Zombie Cliche Lookout: Carrying On
There’s talking a little trash to psyche out your enemy or to boost yourself up a bit, and then there’s just completely loosing your cool and carrying on like a crazy person. The former tends to be something done by the heroes, and only occasionally. The latter, well, that’s typically something only your less stable characters are going to do.
One of the big problems with losing your cool, especially in a zombie apocalypse, is that you tend to lose your ability to take in the full picture. That tunnel vision can mean that you completely fail to notice the zombie creeping up on you from behind, or that you’ve just fired your last round, or that your only route of escape is about to be cut off. Instead, you fixate on whatever is making you mad and attack, without a care in the world for how it affects your survival.
About this Episode:
I’m still having a good time with the dialog here. I wanted Clark to be getting close to a temper tantrum, so the insults would stay childish and uninspired. They do, however, reveal that Clark is at least somewhat aware of what is going on in the world, but I guess when zombies are constantly trying to eat you, you’ve got to piece together the facts sooner or later.
Or, you know, get eaten. Either way.
Discussion Question: Okay to Kill?
I’ve heard it said before that zombies represent possibly the greatest bad guy in video games because of one simply fact: it’s perfectly ethical to kill them (Nazis, by the way, seem to occupy the same space). Leaving aside all the creepy aspects of ranking a thing by how okay it is to kill it, what do you think of this premise? I could see the argument for Romero-style undead shamblers, but can you apply the same to infected living people? Video games like to keep things fresh and interesting, but how do they make it “okay to kill zombies” if the zombie could potentially (granted that it’s highly unlikely) revived or cured?
woh, pottymouth, but i sometimes do that to when im really pissed off
When I’m mad, I generally spew out a constant stream of foul language. It’s like waves crashing on the shore of a beach: just a constant background noise when I’m angry.
dont we all?
I suppose right about now someone is going to pull into his camp and remind him of just how close he came to dying out there! 😀
Quite possible. He is running a lot of risks right now, and could use a bit of a reminder.
If the society structure has broken down so no police/ military than anything or anyone that threatens me and my family’s well being it has to die. It does not matter that is living, dead, infected or anything in between.
As a question of life or death survival, yeah, there’s absolutely no question.
However, a lot of people like watching zombie flicks for all the zombie kills (e.g. The Zombie Kill of the Week in Zombieland). That’s more of what I’m talking about here. Is there a point where that gets a little weird and morbid, especially when you have infected people versus the walking dead?
I think it can continue to desensitize one to violence, certainly. Consider it part of a cascade, like an addiction. At first, “Sure, it’s ok, it’s just a zombie/Nazi (or better, a Zombie Nazi, like Dead Sno), then it move up a little to other “bad guys” like Backhawk Down; but before you know it, you’re watching movies with extreme violence against innocents like Hunger Games or even torture porn like the Saw movies.
Call me a hard-assed puritan, but I take that slippery slope very seriously; and consider where I am on that progression all the time. I hate violence for its own sake, even in my “entertainment”. No spatter-fests, extraneous gore, torture, or murder for its own sake for me- go to draw the line somewhere.
I think there’s a veneer of non-realism when it comes to zombie violence. When you see characters attacking zombies as a means to survival, that’s on thing, but when they do it for fun, it becomes something a little different.
There’s a notion that zombies, being already dead, are fair game, but some movies and stories can take it in extremely creepy directions.
The desensitizing thing is my concern as well, and you’ve got some great examples here, Blackhawk Down especially. One the one hand, it’s a story of survival in extreme circumstances, but in another it’s a story of an underdog taking on the most powerful military force in the world because they’re in the underdog’s backyard. It’s it tough film to watch.
If you talk about entertainment industry then you vote with your wallets. You don’t want SAW like films don’t pay for it so then won’t be produced. That’s it. Until there is enough people to pay the tickets for any garbage garbage will be produced. And we will see the Garbage 2 Garbage 3 Garbage the prequel and so on. There are people who like senseless violence in movies so will be senseless violence with lot of gore. The problem is even in the rating system in a movie you can see people killed before you can see a nipple.
Very true, of course you can only control your own wallet and there’s no accounting for taste.
I pretty much staked my stance on that issue last time, but to elaborate:
If it’s a matter of survival, I’ll do whatever it takes to protect myself and my loved ones from whatever is threatening us, be it a wild animal, a zombie, an infected human, a burglar, a druggie high on something, etc.
At the same time, just as I won’t actively go out and kill a wild animal (unless I needed to for some reason like food), I wouldn’t hunt down and kill infected people just for the hell of it, especially if there’s a chance they could be cured and rehabilitated; there’s no moral or ethical reason to do so, even if they were between me and somewhere I needed to be. If that were the case I’d find another way to get to my destination, either via an alternate route or by drawing them away somehow.
Now, if it were a group of undead zombies in the way, heh, all bets are off and I’m going gangbusters on them because why not? They’re unnatural abominations, might as well do my part to restore the natural order, right?
Well said Darg, this is very similar to my thinking as well.
I find it highly distasteful that the Nazi argument would get dragged into BotD. Whether it is ethical, legal, or even allowable to kill Nazis (zombiefied or otherwise) is not the point, that is a piece of history that has run it’s course, and should be steered well clear of. Even comparing them to zombies is really out of the question for me, analogies are one thing, but the risks you take by mentioning them far outweigh any possible benefit such an analogy could have.
If something or someone comes between you and your loved ones you really have to make a decision as to whether you’re going to kill them or just injure them so they can’t move, basically make your own means of dealing with the threat. Most situations would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, I’m sure most of us here would decide on what course of action they would want to take when such situations arise, myself included. That aside, one needs to keep themselves well-informed and alert for potential problems, and things should go relatively well. 😉
I’m really not seeing what’s distasteful here. I mention Nazis because they seem to occupy the seam space in video games as zombies: easy fodder that doesn’t start arguments.
Take a look at some other enemies in video games, for instance, infected villagers in Resident Evil 5. You could make the argument that they are zombie-like, but they weren’t explicitly zombies, and there was a big argument about how ethical it was to be killing them.
When killing is a part of your game, you have to tread a fine line. Zombies are already dead, so it’s not a problem. Monsters, like goblins and trolls are okay too because there’s no real-world analog for them.
That’s all I was say, and wasn’t comparing Nazis to zombies in any other way.
What’s distasteful here is anything at all to do with the Nazis, even just mentioning them nowadays puts me right off even considering buying a game that uses them as some excuse for not properly developing a character that actually fits into a game. I rarely consider buying new games due to the fact that some of them seem to think it’s funny to poke fun at war crimes such as Hitler and his Nazi Germany. I find no fun at all in any such game. I’d prefer games that had original and properly fictional characters that suit their intended purposes. So is it any wonder that now BotD is off-putting to me as well? The only thing that keeps me coming back here is the fact that you keep updating the webcomic, if it goes too far into some subjects, that may just put me off checking back! 😀
So the simple mention of Nazis is offensive to you? I’m sorry, but I’m honestly not sure how you want me to respond to that.
I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that the Second World War was the most significant event of the modern era, and it’s effects are still being felt to this day. The antagonists of this war have pervaded our culture, and yes, popular culture as well.
When there is an apt comparison to make, as I believe there is when it comes to zombie and Nazis both being considered “ethically killable” in movies and games, then I’m going to make it because I believe it adds to the discussion.
I’m not glorifying anything they did, not am I making light. I am simply showing their position in popular culture relative to zombies, because I find it interesting.
If I lose a reader over something like that, well, that’s unfortunate.
It’s never “OK” to kill. Sometimes one has to do it, or be killed; but I don’t want to get in the position where it’s “OK”. My take on it is that force is sometimes necessary; but it is not appropriate to initiate it, to become the aggressor. Force in self-defense, in defense of life, liberty, and property (in the Jeffersonian sense) against any thing, be it animal, person, government, or corporation, is appropriate from a purely theoretical and intellectual perspective.
To say that it is appropriate does not abrogate one of the consequences of said action. Many times it’s better to take alternative action, to retreat, to outflank, or to outwit your adversary; but when the situation calls for force, it must be swift, brutal, and overpowering, leaving no opportunity for counterattack.
I can’t draw parallels to video games, because I do not play any such realistic examples. I deal mostly in hypotheticals and real-life examples pulled from the news, home invasions, attempted kidnappings, drug war bystanders, etc. that create an impetus for training and preparedness.
I used to train with a combat veteran who had this to say on the subject: “You can sit around talking about it all you want, until the Tongan Crips [a local street gang- Bo] kick down your door and shoot you in the face.”
My point is, it’s good to have these thought experiments now, so you can move passed it and get to the preparations for it. I’ve already made my decision.
Well said, Bo, well said.
Caught up the last few episodes. Omg he’s a bad ass!!! I want to see Clark and Dad-Ass is a cage match.
Clark is far and away my favorite survivor, thus far. The interesting point, to me, about Clark is that he’d rather be on his own than with people that he considers useless.
That’s another good question: We’ve established that we need to associate with others to increase our chances for survival; but at what point is it easier to jettison them than to stick around? I mean, Clark wasn’t gonna remain with our intrepid band. Would you have; or would you have risked going on your own?
To my mind, I think it speaks to a fundamental character flaw in Clark. He thinks he’s better on his own, and that other people are going to slow him down and potentially get him killed. There’s an incredible amount of narcissism there, but there’s also the possibility of a difficulty with forming relationships with people.
I agree here. I know humans can survive on thier own but we are pack animals and do better in groups. I’d like to see Clark live on the fringe of one of the groups we’ve got going.
If you watch shows like Survivorman where someone is on their own in the wilderness, that loneliness is one of their biggest issues. We are social creatures, and not having anyone else around is a huge stress factor.
Clark may think he’s better off on his own, but that just nearly got him killed – and he’s not out of it yet. I believe in strength in numbers, but at an absolute minimum you want a partner so you can sleep in shifts.
Hah, Clark versus the Colonel. Two men enter, one man leave.
Well, I think there are a lot of factors which can justify killing zombies. When they’re undead, as has been said, it’s generally fine, but when they are infected there are still more arguments. Kill or be killed, and the extension of that to loved ones or other people in your group, is generally reasonable. And there is the argument that they can’t be brought back. If they do actually get to the point of being in the state where the infection is keeping them alive, then the argument basically shifts back to the dead one. And sometimes the cure just wouldn’t be feasible. In a clearly-not-zombie film I once didn’t watch but read several articles on anyway, a single drop of clearly-not-zombie blood can infect someone; in order to cure somebody they would have to be completely drained of blood and given an entire person’s worth of blood transfusion, all without killing them. Again, a reasonable part of the argument. If there is no chance of returning them to a healthy state and they have an inherent desire to eat you alive, I think we may be able to justify killing them. If there is no chance, however, we must rely on the rules of self-defence. In this case, I think things such as clearing an area of zombies might not be justified, but killing the smallest amount possible for self defence could easily be argued as such. There is still the natural problem with uncertainty though. How does one even know whether there could be a cure? I mean, you may be able to rule it out with enough rotting and damage, but uncertainty is very easy in some cases.
The uncertainty thing is the key, I believe, to the non-undead zombies. How can you know they won’t just get over it, or that the CDC isn’t putting the final touches on a cure, or something like that?
Conversely, is it worth taking any additional risk because they might be able to be cured? Should you avoid and sneak around, leaving dangerous zombies behind you, rather than taking them out?
Just checking, you are talking about 28 Days, right? You think you’d need to give someone an entire blood transfusion to cure them? Where the hell do you get that from? You realise that if you have a cold, then all of your blood is infectious? We don’t cure diseases by physically removing the infectant from the body, we kill the bacteria where they are. In many cases the body will do this by itself. We most certainly do not go around exsanguinating people!
dont brag to the zombie clark
Seems like poor form, doesn’t it?
Let’s see if I can gather all of my thoughts. Many valid points have gotten brought up already.
Okay to kill….
In regards to zomibes. If they’re undead Romero style. Then yes. It’s a matter of survival to stay among the living and not get eaten or torn to pieces by the shambling horde.
If they’re infected, killing is going to be determined by self defense and not knowing what’s being dealt with at first. If it’s understood they’re infected… if there’s a chance for a cure, do like Hershell and round them up. If there’s no cure… this one gets tough. I’d do in terms of mercy deaths, not having gone mad dog and enjoying it because somehow this has become a real life video game or movie.
Someone’s spoken before about the mentality of the zombie flicks and how it seems or appears to endorse that it’s suddenly okay to start killing your neighbors and every man for themselves.
I really like your bringing up mercy deaths here. Does euthanasia have a role to play here? Excellent thoughts, Fox!
i see some blood on the knife, anyone else seeing this?
In the third panel?
Yeah, it kind of does look like that.
It’s just a happy trick of the light though. I didn’t add any blood.
Remember that mathematical study I posted a few months back, the Canadian one, I think? It stated by mathematical model that the only way to survive a zombie outbreak is to go on the offensive, to wipe them out utterly. If you don’t go out like it’s open season with a no-bag limit, eventually the zombies will overwhelm and overrun. In the case of zombies, whether plague or undead, it’s got to be a proactive self-defense. It’s not a war of aggression at that point. It’s not like invading Sudan to stop genocide or some such “noble venture”. It’s purely nipping the threat in the bud.
Unfortunately, real life isn’t like that; and since I like to use zombies as symbols for other SHTF events, i bears consideration. You can’t go around killing biker gangs or drug dealers before they take over your town, at least not yet; but one must be prepared for a little Old Testament justice in the event of a WCS. In a total collapse, someone stealing a horse or a chicken can very well meant the difference between life and death.
That’s what I always think about when people say that zombie would be quickly contained. No they wouldn’t. People wouldn’t just start shooting them in the head, it would get out of hand before most people got to that point.
It really wouldn’t, if you’re talking about a single point of origin. We’ve got over a hundred years of research on how diseases work, and if you’re talking about bitey zombies, that would spread slowly. Sure people wouldn’t shoot them in the head immediately, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t wait until the entire city was infected either.
your Canadian? I didn’t know that.
He’s referring to the study, I’m pretty sure Bo hails from Utah.
Utah is the 2nd dryest state in the U.S. i dont think that this is the greatest place in the world to visit, were lucky if we get rain every other week, sometimes month
My favorite LEGO knife!!!
I just love how ridiculous Rambo’s knives are, especially in the second film.
i like knives, i go out and throw them at an old matress in my garage, i usually hit the head, mostly the stomach.
I’ve always kind of wanted to buy a cheap throwing knife, just to play around with, but it just seems like a waste of money.
they sell some knives at Wal-mart for a dollar, its dull but it can get you places.
Do they? I can’t think of the last time I’ve been in a Wal-Mart. There aren’t too many around here.
i thought that there was tons of Wal-Marts in Michigan.
There are, but not where I’m living (at least as far as I know). It’s mostly Meijer (like Wal-Mart, but a Michigan-based chain) and Target.
theres no “Mejier” around in Utah, mostly Wal-mart and Maceys
the top and middle ayway
Of the mattress?
yea, i go outside and throw knives every day, its pretty fun, but i’m doing it for the survival of the zombie Apocalypse mostly.
It does sound like a good time.
my brother is REALLY good at throwing knives, he helped me out, but a real zombie is going to be tons harder to hit, and i’m not very good with mot firearms, i missed 4/5 targets at Scout Camp
I think throwing knives would be a “for fun only” sort of activity. They’re really not going to be much good as an actual weapon, especially against zombies (no way there’s enough velocity and mass to pierce the skull and scramble the brains).
I lump them in with nunchucks: cool but useless.
ask everyone in The Hunger Games who was killed by Clove.
I suppose, but those were living people who could die of things like blood loss or infection. Zombies require a much more specific means of dispatch.
they would disagree
Why is it OK to kill zombies? Because they want to eat me. I would consider lethal force justified against a normal human who wanted to kill and eat me, and the same goes for zombies.
Maybe there’s a cure? Maybe there isn’t. You could possibly “cure” a cannibal with the right therapy, but that doesn’t make him any less of a clear and present danger. I’m not going to risk my life and the lives of my group on the possibility that someone may come up with a cure. If I knew of a cure, it would be different, of course but unless I know for a fact there’s a cure it’s not worth the risk.