The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

Minneapolis Confirms Right to Dress As a Zombie; Is There a Right to BE a Zombie?

This story is shocking and appalling on multiple levels:

A
few years ago, a group of people dressed up as zombies for a protest march and got arrested for it.

When arrested at the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and 6th Street N., most of them had thick white powder and fake blood on their faces and dark makeup around their eyes. They were walking in a stiff, lurching fashion and carrying four bags of sound equipment to amplify music from an iPod when they were arrested by police who said they were carrying equipment that simulated “weapons of mass destruction.”

The Zombie Rights Campaign is appalled by this story for several reasons. First, we have the police, accosting people for merely looking like Zombies. What an egregious violation of civil liberties! I have to ask Minneapolis: would you arrest people for being part of some other minority group, or merely even APPEARING to be part of such a group? Could you arrest a gaggle of pedestrians with an iPod for looking too Italian, too Jewish, too Gay?

I think the answer is obvious. This was, in short, an attempt at state oppression of the Differently Animated that misfired upon them and instead affected Living people merely costumed as Zombies.

So what of these ‘protestors’? Were they dressed as their Undead brethren as a show of solidarity, or a protest against what is obviously an anti-Zombie police state in Minneapolis?

No. They were protesting ‘consumerism‘:

The four men and three women, all of whom lived in the Twin Cities at the time, were playing the role of zombies to illustrate their belief that people buy and rely on new products “as a replacement for real interaction,” said Rechitsky.

They were making their zombielike way along Nicollet Mall around 7 p.m. when police told them to turn down their music and keep a distance from bystanders. Later, on Hennepin Avenue, a young girl with her father became frightened by the lurching zombies, according to court records.

Police asked for the zombies’ identification, and when most said they had none on them, they were told they would be detained.

Seriously? Zombies-as-Mindless-Consumers?

Ok, listen. If you’re going to protest consumerism in the name of real interpersonal interaction, it might behoove you not to cosplay as outmoded stereotypes from a commercial film put out over twenty years ago. That’s not just derivative and lame, it’s profoundly lazy. Couldn’t they come up with their own way to put a spin on this message, something original?

Apparently not. Apparently their well of creativity was so dry these anti-consumer protestors decided to ape Romero zombies. Hey, folks, you know what Romero did with his movies?

He sold them. For MONEY. To CONSUMERS.

*dun dun DUN*

Yeesh.

Then we have the spectacle of police demanding the papers of people on the street merely on the appearance of Zombiism. Much has been made of SB 1070, the Arizona Immigration law that allows, nay compels, police officers to harass Hispanic members of the Arizona community for THEIR papers. Yet here we have an example of how Zombies face identical persecution without media coverage and sympathy, and have done so for years. Where is the CNN special on Zombies in America, I wonder?

At least we can rely on the sharp-witted and non-judgmental community of the science blogosphere to support Zombies in the face of this rampant persecution, right, PZ Myers?

I know. We’re all on edge with the imminent threat of the zombie apocalypse, and it’s perhaps understandable that a police force under constant siege by the undead might be a little overzealous at the sight of live people simulating zombiehood, but still…we have laws, and the police should abide by them. Minnesota courts agree, and the seven fake zombies have been awarded $165,000 for their unjustifiable arrest.

Now, on to the pressing and important questions: are the police required to read their Miranda rights to real zombies before shooting them in the head?

Et tu, PZ?

Repeat after me, normally-staunch-empiricist: There is no Zombie apocalypse. Zombies are people too. Of COURSE police should be required to read them Miranda warnings, but not in the course of summary executions! What kind of perverse logic is that, even for a (deeply offensive) joke?

Maybe Myers would be more concerned if his own much-maligned minority group, Atheists, were the ones in the crosshairs.

Literally; Zombies are usually in somebody’s crosshairs. We have a very violent, anti-Zombie, gun-loving society here.

This has been one of those stories that has no heroes, only villains and the tragically misguided. From reporters and bloggers like Myers looking to mine a sensationalist story, to protestors bereft of empathy and creativity, to police officers puffed up with arrogance and authority abusing the constitutional rights of anyone who looks even slightly Undead, we have our pick of anti-Zombie antagonists.

Opposing them is our small but vibrant pro-Zombie community, of which the ZRC is proud to be a leading example. We pledge to continue this work on your behalf until the proud day comes when Zombies marching down a Minneapolis street isn’t just allowed, or tolerated, as political protest; it’s just another ordinary Minnesota day.


About The Author

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

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