twinkies that were calculated to please the local audience. It was a total joke and for some reason the audience was cheering the whole time. It felt like I was at an early Beatles rock concert with a couple of thousand brainless 14-year-old girls (not a good thing, at all).Politics really interests me but the process can be quite a disappointment sotiemmes.

September 8, 2012, 7:59 PM
Susan

I wrote a blog post some months ago (on my patvrie blog) comparing a Romney speech with an Obama speech saying I thought Obama spoke well and Romney not so well. I think I also wrote at the time that we had little to gain or lose from Romney being in office.I've since re-thought that last part I think we have a lot to gain or perhaps a lot to lose, with Romney in office. It's a huge opportunity, in many ways, for one of our own to demonstrate that a Mormon can be a capable leader, a good person, intelligent at the same time, there is the very real potential risk that a majority or sizable minority of the country's population (or even the world's population) could come to dislike a Mormon president for a variety of reasons.So I take back my idea that we have little to gain or lose if Romney runs well or even wins the election. There is a lot going on here and we may not be able to foresee many of the potential implications good or bad.

September 9, 2012, 3:46 PM
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