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Showing posts from May 2, 2021


      Hommage to Aretha F.  Zombies don’t seem to shit. And they are absolutely null as lovers. In my cosmos of pop horror, we have, at the top, the aristocratic vampire, then way down in the middle manager region, the serial killer, masked or unmasked, and finally, at the bottom, the lumpen prole zombie. Of course, the zombie originally had some dignity, some whiff of the escaped slave, the marooned undead, but that was before it became a mere target, as dramatically interesting as a dartboard.   The most interesting thing about the current takeover of pop culture by the zombie is: how it represents a certain despair about freedom. Freedom, which was so important in the Cold War that nuclear missiles were built to defend one or another conception of it. In other words, freedom was so important that human beings, or certain of them, were willing to extinguish the human race for the sake of it. The missiles are still there. They exist, now, at the periphery, in their cobwebs

people are good

  Randall Jarrell’s The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner begins with these definitive two lines: “From my mother’s sleep I fell into the state And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.”   All of the Cold War’s children were not tail gunners or on bombing crews, but we all experienced the belly of the state. My corner of the belly was Clarkston, Georgia, where we moved when I was ten. Clarkston was a minor real estate speculation built around a sleepy Southern ville, experiencing the Atlanta Metro boom of the 1960s, as Northerners moved South and Southern natives moved into the metro area, or the metro area overtook them. In 1973, I was in   9 th grade English, and was absorbing, with all my classmates, a Cold war curriculum that was heavy on novels like Lord of the Flies and short stories like “the Lottery”. A student from pre-World War II days might have been a bit surprised by this reading list. Why these seemingly dark tales? One factor, I think, was the center-rig