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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Zombies save Detroit

Posted By on 07.03.12 at 05:27 PM

Detroit entrepreneur Marc Siwak is throwing a bone—a festering, disembodied femur, perhaps—to students of postcolonialism and critical race theory everywhere with his proposal to "revitalize" the economically depressed city of Detroit, Michigan, by installing in it a 100- or 200-acre theme park organized around the theme of "zombies." It will be called Z World Detroit. The gist is that white people with paranoid fantasies of the black ghetto—sorry, "international zombie-survivalist fans"—would enter a walled-off part of the inner city sometime after nightfall, and spend the evening practicing a little exposure therapy in the form of being chased around by "out-of-work actors" pretending to be the undead. The game doesn't end when you're killed; that's the point at which you yourself turn into a zombie. Then the question becomes, according to Siwak, "Can you kill all the survivors?" Afterward, "there will be a big barbeque . . . to swap stories and phone numbers."

The idea of providing economic stimulus to a famously poor, majority-black city with a theme park built around the idea of the zombie—a relic of Haitian folklore traditions whose earliest cultural associations, in the U.S., were with colonialism and slave labor—might seem a unique one, but consider the alternative. "I'm all for urban farming," Siwak told the Atlantic Cities, "it just doesn't happen to be my thing."

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