THRILLVILLE: Will "the Thrill" Viharo's weird, wild world of Pulp Fiction, B Movies, & the Lounge Lizard Lifestyle.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Slow vs. Fast Zombies: Our System is Sick at Any Speed

Democrat zombies: sincere and socially conscious, but slow and sloppy

Republican zombies: quick, mean, ugly and brutal - but effective

I've had the flu for a week, but that's beginning to subside. Aside from some freelance stuff, I've been unemployed for months, but that's not going away any time soon. This combination of illness and ennui resulted in me spending much more time on my Facebook page than I normally do. Lately I've been posting a lot about a subject I've been publicly avoiding for years: politics. I guess I was coasting under the assumption that, with my man Barack Obama in office and the epically tragic Bush era behind us, I could relax and focus on things like B Movies. But why do I love B Movies? Because they're the underdogs, the forgotten, the oppressed members of cinema at large. I'm a self-designated champion of B Movie Rights. But there are many people in our society wrongfully relegated to the B Side of Life, and not in a good way. I'm no political leader but after all the raging, ridiculous right wing rhetoric of the past few months, more shrill and vile than ever with Obama, "the first tiki president" in charge, I can't stand down and shut up any longer. Time to speak my mind, even if nobody's listening, at any expense, even if I risk alienating some readers who may have an opposing conservative viewpoint. If so, fine with me, I don't discriminate against anyone based on their personal beliefs. That would be undemocratic. But if the rabid right wingers have no qualms about spewing their vicious views all over the media, why should I keep my clam closed? We can't take our progress as a people for granted. The cavemen among us feel threatened by rational thought and mainstream multi-culturalism, and are rising up in rebellion. So just like I used to do, I'm openly speaking my mind in my own personal platform - otherwise, why bother having one? To talk about my day with strangers? Who gives a damn?

One group I really don't want to offend, though, is Zombies, since they are Us distilled to our basics, and therefore, they are Us at our purest. The zombie virus is also the great equalizer. So please, my flesh-eating ghoul friends, do not take the following allegory too seriously, as I implement the Ongoing Online Undead Speed Geek Debate to illuminate some of my own subjective observations. In truth, zombies are beyond these sorts of issues, unified by a common cause, unlike the fractured humanity that spawned them. The state of the national "discourse" on health care reform, for instance, is simply pathetic. Obama's attempt at "bi-partisanship" has been a study in futility, literally thrown right back in his face. I hope he's learned that not everyone is going to like him, no matter what he does, so he may as well just stick to his guns and push through his own principals, as he was elected to do. One thing about Republicans - they always get their agenda across, loud and clear, obnoxiously so, even when they're in "the minority." You have to give them credit for dedication, even if they completely ignore the facts. They make up a no holds barred game plan and stick to it, reality be damned. The rabid town hall meetings of August are testament to that. They're ruthless and organized. I call them "fast zombies." Democrats, on the other hand, can't seem to accomplish anything, they just lumber around bumping into each other, grabbing at elusive targets, with no sense of direction, even after they've "taken over." And none of these political zombies seem to have an appetite for brains. I think it's time we the people stormed the mall and took it back...

I'm an Independent who votes Democratic since their party platform comes closest to my sense of social justice, but the actions, or inaction, of their party leaders are not close enough, so I don't want to consider myself as being an actual member of their conflicted, constipated ranks. I naturally distrust anything organized anyway, except maybe for the Mafia, with whom you know where you stand, and who do not misrepresent themselves. I am not a history student so I don't know what Republicans originally stood for, but in my lifetime they've proven themselves to be nothing but fear-mongering, hate-enabling hypocrites who strategically exploit organized religion, "social issues" and "family values" to further their own self-serving agenda, which is the enrichment of the wealthy at the expense of the lower and working classes. From a strictly humanistic standpoint, this is tragically unfair, I don't care how you want to justify it. Clownish conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck spew unsubstantiated propaganda and obviously biased bile in the name of "liberty," inciting the racist rednecks in our midst to demonstrative destruction, and cruel, cartoonish political figures like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann fiercely foster stupidity and promote prejudice to further their own cold-blooded careers. The way they shamelessly equate Christianity with Capitalism is a crime against humanity - literally. Ever since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have been cynically and ironically recruiting the religious right in their war against the Poor - not against Poverty itself. Their "trickle-down" theory meant simply less at the bottom meant more at the top. Trickle down my ass - our current economic straits are a direct by-product of this self-centered corruption which isn't either true conservatism or pure capitalism, just straight up tyranny, monopolizing all the money markets and wiping out individual competition which is supposedly the core of true capitalism in a healthy democracy. It's all a lot of contradictory smoke-screen bull, and the blind faithful can't see they're being manipulated because these smug crooks are waving the Flag and Bibles in their faces, obscuring the truth of their deceptions. By their own definition, Christ, with all of his compassion for the sick and needy and disdain for wealth, was a liberal socialist, and yet they hold him up as a symbol of their "cause." Their very existence in our world embarrasses me as a human being.

Democrats, on the other hand, are hand-wringing cowards wasting their alleged majority bickering amongst themselves, kowtowing to the same Republican voices that got us into this economic mess, and pointlessly equivocating when they should be taking advantage of their historic position and using their temporary power to help the people who gave it to them. No dice. If Democrats don't pass a health care bill with a meaningful public option that keeps private insurance vultures in check, I will have lost all faith in their party, and may never vote for them again. Which leads me only one option - the Independent vote, if the candidate is viable enough. History dictates, make that demands, that Democrats enforce significant, sweeping changes in our system, from finance to health care to foreign policy, given all of the nearly fatal mistakes and crimes of the recent past. If not, they will be rightfully relegated to the political wasteland, the radical right will rise again by default, and any moral, self-corrective strides we may have collectively made with Obama's election will be completely reversed. We'll be right back in the Stone Age. Maybe not forever, but for the rest of our sorry lifetimes, that's for sure.

By and large, Republicans are selfish, arrogant assholes, and Democrats are whiny, ineffectual wimps. Nice choice we're given. Unless and until I start my own party, these are the players I need to hold accountable as a voting citizen of the nation. Of course, I'm not a nationalist, but I have to exist in the world as it is, not how I'd like it to be.
We need more than change we can believe in, we need beliefs we can change in. I'm not sure what the hell that means, but I like the sound of it.

There are a few media voices I concur with - bold, witty socio-political commentators like Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, and I love the films of Michael Moore, who is a true patriot if I ever saw one. Obviously, he truly loves this country and really believes it can be saved from the insidious, amoral powers corrupting our democracy for profit and ideology, if only the citizenry will wake up and smell the gas fumes before the house burns down around them. But these talented talkers don't ultimately wield any true power. That should belong to us, the public they're preaching to. But I'm not so sure it matters who occupies the White House anymore. I am proud Obama is our president because he is intelligent, articulate, compassionate, suave, and best of all, multi-cultural, not common traits for a U.S. president. I don't agree with all of his positions, particularly regarding Afghanistan, at least so far. But he is an enormously positive asset to the zeitgeist, at least as a symbol, and since the president is a figurehead at best, that may be enough to inspire the masses to finally stand up for themselves and demand Congress passes true reform, in all areas of commerce and policy that directly impacts all of our lives. We'll see. But I'm losing hope that the "change" we were promised is ever going to manifest itself enough to truly make a difference. The game may be rigged so deeply, there's no way for us to win.

Obama has been given an unprecedented opportunity to prove a lot us left-leaning cynics wrong. I hope he steps up and makes the most of it. So far, I'm not so sure he'll be able to do that, providing he's even willing to. He's still being too "nice," too friendly with forces that only want to destroy him and everything he stands for (which is not Socialism, give it up already, or at least look it up and see how stupidly, or at least willfully myopic, you're behaving.) To me, Obama represents a true melting pot democracy, where any and all voices can be heard, from across all walks of life. He is the living embodiment of the American Dream, at least as I see it, and I'm a middle-aged white guy. But I'm beginning to worry that even someone with his integrity doesn't stand a chance against the age old Corporate System calling the shots behind the scenes. He's still my favorite president in history, based purely on his personal attributes - but if his agenda and actions don't improve our country, then being Mr. Cool won't matter much in the scheme of things. If President Obama and his party blow it and lose this power we've entrusted them with in the next election cycles, they will deserve the humiliation they will suffer at the fat, sweaty hands of their opposition, who will feel more emboldened than ever to enforce their callously capitalistic, thoughtlessly theocratic vision on the rest of us. I won't gloat, because we're all be victims of this failure. I'll mourn the lost opportunity. And I'll probably lose all faith in our government, so-called democracy and political system forever. Our nation can't afford that type of cynicism, but I do believe a negative sense of defeatism will sweep our electorate unless things change under this administration. Otherwise, what was all the excitement about? If a half black man with education and extraordinary vision, a balanced sense of compassion for all cultures, born in Hawaii with an exotic name, married to a smart sexy wife, boasting two healthy kids and a majority in the Congress can't change or at least effectively challenge the status quo, who can? Too early to entirely give up Hope, but time is ticking away, and I'm losing patience. There are too many scary people out there waiting to step in and take over if this administration fails.

Then we will all truly live in Zombieland, some running, some walking - but none actually going anywhere. Hope may not still be alive in this graveyard of democracy, but it is still Undead. I don't know what the hell that means, either.

Of course, since conservatives believe in slow social change and liberals in quick passage of progressive legislation, my analogy should be reversed. But then, I'm going by what they practice, not what they preach. I'm all for self-reliance, since I've been on my own since age 16. But I also believe in pulling your head out of your own ass once in a while and taking a look at the world you live in. My favorite places are Alameda, Manhattan and Oahu, but it's true - no man is an island. We're all exist in this zombie apocalypse together, whether we like it or not. Compassion means mutual survival of the species. At least that's how I see it.

Now, at age 46, I realize and admit I don't know anything. Not the secret of the Universe or the Meaning of Life, outside of my own life, which for me is my wife and cats. I'm just a failed novelist, a high school dropout from New Jersey, an unemployed lounge lizard who watches too many zombies movies and too much MSNBC. I'm just thinking out loud. What can I do about anything? I can vote, and I can bitch. Big deal. Back to monsters and martinis. Cheers, Will
ps for the record, I prefer slow zombies - easier to kill, but zombies kill all the suspense.