The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

When Greenface Becomes an Art Form: Jason McKinney and the ‘Memoirs of the Living Dead’

When the ZRC goes to conventions I have to answer one question in particular a lot: if you’re with the Zombie Rights Campaign, why aren’t you a Zombie?

I have a number of responses: ‘Why should only Zombies care about Zombie Rights? Do you have to be a member of an oppressed class to support them? If I was a Zombie, would you stand there and talk to me peacefully, or go scrounging for a weapon?’ Etc.

Similarly over the years the ZRC has taken a skeptical view of posing as a Zombie, whether for Halloween or a party or simply a Zombie Walk. When done in the proper spirit, this can be a ‘walk a mile in another man’s shoes’ situation, but often it is merely done to derisively mock the Differently Animated, or pose as a member of that community for some short-sighted personal gain. We call those moments ‘Greenface’.

I think in reading this guest post from Buy Zombie that we have a new Platonic ideal for Greenface, however: an author posing both as a Zombie and as that Zombie’s Living slave during the Zombie Apocalypse. Wow:

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Paul Rierson and I am a zombie. The crib notes about me are that I worked for the Ohio Department of Transportation when I caught the Pelican Flu and died. Then I came back, had a whirlwind of a time and got married a few months later. Also, an undead cat named Charlotte and my personal secretary, Paul Demarti, are my constant companions. Mr. Demarti types my notes and even helped me compile them into a book of sorts, Memoirs of the Walking Dead: A Story from the Zombies Point of View. It is a book about how I survived the flu that killed me. Without Paul, I doubt any of this would’ve been written.

(Scribe’s notations: Anything in parenthesis is my, Paul Demarti, opinion. With that said, damn right this wouldn’t have been written, the undead can’t write worth crap. This fool caught me, pigging out on baked beans at a convenience store during the battle of Toledo and “saved” me by taking me prisoner. Since then it’s been overcooked Spam, freezing showers and chains as far as the eye can see. But seriously, what he has to say may help keep you from being caught like a dummy and being made to write drivel like this.)

Spoiler alert: Neither Paul actually exists; all of this is the demented and rather elaborately fantastical work of one Jason McKinney, who seems to sublimate his frustrations with daily Living life by focusing on a colorful scapegoat in the form of the Differently Animated:

Jason McKinney is a writer and storyteller. A busy husband and father of three, he started writing fiction in his spare time for his wife. He is a former accountant that is now one of the brain damaged undead masses whose sole task is to do as his family instructs. He mindlessly serves everyone from his wife to his oldest daughter’s three gerbils. When not carrying out his indentured servitude or writing, he turns perfectly good military model dioramas into scenes of undead horror. Jason is the author of the zombie comedy, Memoirs of the Walking Dead: A Story from the Zombies Point of View.

So let me get this straight: Jason poses as Paul, editing Zombie Paul, writing about what life as a Zombie must be like. And *cosplayers* are supposed to be bad? What do you even call this? Posing as multiple, recursively interacting fictional people, in order to spread negative stereotypes about the Undead?

And what stereotypes too:

Most zombies prefer (He means him, don’t be fooled.) orange. Orange is that rare human that exercises well and eats right. When you eat right, we eat right. Get it? (Sorry, he loves bad puns.) The reason why we latched onto military personnel in the early days was because they were close, bountiful and delicious!

Blue’s good but the meat isn’t as tender as an orange. These people eat right but need more exercise. Come on guys. Would it kill you to exercise a little bit more? Blue tints are so close to orange that it’s painful to think of what you could’ve been. (What a jerk. That’s all I can say to this.)

Yeesh. Hello in there, Paul? Pauls? We’d like to speak to Sybil, I mean, Jason now.

Yes, ok. Mr. McKinney (assuming you actually exist and aren’t a pen name for Max Brooks or something): you are engaging in savage and unrelenting Greenface, and we, The Zombie Rights Campaign, are here to tell you that it is not cool. Zombies are caring, thinking, feeling beings. They do good works, help their neighbors, lend their likenesses to, say, an ongoing Ebay charity auction to benefit the Red Cross.

A standard Devil’s Advocate response here might be, ‘But this is only fiction! The Zombie Apocalypse obviously hasn’t happened.’ And that would be true, as far as it goes; however, hateful fiction has a nasty way of becoming ingrained prejudice, and forming the justification for oppression and violence. Witches did not, in fact, curse livestock and cause famine, but that didn’t stop centuries of vile cruelty directed at women (and some men) throughout Europe.

That of course is just one example. Like Zombies, many groups of ‘The Other’ have faced persecution down through the ages, everyone from Jews to the Irish to tiny religious sects with slightly unorthodox ideas; all it takes is society to set one group of people apart and declare that *these* are the dangerous ones, the ones who, say, want to eat your children. Maybe today, it’s Zombies who want to eat your children, brains first; not too long ago, it would have been Jews who supposedly wanted to make them into Matzoh.

Can’t we see the pattern of hatred repeating itself in our modern age, with this mass hysteria about the ‘Zombie Apocalypse’? Can’t we admit that fiction which pushes this harmful mythology only contributes to the problem, and harms the innocent Differently Animated, just trying to co-exist peacefully alongside their Living brothers and sisters?

For shame, Mr. McKinney, for doing far more than your part to spread the hate and fear that daily threatens and imperils that very peaceful coexistence. Particular shame on you for using the invented voice of a faux-Zombie to do it.

Update: Upon re-reading, it seems that Mr. McKinney might be a Zombie of some sort, or at least self-identify as one, in which case he’s spreading misinformation about *other* Zombies. If that is the case I don’t even know what to call it, but I would find it a sad situation. From his bio it’s clear that he doesn’t devour his own family, so why write fiction about Zombies as if they all must be savage brain-munching machines?

Clarification would be helpful here.


About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.

Comments

4 Responses to “When Greenface Becomes an Art Form: Jason McKinney and the ‘Memoirs of the Living Dead’”

  1. Hello John,

    Jason McKinney here. Thank you for reading my guest post on Buy Zombie. I follow you on twitter and have thoroughly enjoyed your tweets and this article. If you would like to I would love to talk to you further. Please feel free to contact me if you would like!

    Thank you,
    Jason McKinney

  2. John Sears says:

    To be honest that’s not the sort of response I was expecting, but I shall surely do just that, if for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity about a few things. I want to support Zombie-authored fiction, naturally, but if it spreads harmful stereotypes about Zombies then it puts the ZRC in such an awkward position. Doubly so since our staff is largely Living. Well, two Living people and one Academic. I’m not sure if Historians are another class of the Differently Animated.

  3. Great, I look forward to it! Please feel free to email me at your leisure. I’m excited about discussing zombie rights with you.

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