Sunday, December 20, 2009

Playing Dead: A Look at the "Grayface" Phenomenon

We're a culture, not a costume, and this is not OK.

Zombie walks. Zombie face painting. Zombie-themed nights at bowling alleys and bars. All in good fun, right?

Not so fast, kemo sabe.

There are many in the living impaired rights movement, myself included, who feel that the phenomenon of living people making themselves up as "zombies" and pretending to be living impaired is highly offensive. The "grayface" fad is one of many factors which continue to make the LI feel as if they are objects of scorn and ridicule in modern day society. You living hold all the power in the world, and yet you continue to blithely make fun of those who are essentially powerless. Simply put, THIS MUST STOP!

If this is offensive:
Al Jolson in blackface.

Then so is this:

Some dude in "grayface."

ONE LAST PLEA: If you living insist on wearing the "grayface" makeup and masquerading as so-called "zombies," please try to conduct yourselves with a modicum of dignity and intelligence. In other words, not like this:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Living With The Living: Some Advice From the Waynemeister

NOTE: This post is strictly for my living impaired brethren and sisteren (cistern?) out there. You living people can take it outside.

The living. We deal with them on a daily basis -- on the job, in the streets, in our homes and churches. Kotketology teaches that we should try to love the living and get along with them, but I do admit that they sure can make it hard to do. If they're not screaming in terror and falling all over themselves to get away from us, they're aiming their guns right between our eyebrows. Am I right?

Can I get an Amen?

But Dr. Kotke is in, and I've got the prescription for you, pilgrims. Follow these simple steps, and dealing with the living can be (mostly) a breeze. I plan to use this blog to give you LI-ers out there some handy advice that you can apply to your day-to-day afterlives. Today's lesson is very simple.

When in Rome, do as the Romans.

This is basic enough. Want to avoid getting shot? Then try your best to blend in with the living people all around you. That means: act like the living, dress like the living, talk like the living, walk like the living, etc. I know we've been taught since childhood to be true to ourselves, but when you're living impaired, "being yourself" might cost you your second life. And in this video game, there are no replays.

What does this mean for you? No shambling. And don't walk with your arms outstretched like you're waiting for your nail polish to dry. That is -- forgive the expression -- a dead giveaway. In short, follow the sage advice of Mr. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Walk like a man!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Living Impaired versus Zombies

Hello, readers.

Perhaps you have seen the following comedy routine by Chris Rock (warning - absurdly NSFW):

I use this clip to illustrate the fact that within any group, be it racial, ethnic, socioeconomic or what-have-you, there may well be deep divisions. And so it is among the living impaired. Frankly, it breaks down into two main groups: the Living Impaired and Zombies. I consider myself Living Impaired, not a Zombie. Perhaps the following guide will prove useful in determining the difference between these two distinct groups.

Living Impaired: Has a brain patch on his arm.
Zombie: Has your brains in his stomach.

Living Impaired: Speaks clearly and intelligently about a variety of topics.
Zombie: Just says "BRAAAAAAIIINNNNSSSS!!!!" a lot.

Living Impaired: Walks.
Zombie: Staggers.

Living Impaired: Is fastidious about his appearance and hygiene.
Zombie: Doesn't notice that he is decomposing all over your living room carpet.

Living Impaired: Tries to build bridges between the living and non-living.
Zombie: Tries to break into your kitchen through the window so that he can eat you.

SUMMARY: Those creatures you see in Left 4 Dead 2? Those are zombies. I don't like them either, and I don't condone their activities. But, believe me, they are a minority within a minority and do not represent the vast majority of hard-working, rule-abiding living impaired individuals across this great land and throughout the world.

Remember: there is a difference.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How We Know We've Made It

How do I know the Dead 2 Rights movement is gaining momentum and acceptance across this great land of ours? Simple! Our logo has made it to a t-shirt. And not just any t-shirt either, but one created by Slug, host of the Slugcast, one of my very favorite podcasts. Slug reminds us that the shirt seen above is only a prototype. Still in all, this is a great milestone for the entire Dead 2 Rights organization. And this is an excellent opportunity to point out that the logo seen on the t-shirt and the banner for this site were both designed by the talented Scott Cole of

Some Straight Talk About the Brain Patch

Hello, my dear friends, both living and non! On the Mail Order Zombie podcast and indeed on this very blog, you have heard me speaking passionately and at length about The Brain Patch, a simple adhesive patch which -- when affixed to the upper arm -- curbs the strong craving for human brains often experienced by the Living Impaired. Certainly, with any breakthrough of modern science of this magnitude, there will be questions and concerns. And that, my fellow patriots, is what this post is all about. I, Wayne Kotke, will answer some possible questions about the Brain Patch. (And thanks again to Chris Toohey for the illustration.) Anyway, on with the questions!

Q: Does the Brain Patch have any side effects?

A: Yes, but they are mild. Wearers of the patch may experience strange cravings for such foods as gummi bears, Funyans, Red Vines, Lemonheads, Rainbow Nerds, Cheez-Its, Nutty Buddies, Choco Tacos, Mallomars, Bit O'Honeys, Sugar Daddies, Ho-Hos, Combos, Sour Patch Kids, Smarties, Sweet Tarts, Pep-O-Mint Life Savers, York Peppermint Patties, Crackle bars, and Atomic Warheads.

Q: Any more side effects?

A: Well, the patch caused me to develop a keen interest in playing Tetris for days at a time, but that's just me. Other users may find themselves more interested in, say, Pitfall or Dig Dug.

Q: Seriously, are there any more side effects?

A: My, aren't we nosey today? Well, if you must know, Little Miss Peskypants, it seems that wearers of the Brain Patch have experienced some motivational deficiencies. While the LI have no nutritional need for human brains, it seems that the instinct to eat brains was an important psychological drive for us. Put simply, the purely imaginary "need' for brains was apparently what was keeping us going all this time. It was like the "magic feather" in Dumbo. Without our magic feather, we wind up playing Tetris and scarfing down gummi bears. But like Disney's large-eared elephant, we the Living Impaired must learn that we can "fly," so to speak, without our "magic feather," i.e. human brains. So that's our next big challenge.

Q: What happens if a living person wears the Brain Patch?

A: Bad stuff. Bad, bad stuff. Don't try it. Seriously, don't.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Brain Patch: Miracle of Modern Science!

Hello once again, kots and koshkas!

You regular listeners-in have already heard me jabbering at length about THE BRAIN PATCH, the miracle of modern science which will, I hope, finally allow the Living Impaired to live in peace and harmony with the living by curbing our oh-so-inconvenient cravings for human brains. A simple, unobtrusive patch worn on the upper arm, the Brain Patch allows the wearer to go about his or her daily business without feeling even the slightest desire to crack open a victim's skull and feast on the grey matter within.

Neat, right?

I thought so, too, and now -- thanks to Chris Toohey, the designer of this very site -- we finally have a photograph of a model (not me) wearing a prototype of the Brain Patch. Thanks, Chris!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to beat those post-Halloween blues

My fellow citizens of the world,

If you are reading this blog post, then I'm guessing you are probably a regular listener of the Mail Order Zombie podcast. Knowing this, I can further extrapolate that you enjoy horror movies, haunted houses, costume parties, and all the trappings of the Halloween season. Sadly, your favorite month -- October -- has now passed. Over. Finito. Gone with the wind. It is possible that you are now suffering from something like post-partum depression. Your blood-stained hockey mask and jumpsuit are in storage. You just ate your last Tootsie Roll Midgee. And the neighbors are starting to ask when you'll get around to taking that hilarious fake corpse off your front porch. (It is fake, isn't it?)

In short, you've got those post-Halloween blues, and you've got 'em bad. Well, fear not! Because your old living impaired buddy, Wayne, is here to help you get through November with these fun suggestions:

1. Use the word "turducken" often and in completely inappropriate circumstances. Example: as a profanity while driving.

2. Spend some quality time with your oldest and dearest friend -- namely, television. Did you know that both 90210 and Melrose Place are back on the air? These are truly remarkable times to be alive. (Even if, like me, you're not alive.)

3. Keep elaborate journals about the personal hygiene habits of your coworkers. Keep score using a complex rating system of your own creation. Deduct points for dirty fingernails, nose hairs, excess earwax, etc.

4. Call people. Doesn't matter whom. It's all good, as they say. I'm sure the person on the other end will be happy to hear from you, whoever they are.

5. Master a new skill that you've always wanted to learn, such as impersonating celebrities who died decades ago. I'm working on my Walter Brennan now.

If all else fails, put yourself into cryogenic storage with specific instructions: "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL OCTOBER 2010"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Welcome back to the fabulous, exciting, and (potentially) nutritious Dead 2 Rights blog! This is my second installment, and I hope to avoid that infamous sophomore jinx. I can't promise a new entry every day (or even every week), but I'll try to keep adding new content on a semi-regular basis. So keep checking in, won't you? Thank you!

I'm sending this missive out to you, the dear readers, on that most sacred of holidays -- Halloween, an observance which is rapidly becoming the new Christmas. As I said yesterday, this is the one day a year when my people, the Living Impaired, can go out in public and not wind up with a bullet in the frontal lobe. God rest ye, merry post-lifers, let nothing you dismay! This is a perfect day to get out there and do all those things you wish you could do the other 364 days of the year: comparison shop for kayaks, try on slacks at Sears, or simply enjoy a delicious meal at a family-style restaurant. It's all good! No need to dig through the dumpsters in the parking lot behind Taco Bell! Go right up to the front door, stride (or shamble) up to the counter, and give your order with confidence! I promise you, your Cinnamon Crispas will taste sweeter than ever before! You've earned it, LI-ers!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Greetings on All Hallows Eve... eve

Portrait of your blogger.
Hello, dear readers.

This is an exciting occasion indeed, for this is the first blog post by yours truly, Wayne Kotke, president, spokesman, and founder of Dead 2 Rights, an organization fighting for the rights of the living impaired. If you are a regular listener of the Mail Order Zombie podcast (and, really, why wouldn't you be?), you are no doubt aware of my ongoing struggle to further the cause of the Living Impaired or LI -- those much-maligned individuals you may know better as zombies. Unfortunately, the living impaired have a severe public image problem, mainly due to grossly unfair portrayals in movies, television shows, novels, and even video games. If you have seen Night of the Living Dead or played Left 4 Dead, you are all too familiar with these negative media images.

But all is not lost, my friends!

Thanks to such forums as MOZ and now this very blog, you and I can help to change the public image of the LI and work together to build a brighter future -- living and living impaired alike! The job ahead of us is, I will admit, immense. Currently, the LI rank just below "terrorists" and "FM morning disc jockeys" in terms of public affection. The LI cannot vote, cannot legally own property, and cannot even walk the streets safely, as trigger-happy vigilantes are forever aiming their shotguns at our vulnerable foreheads. I myself have to go to work in disguise and lead a very complex double life, just to "make it" in a hostile world.

Frankly, tomorrow night (Halloween) is the one night of the year when my people can walk out in public with their heads held high without fear of reprisal. So I say to my living impaired brothers and sisters: enjoy it while it lasts! November 1 is coming, and then it's right back to the same-old, same-old.

And now, here's what Sarge from Beetle Bailey would look like as Hitler. Enjoy.