Do Zombies Poop? MetaFilter Knows March 21, 2012 3:55 PM   Subscribe

prinado and The White Hat get named as experts in a Grantland.com article, "Do Zombies Poop? An Investigation."
posted by Cool Papa Bell to MetaFilter-Related at 3:55 PM (67 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Hooray!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:00 PM on March 21, 2012


Heh. "MetalFilter".
posted by never used baby shoes at 4:01 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


WHAT DOES THIS DO TO MY H-INDEX?
posted by The White Hat at 4:15 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was surprised that he didn't link to the 9,000-word Quora post from an actual zombie on just this question.

Of course, the whole answer was just "ASHDHFWIGI HDSHSDH FWHFWUHLVSA SIOFPVJNV", etc.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:33 PM on March 21, 2012


Money quote: "Let's try a headier forum, one where it would be more likely to encounter a Ph.D. candidate in Zombie Studies."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:36 PM on March 21, 2012


It was even funnier when I thought it was going to be an article for Granta.
posted by stet at 4:46 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hear zombie poop is a potent aphrodisiac
posted by The Whelk at 5:03 PM on March 21, 2012


There is no one universal answer. The question requires you to address which type of zombies are you using as grounds for your inquiry. As noted in the article, Brooks Zombies ingest food, but the do not process food. Other zombies appear to only chew and gnaw, never really swallowing anything.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:07 PM on March 21, 2012


Of course, the whole answer was just "ASHDHFWIGI HDSHSDH FWHFWUHLVSA SIOFPVJNV", etc.

Nonsense. He also plugged his startup e-consultancy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:16 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Are freshly-turned zombies also at risk of zombie attacks? Are they less nutritious or roughly the same as an uninfected human?
posted by Hoopo at 5:18 PM on March 21, 2012


Zombies don't seem to attack people who act zombie like, leading to one very, deeply unsettling story in the The Living Dead anthology.
posted by The Whelk at 5:25 PM on March 21, 2012


Wait, so a moderately interesting opening paragraph, a nod to Yahoo! Answers and a "welp, that was easy, time for a smoke break" conclusion bracketing two long, thoughtful MeFi pull quotes is all it takes to get published on Grantland?!


On preview: I just now noticed that one is published "on" the web but "in" a magazine. Huh.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:05 PM on March 21, 2012


Countdown to fibre supplements being marketed to new zombie market...
posted by arcticseal at 8:00 PM on March 21, 2012


The most bothersome question I have about The Walking Dead doesn't have anything to do with the apocalypse or the zombies. It's - why do the characters make decisions that are dumber than a box of rocks? That show is filled with so much stupid, I really had grit my teeth through a couple of episodes. By the end of the season I was rooting for the zombies. I really don't think I can make a go of it next season.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:01 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Countdown to fibre supplements being marketed to new zombie market...

MeFibreā„¢
posted by mannequito at 9:29 PM on March 21, 2012


MeFibreā„¢

How do you pronounce that?
posted by maudlin at 9:41 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mee-Find-Brrrrains!
posted by mannequito at 9:44 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


why do the characters make decisions that are dumber than a box of rocks?

My theory is that the show will end this way: Everybody will die but Rick, who will wind up on the coast, which will turn out to be a safe haven away from zombies JUST LIKE T-DOG SAID AT THE START OF THIS SEASON, AND WAS IGNORED, AND THEN SAID AGAIN AT THE END OF THE SEASON, AND WAS IGNORED.

Poor T-Dog.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:35 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, please don't remind me the sanest characters talk the least. It's like tip-off #38 that the show has really shitty writing.

"Hey, Rick, let's go do this really smart thing."
"That's a very good idea, Shane, but I think I'll ignore that great advice in favor of doing nothing."
"Okay, well I'll just go over here and be in love with your wife while you act like a huge nonsensical hypocrite."
"Cool. Can you go tell my wife it's about time she flipped out for no good reason? Thanks."
"Yeah, I'll go do that while everyone else debates conservative versus liberal values. Do you think we can tell the women to not wear shoes while they cook and clean?"
"I don't see why not. Maybe that racist guy could get a vehicle that's louder than his favorite Nazi motorcycle?"
"Sure, what the heck. Just as long as it isn't something he can run walkers over with. That's against the rules... or something."
posted by P.o.B. at 1:32 AM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah I miss Dee Xtrovert.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:00 AM on March 22, 2012


My theory is that the show will end this way: Everybody will die but Rick

INAUTHENTIC ACCENTS SAVE LIVES
posted by shakespeherian at 8:41 AM on March 22, 2012


I think that if they make an offering of Carl, the zombies will just leave them alone.
posted by orme at 9:14 AM on March 22, 2012


"Sure, what the heck. Just as long as it isn't something he can run walkers over with. That's against the rules... or something."

I seem to recall that in the Zombie Survival Guide Max Brook comes to the conclusion that a motorbike is among the best choices of vehicle in a zombie apocalypse. Fast, great fuel economy and very agile compared to cars.

I also take issue with a lot of the criticism that the people in Walking Dead make stupid decisions. What kind of decision-making do you really expect from a random group of people of varied backgrounds, many of whom are in shock, confused and scared, depressed, or even suicidal, in an incredibly stressful life-or-death situation? In real life people do stupid shit ALL THE TIME. I live in a city that just this summer smashed everything up because we lost a hockey game, then posted pictures of themselves doing it on Facebook. A lot of people without training don't know what the hell to do in a survival situation. The characters that survived and that they encounter along the way all had different techniques for staying alive as long as they did, and had to make it up as they went. The bad decisions, and ensuing terrible consequences, if anything add a sense of realism IMO.
posted by Hoopo at 9:20 AM on March 22, 2012


In real life people do stupid shit ALL THE TIME.

Sure, but fiction comes with some expectations that there will be some sort of narrative driven by the actions of its characters. If too many of its characters decisions are idiotic, and that's the only way that situations are heightened, it starts to fell like the writers haven't come up with characters with personalities so much as some names applied to faces to which the writers can just arbitrarily apply actions based on what they want to happen this week.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:42 AM on March 22, 2012


Poor T-Dog.

LOL it's funny and kind ties in to the thing I've noticed about the show, is that even after having watched pretty much every episode I can never remember the characters' names. That's got to be a problem. If me or my wife misses a scene for some reason, the recap is always "OK so Hick guy ran off into the woods, and Baldy Greyhair lady was all upset, and Blondie-Whats-Her-Face is like killing all these zombies." People form the farmhouse? Even worse. Every now and then I'm like "wait, who the hell is that?" adn my wife is all "Farm folks." Everyone except Glenn & Shane, who we always remember their names.
posted by Hoopo at 9:45 AM on March 22, 2012


fiction comes with some expectations that there will be some sort of narrative driven by the actions of its characters

There has been, though. They're trying to survive and trying to find safety. That a lot of the decisions they've made have turned out to be bad heightens the hopelessness of the situation and makes the struggle of "staying human" more difficult. I mean it's not great writing by any stretch; it's as flawed as any other TV serial. But a lot of this criticism strikes me as "Moby Dick is so stupid. Like hello, Ahab? Maybe DON'T hunt the giant whale? And the crew is so dumb, why don't they mutiny already?"
posted by Hoopo at 9:59 AM on March 22, 2012


All I'm saying is that fiction has different expectations than real life. Sometimes in real life you will run into the exact person you needed to right at the moment when it was most helpful-- that can really happen. But if that happens in a story, the audience will roll its eyes.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:08 AM on March 22, 2012


But if that happens in a story, the audience will roll its eyes.

I'm not sure I agree with this. What are you refering to? The scenes where people get saved from certain death at the last minute? People don't roll their eyes; people love that shit: how many times does this happen in Indiana Jones, or Lord of the Rings, or the Bourne movies or any action sequence in pretty much any movie ever?
posted by Hoopo at 10:16 AM on March 22, 2012


No I'm talking more about things where a situation is resolved by coincidence.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:22 AM on March 22, 2012


The Whelk: "I hear zombie poop is a potent aphrodisiac"

And thus, Stephenie Meyer has the 'in' for her next series.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2012


STOP READING MY MIND, SHAKES. I TOLD YOU IT WASN'T FUNNY.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:34 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually find the show to be a lot like the BSG series; the last few humans trying to find a safe haven from a relentless enemy; constantly making mistakes and figuring things out on the fly; questioning leadership; differing opinions on what they should be doing; moral struggles; hopelessness and fear; and sometimes just getting lucky. I don't think it relies on coincidence to resolve situations much more than any other action/adventure-type show does.
posted by Hoopo at 10:35 AM on March 22, 2012


I actually find the show to be a lot like the BSG series; the last few humans trying to find a safe haven from a relentless enemy; constantly making mistakes and figuring things out on the fly; questioning leadership; differing opinions on what they should be doing; moral struggles; hopelessness and fear; and sometimes just getting lucky. I don't think it relies on coincidence to resolve situations much more than any other action/adventure-type show does.

Yeah, but in BSG, the audience liked, or at least was interested in, the characters. Sure, Baltar was a traitor, Starbuck was talented fuckup who had a problem with authority, Lee had daddy issues, Tigh was a drunk, etc., but they were fully realized characters and as such, we wanted to know what happened to them. Shakespherian is right about how WD's characters are caricatures with a single defining trait: Rick is domineering, Shane is a thug, Dale is an idiot, Andrea is an even bigger idiot, Laurie is either queen of the idiots or Lady MacBeth depending on which week it is, Carl has a hat, T-Dog is black. That's the extent of the characterization we get. The show could maybe get away with this if it had a more talented cast, but only Scott Wilson as Hershel really has the chops to fully flesh out his character.
posted by Rangeboy at 11:26 AM on March 22, 2012


Hoopo, I get that a motorcycle would be good in some situations, but in most situations a car is going to be much more useful. Especially since you can easily use it to mow down zombies without having to worry about them knocking you off making you lose balance and having something fall on top of you that you will not be able to lift off yourself. Although, apparently in this show, when you're in a car you "can't go anywhere" when surrounded by zombies. Yes, that happened in the show when running over everything in sight was obviously the easiest and smartest thing to do.

Shakes is right, though. Most of the situations are contrived by way of some ridiculous happenstance or forced through an act of complete nonsense, and often resolved in the same way. But it's obvious the mechanics of the story don't matter as long they feel they can show some gears turning. Situations should not exists as a means to themselves. It's not the stupid mistake that's so bothersome, but rather why the fuck should I care about this person if they appear to be using the decision making processes of an eight year old? Applying a motive to an individual is generally a smart thing to do, because watching characters be moved around like Checker pieces is really boring, but also because maybe the audience shouldn't be treated as a mindless consumptive objects that are not expected to be any smarter then the characters.
If you really want to disagree with that, fine, but maybe we should look at almost any situation from the past season as an example.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:27 AM on March 22, 2012


Hoopo, I get that a motorcycle would be good in some situations, but in most situations a car is going to be much more useful. Especially since you can easily use it to mow down zombies

Max Brooks weighed the pros and cons in great detail, so I mean not everyone would agree. Not to mention hitting large things at high speeds is going to fuck up your car and eventually you're going to get stranded in a crowd of zombies, who whether you hit them or not could still be mobile. There are pluses and minuses to cars, but especially when you consider the bike dude can pretty much get into a car at almost any point if he has to it's not this huge gotcha.

Most of the situations are contrived by way of some ridiculous happenstance or forced through an act of complete nonsense

Could you point it out for me? I mean most of the situations I recall happen because zombies are everywhere. What are the decisions you're talking about?
posted by Hoopo at 11:40 AM on March 22, 2012


Laurie is either queen of the idiots or Lady MacBeth depending on which week it is,

My favorite is how SPOILERS like three weeks ago she was all 'Rick, that Shane guy is super dangerous, I am strongly implying that you should kill him, even though it sure seems like I have completely forgotten how he attempted to rape me in season one, but anyway you should kill him! and then Rick is like 'I killed him!' and she just gives him the bug eyes for fifteen minutes like he's crazy
posted by shakespeherian at 11:40 AM on March 22, 2012


yeah that was WEAK, no arguing here
posted by Hoopo at 11:42 AM on March 22, 2012


Could you point it out for me? I mean most of the situations I recall happen because zombies are everywhere. What are the decisions you're talking about?

The setup: People are like 'We should go into town to get Old Man Farmowner!' Laurie is like 'No it's too dangerous Rick stay here!' Rick goes into town. Laurie finds out.

Then Laurie decides to go into town! Without telling anyone! And then, for some reason, the car flips over. Laurie could be hurt! This is a wholly believable premise for some drama to occur!
posted by shakespeherian at 11:44 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


That episode SUUUUCCCKKKKED.

But actually it was when they were dropping the kid sociopath off somewhere far away from the farm.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:46 AM on March 22, 2012


Also, don't forget. She left her kid at the farm, which she is hugely overprotective of except not that day. And also after she wrecked, she didn't go back to the farm but Shane found her wandering around in the dar still looking for Rick.

Oh yeah, and she had NO IDEA where they went.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:48 AM on March 22, 2012


Laurie's car accident makes more sense if you realize that, even more than the other characters, Laurie exists as a narrative obstacle to Rick. Most of the time, that means she's the usual "shrewish wife who nags husband for doing the right/smart thing" because drama needs conflict, and who wants to go to all the trouble of generating believable conflict between real people when we could just make her a total bitch all the time for no reason? Sometimes, though, she'll just do something objectively moronic just to give Rick something to do (besides argue with Shane about all the hard decisions he has to make while not actually making any decisions.)
posted by Rangeboy at 11:50 AM on March 22, 2012


Max Brooks weighed the pros and cons in great detail,

I know, I've read both of those zombie books, but we aren't talking about Brooks zombies or his setup. If all it took was a scratch to turn into a zombie, would you be driving around on a motorcycle? A huge chopper that can be heard miles away? That's just plain stupid. I'll take a pick up truck any day of the week. Sit in the back and skewer zombies from on high? Yeah, I'll do that.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:53 AM on March 22, 2012


You guys, it's the not the actual situation. It's how they get there and how they resolve them.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:54 AM on March 22, 2012


Yeah Lori's been a pretty crap character. The female characters in general are handled really poorly as has been pointed out. Deciding to go to town after Rick was stupid, but it wasn't a huge turning point in the series or anything. The car flipped though because she hit a zombie and lost control.

we aren't talking about Brooks zombies or his setup

It's pretty much the same thing. The Brooks zombie virus was transmitted through wounds and contact with blood or saliva.
posted by Hoopo at 12:03 PM on March 22, 2012


The car flipped though because she hit a zombie and lost control.

I get that, but the thing is that the car flipping as a cliffhanger for the end of the episode was ludicrous because every event that occurred in order to allow the car flipping came out of coincidence and inconstant characterization. It seems pretty clear that the writers wanted to get Laurie into a flipped-over car with a zombie attacking, so they made that happen. That's the sort of thing I'm talking about. It was entirely artificial and arbitrary.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:06 PM on March 22, 2012


Call me crazy, but I think there are better modes of transportation than a loud-ass, open-air, unbalanced vehicle to handle hordes of undead. Especially, if the hordes are surrounding me.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:09 PM on March 22, 2012


The Laurie car crash makes no sense at all, though. Shane and Rick were dropping that kid of 18 miles from the farm. That's all the info she had, and she thought she could find them.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:11 PM on March 22, 2012


P.o.B., are you sure shakespeherian had that detail wrong? I'm pretty sure this was after they went into town to get old man farmhouse.

That's the sort of thing I'm talking about.

And I can't argue it's not a good example of what you're talking about, it wasn't my favorite episode. Or season, for that matter. But I don't think that sort of thing has been happening over and over in the show. It has end-of-episode cliffhangers like many TV shows do, but they weren't all just random like that.
posted by Hoopo at 12:27 PM on March 22, 2012


I've never claimed that's the only thing that happens on the show, but I think the consistently poorly-flesh-out characters coupled with them doing that sort of '...AND THEN THIS CONTRIVED BAD THING HAPPENED' enough times combine to make the show pretty frustrating in terms of compelling narrative and engaging characters. Why did Dale decide that he knew what Shane had done to Otis at the school? It sort of progresses over a handful of episodes from him being suspicious to just declaring it to other characters without any evidence that we're ever shown, and the fact that we know he's right makes him seem more psychic than smart, but since being psychic doesn't seem to be a thing on this show, it just comes across like the writers wanted Dale to know what a bastard Shane was, so they made him know. There's just too many things happening inorganically for me to be able to be able to shrug at all of them and say 'Hey sometimes shit happens in real life too!'

That said, I am continuing to watch the show, because I want to live in a world in which there is a zombie teevee show, and it's like the show is as terrible as, say, Dexter or something. And I continue to hold out hope for its improvement. But the thing the show really needs to do more than anything else is to get the writers to follow the characters' motivations rather than the other way around, which is what the current situation is.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:39 PM on March 22, 2012


Wow, yeah, I'm like three episodes off.

Ignore me!

Except the part about the motorcycle because it's a dumb visual crutch for "racist biker" characterization, and is in no way a "smart" choice for a vehicle.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:42 PM on March 22, 2012


it's his brother that was the crazy racist, and it's the brother's bike. Daryl makes a few racist remarks, bu tthe "SS" stuff and all that is all Merle. But yeah we're going to have to disagree about the bike; I don't think it's the problem you do, especially if you're traveling in a convoy.

Why did Dale decide that he knew what Shane had done to Otis at the school?

Dale was getting increasingly pissed off at Shane because Shane was starting to look like he knew what he was talking about. Dale was losing his shit because he hates Shane and what Shane represents, and could not stand that people weren't listening to his crazy "pretend it's like before" anymore that he'd been spewing from Day 1. And that crazy attitude of his actually came in handy a few times to calm people down! But he basically just made that shit up about Shane while freaking out. I never took it as a "HOW COULD HE KNOW" thing, more just a "crazy old guy is trying to get people on his side" thing. Shane is not trustworthy, and Dale more or less knew that much. It didn't make him psychic or smart, it made him a nut who was throwing out bullshit accusations.

To be honest I was sympathetic to Shane above most of the other characters. Guy was pragmatic.
posted by Hoopo at 1:00 PM on March 22, 2012


My favorite is how SPOILERS ...

MORE SPOILERS (REALLY SPOILERY): In the comic book she dies in the prison we see in the last episode, along with her recently born daughter. The show may be making her unlikable to blunt the trauma.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:04 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh would that I could believe this show were doing something subtle.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:25 PM on March 22, 2012


It's a longshot, I know.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:31 PM on March 22, 2012


MEANWHILE Scott Wilson's performance in The Walking Dead is going to make Junebug really weird the next time I watch it.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:35 PM on March 22, 2012


I'd say it's a lot easier to see the drops in logic if you forward reason through the events, instead of backwards rationalizing them.

I'd also say the bar for being a racist is lower than offhandedly saying a few racist remarks and openly choosing to display racist symbols. I believe that does actually flat out make you a racist.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:43 PM on March 22, 2012


I'd say it's a lot easier to see the drops in logic if you forward reason through the events, instead of backwards rationalizing them.

No one's saying that the spoiler makes Lori makes sense; it's just a reason why they might have made her crap and impossible to relate to.

Also, what racist symbols? The "SS" thing is on his brother's bike, it's not Daryl's--was there something else I missed? Daryl started out as an ignorant hick, but it was his brother that was the neo-Nazi. If you're going to describe anyone as "that racist biker guy" on the show, it would be Merle. It was his defining characteristic. Daryl pretty clearly respects T-Dog and Glenn at this point. He and Glenn are even joking about it by now.
posted by Hoopo at 3:02 PM on March 22, 2012


T-Dog

Who?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:04 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Theodore "T-Dog" Douglas
posted by Hoopo at 3:07 PM on March 22, 2012


SUPER embarrassing
posted by shakespeherian at 3:08 PM on March 22, 2012


points for delivery, but bunny ultramod beat you to it
posted by Hoopo at 3:10 PM on March 22, 2012


I know I sort of expected you to get it when I asked 'Who'
posted by shakespeherian at 3:11 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't see how it would matter if it was the Pope's bike. H could scratch it out, paint over it, or even put mud on it. The point is, it's still there. The writers and directors still allow it to be shown. It's all right if you displace yourself from the audience for a second, and take a different view point.

By the way, the SS stands for "Schutzstaffel" which was a part of the Nazi army. It's kind of implicitly racist.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:33 PM on March 22, 2012


I don't see how it would matter if it was the Pope's bike. H could scratch it out, paint over it, or even put mud on it.

For what? I don't think the guy is worried about the optics of the SS insignia at this point. It would be a lot of time and effort in the circumstances when you could be doing something more useful than covering up someone else's racist paint job. You know, considering pretty much everyone in the world is dead and trying to eat you and all, maybe being PC about your choice of vehicle isn't top priority. It's a bike, that works, and belonged to his brother. I am aware of what the SS is, by the way.
posted by Hoopo at 4:09 PM on March 22, 2012


I don't think it's a big deal either way frankly but I think it would be a nice little character note if, in some hypothetical version of the show where there was a black guy named T-Dog, Daryl had a nice conversation with him and thought 'You know things are shitty enough, and he's apparently the only black guy left in the whole world' and then too a fucking file to the SS insignia. Lord knows he's spent enough time tooling around aimlessly on the farm.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:44 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


that'd be nice, but i suspect Merle's coming back for it. They left that one wide open. How he's going to operate it with one hand is beyond me, but after seeing their non-comment comment on whether Merle's coming back on Talking Dead, it seems like it's happening.
posted by Hoopo at 5:49 PM on March 22, 2012


I think it's awesome that you posted this on my birthday! Rad.
posted by schyler523 at 2:30 PM on March 23, 2012


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