How did you and your husband respond?
Zoloft and Ritalin SR for Aiden, and Adderall XR for Jenna. It did the trick for a while. The only thing that pissed me off was that our insurance didn’t cover it because the kids were on Phalanx.
How long had they been on Phalanx?
Since it became available. We were all on Phalanx. “Piece of Phalanx, Peace of Mind.” That was our way of being prepared… and Tim buying a gun.
Pgs. 65-66 from the account of Mary Jo Miller of Troy, Montana
The particular passage I have chosen is an account from Mary Jo Miller. She is the architect and mayor of a Zombie-proof housing community. In her account, she details how her average American family encountered an attack by zombies. In the context of World War Z, the narrator has already spoken to the creator of Phalanx and heard the accounts of a variety of different sources.
Within this particular excerpt, there is an overall metaphor that can be related to economics. For example, the phrase “Zoloft and Ritalin SR for Aiden, and Adderall XR for Jenna,” implies to me that Zoloft, Ritalin SR, and Adderall XR are simply crutches. By administering these drugs to her children, Mary Jo Miller is simply avoiding the root cause of the problem. Similar to an economy, there can be crutches that the government can provide to struggling industries. The government can give out subsidies on goods, create price ceilings and floors, bailout an industry, impose trade tariffs, reduce taxes, and utilize a variety of other “solutions”. Really, by doing these things, the government is ignoring the root cause of the problem. In the 2008 market crash, the government bailed out several major banks and corporations despite the fact that these organizations were utilizing sub-prime loans or risky business practices. In this situation, Mary Jo is the government, and her children are the struggling industries. The medications act as the economic crutches that are holding up the industries.
Next, the line “pissed me off was that our insurance didn’t cover it because the kids were on Phalanx,” seemed to be quite ironic. It is ironic that Phalanx, of all medications, was the drug that caused the family to have to pay out of pocket for their other medications. Phalanx, as the reader knows after the narrator’s interview with the creator of Phalanx, is merely a placebo. It did not work on the virus that created zombies. Phalanx is an example of the failure of the FDA and government to recognize an improperly marketed and ineffective product. Phalanx is an example of greed and self-interest in the global capitalistic economy.
Following this, “Piece of Phalanx, Peace of Mind” also struck me as ironic. The phrase actually seems to be foreboding. The word “phalanx” means ‘any body of troops in close array’. The word, by nature of definition, literally means protection. In the word’s true definition, it means an army united for a common purpose. Yet Phalanx the drug is far from that. Really, in this case, its meaning more closely follows ‘an army united to make money.’ Phalanx was the by-product of greed. Its creator saw the opportunity to profit off of the fear of the virus, and utilized it to line his pocketbooks. Typically, when one has the protection of a police force and military to keep him or her safe, he or she will have peace of mind. This is true of many developed countries, where most of its citizens are kept safe by its safety forces, and thus are able to have peace of mind over their safety. However, with a contagious disease, typical safety measures are unable to keep people safe, because the attacker is something that is too small to be seen, and thus too small for a soldier to fight. “Piece of Phalanx, Peace of Mind” translates to ‘portion of the army, peace of mind,’ yet this is untrue. With this false product, any peace of mind created is unfounded.
Lastly, when Mary Jo mentions her husband Tim buying a gun to help them be prepared, it seemed to be a very American thing to do. Instead of taking precautions to avoid infectious agent contamination, their first response was to find some sort of brute force to protect them. However, a gun is not effective unless it is readily accessible and its owner truly knows how to use it. Otherwise, the gun is simply there to make its owner feel better about its potential. A gun cannot shoot itself or identify when there is a danger present. The gun represents another potential economic safety measure that seems to be helpful, but in reality is just a false hope.
Overall, this passage was quite striking in that it was the account of an average American family. The nightmare of any family during this time period must have been that zombies would come into their home and harm their children. For the Millers, this was a reality. The whole except can be tied to an overall metaphor seen in World War Z of capitalism and its downfalls. This excerpt primarily showcased economic crutches used, and how they provided false hope.