Friday, October 10, 2008

An Apology for Our Insensitivity

So I am back from Nevada and the trip was amazing. I will give a massive update on the weekend as i procrastinate thesis work. Until then, let me tide you over with a Quest (Reed college newspaper) written by your truly (and an anonymous contributor) back in '06. This piece originates from a small scandle that was centered around me and the others at the Cool Ass Shirt Kollective after my vision of creating 'Gay Zombies Love Man Meat' shirts was realized. While there was a direct response to the criticisms made by Oren Elrad the president of CASK, I thought that the attacks on the shirt had a valid point, and below is my apology.

We at the Cool Ass Shirt Kollective [CASK] would like to extend a formal apology for any offense that our most recent shirt might have caused you. Upon further consideration, the slogan written upon said shirt, "Gay Zombies Love Man-Meat," was indeed insensitive and did not adequately consider the complex issues that surround depictions of this group in our modern world. Future shirts will be suitably altered to reflect our error, but for now we would like to use the rest of the space provided to convey to you all that the CASK understands the unique challenges that you, the Zombies, face today.

While most people can go through their lives confident that they will be treated fairly and as equals in academia and in the workplace, Zombies cannot. And though none of the members of CASK can count themselves amongst the ranks of the walking dead, we understand how difficult it must be to be a Zombie in day to day life. Though none of us have ever had to face down the indignity of being repeatedly shot by a 12-gauge double-barreled Remington shotgun with a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger, (Available exclusively from S-Mart for 109.95: Shop Smart, Shop S-Mart) while trying to enter the grocery store, you can rest assured that whenever someone unloads buckshot into you, your bullet holes will wound our spirits just as they do your decaying flesh. Sure, we can all take for granted that we can nod our heads in agreement without worry of one of our eyes falling out, but nonetheless we understand your dilemma and will always be there to lend an eyepatch or pair of sunglasses, whichever better matches the mangled rags you're wearing. And we'd be fools to think that the dietary restrictions some of Jewish or Vegan members abide by could even hold a candle to the difficulties of finding a steady supply of tender human flesh. And perhaps more trivially, we can understand how frustrating it must be to shop for a deodorant that adequately masks the overpowering stench of death. We suggest "Ocean Surf," or for the ladies amongst you, "Lilac Breeze," although we remind you that your unique aroma is as God, your thesis advisor, or whatever Voodoo curse or genetically engineered plague made you and that you should bear it with pride.

It is all too easy to focus on the struggles Zombies face while ignoring the lessons that we can learn from them. When we first penned "Gay Zombies Love Man-Meat," we intended it as an Unlife-affirming reminder of one of the passions of the Zombie community. It is clear from the furor that has resulted that this slogan, though certainly true, failed to convey the flexibility and open-mindedness of the shambling dead. Most people will go through life shackled with the ability to love only one type of meat, cruelly prevented by their instincts and cultural traditions from exploring the pleasures that the other type might provide. Zombies, on the other hand, have broken free of the bonds of gender and have embraced a pan-cannibalistic world view that treats ALL humans as equally savory. And so while it is true that "Gay Zombies Love Man-Meat," to ignore their love of Woman-Meat does a great disservice to their enlightened culture of equality. Perhaps a better shirt would have borne the slogan "All Zombies Love All Meat," but alas, hindsight is always 20-20.

When asked about the shirt, recently made thesis zombie, Michael Salk responded, tersely, “Braaaaaaains [sic]” showing obvious offence at the lack of intellectual credit attributed to those of the `differently living', and the living-centric, over-rationalized discourse of hegemonic phallogo-materialism.

We at CASK dream of future where such misunderstandings never happen and humans and Zombies can live in peaceful coexistence. And though our present society has yet to cast away its prejudices like the medieval relics that they are, you can always count on us to think of you not as unholy, disgusting monsters but rather as unholy, disgusting friends. So the next time you're swarming out of a small town graveyard or being shipped to Iraq so we can get out before the midterm elections, think of us at CASK and know that we're on your side. True, as you lamented, "PC" may be dead at Reed. We can only hope that our words will pave the way to a Reed College where death is seen as just another way of living.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I just injured something laughing. Congratulations.