In his book Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism, author and scholar Henry Giroux connects the dots, threading together ideas and experiences to prove his theory that our current system is informed by a "machinery of social and civil death" that chills "any vestige of a robust democracy." This week on Moyers &Company (check local listings), Giroux explains that such a machine turns people into zombies - "people who are basically so caught up with surviving that they become like the walking dead - they lose their sense of agency, they lose their homes, they lose their jobs." What's more, Giroux points out, the system that creates this vacuum has little to do with expanding the meaning and the substance of democracy itself. Under "casino capitalism," the goal is to get a quick return, taking advantage of a kind of logic in which the only thing that drives us is to put as much money as we can into a slot machine and hope we walk out with our wallets overflowing. A cultural and social critic of tireless energy and vast interests, Giroux holds the Global TV Network Chair in the English and Cultural Studies Department at McMaster University and is a distinguished visiting professor at Reyerson University, both schools in Canada. Described by Moyers as "torch bearer in the art and science of teaching," he has been an important contributor in a variety of academic fields, including cultural, youth and media studies. Also on the broadcast, Bill Moyers remembers a 2003 interview with Nobel-prize winning novelist Doris Lessing who passed away this week in London at the age of 94. And a look at "Birth of the Living Dead", a mesmerizing new documentary that examines the singular time in which the classic film "Night of the Living Dead" was shot - when civil unrest and violence gave the nation nightmares, and zombies were a metaphor for an American public troubled and distressed.
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