Call it the Christmas controversy that just wouldn’t die.
Jasen Dixon is not backing down after being ordered to remove his frontyard zombie-themed nativity scene, featuring an undead baby, three ghoulish kings, and a severed head — all under a glowing pentagram.
Instead, Dixon is raising money for a bigger undead display next December.
“I want to make a better zombie nativity scene for everyone to see next year and [raise] funds to pay the township citations for having the structure,” he says on his IndieGogo crowdfunding page.
He’s hoping to bring in $5,000 for bigger and better fake corpses and accessories. (Perhaps undead barn animals are in the works?)
There is a long tradition of dark humor around the holidays to balance out all that earnest good cheer, of course. From songs that belong on Santa’s naughty list to Christmas sweaters that you wouldn’t wear in front of mom. And if you if you haven’t gotten an offbeat or slightly inappropriate holiday card over the years, you might want to upgrade your circle of friends.
You can even buy a handmade zombie nativity scene of your own on Etsy.com. (The seller says it’s from the 1960s, proving that zombie kitsch is not a new phenomenon.)
But Dixon has provoked substantial ire from many of his fellow residents in Sycamore Township, Ohio.
“The neighbors don’t like it. My father hates it,” Dixon admits to Fox19 WXIX.
Dixon claims he simply worked with what he had at hand. Since he manages a chain of haunted houses, that meant using some unorthodox materials for the manger. Dixon lists his profession as artist on his Facebook page.
“I wanted a nativity scene and I worked with what I had,” he tells Fox19.
He was ordered two days before Christmas to take it down or face a $1,000 fine, but he won’t be putting the controversy to rest anytime soon.
Officials insist the problem is building codes, not bad taste. Township Administrator Greg Bickford tells Cincinnati.com Dixon’s scene violates restrictions on erecting structures on your property.
"This is no different than having a garden shed in your front yard," Bickford says.
(All photos courtesy Jasen Dixon/Facebook)
Dixon rejects that claim.
"I’ve lived here for 15 years and I’ve never had a violation of any kind," Dixon tells Fox19. "It’s a holiday decoration. I know if it was a real pretty nativity scene they wouldn’t be saying anything."
Online, the reaction is mixed. Some commenters are outraged, others are annoyed, and many are just enjoying the uproar.
“This is amazing. Anyone who complains about this [is] doing so for the wrong reasons. My Catholic husband (and zombie lover) just made this his wallpaper!” says a supporter named Nicole on Dixon’s Facebook page.
You can be sure Dixon will happily be making headlines gain in a year’s time with what he promises will be a bigger, better, more undead effort.
Perhaps even people who find Dixon’s nativity unfunny and unacceptably offensive can admire his resolve to improve on his first attempt. If you’re going to DIY your own holiday controversy, you may as well do it right.