Joining Dave Schrader, author and journalist Sarah Whalen shared her research into the life and death of Princess Diana. She suggested that people resonated with Diana as a kind of goddess, or bridge figure between the human and divine. Citing the murders of various British royalty going back hundreds of years, Whalen compared Diana's death to what she considered to be the "ritual sacrifices" of two of Henry the VIII's wives. The British monarchy, she contended, wanted Diana taken out for some of the comments she made, such as Prince Charles not being fit to rule, and seized on a window of opportunity when she was in Paris, without her usual security team.
If Diana had been brought to a hospital more promptly after the 1997 collision in the Alma Tunnel in Paris, her wound could have been sutured, said Whalen, and she might have had a decent shot at survival. Rather than paparazzi on scooters in the tunnel, Whalen described two mysterious men on large motorcycles flanking the Mercedes Diana was traveling in with Dodi Fayed, as well as a dark sedan that was tailgating them. Additionally, witnesses described a bright flash in the tunnel, as though from a military strobe light, which Whalen thinks was used to disorient the driver. She gleaned much of her information from the three inquests that looked into Diana's death (though none of them returned a verdict of conspiracy charges).
In the latter half, author and pop culture analyst Dahlia Schweitzer discussed her new book Going Viral: Zombies, Viruses, and the End of the World, which explores stories of pandemics and disease outbreaks in American film and TV. The zombie narrative has changed over the decades, she noted, starting out with its origin in Haiti and voodoo culture, with religious or black magic overtones. Then in the 1960s and 70s, came the George Romero model, which never pinned down exactly what caused the zombie outbreak, though there were implications of radiation or something from outer space. With the Resident Evil video game and the film 28 Days Later (2002), the notion of infection was introduced, said Schweitzer, and this viral aspect has remained a mainstay of shows such as The Walking Dead.
Zombie-themed works, she pointed out, tap into different human anxieties, and have a reflective quality mirroring the social fears of the day. For many folks nowadays, she continued, "it feels like the apocalypse is just around the corner" with the possibility of civil unrest and riots unraveling the social order. So people are intrigued to see a depiction of what that might look like on the screen, as they believe government may not be able to protect them. Among the addtional projects she referenced were Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, iZombie, World War Z, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Braindead (CBS TV series), and The Strain.