“Braindead” as a US politics primer

BrainDead_Logo_500x281Because I get proper holidays and because this year I doing nothing more intellectually demanding than deciding on what flavour of ice cream to get, I’ve got very little to share in the way of pedagogic experiences.

One exception has been Braindead (CBS and Amazon), from the creators of The Good Wife. To any other audience than this, saying that it’s about brain-eating alien ants that are taking over Washington would be a stretch, but you guys are all over the Zombie/IR thing: consider this the comparative politics equivalent.

The essential trope is that it’s hard to distinguish between those with bugs in their heads and the kind of rabid politics founds on both sides of the aisle (which gives a clue to the show’s own centrist, moderate position).

As someone who knows little of the detail of the US federal system, it’s been a great little exploration of both the macro-picture and dynamic, as well as the more detailed navigation of procedure and favour in handling the issue-of-the-week elements. Sure, a lot seems to just need the Senator to phone someone and threaten to cut their funding for things to happen (that doesn’t happen really, right?), but the consideration of trade-offs and package deals that characterise the system, it’s a fun and engaging way in.

This isn’t The West Wing, but it does strike me as a nice way to get students talking about procedure and about that bigger question of partisanship. It’s also totally great for a debate about the paranoid turn, albeit with more exploding heads than usual.