Friday, May 13, 2011

Zombies, A Question of Ethics? Or Maybe Political Paranoia

I had a good time writing a post the other day on Zombie Awareness Month. There’s a political angle to it too with “Zombie aficionados” occasionally suggesting that the Zombie take-over may have already occurred in politics. I have to admit that it would certainly explain a lot of things here and around the world.

But this is about something else, though related.

I also wrote a blogpost a couple of weeks ago expressing outrage over a Southern California Republican party official, Marilyn Davenport, who e-mailed a decidedly unflattering and racist (at least by “liberal” consensus) photograph of Pres. Obama as simian to friends and Republican colleagues and claimed that it was innocent humor. You remember the photo, right? Here it is again:

So what’s the connection here? Well, my slightly demented brain suggested to me that zombies and politics might be related. (Wouldn’t that be a more than plausible explanation for the “Tea Baggers”?)

So I thought to myself, “Self, maybe there’s some faked zombie pictures out there of politicians. Wouldn’t it be funny to find a zombie photo of Sarah Palin?” (See, I talk to myself when I try to write).

And guess what, there are a bunch of zombie photos of Sarah Palin. And maybe it’s my liberal side coming out but I didn’t think that they were as “mean-spirited” or racially themed as the zombie photos of Barak Obama (are you surprised at all that there are zombie photos of Obama? Naw, I didn’t think you’d be surprised). And hell, there are even Osama Bin Laden zombie photos.

So I pulled one off Google Images and inserted it into my blogpost. It wasn’t the most ghoulish but it satisfied my inner smartass. Here’s the photo:

I thought it was really funny—especially located just after a Zombie Uncle Sam photo.

And then I got to thinking (contrary to what my wife or employer would say, yes indeed, I do think occasionally).

I thought, “wait a minute here Walt, you were outraged over a photo showing Obama as a simian. Isn’t this the same thing? Does it make a difference that you respect Obama and don’t respect Palin? Hmmmm?”

And I thought again, “who gives a rat’s behind, this is freedom of expression and humor or satire.” So I dropped the photo into my blogpost, giggling to myself as I did it. “I’m so clever; this is funny,” I thought to myself.

And then another thought crossed my mind which created a scenario compelling enough to convince me to eliminate the Sarah Palin zombie picture. I thought to myself, “Self, this person is a politician probably running for President. She’s a ‘whacko’. You could end up like this:”

This was because the last piece of “art” was a poster which said this:

“Self, Palin is enough of a whacko that this could easily be considered as a threat or a suggestion that someone shoot her in the head to destroy her brain. She’s a (shudder to think of it) ‘national political figure’. You could be detained, interrogated and arrested.” I got images of waterboarding and Guantanamo. I saw myself being questioned by Lenny and Green until I confessed—confessed to what I don’t know.

So, I pulled it out of the post. I found a “poster” of Obama, Biden, McCain and Palin as zombies. Hooray for me! Equal opportunity Zombies!

OK, so now I know. The “simian” photo of Obama was offensive. Arguably the zombie photo of Palin is offensive too (as are zombie photos of Obama). But, a zombie photo of Obama, Biden, McCain and Palin…now that’s funny. And it’s different from the others. That’s poking fun at politicians and the process not at the individual. I’m glad I found it.

Self-censorship is one thing. Censorship because you’re worried that the FBI or Secret Service might come and break down your door is something else. It’s a bit scary. And, even though I call Palin a whacko, there are enough super whacky-whackos out there that some idiot might have taken it literally. And that’s doubly scary.