Tuesday, August 18, 2009


. Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Daniel Drezner views the oncoming zombie assault through the lens of IR theory, and hits all the high points. (Be sure to check out the comments where Charli applies the full feminist treatment to challenge prevailing attitudes towards zombies.) I think he gets neoconservatism wrong, however. In this case, the neocons are the zombies, and the local populations are human. The zombies think that a sudden, massive onslaught will start a "Big Bang" process from which humans never recover. Here the zombies have miscalculated; one thing that's clear from all zombie movies is that once the initial "shock and awe" of zombie attacks wears off, the humans always win through some combination of cunning, epiphany, local knowledge, and brute force.

Drezner has also neglected another possibility: the effective colonization and enslavement of the zombie populations. Drezner cites Shaun of the Dead in his discussion of constructivism, but misses the main part. Most movies end as the tide has turned back to the humans, but Shaun of the Dead doesn't, instead envisioning a world in which zombified versions of loved ones are kept around as objects for human amusement. They are practically pets, and are certainly enslaved (often in cages, but sometimes by chains) and exploited for their entertainment value. They are treated subhumanly, but that's pretty much okay because they are subhuman.

In this way, a human/zombie war could only be resolved by an imperial imposition of human will onto zombie populations. It will be easy to galvanize public support for this; after all, zombies actually are the "other" that nationalists often conjure to attract support for their policies. What will be interesting is whether society stays segregated, or if zombies gain more and more social access over time. Could a Zombie Rights Movement gain any traction? Would this resemble the human/mutant struggles in the X-Men comics (unlikely, since mutants are stronger than humans but zombies are weaker)?

Clearly more theorizing is needed. And has no one considered the possibility that aliens have used their superior technology to create the zombies that we're fighting? Perhaps we shouldn't cast Wendt aside just yet.


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