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Hahaha! Fox News Says “The Walking Dead” Is Brainwashing You!

I’m not the biggest fan of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” these days. And, although everyone has their views, we don’t really like to talk politics on Bloody-Disgusting. We like to keep it to horror. But sometimes something comes along that is so staggeringly dumb it manages to be even more ridiculously stupid than our own two-party shenanigans as of late (no matter which side you’re on). At first glance this is just a guy making a fool of himself, until you realize millions of others have similar arguments about our culture in general. Ironically though, in this case it could be argued that he works for a company whose ultimate mission is the exact thing he’s accusing “The Walking Dead” of doing – brainwashing you.

Dr. Manny Alvarez of wrote an editorial last week about the dangers of watching the show. First of all, Mr. Alvarez might be even more literal minded than Anchorman‘s Brick Tamland when he says, “This obsession with the undead in television and other media is quite puzzling. The concept of zombies has been around for decades, and their mythology has even been studied by scientists to prove that such an outbreak can never occur. Yet, whether it be in books or film, zombie popularity has only increased…” It seems that this guy – who has a medical degree and therefore should be capable of reasonable logic – can’t even begin to remotely grasp the basic tenets of fiction, let alone metaphor.

Alvarez goes on to describe the popularity of zombies in today’s culture, bemoaning the fact that their ubiquitous presence has even extended to fun-runs and 5K marathons. He then dives back into the voice of a 6 year old trying to prove to his mom that he really is an adult by saying, “give me a break. As a doctor and scientist, I know one thing for sure: When you’re dead, you’re dead.” Of course, six year olds everywhere have the edge on him by having the decency not to include the phrase “as a doctor and a scientist” in their wildly obvious proclamations. As a doctor, he states, ‘our brains should be less focused on imaginary zombie hordes and more focused on harnessing the tools that we need in order to enhance our lives, whether it be music, education, science or the classics.” Does he mean classics like Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”?

Maybe he means classics like George Orwell’s “1984”, but it seems like he wouldn’t want you to read that either. Here’s where it gets interesting (and dangerously stupid) – he doesn’t think we should be reading or watching anything that challenges or provokes us. He believes, “entertainment should help us soothe our brains so that we can ease our minds of some of the stress from our daily lives.” Now, I’m not against the kind of entertainment he’s talking about. I like comfort food on TV as much as anyone else. But to say that EVERYTHING should be like that is actually a fairly dangerous way of thinking. The best “entertainment” is called “art.” Whether it’s a painting, a novel, an opera, a television show, an album, a film or a sculpture – the job of art is to serve the intent of the artist and to enrich the lives of those who consume it. And sometimes that means challenging people. Sometimes it means questioning the status quo and examining the ills of our society. Sometimes it means a more personal revolution, a piece of art can stir something inside you that causes you to change as a person.

In fact, while I do think there is room for “entertainment that soothes our brains,” I almost feel like that stuff should be dessert. Not the main course. Why fill your brain with empty calories? The hilarious (and truly sad) thing about Alvarez’s argument is that he’s actually describing and endorsing the sense of placation that makes “brainwashing” possible. “Don’t worry, don’t think. In fact, let our channel tell you what to think. That’s easier, isn’t it?”

And then Alvarez dives right down the rabbit hole by writing, “with this country heading towards a socialized system of government, in which officials don’t want you to think or focus on what is important for your own personal growth, I’m sure they’re more than happy to let you obsess over something as stupid as zombies.” Whatever your personal or political feelings about the ACA are, you have to admit that this is an incredibly specious line of argument. He’s wrapping his own political opinion – dressed up as some kind of common fact – and engaging in the exact kind of silliness his article set out to decry in the first place. He claims the powers that be are just fine with you watching “The Walking Dead” (or whatever) because you’ll be distracted and they can have their way with you. Meanwhile, the entire purpose of his article is to distract you with an amazingly stupid argument so it can have its way with you and embed its actual message into your consciousness.

He finishes with the super clever line, “And in turn, you ultimately become the zombie.” Would that be the kind of zombie who watches a 24 hour news network (whether it be Fox or MSNBC) and never questions anything?

Season 4 of “The Walking Dead” continues this evening on AMC at 9pm ET. Mind you, I’m not a doctor like Manny here, but I’m fairly sure you can keep watching it without becoming a zombie yourself. The only thing you’re risking is boring yourself to death.



  • Henry F.

    It saddens me that there are so many people in America who buy into this.

  • Darkness69

    Awww, Evan, cmon, the season is far from boring! 😉 As for the guys over at Fox News, well, even to us across the pond it’s clear that they’re hypocritical to the bone.

    • EvanDickson

      @Darkness69 ok I’ll give it another shot!

      • Darkness69

        Great! Let us know what you think about it afterwards!

        • PeteyHalfSox

          season 3 was extremely boring, but the first 3 episodes of season 4 have definitely pick up the pace , better story better action, less drivel

      • wildgator25

        Yes Evan, that last line was inappropriate. It will now be known as “pulling an Alvarez “. How dare you try to brainwash people into believing my show is boring! 🙂

  • sadiesaidhorror

    When you are dead, you are dead. Very true. But I’ve seen some fairly alive people who were definitely dead.

    • HorrorFancy

      This reminded me of the Cotard’s Syndrome case from Hannibal.

  • HorrorFancy

    If I were a psychologist (and I am not), I’d psychoanalysis his reasoning to partly stem from his profession as a gynecologist dealing with high-risk pregnancies. His passion is for life, not death. He is off the mark though IMO.

  • DemiKami

    brainwashing, yeah right!

  • violentdope

    I agree that tv is used as a distraction for everyday people and yes tv does brainwash people there is no doubt about that but walking dead is just mindless fun.The real shit you need to worry about brainwashing is fox news thats what they are in business for to make you think a certain way which is conservative thinking or you got CNN to make you think the other way.Fuck these assholes and their fucking agendas..

    • Vadicta

      “tv does brainwash people there is no doubt about that.”

      What? I doubt that. It might misinform people, but brainwash? I guess it depends on how extremely loose your definition of the word is.

      • violentdope

        in the little google search up at the top of your screen type in tv and brainwashing…you will be surprised what comes up,information about that topic at hand and too much to sit here and debate with you about.Get a clue.Thats whats the tv was made for.Same people that make your tv are the same people that are making bombs..

        • Chris Morales

          “I know TV brainwashes people, cuz I Googled it, and I’m enough of an impressionable twat to believe everything I read on the internet.”

          No, YOU get a clue, dude. Either make an argument for your position or don’t bother arguing. Don’t just say “look it up” and expect people to be convinced.

  • djblack1313

    Evan, great write up! Fox News and it’s ilk (like this douche) just disgust me so much. the racism & homophobia that oozes out of that network is depressing. yet they’ll claim they aren’t racist/homophobic. anywho…this guy is a whack job who shouldn’t be paid attention to.

    and Evan, i’ve enjoyed TWD since the first ep but it’s starting to get tired IMO. like the comic, it’s the same thing again and again. all these new (so new that most of them weren’t ever introduced before) characters being killed off have ZERO impact. why because we’ve never seen most of them ever and have about 2 seconds to meet them before they die.

    i hate saying this about a zombie project but it’s just become so repetitive. lather, rinse, repeat. thankfully the BBC zombie show IN THE FLESH is returning with a full 2nd season! i can’t wait for that amazing show as well as a 2nd season of the French zombie show THE RETURNED.

  • Lion7718

    Alvarez probably watches Glee.

    • Mr.Mirage

      My wife watches Glee. I watch American Horror Story. Same people behind the scenes… XD

  • FormerHuman

    This man is powerfully stupid, his comments immeasurably dumb. For starters, it doesn’t sound like he has even watched the show (which is, like most zombie fiction, more to do with the peripheries than the zombies and gore effects themselves – “The Walking Dead” in particular is about community, compassion, and the grinding down effects of persistent violence and threat, as well as intelligent commentary on things such as the debate over gun ownership). It’s also about the human capacity for cruelty and sadism in a way that in no way glorifies it, and handles all these areas maturely and sensitively. It just so happens to have heaps of explosive violence helmed by some of the masters in the business.

    Articles, and indeed ‘journalists’ (I prefer the term ‘fuckbrained journocunt’, in this instance, however), such as this, are best left ignored. The popularity of shows, films, books and games like ‘The Walking Dead’ and others shows that yes, we are fascinated with these subjects, with zombies in particular, but people like Manny here have no interest or capacity in determining what is really behind that, and would rather fling mud at it instead, on the assumption that such an obsession is inherently a negative thing.

  • Caleb German

    Leave it to the Fox news network to throw anything that goes against their beliefs way out of proportion. Hey everybody, I have an idea! Why don’t we all dress in the same cloths, eat the same kind of bland cereal, drive the same boring car, go to the same boring job, go home to our boring and bland family, eat the same bland dinner, sit around and do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day, go to bed and immediately fall asleep, wake up and do that everyday for the rest of our lives? Would that make Fox News happy? It’s obviously what they want.

  • ddtforthee

    This was an editorial piece. To say it was Fox News is incorrect. The title of this article is misleading.

  • rgold

    Man,this sh*t gets to me. Fox news is the worst of the worst and will do and say anything to further their agenda. I would be curious to hear Dr.Alvarez thoughts about the social commentary in Romero’s N.O.T.L.D. Nothing but Racist,homophobic,Douche-bags

  • Polsdofer

    I don’t know why more people just don’t watch the Colbert Report, that’s real news.

  • Vadicta

    Unfortunately, Fox news doesn’t allow comments–but apparently he throws video games under the bus–of course–as well.

    “Even more disturbingly, these games create environments for young children, in which they are exposed to an imaginary world where they get to play with firearms and place themselves in dangerous situations that they find exciting. And studies have shown that these videogames can sometimes condition people, especially young children, to be apathetic towards violence. That’s why they’re labeled M for Mature.”

    Of course, if they’re labeled M for Mature that means that they weren’t created for children. His ability to controdict himself in a single breath is amazing.

  • WalkWithMeInDarkness

    Fuck this stupid shit. God, I hate news and politics ( proud nonpartisan here). It is truly sad that people buy into this kind of shit. For a lot of people, horror does soothe the brain and ease our minds of the stress of daily life. It’s called escapism, you dumb fuck. That’s not why I watch horror, I just enjoy it and liked to be scared (if a film can manage that). But this guy and people like him are so ridiculous.

  • Spell-Of-Iniquity

    Anyone that’s stupid enough to listen to him deserves to miss out on the best things life has to offer anyway. It really doesn’t concern me that this is “news.” Just means less idiots to deal with and more target practice for when the real zombie apocalypse comes.

    ( :

  • bluedecember

    This is why I don’t watch and/or listen to TV media sources. This guy is an idiot. Dear Zod, I hope he didn’t/doesn’t breed. Now that’s horror!

    • Mr.Mirage

      *ack* Coffee… through my nose… Yes, Dear ZOD!!
      I’m stealing that, okay?

  • LordStickMax

    i get that this guy is saying some stupid shit. However, to be fair this guy isn’t a regular and it’s easy see this is a stupid filler piece that could happen on any of these dumb 24 hour news networks. except maybe “the blaze”. To title this “Fox News Says ‘The Walking Dead’ Is Brainwashing You!” isn’t quite genuine. Its frustrating that fox news always get put to the top of the pile when something stupid is said about culture and violence in media as i’ve seen it on every network and almost every morning tv show.

  • flesheater24

    I’m sure this guy is goin to kidnap you and rape you I’ll be careful. Anyways fox news sucks, they are like the worst news reporting ever. Pretty sure this dude doesn’t have a degree in anything expect stupidity.

  • Necrowerx

    I certainly won’t defend this guy’s ridiculous opinion, as we can all agree to disagree with it; but it’s extremely disingenuous to phrase this as “Fox News” says; even more so to write that and then claim “we don’t like to talk politics”.
    The great irony here is in this paragraph:
    “He’s wrapping his own political opinion – dressed up as some kind of common fact – and engaging in the exact kind of silliness his article set out to decry in the first place…. Meanwhile, the entire purpose of his article is to distract you with an amazingly stupid argument so it can have its way with you and embed its actual message into your consciousness.”
    Well, Evan Dickinson, you’re doing the same thing; by reframing what is one individual’s *editorial column* as an official “Fox News” position merely because of his affiliation, you’re trying to covertly push your own political stance at your readers by painting with far too broad of a brush. Your contempt of FN is barely concealed.
    I bet O’Reilly, Bill Hemmer, Shepard Smith, more than half the news people on Fox have no problem with zombie culture. In fact, some of the biggest zombie fans on the planet tend to be people who are commonly stereotyped by the left as rednecks and gun nuts. Just look on any popular zombie forum.
    Just stick to the facts. This was one guy’s goofy opinion. Don’t try to make it so much more than that, it’s inaccurate and divisive.

  • Beneviolence

    Another moron from FoxNews. I have no doubt that given another minute or two that this hypocrite would have went on to suggest that Americans need to spend more time in Church and engaging in other ‘wholesome’ activities like watching football without the slightest hint of irony.

    See, when I think of a zombie correlation to real life, it is the glassy eyed Christians pouring in and out of churches, or hordes of jersey-wearing football fans piling in and out of stadiums. For an asshole commentator on Fox though, these are the only acceptable hobbies for their sheepish followers.

    • LordStickMax

      zombies are everyone. Your hatred of Christians and sports doesn’t change that.

  • Mr.Mirage

    Does brainwashing lead to brain eating? Film at 11…

    I have been struggling with either an article or full blown thesis on how the zombie subgenre is a metaphor of dehumanization and societal collapse for a while now (years… oh well), and clowns like this really make me want to give up on watching/reading and throw myself onto the sword of writing/creating.

    Nah… porn, cheeto’s, video games, Doritos, horror and … salty crunchy things.

  • 870-Autopsy

    LOL @ getting so tweaked over a MSM editorial piece. And, pointing at just -one- mainstream news source for being absurdly and irrationally opinionated (editorial or not) is pure confirmation bias.
    Also lol @ anyone who believes that any MSM source reports or opines from some higher moral plane than others.

  • I think it might have something to do with the fact that we know what to expect but it betters it’s self with a pull the rabbit out of the hat gesture that people who are loyal stick by the people who write this stuff.I think media should stick with what they know and leave the world of horror to the writers who know what pure talent is tut tut.

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