World War A to Z: From “Pretty Little Liars” to Zombies, The Rise of a Cliche

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ZFor the entire 20th century, there were only two World Wars. But in recent years- starting with the publication of the novel World War Z  in 2006- pop culture is suddenly awash in World Wars, following by a letter, even though almost none of them refer to actual wars. Here are some of them:

 (Notes: There does not appear to be a World War F anywhere on the Internet. There also can’t be a “World War” for the letter I or L, because both look just like “World War I” on the page. And all references to “World War U” refer to World War II U-Boats.) 

“World War A”: The name given to a story arc (and Twitter hashtag) on the most recent season of ABC Family’s hit Pretty Little Liars, concerning the identity of the show’s anonymous villain, known as “A.”


“World War B”: An ebook parody of “World War Z,” an “oral history” about the world running out of bacon.

“World War C”: Another “World War Z” parody, by SomethingAwful, about the Cobra War from “G.I. Joe.”

 “World War D:” A book, by Jeffrey Dhwyood, arguing for drug legalization.

“World War E:” A Forbes article from June, accusing entrepreneurs of too often acting like zombies.

“World War G”: There are two: a Funny or Die parody about the effects of gay marriage, and the media nickname for an LG promotional event in Korea for the G2 smartphone last month, involving helium balloons, in which 20 people were injured.

“World War H”: An Onion parody of “World War Z” in which “horses come close to overthrowing humanity”

 “World War J”: A user-generated YouTube video of three kids hitting each other with pillows

“World War K”: A multi-part YouTube sci-fi series.

 “World War M”: Another parody, by Chas Andres, about the collapse of “Magic: The Gathering” leading to the apocalypse.

“World War N”: A piece of “World War Z” fan fiction.

“World War O”: The title of a column this week by Gail Collins in the New York Times, about the never-ending fight over Obamacare.

“World War P”: A YouTube parody of “World War Z” in which a “giant pudding blob takes over Chicago”:

 “World War Q”: A reference on a Waco, Tex., food blog to Texas Monthly “declaring war” over its prestigious Top 50 Barbecue List.

“World War R”: Headline for an article on the Canadian South Asian news site Vancouver Desi, about bacteria resistance.

 “World War S”: Yet another “World War Z” parody on YouTube, this time involving attacking sheep

“World War T”: A term used by the website The American Conservative about the legal and cultural controversies to come surrounding transgenderism.

“World War V”: A term used during the most recent season of HBO’s True Blood, about a threatened human/vampire war.

 “World War W”: A 2006 Global Research article fearing that George W. Bush would start a world war with North Korea

 “World War X”: A real-life X-Men comic book

 “World War Y”: Something Russian. Your guess is as good as mine.

 “World War Z”: 2013 movie, starring Brad Pitt, available on DVD now.

(Note: NPR did this exercise earlier this year, only making up all of the letters)


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