Militaristic Spin in World War Z

I don't know if Max Brooks is a gung ho conservative, or just a middle of the road kind of guy who has fallen victim to military propaganda. Clearly a guy who writes about an organized war against zombies with that much detail about the tactics, custom hand weapons, specific rifles and the ineffectiveness of artillery has some interest in war and the military.

Brooks adds footnotes throughout World War Z to make it seem like non-fiction, which is a convincing technique. He even uses footnotes to correct claims by some of his fictional characters. Some of the footnotes explain jargon that developed after the zombie outbreak, or fictional weapons or equipment created for the war. Others are apparently universal facts, in the world of this novel and in our real world.

For example,
"Ubunye: a word of Zulu origin for Unity." (Page 195)
"Bosozoku: Japanese youth-oriented motorcycle gangs that reached their popular peak in the 1980s and 1990s." (Page 214)
"Prewar specs put the [International Space Station] water recycling capability at 95 percent." (Page 257)

At least two of the footnotes about our real world jumped out at me as factually incorrect, or very misleading. Either Brooks or his narrator are presenting a view of events that disputes or minimizes challenges to the reputation of the real US military and its leaders.

On page 273, General D'Ambrosia says, ". . .[A]ll nations have their limits. There might be individuals within that group who are willing to sacrifice their lives; it might even be a relatively high number for the population, but that population as a whole will eventually reach its maximum emotional and physiological breaking point. The Japanese reached theirs with a couple of American atomic bombs. The Vietnamese might have reached theirs if we'd dropped a couple more(2), but, thank all holy Christ, our will broke before it came to that."

Footnote 2 on that page says, "It has been alleged that several members of the American military establishment openly supported the use of thermonuclear weapons during the Vietnam conflict."

Technically that is true. It has been alleged that President Bill Clinton denied having sex with Monica Lewinsky. Dozens of witnesses at a press conference heard him say, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." And we don't need to take their word for it, because it was a televised press conference. They replayed the video clip enough that most of us have memorized that line and incorporated it into our vocal impressions of Clinton, along with "I didn't inhale" and "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

War planners might not have been caught on camera proposing the use of nuclear weapons during the Vietnam conflict, but there is undisputed evidence of it in their own reports, which are available in the form of The Pentagon Papers: The Defense Department's Secret History of the Vietnam War. (Probably at your local library.) At some point it becomes awkward to continue stating an established fact as "alleged," and it certainly seems awkward or misleading in this case. 

The other one that caught my attention was on pages 53-54, another section interviewing General D'Ambrosia, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. The General says, "After Vietnam, when I was a young platoon leader in West Germany, we'd had to institute an incentives program just to keep our soldiers from going AWOL. After this last war, no amount of incentives could fill our depleted ranks, no payment bonuses or term reductions, or online recruiting tools disguised as civilian video games.(1)"

Footnote 1 on that page says, "Before the war, an online 'shooter game' known as 'America's Army' was made available, free of charge, by the U.S. government to the general public, some have alleged, to entice new recruits."

Presumably the narrator and his footnotes are meant to be reliable, even if the other characters are not. In this case, the narrator seems to be softening the general's claim by adding "some have alleged." Consider that the game was distributed online, through inserts in gaming magazines, and at recruiting stations, according to The Nation. The game contains links to recruiting site Recruiters have sponsored game tournaments so they can make contact with players. One of the people making the allegation that America's Army is a recruiting tool was Chris Chambers, former deputy director of development for the game. And that was while the game was being rolled out, not a statement by a disgruntled employee who was fired or left the project for ideological reasons. (Just to make things even more recursive, the military is now developing Virtual Recruiting World, a game designed to train recruiters.)

Military spokesmen have admitted from the start that it was intended as a recruiting tool. A person would have to be incredibly naive not to see that it is made for recruiting, even if they had ever denied it. Since when has the military been ashamed of recruiting?

Wikipedia says Max Brooks was a history major in college. I'm not saying he's consciously shilling for the military. Maybe he just succumbed to military propaganda over the years. Whatever the cause, his historical mistakes seem to cover up the US military's real warts, in a book that gives an otherwise warts-and-all view of the blood and gore in a zombie apocalypse.


Buy my Godzilla crochet pattern!

A friend asked me to make an amigurumi Godzilla. (Translation: cute little crocheted doll.) I couldn't find any free patterns online that I liked, and I was ready to design something on my own, so here it is. I like how he turned out, especially the claws and head. You can buy the 8 page intermediate level crochet pattern as a PDF file on for only $1.99. Cheap!

The pattern includes standing version, seated version, baby safe version, and two different ways to make his mouth. He's about 6 to 8.5 inches tall, depending on what size crochet hook you use. (Or could be bigger if you have hooks bigger than 5.5 mm size "I".) I have a long waitlist at the moment of other items I'm making for people, but if you'd like me to add you to the list, I'll eventually make the actual doll for you in either size for $26. Same number of stitches, so it takes just as long either way. That price seems high to me, but it takes several hours of my time, and you should see some of the ugly drecchh they sell on for double that price. Also I remember when candy bars were 25 cents, so everything these days seems overpriced to me. Email me at deidzoebcrafts[at] if you'd like to order a doll.

Since this is my first pattern and I don't know whether it's written clearly, I will gladly try to clarify and help with any questions you have. It's like getting free tech support!

Are you still here? What are you waiting for? Click the  button or go search for "Godzilla" on If you'd prefer not to pay by credit card or Paypal, you can send $2.00 cash by mail to: Rob Northrup/PO Box 591/Jackson MI 49204. Include your email address and I'll email the pdf file to you. Even cheaper yet!


995 Theses by the heretick Subcom. Deidzoeb

[I posted this on the SubGenius newsgroup alt.slack around Feb 2007. It was my first time being dipped in the sharky waters of newsgroups, and I feared SubGenius had made them assholes. Now I realize that newsgroups made people assholes, or at least attracts and nurtures assholes. The post still seems cute to me. There are some bad words and sexual terms below. Shame on you if you've heard them all before.]

*Should I Be More of an Asshole?*

A Midrash on Jokes and Those Who Deserve to Be Fucked For Not Taking Them
995 Theses by the heretick Subcom. Deidzoeb

"Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at alt.slack, under the armpittance of the Reverend Rabbi Subcomandante R. Guglielmo Deidzoeb, Bachelor of Science and Master of Debaters, Ex-Vice-President for Life of the Marvel Zombie Society, and Lecturer in Ordurenary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by wiki."

Throughout canonical SubGenius texts, many pearls of wisdom are flung at the wall to see if they stick. Or to confuse suckers so they won't find the pearls among all the puke. My favorite from the Bobapocryphon is "My Weapons of Mass Destruction beat up your Weapons of Mass Destruction," which was surely ganked from some bumper sticker.

Among the pearls that have stuck to the wall and been saluted over the decades by followers and Bobbies, perhaps the most respected slogan is "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke."

So much is encapsulated in those eight words. Don't take yourself too seriously. Authorities should get fucked. Even pigs deserve to cum.

The problem is that if everything is a joke, the slogan reduces to "Fuck anyone who complains." A person living by that attitude soon begins to earn rightful complaints from everyone, and the slogan finally reduces to "Fuck everyone" or just "Fuck you."

The full slogan has some nuance, some room for error, but "Fuck you" as a universal slogan doesn't need it's own church. Plenty of people build their lives around that idea without needing a church to remind them or help them feel good about it.

From this, we can deduce that Dobbs and the early church mothers didn't want us to interpret jokes as "anything you fucking want to do,bitch." It's subjective, but if there is any wisdom for us in the church, there must be a line separating SubGenius behavior from that of an asshole. Otherwise the wisdom of the SubGenius would be indistinguishable from a brainstorming session for fortune cookie slogans by a bunch of tripping hoboes whose bones will be ground into meal for use in the same fortune cookies, or maybe for the batter in which the sweet and sour chicken will be fried. I don't know why they should be hoboes, but let's just say assholes on drugs. It's not the drugs, do whatever you want, see if they help you. An asshole is bad enough before she gets her hands on drugs. Please help me have faith that the wisdom of SubGenius is not the rambling of assholes. Don't spoil the illusion for me, please, please.

Being an asshole appears to be compatible with SubGenius teachings. You won't necessarily stop being an asshole if you join, or even if you skip the money and follow the teachings. Perhaps you can even think of some assholes who are revered as saints within the Church. After you watch or listen to them in action often enough, you might almost come to the conclusion that a person must be an asshole to be SubGenius, that one should strive to become more of an asshole to be more SubGeniuser, or that the biggest assholes are the biggest SubGenii.

Faugh! This is easy to disprove.

1. Do you have faith that SubGenius teachings contain genuine wisdom, ideas rejected by or not found in other philosophies or traditions? Of course.

2. Would there be any value to a philosophy or tradition which tells you to go ahead and be an asshole at all times, given that the majority of humans already adopt that philosophy instinctively? No. That would mean SubGenius was redundant.

Therefore, being an asshole must not be the ultimate point of SubGenius. Stretching jokes to encompass everything wouldn't be an idea worth making a church around. Lower primates manage to fling shit at spectators without needing the idea revealed to them by a savior, and without encouragement from their peers. There must be some point at which stupid and/or shitty behavior would not be excused as a joke, else all is lost.

So where do you draw the line? Jokes are subjective. Judging them is probably too difficult for the layperson. And SubGenius doesn't accept any authorities, really, so there can only be laypersons. Insert joke here about persons getting laid. You might have a lousy sense of humor, but everyone has an asshole. Reach back there and feel it. Spread it in homage to Our Lady of Goatse. Come back here and finish reading when you're done, after you wash your hands....

Instead of focusing on whether you're funny, focus on whether your attempted joke makes you come off as a complete asshole. Hold yourself to some kind of standard. Establish a standard! Can you recognize when you're being an asshole? Can you stop yourself even when you do recognize it? Far be it from me to tell you you can't be a SubGenius for that reason. Do what you can. We'll pray for you. Or drink for you or something. Just don't wipe your ass on an otherwise helpful tenet of SubGenius faith and act like it excuses you for being an asshole.


There are only about 3 or 4 theses in the above sermon. I'm not going to bother numbering them, because future generations of faithful will take care of that for me, maybe splintering into one faction that believes the tripping hoboes should be thesis number three and another faction that believes the shit flinging primates should be thesis number 3. For the other 992 to 991 theses, please add your own sermons.

Yes, I know I take it too seriously, and that the basic teachings of SubGenius are opposed to orthodoxy. That means your way isn't any more valid than my way. So eat that wrapped in bacon.

Subcomandante R. Guglielmo Deidzoeb
Heretick who hasn't even paid his thirty bucks

5. [Insert yours here.]

6. [Insert yours here.]

7. [Insert yours here.]

8. [Insert yours here.]

9. [Insert yours here.]

Et cetera.