Putting the “I’m” in “Victim”


In recent months my boyfriend has made me a fan of the “zombie” genre of horror movies. Believe me when I say, some of the more-dubious fare is well-labeled as “horror.” (Ever the snob, I prefer more “realistic” offerings, like the AMC cable network’s compelling and dramatic “The Walking Dead” series to some of the grosser, “meat”-and-potatoes productions of George Romero and his homagists.)

We often joke that if the other was to be bitten (or by some other means zombified), each would “mercifully” put the other out of his misery, with an ax, a shotgun, or whatever traditionally antiundead ordnance happened to be lying around. That’s why I listened with some amusement last week when he told me—with absolute certainty—that if we found ourselves marooned on a desert island, or lost in the frozen arctic, or otherwise in desperate straits and running out of supplies and comestibles, he was sure that I would eat him.

He said this in a tone that betrayed sleep deprivation, yes, but also surprise and disappointment mixed with an accusatory tone driven by his “discovery”—as if, having experienced the “truth” of this revelation, he would make me pay for it.

This pillow talk became more relevant when I posted something on Facebook over the weekend that was meant to garner laughter, but instead brought out the “ugly” in a friend-of-a-friend. The actor Samuel L. Jackson has lent his talent to a pro-Obama parody in which he harangues a middle class family to “Wake the F*** up!” and support the president in November. I had (and still have) no clue what my friend’s political persuasions might be, but we share a similar sense of what’s funny, so I thought he would get the humor. (WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW)

To be on the safe side—this is Facebook we’re talking about, after all, and not everyone who posts has taken their medication this morning—I added a disclaimer to the effect that, whatever your individual political beliefs, the video was funny and worth a gander. Less than a minute later—without having had the time to open the video file, much less listen to Jackson’s comedic rant—one of my friend’s friends commented that I was an “Obama Zombie.”

Clearly this person had mistaken the intent of my post, which hadn’t been meant to promote any candidate, belief, or cause—other than to stimulate the cracking of a smile, for crying out loud. But the exchange that ensued showed that—Transactional Analysis games notwithstanding—this person was determined to be “victimized” by me, whom he perceived to be a threat to him, his politics, and his worldview. At that point, I was more than happy to oblige.

So much of the national dialog these past several months has been geared up to playing the game of “gotcha” and similar efforts to be “right” rather than be helpful, that an entire industry of fact-checkers has produced a subgenre of media, with such now-familiar names as and PolitiFact churning out ever-increasing examples of both sides in the presidential election playing fast and loose with the facts (never mind the “truth”).

For me, the worst part of being labeled an “Obama Zombie” (other than the assumption that I would end up one of the walking dead, something that galls my inner fanboy to no end) is that the numbskull who so labeled me had no idea who I support or don’t support, but that by my “signing off ” on the Samuel L. Jackson video I am—at best— helping to promote a pro-Obama message, and—at worst—I am actually going to vote for the— what? Muslim? Foreign national? (African American? Gay-lover?) Who’s the real zombie here?