Tony Moore has issued a detailed response to Kentucky Governor Matt Bevine (R) after he recently accused ‘The Walking Dead’ and other zombie-related media for being the root cause of mass shootings in the United States.
The comments from Bevine came during an interview with a conservative radio talk show, where he stated…
“It starts with everything from the kind of entertainment that we focus on. What’s the most popular topic that seems to be in every cable television network… Television shows are all about, what? Zombies! I don’t get it… that’s what we are. We celebrate death.”
“When a culture is surrounded by, inundated by, rewards things that celebrate death, whether it is zombies in television shows, the number of abortions… there’s a thousand justifications for why we do this. Eventually, some of those young minds are not going to be able to handle it, and this is what we’re hearing.” – Kentucky Governor Matt Bevine (R)
The attack on ‘The Walking Dead’, one of cable television’s and comic book’s most widely acclaimed stories, was quickly followed with a thorough response from co-creator Tony Moore himself…
“Anyone who has ever known me knows that I have always been profoundly proud of my rural Kentucky roots. I spent all my childhood between my family’s failing dairy farm in Berry and my grandfather’s tobacco farm in Cynthiana. Growing up in a hardworking family struggling to make ends meet has instilled a lifelong do-it-yourself work outlook that has led me to tenaciously chase my dreams, primarily to tell stories in comic books, like my work drawing The Walking Dead. Becoming a Kentucky Colonel was one of the proudest moments of my career, as not only recognition of my work, but as the honor of following in the footsteps of so many before me, including my own grandfather.
“So, when I read that Governor Matt Bevin decided to put The Walking Dead on blast, I was particularly wounded. He posits that it is a “celebration of death,” and such media is a societal ill, responsible for this ongoing wave of shootings and violence. This line didn’t fly in the ‘80s when Tipper Gore tried it, and it doesn’t fly with me now. As a nerdy kid on an isolated farm, I grew up a fan of escapism. Horror movies and comics, over the top action movies, comics, and video games. Heavy metal and gangsta rap music, Dungeons & Dragons, you name it, I was in. I wear these influences unashamed, and they spill out into my work all the time. As a kid, my high school principal called me into the office, concerned about the nefarious mind-bending effects of roleplaying games, despite his knowing that I was at the top of my class with nothing but awards and service in my record. Thankfully, my mother didn’t throttle my media intake, and I was a sponge for it all, using it as grist for my creative mill. These things swirled in my little mind and formed me into the person I am today, which includes being a community-minded citizen, and devoted husband and father. Bevin’s words paint fandom as a degenerate sensibility when I have only ever known kindness and generosity from them.
“So, now in this uneasy age, when people are more racially and politically divided than I have seen in my lifetime, Governor Bevin decides to trot out this tired old garbage position and accuse our creation of being the root of society’s problems. These stories, as many others in the genre, are generally viewed as being about the strength of the human spirit in the face of phenomenally bleak circumstances. I think this is ultimately why they resonate with people so much. If he wants to talk about a culture of death, perhaps Governor Bevin should inspect his record on dialing back Medicaid expansion to thousands of vulnerable Kentuckians, or cutting worker safety regulations and union protections in the state, likely in response to the violations his own family’s bell factory incurred. His actions prove that he clearly holds the dollar as the almighty, and that the price he places on a human life is not a very high one. Perhaps he’d like to explain his science-denying environmental policy, or maybe just his speaking at a pro-cockfighting rally.
“This attack, from the same Governor Bevin who howled that modern American conservatism may need to be protected with actual bloodshed. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Bevin paraphrased Thomas Jefferson’s famous quote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Implying that under a liberal administration, it could be a likely necessity for a new civil war, a literal armed insurrection murdering Americans, to protect his political ideology. The irony of invoking Martin Niemöller’s poem, “First They Came…” when his own party’s preliminary targets are socialist programs and unions, is positively deafening. Well-spoken as he may be, his comments boiled down to little more than fearmongering and crypto-fascist war drumming.
“So, if Governor Bevin wants to point the finger at simple escapism, at stories that celebrate survival and hope, that celebrate LIFE, and denounce them as the cause of violence, perhaps he needs to have a good long look in the mirror to see what the face of a culture celebrating death truly looks like.” -Tony Moore
Comic-Watch’s own contributor Cody White also offered a brief response to the situation, bringing to light that this type of criticism in the comic industry isn’t particularly new.
“The Governor’s comments tie into a larger discourse on the nature of the relationship between comics and youth culture in the United States. From the Senate Subcommittee Hearings on Comics and Juvenile Delinquency prompted by Dr. Fredric Wertham’s infamous text, Seduction of the Innocent, through the National Institute for Mental Health requesting an anti-drug PSA issue of Spider-Man (ASM #96 in 1971), there has been no shortage of scrutiny of the comics industry by government officials.” – Cody White
Stay tuned for more on the situation as it continues to develop!
NEWS WATCH: ‘The Walking Dead’ Co-Creator Tony Moore Responds to Kentucky Governor’s Mass Shooting Accusations
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