Wednesday 26 August 2009

No zombies 'so far' says Mail science editor

Hat-tip to Guy who emailed about a Mail story examining the ways the world would cope with a zombie invasion.

It is based on some actual scientific research and written up by Science Editor Michael Hanlon, who recently wrote Why ARE so many planes falling out of the sky? and failed to provide much evidence that 'so many' are.

In Forget swine flu - could we cope with a plague of the Undead? Scientists ponder the threat of a zombie attack may be useful Hanlon says:

The results are not pretty - indeed, the report shows that only rapid use of overwhelming military force would save humanity from extinction - but the authors point out that, even though zombies may be imaginary, the findings may be pertinent to the spread of some devastating diseases that are all too real.

But surely researching actual 'devastating diseases' and the way they have actually spread would be more useful than researching a made up disease. Why not look at the real spread of swine or avian flu rather than basing claims on complete hypotheticals which will never, ever happen? Or will it? Hanlon says:

one soon forgets that zombies, so far, exist only in the imagination.

'So far'? How much scientific knowledge do you need to be the Mail's science editor?

He goes on to suggest that a growing population would be ripe for an attack by a deadly disease, thus fitting in a bit of anti-immigration rhetoric because this is the Mail (Hanlon had written about the 'threat' of rising population only a month ago). And it clearly worked, because one of the many dismal comments reads:

they are already here and claim benefits
- mike, durham, 26/8/2009 9:16

Mike's comment reveals a mindset where immigrants are soulless, violent creatures intent on feeding off, and destroying, the British people. Among Mail readers, Mike isn't alone. Six of the 14 comments left so far think it would be equally hilarious to call the Labour (sorry, 'Liebour') government 'zombies':

The Liebour party conference is starting soon, that will prove Zombies do exist. Liebour voters are Zombies as well.
- Martin, Ashford, 25/8/2009 23:31 1:53

We already have a plague of the undead, they're called the Labour Government!!!!
- Arthur Gruntfuttock, Moscow, 26/8/2009

Yeah..we know..they are called Liebour!
- Beverley, Chichester, 26/8/2009 7:03

I thought they were already running the Government.
- Richard, York, 26/8/2009 8:19

Gordon Brown's government?
- Alan Lothian, Newbury, Berkshire, 26/8/2009 8:51

We already have them here in the UK........650 currently reside in the Houses of Parliament. Their leader is to be found relentlessly feasting on the nations wealth in No10 Downing street.
- Ordinary Bloke., Margate, Kent., 26/8/2009

Was it really necessary for the same not-funny-the-first-time joke so be let through so many times by the mods? Well it's not as if they haven't done it before.

As Guy said in his email:

the hilarity, the sheer naked insight of Daily Mail comment making types is enough to fill you with wonder and mirth. Their masterful command of the English language combines with their rapier sharp wit to produce an effect truly dazzling.

Couldn't agree more.

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