David Simon on The Walking Dead . . . And Newtown

David Simon, the writer and creator behind The WireTreme, and Generation Kill, tries to tackle the tragic Newtown slayings in a post at his blog. There’s a lot of anger in the piece—rightfully so—but I find Simon’s most convincing paragraph to be the following passage, where he breaks down the fear fantasy that drives the ideology behind The Walking Dead:

On television the other evening, I caught a glimpse of a drama in which some future America was overrun by zombies, a thrilling narrative in which survivors could only rely on force of arms to keep the unthinking, unfeeling hordes at bay.  And I realized:  This isn’t mere entertainment, it’s national consensus.  More than that, it’s a well-executed and starkly visual rendering of the collective fear that governs us.  We know that they’re out there:  The less human.  The poor.  The godless.  The frightening other. And they want what we have, they are going to take what we have, and they understand nothing save for a well-placed bullet.  It’s my understanding that the show I encountered is quite popular; in this America, it may even be called populist in its argument — a morality tale that speaks to why we must arm ourselves, and carry those guns with us, and stand our fucking ground; it declares that we can’t rely on collective, utilitarian will to achieve a safe and viable society, that government by the people and for the people is, at this point, an empty catchphrase for fools and weaklings.  No, our future is every man for himself, and a gun in every outstretched hand, and if a classroom of six and seven year olds is the requisite cost every now and then, so be it.

5 thoughts on “David Simon on The Walking Dead . . . And Newtown”

  1. What’s funny is that, according to a few, the six and seven year olds mentioned here are not collateral damage, or the cost of an idea — they’re a consequence of our country not being armed enough. Apparently, some folks think that if everyone were armed, we’d have less gun violence, assuming of course that when someone bursts into a school, for instance, that a teacher, because she has a Desert Eagle in her desk can 1) compose herself and move the kids to safety, 2) grab her pistol, and 3) place 1-3 shots center mass on the gunman, without, of course, harming any of the children with stray bullets. The real fantasy presented by the movies and television is that any well-intentioned person with a gun can fire it with expert skill.


  2. Bullets are, after all, evil-seeking devices that never, ever hit unintended targets and if the sky were filled with them, peace and freedom would reign supreme. There would be nothing but security for all and double rainbows (but not the gay kind) for all eternity.

    Thank you for this post. I hope more people hear this message.


  3. Just as 1950s sci-fi movies are based on a fear of Communism, zombie movies are about our fear of the dispossessed. Dawn of the Dead expressed this perfectly, with the privileged survivors holed up in a mall, and the zombie hordes trying to break in.


Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.