Another day, another "Fox News 'experts' hate and fear everything that is fun and good" report. The target of its ire today, courtesy of regular Fox editorialist Dr. Manny Alvarez: The Walking Dead. Well, The Walking Dead, zombies in general, socialized health care, and video games, but mostly zombies.
To set the stage for you: He has previously honestly speculated that doctors will be replaced by robots under the Affordable Care Act, and, among other things, has written about spontaneous human combustion and brain-eating amoebas. So that's what we're working with here, people.
"Is The Walking Dead seriously hurting American society?" Dr. Manny wonders. His answer to that, of course, is an emphatic yes:
Hate me all you want, or call me paranoid and misinformed, but there is one common theme that is pervasive in American pop culture today: violence. Even more specifically, zombie violence. The idea of a zombie-infested world inspires fantasies of monsters possessed by an uncontrollable rage to kill, and viewers get a thrill imagining what it would be like to participate in this new world order.
New world order, you say? That settles it, zombies are a construct of the Illuminati; Daryl Dixon is a Lizard Person.
He also goes on to partake in the obligatory video game bashing, claiming studies have shown video games desensitize children to violence (but not citing those studies, naturally), and lashes out about themed 5k obstacle course "Run for Your Life" and the CDC's tongue-in-cheek Zombie Apocalypse guide (which Alvarez erroneously credited to NIH):
Now, it seems that zombies on television are part of our daily routine. The obsession also permeates into other facets of our lives, such as with so-called Zombie Runs, in which people dressed as zombies chase other “civilians” to make them run faster towards the finish line. Even scientists at the National Institutes of Health have spent time creating an apocalyptic how-to guide on dealing with a zombie outbreak.
Give me a break. As a doctor and scientist, I know one thing for sure: When you’re dead, you’re dead.
It's fairly clear Dr. Manny may be a "doctor and scientist", but he certainly doesn't understand a bit of fun, nor the cyclical nature of pop culture, particularly the history of horror, and how trends in the genre have always come in and out of vogue and been dictated by cultural zeitgeist.
Now, he does bring up a good point, in that he says we should be more focused on "harnessing the tools that we need in order to enhance our lives, whether it be music, education, science or the classics," with which I think anyone would fully agree.
But then he undermines his own dubious credibility by turning it into a rant about socialized health care and essentially stating that anyone who cares about zombies is a mindless sheep:
With this country heading towards a socialized system of government, in which officials don’t want you to think or focus on what is important for your own personal growth, I’m sure they’re more than happy to let you obsess over something as stupid as zombies.
You hear that, guys? We're all mindless sheep and heading toward psychosis. Well, okay, he may have a point about Carl Grimes. Regardless, I hope you've enjoyed your unintentionally hilarious read of the day. I know I sure did.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.