New Yorker illustration by Brian Rea.

New Yorker illustration by Brian Rea.

It was not the plan to make this a magazine-appreciation week. Really.

Yesterday, I pointed you to our own evocative “Call to Authors” house ad that we occasionally publish in Arizona Attorney Magazine.

And then, on Sunday, I was leafing through the newest issue of The New Yorker. (If you’re a writer, I recommend it highly, especially when it comes to profiles and intriguing feature stories.)

There, in a section called “Shouts and Murmurs,” I came across a hilarious piece of short fiction called “Apocalypse,” by author Jack Handey. Here is part of how it opens in the world of 2042, noteworthy for its “marauding bands” of cannibals:

“The mail comes only about once a week, twice if you’re lucky. It is mostly junk mail. Somehow I have a subscription to a horrible magazine, Cannibalism Today. It features gruesome photographs and recipes. I have written to the magazine’s circulation department, asking them to please cancel my subscription, but every month I get the current issue with a note that says, ‘Welcome, New Subscriber!’ Nothing makes any sense anymore.”

As a magazine editor, I have sent exactly that type of missive, so my radar shot up pretty quickly.

Pretty fast, though, I realized that what at first glance was a riff on end times was really a love letter to that most compelling of communication channels—the magazine.

I’ll shut up and let you read the whole thing here.

On this Change of Venue Friday, there may be no more random news to share with you than ongoing preparations for the Zombie Apocalypse. And that planning is occurring right here in Arizona (our state, a leader once again).

It was about a month ago that I heard about a unique Iowa Law Review article penned by an ASU Law Prof, Adam Chodorow. His article? “Death and Taxes and Zombies.”

Read the abstract here. I would wager that throughout the SSRN database, this is the only article with the following keywords: income tax, tax policy, estate tax, trusts and estates, zombies, undead, vampires, ghosts.

News of the article came from ASU Law Dean Doug Sylvester, whom I was interviewing for a September Q&A in Arizona Attorney Magazine. Our conversation was fascinating, but even more noteworthy for his uttering the word “zombies.” That, in my experience, is a first.

Professor Chodorow is taken with all the challenging tax consequences that may flow from a zombie apocalypse

Coverage of the zombie article has come from near and far. In fact, one of the most humorous news articles can be found on Forbes.com, where contributor Peter J. Reilly explores Chodorow’s piercing questions, like “What if your bride becomes a vampire?”

Here is a little of the brain-eating analysis from Professor Chodorow’s abstract:

“The U.S. stands on the precipice of a financial disaster, and Congress has done nothing but bicker. Of course, I refer to the coming day when the undead walk the earth, feasting on the living. A zombie apocalypse will create an urgent need for significant government revenues to protect the living, while at the same time rendering a large portion of the taxpaying public dead or undead. The government’s failure to anticipate or plan for this eventuality could cripple its ability to respond effectively, putting us all at risk.

“This article fills a glaring gap in the academic literature by examining how the estate and income tax laws apply to the undead. Beginning with the critical question of whether the undead should be considered dead for estate tax purposes, the article continues on to address income tax issues the undead are likely to face. In addition to zombies, the article also considers how estate and income tax laws should apply to vampires and ghosts. Given the difficulties identified herein of applying existing tax law to the undead, new legislation may be warranted. However, any new legislation is certain to raise its own set of problems. The point here is not to identify the appropriate approach. Rather, it is to goad Congress and the IRS into action before it is too late.”

Congratulations to Professor Chodorow for taking a legal swing at the undead problem. Have a wonderful, zombie-free weekend.