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Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism

Second Edition

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Henry A. Giroux

In the second edition of Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism, Henry A. Giroux uses the metaphor of the zombie to highlight how America has embraced a machinery of social and civil death that chills any vestige of a robust democracy. He charts the various ways in which the political, corporate, and intellectual zombies that rule America embrace death-dealing institutions such as a bloated military, the punishing state, a form of predatory capitalism, and an authoritarian, death-driven set of policies that sanction torture, targeted assassinations, and a permanent war psychology. The author argues that government and corporate paranoia runs deep in America. While maintaining a massive security state, the ruling forces promote the internalization of their ideology, modes of governance, and policies by either seducing citizens with the decadent pleasures of a celebrity-loving consumer culture or by beating them into submission. Giroux calls for a systemic alternative to zombie capitalism through a political and pedagogical imperative to address and inform a new cultural vision, mode of individual subjectivity, and understanding of critical agency. As part of a larger effort to build a broad-based social movement, he argues for a new political language capable of placing education at the center of politics. Connecting the language of critique to the discourse of educated hope he calls for the reclaiming of public spaces and institutions where formative cultures can flourish that nourish the radical imagination, and the ongoing search for justice, equality, and the promise of a democracy to come.

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Section I: Zombie Politics and the Culture of Cruelty

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Zombie Politics and the Culture of Cruelty Section I Monsters of disaster are special kinds of divine warning. They are harbingers of things we do not want to face, of catastrophes, and we fear they will bring such events upon us by coming to us.1 —Jane Anna Gordon and Lewis R. Gordon At present Americans are fascinated by a particular kind of monstrosity, by vampires and zombies condemned to live an eternity by feeding off the souls of the living. The preoccupation with such parasitic relations speaks uncannily to the threat most Americans perceive from the shameless blood lust of contemporary captains of industry, which Matt Taibbi, a writer for Rolling Stone, has aptly described as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”2 Media culture, as the enormous popularity of the Twilight fran- chise and HBO’s True Blood reveals, is nonetheless enchanted by this seductive force of such omnipotent beings. More frightening, however, than the danger posed by these creatures is the com ing revolution enacted by the hordes of the unthinking, caught in the spell of voodoo economics and compelled to acts of obscene violence and mayhem. They are the living dead, or what I have labeled in the introduction as the hyper-dead, whose contagion threatens the very life force of the nation. Zombie Politics and Other Late Modern Monstrosities in the Age of Disposability Chapter 1 34 Section I | Zombie Politics and the...

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