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Zombie Fun From CDC?

I don't know about you, but when I think of clever humor, federal agencies always come to mind, especially those wacky pranksters at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Those guys crack me up!  Well, the king clown, the Asst. Surgeon General of the US, Ali Khan, is at it with another one...

Fox News reports that a recent official CDC blog post from ASG Khan dealt with planning for a zombie apocalypse.  Here's the full text of the blog post.

Aside from wondering why CDC is putting out this message instead of FEMA (duplication of efforts can't be good for the taxpayers' bottom line), I actually like this.  Zombies are very popular right now.  Video games, movies, and books about zombies and surviving them are all coming out at a record pace.  Personally, I'm not in to zombies, but you can't miss the zombie walks, zombie survival forums, and flash mob Thriller dances.

General Khan (do you think he's tired of the Capt. Kirk imitations every day in the CDC employee cafeteria?) uses a tongue in cheek way to present sound advice about preparing for real disasters such as hurricanes and pandemics.  There are a lot of people who might otherwise not pay attention, but this way makes it "cool."  It can reach younger people, and can open up conversations among others.

That being said, I think that those of us who talk and practice preparedness should avoid using zombie apocalypse as a reason.  Our relatives, neighbors and coworkers already think we are a bit off, and it takes a gradual, subtle approach to reach them.  They might fail to see the humor if we start talking about zombies as the CDC has done.  I say leave that talk to the professionals, and we continue on our normal, non-zombie path of preparedness and spreading the word.

I'm curious what you think about this?  Is the CDC approach a good one?  Would your brother-in-law be more likely to listen to you talk about preparedness if you used zombies as an example?  Will your Aunt Sally be more likely to put away some food and water if she can joke that it is for the zombies?  Please leave a comment, I'd really like to know.


  1. I think it gets people talking about preparedeness, and that's a good start. Also it helps me deflect people who can't understand why I go target-shooting, have stocked up on rice & dry goods, or want to learn to can my own food when I haven't been on a farm in 30 years. They ask nosy questions and I reply (with as straight a face as I can manage), "For the zombie apocalypse, dude."

  2. Mike in VirginiaMay 20, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    I agree with Jeanne S that overall it's a "Good Thing" that the CDC posted the zombie article. I've also used the Mutant Zombie Biker excuse as an over-the-top deflection technique when folks either get too nosy about my preps, or too incredulous that I would prep at all. Everyone ends up chuckling instead of freaking out, which is good.

    Depending on whom I'm talking with, however, I may instead use the granola-crunching-tree-hugging-birkenstock-wearing-greenie-environmentalist approach of emphasizing getting back to whole foods, less dependence on high tech farming, less stress on Mother Earth, etc etc. Like backyard chickens, rain barrels, home gardens, and other "green" activities that are really preps in drag.

    Again, it helps to know the biases of your audience to avoid sticky situations when you're trying to help other folks get with the program of becoming less dependent. If the CDC zombie apocalypse posting will teach while entertaining, then it will have been well worth the giggle factor.

  3. Well we wont have to deal with zombies for long. Haven t you heard that the end of the world is tomorrow? lol Bad timing on behalf of the CDC to use the zombie story right now.

  4. Interesting. I really hadn't thought about using zombies as a way to deflect unwanted interest in my prep activities.

    Keep the comments coming, unless of course, we all disappear tomorrow at 6 o'clock...

  5. At first i thought it a little immature, seeing is how it was a federal government initiative. However, i read that beyond its silliness the traffic it brought it to their site was something like 3 times the normal visits. So in essence it worked, people who normally wouldnt care stopped by and read the message which exposed them to the fact that the government wants them to be prepared, maybe they will act on it maybe they wont; but the point is the read it.

  6. Joshua - I think you nailed it

  7. I'd have to say that overall, it's been a good thing.

    Initially, when Joe did a piece on our blog a few weeks ago, I wished he wouldn't for the reasons you initially mentioned. I could just see my mother (who has told me she would rather not survive in a world without AC, restaurants, etc) either completing shutting us out or curling up in a ball in the corner.

    Since the ad campaign, I have had a conversation with my BIL after he heard about the CDC's version on NPR. It gave me the opportunity to explain about "sheeple," the thin veneer of civility that quickly deteriorates under stress, and the expectation that those prone to crime would become (possibly violent) opportunists if there was ever a time with uncertain law and order. He has talked about the need to get prepared, but I don't think he's done much about it. I think that reason had never occurred to him and may help spur him to action. Maybe.


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